Saturday, November 6, 2010


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saleema's Puzzle Box

Saleema is entrapped, body and soul, within a magical Puzzle Box created long ago by a powerful arch-mage. While inside the box, she is in a state of unconscious oblivion, not dreaming, and completely unaware of the passage of time or of any events transpiring around her tiny prison.

The Box itself can be opened only by solving an extremely difficult and arcane puzzle. Though, as fate might have it, a person might blindly stumble open the correct solution when first attempting the puzzle. However, should the puzzle box be randomly manipulated by a person, and yet not open, the secret of opening the box will forever elude that particular individual. When a person has mastered the puzzle and opened the box, they will have learned the secret of the Puzzle and thereafter will almost always be successful in solving it, provided they are in a distraction free environment. They cannot teach the puzzle’s solution to anyone else, for the Puzzle is unique for each individual. Even if the Box has passed out of a person’s possession, when it returns to the same person, the puzzle is the same as when that individual first touched the Box.

When Saleema is summoned from the Puzzle Box, she appears dressed in exquisite attire appropriate to a bride from her ancient culture. Saleema herself is a very beautiful young woman. Her skin is fair, yet with a distinct olive undertone. Her hair is a rich burgundy in candlelight and in the sunlight is lit with strands of crimson. Her eyes are a deep and brilliant blue.

Each time the Box is opened she appears in the same gown and veil. Her overdress is made of fine white silk that shimmers in the light. Her bodice and trim is of the softest velvet in ranging through many shades of blue. Gown, slippers, and long veil are all embroidered with silver thread and bejeweled with crystal beads and gem stones sewn in intricate mosaics. A small teardrop sapphire dangles from each of the scallops running the perimeter of her veil. Her wardrobe is actually part of the enchantment of the Puzzle Box and always appears, in pristine condition, with her. If any part of it, even the smallest bead, is removed from her, that piece immediately returns to the ‘inside’ of the Box. Saleema, by touching the Box, can call out any article of her clothing that has returned to the Box.

The enchantment of the prison causes Saleema, while not under the full effect of a Charm, to be well-disposed toward, and look favorably upon, whomever has opened the Box. Neither can she attack or harm the Opener.

Any skin to skin contact from any other sentient creature above animal intelligent, save the Opener of the Puzzle Box, banishes Saleema back to the confines of the Box.

The one who has opened the Puzzle Box can cause Saleema to return to ‘inside’ the Box at will. However, once released from the Box, Saleema cannot will herself back into the Box. She can, however, harm herself, and a sufficient amount of damage to her person would mandate her return.

Saleema cannot move outside a certain radius from her Puzzle Box. Neither can she pick up her Puzzle Box, or in any way cause it to move. Should other circumstances, magical or physical, try to force her beyond that distance, Saleema dissipates and is once again contained inside the Puzzle Box. She can be teleported while in bodily form, but only if she is in direct physical contact with the Opener, and only if the Puzzle Box is on the Opener’s person. Otherwise, she is pulled back into the Box.

Any other living creature, save the Opener, attempting to touch, pick up, or move the Puzzle Box causes Saleema to be drawn back into the Box.

Saleema may wear and use any items, clothing, or equipment that she might have in any other circumstance. Once free from the Box, she may change into other clothing, if available. She may pick up, carry, and use any other items at hand. However, when Saleema is returned to her Box for any reason, any clothing or items she was wearing or carrying drop to the ground where she had been standing.

Salemma may learn and advance in her skills and abilities, be they magical or otherwise. Additionally, the long period of original entrapment between when the Puzzle Box was first created and when it was next opened has augmented her natural magical abilities. Saleema finds herself now able to wield much more potent magics than she ever would have dreamed before her imprisonment.

As her own innate magical abilities are now tied to the Puzzle Box, after expending herself magically, she must return to the confines of her Box for a a 'rest cycle' to regain those arcane energies.

Saleema, whether in or out of the Puzzle Box, heals more rapidly than normal. Additionally, since her life force is tied to the Box, she cannot be killed, but in the event of her “death”, disappears back into the Box, much as a lich’s life force is tied to its phylactery. Saleema cannot be summoned out of the Puzzle Box again until time has returned her to full Health. She can be temporarily drained of her strenght and life energies, by spells or supernatural creatures. But the imprisonment of the box is already a form of ‘undeath’...and Saleema cannot be turned into another form of undead creature.

Saleema is provided with significant magical protection when outside of her box. She is more resistant to magics. She is also somewhat shielded from physical attacks.

