Thursday, 3 May 2018

Ryl Skipton's Kissing Ring

Ryl's Kissing Ring Object Post 4

When Ryl Skipton, half courtfolk, half pixie, and wholly persuasive, is about to turn sixteen, she asks Tom, whose willpower has been sorely tested already, for a birthday present to remember.

“I want a kissing ring.”
She got out of his lap in one of her sudden graceful motions, reached down and tugged his hands until he got to his feet.
“You still get up like a human,” she observed.
“I am human. You still get up like a pixie.”
“I’m half pixie.”
“And half court. And still fifteen.”
“Not for long.” She let go of his hands and hugged herself. “Sixteen soon.”
“And what difference does that make, Ryl Skipton?”
“Sixteen.” She looked up at him with a dazzling expression.
He put his arms around her.
“What difference does sixteen make?” he asked in her ear.
“When I’m sixteen I can get a kissing ring from the person I want.”
“And that means—what?”
He felt her shake with laughter. “Don’t you know?”
“How could I know? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“I suppose you haven’t. I don’t think humans have them.”
He ran through the rings he knew about. Friendship rings. Engagement rings. Wedding rings. Promise rings. Eternity rings. Dress rings. Signet rings.
“Is it like a friendship ring?” he asked.
“No, because we’re not friends.”
“Aren’t we?”
“Not only friends,” she amended.
“What are we then?”
“We’re kissing-friends-in waiting.”

Tom agrees, since he'll do (almost) anything for Ryl, and she takes him to the Pisky village of Treborrow where  Merryn Pendennis makes custom jewellery for the fay and for a few lucky humans. Since Merryn works intuitively, the design of the ring comes from Tom's subconscious. Tom has never even considered designing jewellery by proxy before, but he makes a manful effort. The result looks like this.

It was silver, quite broad but delicate, with cut-outs that made a wreath of tiny flowers. Winding around them was a ribbon that was also somehow a rainbow, and in the centre, were two interlocking hearts.
It was exquisite.
“Did you make that just now?”
Merryn shrugged, smiling. “I expect so. I was listening to you, but that quite often happens. I’m listening to folk tell me what they need their pieces to say, and when they’ve finished, so have I.”
“It’s... I don’t know the right words for jewellery, but this is right. What happens now?”

As Tom discovers, the bestowal of a kissing ring is a strong charm in itself. To Ryl it means a promise; a placeholder for the betrothal ring she can't have by fay terms until she is of age. By the time that happens, she will have made a decision. 

Since the fay over there don't use money, Tom is a bit nonplussed about how to pay Merryn for the ring. The barter system doesn't work for him as he has no useful (in fay terms) skills or goods to offer. Merryn comes up with a way that Tom is happy to agree with, and which he does in fact do several years later.

Kissing rings can be worn by men or women. They are always silver, because that's the medium pisky jewellers use. They may be set with stones, but they're just as likely to have cutouts or incised patterns like Ryl's. Once made, the gifter (in this case, Tom) is meant to charm the ring with hopes and plans. He or she then wears the ring for a time, and when the time is right, it is transferred directly from the gifter's finger to the new owner who will wear it for the length of the kissing ring commitment. If for any reason the commitment is broken, the ring must be destroyed immediately. Sometimes a kissing ring may be replaced in due course by a betrothal, engagement or wedding ring, but the wearer will almost certainly continue to wear it on another finger or on a chain. Sometimes the ring is "topped up" or re-charmed so it becomes a betrothal or wedding ring.   


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. She runs  Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)
The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 2017 is now behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of February 18th 2018 I STILL haven't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books to come, and I'll certainly showcase those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, just for a change. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far! Since April 22nd I'm adding in places!

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