In the final course of my occult mystery, there’s something called a jewel of many colors. I’ve been looking at white opal and various crystals trying to get a sense of what something like that might look like so I can describe it in the book. (It actually has a pretty big role to play in the grand finale.)
It doesn’t have to be multi-hued. In fact, I think I might make it drab. The name comes from the fact that it refracts (in various colors) light from that which cannot be seen — auras and hidden passages and ley lines and things like that. It’s made from a bezoar of a basilisk that’s cooked at high temperature and pressure in a mineral-acid bath.
A bezoar is the name for anything trapped in the intestinal tract, but usually refers to stony concretions — think gall stones — that really do form in various animals, from mammals to reptiles and even fish. Those from the latter animals are sometimes called “snake pearls” or “fish pearls.” The large specimen pictured below was supposedly found inside a large golden carp by a fisherman in java, although I can tell even from my quick research that there are quite a few fakes being sold.
Bezoars were once believed to be a universal antidote to all poisons, and some folks today still think they have unusual properties. I have to wonder if that extends to all bezoars. People who chew their hair, for example, will often develop large hairballs in their stomachs, occasionally requiring surgical removal since hair is indigestible. And in that sense, technically your cat’s purged hairballs are bezoars. Are those charmed as well?
For those who’ve read the early courses of the book, you might catch that “jewel of many colors” is a reference to the various colors in the course titles and how they all together in the end.
Here is where the cover stands now. This may be it!