An original painting from friend and fan, Keith Nimmo. Art, in all its forms, from paintings to television productions and movies, don’t usually match up with the writer’s original concept. Whoever a director casts as the main hero, regardless of their talent, will not be exactly as imagined, the same with artwork, but then everyone their own vision of how someone or something should look; we all devour books differently. Art is an interpretation, and I am immensely grateful for Keith Nimmo’s interpretation of Tark Elspar’s Summoner’s Stone. I love what his own imagination moved his brushes to produce and am ecstatic to showcase the first piece of true ‘fan-mail’ I ever received. Mr Nimmo has recently contacted me and asked if he can use the mythology of Cyralost for some portfolio work in his college course (as you can imagine, Baldy did the dad-dance and readily agreed), I really look forward to seeing what he will paint next and will be sure to share anything he sends me with The Chronicles of Cyralost in mind. Below is the original piece about the Summoner’s Stone that inspired Keith’s painting. Thank you to Mr Nimmo for reading, and thank you so much for the artwork, I treasure it (it lives on the wall above my writing bags).
The Summoner’s Stone
These are baubles of magnificent potential pertaining to each of the elements, magical items so rare that a collection is unheard of and so very desirable (for the expensive materials that each is comprised of, the artistry and creativity put in to its forging and the magical wealth held within) that it could likely cost the fortune of a kingdom’s treasury.
Every stone is different (no two are identical), some in obvious ways, others only slightly outsized or given a different shape. Like normal stones, there is no symmetry and no one stone has a perfect circumference or edge. The only similarities are the materials each Summoner’s Stone is made of.
In the instance of the Elsparran stone intended for the Elves at the Blood-tie ceremony, the stone and it’s brethren (for it is a sentient being, containing an elemental) are forged of slate, stone, agate and silver; these are inhabited by earth elementals (details about other elementals, such as fire, water or air and any Summoner’s Stones that they may be encaged in may be found in later stories or appendices).
Cyralost’s history is only lightly littered with tales regarding earth elemental summoning stones and many of those stories are considered fairy-tales of adventures locating them. Mytharia-Illidure and Keysrai-Nar are the only known two cities to have been spellborn with the aid of these. But it is not just beneficial happenstance that occurs with the help of these mana-rich beauties, when in the wrong hands – devastation on a scale of catastrophic levels is possible.
It was a Summoner’s Stone that started the series of events that led to the sundering, the terrible cataclysm that changed the face of South-West Kira in the second age when an evil demon overlord rent the large island called Volentar, causing the South and West of it to break away in a horrific quake that cost the lives of thousands and created the islands now known as Rim, Plor, Quern, Gravasinia, ‘O’, Epipe, Hurch, Dra and Cakadar). This event changed the face of former Usurpia (now called Urvasinia), cataclysmic earthquakes causing mountains to tumble and much of the land to be swallowed by a new sea.
Sadly, The Sundering was largely blamed on the Wytch-Kings, who were (in fact) responsible only for attempting to save the lands from this terrible fate. The misunderstandings led to the great wytch cull that became known in Cyralost’s history as ‘The Burning Times’.
The silver that is worked in to and around the earth elemental summoning stone is forged in to delicate shapes, patterns and effigies by the most talented silversmiths before being magically welded to the slate, stone and agate by a sorcerer of incredible power. Some patterns contain leaves, ivy or floral designs (all wonderfully intricate and highly detailed) whilst others are gathered in to a lattice or spell-ridden sky of stars. The silver can take on a face or the form of an animal or magical beast such as a Gryphon or Unicorn and the nature of the artifact makes it possible to change its design at will to confuse and deter potential thieves or people the stone believes are unworthy of wielding it.
It is able to dull the surfaces so that the silver does not catch the light and when free of its container (usually a spell-locked case of some sort) it can roam free, but only as far as it can roll.
The elemental held within is caged with such powerful magic that it must be subservient to its owner for the duration of one ‘wish’ (the wish will only work with the intent of the elemental’s nature for a specific use, to build or destroy something of rock, mud, stone, earth etc in this case).
Once it has fulfilled its intended destiny, the creature will most likely escape to another plane of existence in search of its own prime-material world but it has been known for one or two elementals to seek vengeance on mankind for its captivity and slavery. There is one document that claims an elemental remained in its owner’s service (after fulfilling his wish) of its own free will and caused tremendous harm to an opposing army.