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The Endless Ringby Jacob Skytte
In the days before men had fully settled Ostland, the Modrigswerg were more open, and at times traded their artifacts for services or rare materials. They were able to demand steep prices, since all of their work was not only magnificent, but endowed with wonderful magical powers. So it was that when the word was spread that one of their greatest smiths, Gnir-Axl, had begun work on a priceless ring that would be possessed of unrivalled magical powers, men courted the Modrigswerg, bearing great gifts and treasures to obtain the ring.
The Modrigswerg refused to name their price, waiting instead for the men to outbid each other, so as to obtain as great a price as possible. As is often the case when men hold great desire for the same thing, they started bickering, and eventually fighting. The Dark Dwarves didn't mind since they knew that each man who died would only add to the treasure of another, so they could obtain an even greater price for the artifact.
In the end only one man remained. He was Halfgrim Skull-Splitter, retainer to the jarl of clan Gotland. Halfgrim was a mighty warrior, who not only knew fighting, but knew well the ways of deception. It was said that he worshipped Loki, the trickster, and that he was once apprenticed to a Modrigswerg smith, and had learned of their magical trickeries. Whether he used foul sorcery or not, in the end it was Halfgrim, who could lay claim to the great artifact, paying with gold, soiled by the blood of his fellow jarls.
When the time came that Gnir-Axl should hand over the ring to Halfgrim, the dwarf refused. He had invested so much of his being in the ring that any man, who owned that ring would also own his soul, and the dwarf felt that his soul was priceless. Halfgrim knew better than to cross a dwarf, and seemed to let the matter rest. Later that night, while he was drinking in the mead hall of the Modrigswerg, he made an offer to some of the other dwarves, though. He would give them all of the treasure, if only they would obtain the ring for him. He knew well the greed of the Modrigswerg, and that they felt that Gnir-Axl had already betrayed them by refusing so great a treasure.
Late in the night several Modrigswerg entered Gnir-Axl's smithy. The dwarf was busy admiring his work, the beautiful ring by the light of a stray moonbeam. He was unaware of the encroaching dwarves, who attacked and murdered him, using his own tools. They then took the ring and brought it before Halfgrim, who gladly took it in exchange for the vast treasures, he had hoarded. What happened to the murderous dwarves is not known, for the Modrigswerg keep their customs well hidden from the prying eyes of men.
Halfgrim returned to his jarl bearing the wonderful ring. As he entered the great hall, the jarl rose and greeted him, promising Halfgrim riches and power beyond compare for bringing the priceless artifact to him. Already, his jealous neighbours had been sending word that they would come and admire this, the greatest of Modrigswerg treasures. Halfgrim raised his right hand, and on it gleamed the ring. The jarl paled at Halfgrim's treachery. He drew his sword and advanced on Halfgrim, murder in his eyes.
The battle that followed was magnificent. While the jarl was an experienced warrior, who had sent many an opponent to Valhalla, Halfgrim was his equal in might, but did not hesitate to use trickery in combat. Still, the jarl prevailed, and with a mighty strike sent Halfgrim's sword flying from his grasp, and raised his own sword for the mortal blow. Halfgrim raised his arm to shield himself from the blow, and the ring caught a stray beam of sunlight. The ray of light was magnified many times over and it's brightness blinded the jarl, who fell before Halfgrim, who had retrieved his sword.
After the death of it's jarl, clan Gotland was in an uproar. Halfgrim proclaimed himself the new jarl by might of arms, but the clan was split among those who valiantly stood by the old jarl, and claimed that Halfgrim had used foul sorcery to win the fight, and those who saw opportunities for themselves by following the mighty Halfgrim. And so, once again the ring was soiled with the blood of men as clan Gotland fought over it, and he that wore it. Again, Halfgrim was victorious.
Since that time clan Gotland has held on to the ring, defending it from thieves and conquerors, and it has been passed from father to son for generations. Every jarl of Gotland has worn it, and has spilled blood over it. The present jarl of Gotland, Mord the Greedy, also wore it, but lost it, along with his finger, during battle with an unknown assailant. It's whereabouts are unknown but Mord searches for it, and has offered a bounty to he who returns it.
The powers of the ring are said to be many and varied, but uncontrollable. The jarls of Gotland have used it primarily when in great need, and there are many accounts of the sudden sorcerous energies released by the ring.
The ring is a beautiful work of art. It consists of gold, silver, copper, and steel circlets forged in intertwining helices. When donned the ring will fasten itself around it's wielder's finger, gripping tightly and refusing to come off, while the user is alive. Depending on the light, the ring will seem to glow in many colours, and different metals will seem prominent.
The legend of the ring is very well known, any skald of Ostland, and several of Vestland and Soderfjord, knows it's history and that it belongs to the jarl of Gotland. Most Ostlanders also know much of the story, if not the exact details. Any Ostland skald who sees it will recognise it from the legends, while other Ostlanders have a fair chance of knowing it by appearance.
First of all the ring is cursed. When worn, it attaches itself to the very soul of it's owner, refusing to come off his finger. A remove curse spell has a 2% chance per caster level of letting the ring come off, but since it is fused to it's owner's soul, the owner will never voluntarily get rid of the ring, and will seek it, if it is somehow lost.
While the ring possesses the power to cast any magic-user/wizard/arcane spell of levels 1-6, this power is totally uncontrollable. Whenever the wearer is in mortal danger or otherwise is in great need, there is a 5% chance per level of the wearer (max 95%) that a random spell of level 1-6 is cast on the most appropriate target within range. Spells may be reversed. All spells are cast at the 15th level of ability.
This ability is not free, the ring is powered by the souls of those who have died within 30' of it. Every time a sentient creature dies within that range, it's soul is sucked into the ring, where it's life force can provide power for one spell level. Thus, for every six people who die within the ring's range, the ring has power for one 6th level spell, two 3rd level spells, or any other combination of six spell levels. There ring can maximally contain 30 souls or spell levels. It currently has power for 19 spell levels.