5 hours ago
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Where's Your Head?
Jarus Shanck, adventurer and assassin, who gave his name to the City barony of Shancks, is the only recorded bearer of the artifact. What we know of its operation comes from accounts by Shanck’s associates. When Shanck was secured in the device, it began to emit a low hum. The sound lasted a few minutes. During this time, the flesh and hair on Shanck’s skull seemed to sublimate as a cloud of roiling mist formed around his head. Soon, only his skull was left, seemingly floating in the mist. Given that Shanck had never been considered a handsome man (He was extensively scarred, it was said, from too many narrow victories as a boy fighting giant rats in the gaming pits), this wasn’t an especially great loss. Interestingly though, the flesh of his skull was not actually gone. Close observation suggested it had merely been transformed--become hazy and indistinct--and mostly hidden by the mists it seemed to diffuse into.
Jarus Shanck always explained that his head had gone "elsewhere." Whatever that meant, the device seemed to grant the powers of True Seeing, Arcane Sight, and at least at sometimes, Precognition. Some claim it was futuresight that led Shanck to kill the sea creature, Thraug--but no one knows for certain. Shanck also ceased to need sleep, though his body still needed rest through inactivity. Attacks against his head would pass harmlessly through the mist and suffocation or drowning had no effect. It has been theorized that attacks that could effect the astral could have harmed his head, but this remains unproven.
Besides the obvious cosmetic effects, the harness had other disadvantages. The longer Shanck’s head spent wherever it went, the more he became distracted from things on the material plane. Increasingly concerned about this problem, Shanck finally sought to have the harness removed--and discovered another downside.
After Shanck’s death, the harness is said to have unlatched on its own. None of his lieutenants claimed it, and it disappeared from history. If the rumors about Shanck’s hidden treasure trove behind the cliffs along the Eldritch are true, it maybe that that is where the harness can be found--awaiting another head.