Friday, September 10, 2010

Hands of Glory

These artifacts look like exquisitely accurate sculptures of human hands. They display every feature - even fingerprints and sometimes even solid 'hair' in the case of some of the 'adult male' hands. The only thing missing is fingernails. The Hands are as hard as metal. Chipping at the 'skin' does not reveal any muscle or bone beneath - they are entirely solid.

Rather than looking as if they were cut off at the wrist, a Hand of Glory will taper off in a shape that looks rather like the curled tail of a lizard.

Each Hand will be covered in an intricate series of patterns. In appearance they remind one of those brides of the East whose hands are adorned with the juice of the henna plant. These patterns will always include a stylised eye.

It is said that Hands of Glory are artifacts of the ancient land of Take-You-May; a name most ironic, since they are inevitably difficult and dangerous to find.

If the eye pattern is pressed, a beam of light will issue forth from the Hand. This beam will have one of several different effects on any living thing it hits (although generally it also confers immunity to that type of light for roughly 24 hours). The light of a given Hand will always have the same effect. However there is no easy way to tell what that effect will be, beyond practical experiment. Each Hand will only produce light a finite number of times. Again, there is no easy way to know how many applications a Hand has left.

Some say that the combination of the patterns on the Hand, and its apparent gender and age, may be read to deduce the type of light it will produce. Some even claim that the number of times it will produce light may be read in this manner (certainly the patterns change each time the Hand produces light). If true, it is a most difficult art.

There is but one aspect of the patterns' meaning which is clear. The stylised eye will be 'open' - showing a pupil - if the Hand is still operating, and 'closed' if not.

The most common types of Hand are as follows:

The Glorious Hand of Overwhelming HorrorThe light of this Hand causes the target to lose courage, sometimes to the point where they temporarily lose all reason and flee.
The Glorious Hand of Arriving By the Nameless PathThose hit by the light of this Hand do not feel any different. Yet, for the next few weeks, they will find that when travelling, they reach their destination far more quickly than they would otherwise. They do not appear to travel any more quickly.
The Glorious Hand of Overcoming All Physical AdversityThe light of this Hand can cure sickness. In those that are not sick, it can accelerate healing of wounds. In those that are unwounded and in good health, it will have no effect.
The Glorious Hand of the Ecstatic Madness of LoveThe light of this Hand increases the luck and beauty of its target, but greatly decreases intelligence. The effect lasts for several days.
The Glorious Hand of Climbing the Wall of TonguesThe light of this Hand has no effect on creatures with only bestial intelligence. For those posessed of reason it grants, for up to a week, a strange bond with anyone else who has also recently bathed in its light, so that the two will be able to work out what the other is saying, even if they possess no language in common.
The Glorious Hand of Neither Rising Nor FallingFor several hours, sometimes as long as half a day, one who has been hit by the light of this Hand can not move upwards or downwards for any significant distance. Thus, for example, they may not enter the top floor of a house (or, if hit while on the top floor, they may not descend to the street below). If they are carried they may move without hinderance.
The Glorious Hand of Striving With ChivalryThe light of this beam renders its target, for several minutes, unable to use ranged weapons, nor to use any spells or magical items for combat (including Hands of Glory). They will also be unable to attack anyone who is unarmed (spells and natural weapons such as claws may count as being armed), including someone who throws down their weapon, or anyone who already faces an enemy. If the target suffers wounding in any way which breaks these 'rules', the effect of the Hand is broken.
The Glorious Hand of Stealing Fae GlamourIf the target is an elf, fairy, leprechaun or similar creature, they will lose some of their beauty. Casting the light of this Hand on such a being seems to increase the number of castings the Hand has left rather than decreasing it.

This Hand has a similar effect on magic which relates to seduction, diplomacy etc. Spells are likely to be erased from spell-books or the minds of wizards who know them, and magical devices are likely to lose such powers if they have them. All this seems to feed the Hand in the same way as elves and like creatures.

If the target has no glamour to steal, they will temporarily be blessed with good luck.

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