Saleema does not need food or drink, nor suffers any discomfort for their lack. While in bodily form, she can eat or drink normally should she so desire.

The Puzzle Box itself is not vulnerable to most forms of damage or attacks. It, as a rare magical artifact can only be destroyed by following a specific formula, which is unknown to Saleema. Such destruction would slay Saleema.

Despite the strong enchantments of the Puzzle Box, the Box itself shows only the weakest of magical dweamors.


Long, long ago the Du’ad Misbaah was an upright ruler in a land heavy in magic. He had but one child, his daughter, who was very precious to him. The child grew wanting for nothing under the loving, patient, and firm guidance of her father. Saleema blossomed safely in the shelter of her father’s estates. And had an inherited magical ability not surfaced in her fifteenth year, it is possible her adult life would have been as tranquil and happy as her childhood. Not that the emergence of the magic itself caused turmoil, but it set into process a series of events that dramatically changed not only Saleema’s destiny, but that of her father and even the lands themselves.

For her own safety, and for the safety of those around her, it was necessary that Saleema learn to manage and control her magic. While heretofore all of Saleema’s studies had been conducted by private tutors who traveled to her father’s estates, to master magic, it was now Saleema who needed to travel. Arrangements were made for her accommodations at a boarding school for the arcane arts that was not too distant from her father’s lands. And still, all might have been well, for the school was a good one and Saleema was content there. Yet, one of the trustees of the school, a powerful arch-mage, encountered Saleema on one of his annual tours of the school. Saleema was seventeen at the time, and had become a beautiful young woman indeed. The arch-mage took an immediate fancy to her and found numerous reasons to visit the school over the next two years.

When Saleema, at the age of nineteen, returned to her father’s estates, the arch-mage began a formal courtship of the young woman. In addition to frequent social visits and extravagant gifts, he began to politically pressuring Du’ad for Saleema’s hand in marriage. Although Saleema held no affections for the arch-mage, she could sense the difficulty refusing him was causing for her father. She might have consented to the match for her father’s sake save for one other detail. This other detail was a captain in her father’s guard had been in charge of the escort accompanying Saleema to and from her school for holidays and other visits home. While Saleema found the arch-mage cold, arrogant, and unnerving, her captain was kind, humorous, and personable. While no overt romantic declarations had passed between the two, Saleema suspected, or at least imagined, that the captain returned her affections.

At last, Saleema could take the pressure of the arch-mage, the difficulties of her father, and the uncertainty of this secret attraction no more. She resolved to determine whether the captain did indeed have feelings for her. If he did not, Saleema decided she would agree to a marriage with the arch-mage. If he did, Saleema would make her true feelings known to her father and seek his counsel on the matter. To this end, she had a servant carry a note to the captain, in which she hinted at her feelings and asked if there was any way the two could meet for a private discussion.

What happened next might be attributed to a lack of judgement on the captain’s part. However, the small indiscretion on the captain’s part would have ended innocently enough if the arch-mage had not been making a habit of unscrupulously scrying on Saleema. What the arch-mage witnessed, therefore, was a dashingly handsome man climbing the trellis of a moonlit courtyard garden to gain access to a balcony that led into Saleema’s private chambers. That it was only a conversation that transpired between the two was irrelevant in the eyes of the arch-mage. Insanely jealous, as well as ruthlessly cunning, the arch-mage began devising a terrible method of ensuring Saleema became his, and remained only his forever.

Millennia ago, the Princess Safira was similarly pursued by the king’s most trusted arch-mage. Building on the tattered remains of that ancient research, Saleema’s powerful stalker began constructing a diabolical entrapment. Obsessed beyond all reason, he payed a terrible price to enable his success, yet the item was completed. Teleporting into Du’ad’s estate to kidnap Saleema and return with her to his stronghold was the easiest portion of the plan. Du’ad spared nothing in discovering his daughter’s location and amassing forces from his both his own lands as well as from his allies to recover her. But before the army could be fully mustered, it was already too late. Unknown to her father, Saleema’s fate had been sealed.

The battle between Du’ad and the arch-mage devastated the lands and that section of civilization beyond a quick recovery. Du’ad himself perished and the arch-mage was destroyed and presumed dead. In the chaos of war, and in the ruins of the arch-mage’s stronghold, a small puzzle box was lost, not to be recovered for generations to come. No one knew what became of the young woman who’s capture started such a wide-spread conflict. No one would have guessed to search among the rubble for an insignificant item such as a puzzle box to find her.