Ring of Xian
HistoryLittle has been written about this ancient artifact beyond tangential references in a few scrolls held in monasteries and private collections in the Far East. The meaning of its name is somewhat unclear. Most written sources reference the ring with the Chinese character (僩) identifying it as the Ring of the “Courageous” or “Valiant”, but some use different characters with meanings such as “Worthy”, “Immortal” or “god of Light”, implying that the authors may have been speculating at the meaning of earlier oral sources. The spoken word “Xian”, depending upon tonality, can have myriad other meanings, including “millipede”, “salty”, “barefoot”, or “mosses on damp walls”.
The ring’s double gold band is unremarkable, but mounts a dark green, glassy, irregularly cut translucent stone of approximately 25 carat weight, engraved with four barely discernible glyphs. The stone is said to be a piece of the “Cintamani stone” a sacred relic said to have fallen to Earth in the reign of Tibetan king Lha Thothori Nyantsen, and considered a “Treasure of the Earth” in Tibetan Buddhism and related traditions. Some later scholars have associated it with the Holy Grail, and others with Islam’s Kaaba stone in Mecca. Legend has it that a piece was split from the main stone and made into a ring by King Solomon (though this would appear to require that the stone’s arrival long predated the historical Lha Thothori Nyantsen). Later legendary owners of the ring include Genghis Khan and Mogul emperor Akbar the Great.
Whatever its previous owners, the ring is known to have been acquired some time during World War I by the “Bloody Baron” Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, who used it to command his division and “rescue” the Bogd Khan from Chinese captivity in an attempt to reconstitute the Asiatic empire of the Khans. In mid-1921, the ring was stolen by one of Ungern-Sternberg’s deserting junior officers, one Vladimir Roerich, who later passed it to his older brother, artist and mystic Nicholas Roerich.
Nicholas is believed to have taken the ring either to Shambhala itself or to proxies at the Tashilumpo monastery in Tibet. For this he was rewarded with a “less dangerous” Cintamani fragment that he later presented to the League of Nations as a sort of charm to help guide it on its mission. This piece was returned to Roerich after the League’s formal dissolution in 1946 and Roerich apparently returned it to Tashilumpo shortly before his own death in India the following year.
Roerich believed the ring’s glyphs to be Sanskrit, translating them as "Through the Stars I come. I bring the chalice covered with the shield. Within it I bring a treasure, the gift of Orion." He described the stone as similar to Moldavite. Some scholars find this to be of particular interest in light of the discovery of psionium microtektites in samples obtained by Leonid Kulik during his investigation of the Tunguska event, and speculate as to whether the Cintamani Stone was of a similar origin and nature.
The Ring of Xian is said to confer various powers on its wearer, including:
Mind Control -- The Ring acts as a focus of conscious psychic energy, enabling the wearer to dominate the will of others in close proximity (approximately 15'). A successfully dominated subject will cease most discretionary action, awaiting direction from the wearer of the Ring. Said direction is contingent on effective communication between the wearer and the subject, typically spoken or written (in a common language), gestural, or telepathic. Directions to take action strongly contrary to the subject's self-preservation or ethical values may tend to disrupt the wearer's psychic influence.
Psychic Disguise -- The wearer of the Ring may alter his appearance, as perceived by sentient observers within a substantial [Ix2"] range, at will. Said disguises must conform to the general dimensions and profile of the wearer.
Force Shield -- The Ring can manifest a shield of mystical force, approximately five feet across and centered on the ring itself, resistant to most material and kinetic energy attacks. The wearer may vary the transparency of the shield up to complete opacity at will.
Regeneration -- The wearer of the Ring heals physical damage at a greatly accelerated rate, though thermal or chemical burn damage does not appear to benefit from this effect.
Gravity Control (self) -- The wearer of the Ring can alter the effects of gravity on himself, adjusting them positively or negatively up to tenfold. This force naturally manifests in parallel with the gravity well occupied by the wearer, and does not appear to be able to increase or counteract other accelerative forces.
Other abilities are rumored, but have not been reliably documented. While the Ring is not believed to be sentient itself, its powers have sometimes been said to operate capriciously, possibly guided by higher (or lower, or simply other) powers.