Honor (the bell)
Lord Waters, the high knight and ruler of Inga commissioned seven great bells to be made, one for each great virtue. Each bell was made by a great metal-worker and each bell was paid hansomely for and put atop a great tower. The last bell, the largest, was named Honor, and it is the singular pride of Inga today. But few know the sad history of Honor.
for my own reference...
MAKE italics come quicker and quicker together as you go on to simulate rage, or rushing....
MAKE THE DEMON COME TO HIM APPEARING AS HIS FATHER. SAY THAT HE WILL DISHONOR HIS DAD AND FAMILY IF HE FAILS. EVEN HIS KIDS WILL LIVE IN SHAME AND WITH NO FATHER. THE SON WOULD PREFER TO BE USED IN THE BELL.
Honor thy father.
Vladost could still hear his mother's voice admonishing him as a child. When he skipped field work to play with his friends, or when he did poorly on a test. His glassy eyes half watched the heating vat, but mostly focused on the past.
Honor thy country
His first commander when he joined the knighthood ordered the morning of Vladost's first battle. He rode valiantly into combat, but he was injured that day. His commander doubted his injury, thought he had faked it to get out of duty.
Honor thy family
The judge had ruled for him when tried for cowardice. But not entirely. He was innocent of charges, but was told that to not ride back into battle despite his obvious limp and permanently broken leg would be a disgrace.
Honor thy king
Tears moistened Vladost's eyes, tears from the steam and the fumes of the molten bronze, and tears from the pressure of his job. And partly because of what he would do.
He had worked ever since the end of his military career in bell-making. He had been so honored when he learned that Lord Waters commanded him (him!) to forge the Bell of Virute, the king of the Bells of Virtue.
Honor thy profession
remembered the great feeling of pride he felt upon learning that he had been chosen by Lord Waters to form the largest and most important of the Bells of Virtue. He thought upon this as he walked to the mold. The third mold he had made.
Honor thy father
The third mold. He had failed twice.
Honor thy lord
The bell was to be large, so large. Both times it had cracked when it cooled because of the changing size of the cooling bronze. He was failing his lord.
Honor thy country
The King was scheduled to visit the Bells of Virtue in just four weeks. That was just enough time for one more try. Once he poured the molten bronze into the iron casting it would have to sit in the warm ground and cool slowly for three weeks before he could find out if it had broken or not.
Honor thy duty
Vladost knew the honor and fame he stood to gain when he accepted the commision. But he had not thought about what he stood to lose. His life was forfeit if he embarrassed his lord so.
Honor thy self
The voice hissed inside his mind like the boiling metal, rang inside his head like he bell he was to create.
Honor they self
After his second failure he had drank himself into a stupor. The task was hopeless - no one had ever made a bell so large, and with such precision before.
Honor thy name
He wasn't doing this for his fame, after all. He was doing it for his family, for his children. For his country, after all. That's why he listened when he knew he shouldn't have.
Honor thy anger
It bit at him like the arsenic fumes from the raw ores, boiling out of the hot bronze. The voice again.
Honor my desire!
It screamed at him, and he screamed back. But neither scream could drown out to him the screams of his son, his son, whom he had pushed into the vat.
Honor thy father
The voice said. It goes for your son as well. You sacrifice for him, it's only fair that he do so for you.
Honor thy children
The demon had come to him in that stupor, and told him how to make the bell. He had to call his only son to help him with the casting. And he had to push that only son in to the molten bronze, let him dissolve away into the mater liquor, and only then was he to pour the molten bronze into the casting.
Honor thy promise
The demon had screamed at him, when he thought to go back.
It's cries taunted him, drove him insane, and drove him to do it.
Honor thy country
Now, Vladost pulled the lever. He sat, numb with glassy eyes as the steam rolled out of the vat and the molten metal flowed into the iron mold.
He didn't need to watch the flow, to tend to slag. He knew the bell would be perfect this time. And he wished it were not so.
Vladost kicked the chair out from underneath himself, and glassy teary eyes became glassier and tearier, as he hung in midair, swinging gently like a bell, and finally stopping.
Full Item Description
The bell of honor, or merely 'Honor' as it is called is a tremendous bell of incredible craftmenship. It is nearly fifteen feet tall, and made of pure bronze. Despite its age, Honor does not show any signs of wear, either from use or weather. It hangs in a large bell tower in the center of the town, surrounded by six other towers, each with a different bell of virtue.
It is rumored that if one listens very closely one can hear the voice of a young boy calling 'Father!' underneath the perfcetly tuned rings of the bell. Only commoners believe this, however, as anyone worth his or her salt knows that that would be a silly thing for Honor to say. But you know how ignorant townspeople are, and how they love to have their local legends.
In reality the bell is cursed. A powerful evil being (demon/wizard/god) that had been sent away from the planet or plane had been trying to get a foothold. In their random sturggles, they came across Vladost in his drunken state. Realizing this was the perfect man to exploit, and loving the irony of twisting and cursing the bell, Honor, the evil-doer jumped at the opportunity. By following the demon's influence, Vladost gave the demon a greater doorway into his world.
The city is dying. It's not always the same thing, but they seem to have no luck. Famine one year, great fires another and then a plague. Nobody knows what is wrong, but were any 'heroes' to stop by the town they would hear about the curse from the commoners. The commoners think it's the bell, because of the haunting voices. The nobles will admit there seems to be a curse, but adamantly deny that it could be the bell. Some players will hear the voice, but most will not, so it is not clear who is wrong or being deceived.
Many plots could come out of this:
1. Maybe the bell must be remelted in the prescense of a preist who can either resurrect the son or bless his death.
2. Maybe the father must be resurrected to do something? (finish more later)
3. maybe (give more ideas)
I tried to make this item generic, the city, the people, etc. are all irrelevant and can be switched out. Same with the specific virtues of the number of virtues. It could happen in a city with a knighthood, or an asian samurai culture, or anywhere really that people care about honor and reputation.
This story comes from a short Korean parable my Tae Kwon Do instructor told me when I was about 6. The original story was no more than 50 words long, but obviously left an impression.
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