No known person by the name “Vos” exists; rather, this is the best guess at a corroded and worn inscription atop the body of this cowbell. Likely made in the mid 20th century, it would be otherwise unremarkable among items in the Hoard but for its most curious property.

When struck, the bell will attract cattle from up to two miles away. The bovines will come peacefully, but if anyone or anything impedes their movement they will become violent. Smashing fences, kicking open barn doors, and even tramplings and stampedes have been known to occur.

Upon reaching their destination, the cows loiter about–as if waiting for something–for one hour. After that, they gradually wander off, with most returning to wherever they came from. An analysis of scratches on the surface of the Bell of Vos reveals marks from two different kinds of strikers, while only one striker–a metal rod of the same age and construction–survives. Striking it with another material might produce a different effect, but given the dire outcome of experiments so far, further research is unlikely.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

The two small ornate daggers are in stiletto or “rib-slipper” form, each with a crossguard made of baroque finials and a handle that resembles an armed knight in a sentinel position. Both weapons are identical, though Dagger B has has its blade bent slightly over the years. Neither come with a sheath, though there are pictures of sheathes that have been custom-fabricated for them.

“P’theyj” isn’t inscribed anywhere on the daggers–indeed, they have no known markings at all, which has complicated any estimate of their age. Rather, they were given that name by a prior owner, Giuseppe d’Angelo, a silversmith in Venetia who bought the daggers as part of a scrap consignment from the Ubrezzi estate.

In letters to his colleagues and family, d’Angelo wrote a fanciful version of the daggers’ history, including possession by Charlemagne and other factors that are unlikely given the design and patina of the weapons. He further added that they had been forged for one “P’theyj” who would yet claim them, insisting that the name belonged to a future owner that had not been born yet and was of a species not yet evolved. His will insisted that “P’theyj” be given rights to the daggers, but they were instead sold at auction, passing hence into the Hoard,

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

There’s very little remarkable about this object in the Hoard: it’s a standard consumer-grade pocketknife from Coltelleria Rovereto. There are hints of the traditional Trentino Alto Atesino in its design, but it is otherwise a bog-standard utility knife of the sort that might have cost a few hundred lira in a corner shop after the war.

All except for its scale, of course.

The pocketknife is about 12 inches long when folded, and 24 inches fully extended–a short sword, were it possible to get a grip on it. Every component on the knife is the same as numerous other extant examples, but at a scale of exactly 5.75x. It might be dismissed as a larger blade made for promotional or advertising purposes, but Coltelleria Rovereto has never made larger knifes for that purpose. In fact, the knife’s serial number matches one manufactured in January 1960 according to company records–an ordinary blade, one of over 10,000 made that year.

And the scale is exact: 5.75x. Every part, every marking, everything–including tool marks from the original manufacture, which seem to indicate construction on 5.75x scale tools.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

The Brinson Hoard is named after its discoverer rather than its collector, and though several other, similar finds have since been thrown in with the same name, it originally referred to a singular collection of items uncovered in the early 21st century.

While the collector’s name has not been published due to privacy concerns, it’s believed that they must have somehow had an innate connection with unexplained, paranormal, and Fortean phenomena, as every item in the hoard turned out to have some kind of strange properties. This conglomeration, the largest found in private hands up to that point, was found in an attic after the owner disappeared mysteriously.

Subsequent experimentation, both onsite and in the lab, is still ongoing. The lead researcher has described the attic as a “King Tut’s Tomb of the Paranormal,” and removal and cataloguing of the various items is expected to continue for years.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

Let us sing now of adventurers
Forthright and bold in verse
As a second great journey they start!

We head now to the dwarven king’s halls
Mines deep and spoils rich in those walls
As our heroes with empty purses enter!

Gem and coin they did need
Afore the planting of seed
But the mines they were full up with monsters!

O’er a lake they would slosh
To reach mountains of dosh
But a cthulhu lurked deep down within it!

Our heroes soon realized
As they fought for their lives
That the monsters were eating the treasure!

The longer they did wait
And their fury abate
The less spoils there were for the banker!

To make bad matters worse
The dwarf mines were cursed
With severe tectonic instability!

As the monsters did feast
Leaving heroes with least
The dwarf-cave did threaten a cave-in!

As all hope was lost
And regardless of cost
The heroes’ mage stepped forward with grim purpose!

He gave up his life
In an orgy of strife
That his friends could escape from the maelstrom!

As they fled the great blast
They seized jewels at the last
And erupted from the mines with a pittance!

Their good friend had now gone
With brain over brawn
And left them just enough richer!

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

The king’s life it did wane
Our nation’s heart cut in twain
When three heroes did venture to cure him!

There was a cure they did say
With a witch it did lay
And they struck through the mists to find it!

Their search took them three days
Across the most dangerous of ways
‘Til from mists the witch rose before them!

The crone she did speak
Of an herb they might seek
In a tower that by monsters was guarded!

As our heroes set out
With fey monsters to rout
An unearthly scream they witnessed!

The great tower had sprung forth
In the forests to the north
And monsters issued forth to fight them!

Our heroes did fight
For far more than their lives
To keep king and castle preserved!

After battles most grim
They had forced their way in
And the tower yielded up its treasure!

An herb they did take
And a potion did make
The king’s life was saved by imbibing!

With the mist-ery solved
And the king’s sins absolved
A tower-ing achievement it was!

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

This is from the recollections of Le Aauin, explorer of the dreamscape, as transcribed by Ad Dakhla beneath the gaze of perfect, immortal Vloles set upon the Dreaming Moon.

Most fortune seekers head south from the Black City of Korton, seeking the Silver Sea, and thence the Dead River and the hoped-for path to the Dreaming Moon. I eventually turned my sights south, as well, but there is far more to the dreamlands than that. Another theory holds that the true answer to the nature of the dreamlands, of Vloles, and of life eternal, lies northwards.

I won’t go into the journey that lies ahead for those who are willing to set off from Korton and cross the plains of Laïs beneath the deadly light of Køs the Cruel Star. But at its end lies the city of Insbara, which exists almost entirely to support those who enter its labyrinth. Ask anyone in the city about it, and they will tell you–while trying to sell you food, shelter, and supplies–that the center of the labyrinth contains the word of Vloles, carved in a steady hand.

Who needs to reach the Dreaming Moon to uncover the truth, when it has been written down so carefully for them?

The labyrinth is dark, featureless, onyx. I explored only its uppermost chambers out of curiosity, and soon found it to be a profoundly deadening place. Cut off from light, from all but the loudest noise, and the little details which attend life on the surface, and you slowly find yourself going mad. The non-euclidean contours of the place are the shadows of madness. Nothing, from singing songs to making maps, lessens this feeling of alienation. When it became too much, I left.

The citizens of Insbara received me graciously, and informed me that I had been gone a week.

The labyrinth is a fate worse than death: the further you go, the slower time moves for you. There are explorers down there, still eating the food they bought from dead men centuries ago, still winding their way to the center of that cursed place. Seven lifetimes or more of that misery that I felt for just a few short hours–or weeks–is not something I would wish on the most evil being in all creation. Perhaps perfect, immortal, inscrutable Vloles finds it amusing–the answers are there, writ in crystal eternal, but forever out of reach

I asked an Insbaran what they thought awaited at the center of the labyrinth. “A circle of men,” they said, “hundreds if not thousands strong, frozen in time like fish in a winter river, damned not only to never reach their prize, but never to even see it, for they will be blocked by the bodies of others who have failed before them.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!