February 27, 2021

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GM Inspirations: Liktena Coins – All that is gold does not glitter

Hayll the Conqueror

“Hayll, they are coming! They’ve almost breached the wall. There is nothing more we can do. We’re going to die here, aren’t we?”

The charismatic Hayll did not meet the eyes of the messenger boy. Instead, he grinned at his sweaty hands, palms clutching at the hidden gold coin. “No. This is not how it ends.”

The young boy did seem convinced. “But the walls? They–”

Hayll slammed his fists on the table, “–No one can defy destiny!”

“Wh– What should we do?”

“We wait. Even in doing nothing, we will not fail. I’ve seen the future, and I’m not dying here.”

“I, Uhm,” the messenger boy took a step back towards the exit.

“There is so much that I have seen that is still to come… Did you know I slaughtered my wives and children? I saw them for what they truly were. An obstacle to my greatness.”

The boy gasped. “I’ve heard the rumors. I never thought them true?”

Hayll squeezed the coin in his palms, whispering, “Oh, it’s true. All of it and more.”

“W–Why?”

“Why?” He mocked the boy’s whiny tone of voice. “Because they were in the way, shackles keeping me from my destiny.” Hayll’s fingernails dug deeper into the flesh of his palms, “I will achieve great things, and only then will I start a new family. Sire new children,” He continued while staring at the boy, his eyes dripping with malice. “I’ve met them in my dreams, you know.”

Suddenly, The fear that had been creeping from the boy’s stomach tugged at his heart. Had he been following a madman all this time? He had to get away, but the sound of battle clamor was closing in.

The boy turned around and ran for the exit, but a large barbaric man covered in blood-spatter stepped into the doorway, blocking it. There was nowhere to go.

“P–Please! Don’t hurt me!” The boy fell to his knees and crawled to hide behind Hayll as the man stepped forward.

“Are you the ‘great’ Hayll, so called ‘conquerer’ of our lands?”

Hayll smiled at the man, “I am, and who are you?”

“It doesn’t matter. You won’t live long enough to speak my name.”

Hayll laughed at the threat. “You can’t kill me! There is nothing you can do to stop–”

The man released a guttural scream from his throat as he pounced across the room onto Hayll, viciously and repeatedly stabbing at Hayll’s chest with a blunt iron dagger.

“You burnt our villages! Pissed on our harvest and took our women!”

Hayll’s deranged smirk changed to surprise and then horror as the dagger repeatedly punctured his lungs and heart. He looked up at the man with pleading eyes, “H–How? How is this possible?”

The man stood up and spat in Hayll’s face before turning to leave. The boy saw the gold coin fall from Hayll’s now limp hand to the floor, rolling away into the shadows as it disintegrated into nothing.

The Curse

The existence of Liktena (destiny) coins are a well-kept secret amongst the Veštiqua that they seldomly share with outsiders. These magical coins are exceedingly rare, and because of the ramifications these coins have on society, they are never created on a whim.

The Veštiqua are free-spirited traveling vagabonds and tricksters. When someone has seriously wronged them, they sometimes create a Liktena coin to curse that person.

It can take a while, sometimes days, sometimes years, but eventually, the offending person will have the seemingly good fortune of finding a lost gold piece.

They might find the gold piece next to the road while traveling, or while gardening, they might discover it tangled in the roots of a freshly uprooted shrub. They might even find it in one of the pockets of some clothes they haven’t worn in a while. Regardless of how they find the coin, it always seems like a stroke of luck.

At first, the coin seems like any ordinary gold coin, but upon closer inspection, they notice that the face embossed on the coin belongs to themselves. Even more peculiar is the minting date, always set in the future, and the short, cryptic phrase beneath it.

Each Liktena coin has a unique phrase printed on it. An example of the phrase might be Vini, Vidi, Vici.

If the person keeps the coin, the curse is set in motion. The person will become secretive while the coin starts to consumes their every thought.

How is it possible? What does it mean?

In the end, they convince themselves that the coin is a good omen, signifying that they will achieve great things. After all, it’s printed on the coin. It is their destiny, and the coin does not lie.

From that moment on, the future is forever changed. The person sets out to achieve what they believe is their destiny. With each success, they grow in boldness, reinforcing the idea that they are meant for great things.

In almost every single instance, the person will go on to do great and terrible things. Consumed by a fever of self-righteousness, they become seemingly unstoppable.

But destiny does not take kindly to being mangled and denied, and herein lies the true curse, something the Veštiqua know all too well.

In due course, destiny will have her revenge. The cursed person will pay dearly for changing the course of history, always by their own hand. Their exploits and misery will continue to grow by their own actions until they lose everything they have once loved. Only then will destiny intervene, utterly crushing the person and completing the curse.

Once the curse is complete, the Liktena coin will disappear into nothingness, and history will continue again with its slow, unchangeable march.

If this post sparked a creative idea for your world, or if you just really enjoyed it, you should check out my other creations in my profile!

submitted by /u/NapkinDungeonMaster
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