Alaria is a world swimming in magic, some of it is so mundane and common many don’t even think of it as magic. But many items are either so rare or so innately powerful that no one can mistake them for what they are.
In this section I will be listing items that, although not unique, are still rarer than such things as potions and simple charms. Unlike some other sections, a lot of what I’m putting down on paper here is NOT based on firsthand experience. I’ve traveled further than any other I’ve encountered, but even what I could accomplish with my one life would not be enough to hunt down even a fraction of these items for first-hand research.
Some of these entries will be short. The knowledge that can be gained through ancient texts and scrolls often leaves more questions than answers, especially when it comes to items forged before the Great Collapse. Even when all I’ve collected are legends I will strive to put down what seems both most “true” or, at the very least, what seems important.
Collar of Binding
Alaria was a vastly different place before the Great Collapse, a world few today would be able to recognize. We know frustratingly little about what caused the Great Collapse nor what Alaria looked like before the cataclysm that caused that event began. What we do have are bits and pieces that tell show us small slivers of what that world was like. Although far from a clear picture we know enough to know just how different from the current Alaria it was.
Keep that in mind as we talk about this item. Everything I’ve read suggests that Collars of Binding were once frighteningly common in nearly every corner of Alaria, something most alive today would find impossible to imagine. Not only was there once a great number of them in the world, but the arcane power infused into the items have ensured a shocking number of them survive to this day.
Luckily most that survive are not in use. A great number are hidden away in long-forgotten vaults, something that suggests their existence was as repugnant to many in the past as they are to those alive now. Others are in circulation but are not recognized for what they are. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had the chilling realization that someone was wearing one as a fashion accessory, unaware of the great evil they had around their neck.
And I will be clearer than I often am: Collars of Binding ARE evil. The proper use of one does not simply enslave a person, it goes so far beyond that. And their magic is irreversible. Yes, I’ve seen no power that can break the magic of a Collar of Binding once it is enacted, I’ve never even read a hint such power is possible. It seems even the gods themselves cannot unbind a person bound with one of these collars.
So what does a Collar of Binding do? It makes you the collar owner’s thing. Not a slave. A slave can be freed. It is, as I’ve said, magically irreversible. And the binding to the collar’s owner does not last through that person’s life, but rather the collar wearers. If the collar owner’s life ends they will simply be bound to whoever next lays claim to it. And the ownership can be transferred as easily as a coin changes hands at a market.
I must stress this is more than simply magically enforced slavery. Once bound the collar wearer will not just do whatever their owner tells them to, they will WANT to. They will want to make their owner happy even when they hate doing so. They will not want to be apart from them unless told to be. They will strive to become whatever their owner wants them to be. It forces something that looks like fanatical devotion or obsessive love. But it’s neither of those things. A cup does not love its owner. A bed does not adore the owner that sleeps in it every night.
The only saving grace is how the Collar of Bindings power is activated. Both the person putting it on and the collar’s owner must know what the item is and understand what the binding will lead to. They must willingly put it on. If someone uses physical force to put a Collar of Binding on someone it will have no magic to it.
I’ve noted many of these evil devices remain in the world but thanks to most being locked away and few others being recognized for what they are they are at this time a rare thing to encounter. But I must stress the knowledge to craft them is NOT one that has been lost to time.
Most of this knowledge is locked away in ancient tomes, guarded, and only the most trusted masters allowed to view it. Thanks to cultural taboos few groups of Artificers allow the crafting of the collars. But there are some evil men and women spread through Alaria who DO know how to make them and will for the right price.
Thankfully these evil Artificers do not make many of them. They take great skill to craft and the magic and material required to do so is not without cost. Mostly, though, they are not mass-produced because those Artificers know what many would do to them. Organizations like the Sisterhood of Righteousness actively hunt down such Artificers and ensure they can never make another one of these vile items.