The more I study about the Gypsies, the more fascinated I become.
Direct brothers to the Iskari, they separated form the main body of the people in a desire to remain on Elama and not walk in the sky with those who retreated to Iskari-Kalam (one of the twin moons).
Instead, this band of people, wise both in lore and magic, established a home deep underground, away from the prying eyes and hateful hands of the world. Deep in the caverns beneath, shut off from the sweet spring air and the soft touch of a dawning sun, they have prospered.
What was once deemed a cursed slum, the ‘Black Market’ is now known as the greatest marketplace for rare goods in the world.
The only way into this wondrous place is by using a rare amulet, commonly called a ‘port key’.
Limited in number, those who possess one of these rare treasures can, at will, speak a simple phrase and instantly find themselves standing within the Black Market Port.
As much as I have scoured the Great Library for information on these devices, I’ve yet to discover their origin, other than being created specifically for the Gypsies. Whether the keys were crafted by the Gypsies themselves is a mystery. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of such port keys being made elsewhere. At least not in the books I have found.
The following description was discovered in Brilliance & Beauty vol.2 by the magical historian, Ró?a Piedad:
“It has been a rare pleasure to behold such finely woven and curious workmanship as the increasingly coveted Port Key of the Black Market. This small token of admittance allows a common person, lacking all magical knowledge, to transport themselves and goods, up to 72 stone in weight, from any location to the dark confines of the Black Market Port. To possess such a key is an invitation to behold even greater magics, potions, exotic creatures thought extinct and books of knowledge forbidden by law.”
“The diameter of a port key is precisely 6mm—containing a single hole at its center no greater than 1mm in circumference. The thickness of an amulet is 0.5mm at the outer edge, a gentle arc forming at one point along its rim, displaying a hole of its own. This is so the wearer may attach string, a leather strip, chain or any desired attachment to keep it connected to ones person. Along the face of the flat coin are magic symbols, which when spoken to, shimmer and excrete a blue ball of light.
“Though the user apparently does not see the next stages of the spell, my own assistant recorded, ‘…and my master stared at the small blue light, smiling, only to be swallowed up and vanishing to the unknown’.
“These keys, I must add, are limited and highly coveted. Already I have been approached by both the rich and unsavory, who discovered I possessed such a key, making offers and threats.
“My advice to all who have become as privileged as myself?
“Ownership of a port key is a most dangerous secret. Be wary at all times! There are both men and women who will go to incredible (and violent) lengths to obtain what you have within your possession…for the Black Market is a haven for the condemned who have nothing left to lose but their lives.
“The substance of a key can be of any metal, with the exception of copper. We have found that copper reacts badly to the inscriptions fitted to its purpose. Though many have attempted to remedy this fact, I am informed that those who have tried lost limb and life. The Gypsies have concluded that copper will not conduct magic in a transference spell without pushing back.
“…the final effect is usually of the explosive kind and best left alone.
“It has also been discovered that the limitations of a port key expand or contract according to the metal in which you possess. Whereas lead provides the least benefits to its user, platinum produced results far beyond our expectations, to the weight of 500 stone.
“Gold performed even beyond this, dominating all other metals. Sadly, this most beautiful metal also showed considerable challenges…
“First and foremost the metal must be pure or the magic will not work. Many variations have been created, but only upon using the purest ore did the key allow for magical transference. Secondly, due to the soft nature of gold, scratches dents can render the magical device unstable and unusable. Thus it is understandable why so few of these amulets have been created using gold as the primary metal.
“The greatest limitation in my opinion, is not in the metals, but in the construction of the transportation spell itself.
“Each port key holds only two charges of magic. No more, no less. One charge brings the user to the marketplace, while the other sends the same back to the exact location where the first spell was cast. Why this is so, I cannot discover…and Iyl-Tandril will not reveal it to me, no matter how I persist.
“What I can record is that for a key to be ‘recharged’, one must relinquish it. Upon admittance to the Black Market, one must place the key within a box. This box, covered in symbols, is guarded until your departure. I do not know where it is kept or what is done to the key—but upon departure the box is produced and the traveler may reach in and remove a fully recharged amulet.
“My natural assumption is that the box may contain the second set of enchantments which interact with the key, allowing for its magic to be replenished. This is only a guess.
“No Gypsy can or will reveal the truth of the matter to me and I was…encouraged…to cease asking.”
I have searched diligently for more information on this subject, but have come up empty thus far.
– The Narrator
“These books are better than chocolate in our Saturday morning pancakes. Just don’t tell mom.” – Devin, Age 11
“I like these books a lot. Even more than my sisters. But that’s not very hard to do.” – Caleb, age 10
“I really like Dax, cause he reminds me of Uncle Carter. He eats weird food and smells too.” – Johanna, age 13
Come on, you know you have something to say!