The ruling rings of Yrix Alquinnar were a set of four double rings created my the preeminent elementalist of ancient Netheril, Yrix Alquinnar. Each ring was attuned to a different element, Air, Earth, Fire, or Water, and allowed the wearer unprecedented command and control over the various elementals from those planes.
Each of the rings was actually two rings joined by two tiny, jewel-inlaid silver chains, intended to be worn on adjacent fingers. The rings themselves were also set with tiny gemstones around their circumference.
- Ring of Air
- Two platinum rings set with diamonds. The silver chains contained sapphire chips mounted in the center of the links.
- Ring of Earth
- Two copper rings set with onyx. Amber pieces adorned the links.
- Ring of Fire
- Two gold rings set with rubies. The chain links contained peridots.
- Ring of Water
- Two silver rings set with emeralds. Aquamarines decorated the chains.
All "common" rings of elemental command were based on the work done by Yrix Alquinnar, and thus each of the ruling rings had all the powers and properties of the corresponding lesser rings plus a much greater chance to charm elementals from the attuned plane, and more. In particular, the ruling rings did not make the wielder more vulnerable to attacks of a particular type. For example, a ring of fire elemental command bestowed many benefits, but made the wearer more susceptible to cold- and water-based attacks.
In order to gain full access to the power of any of the ruling rings, the wielder had to slay an elemental from the corresponding plane. Until this condition was met, the rings manifested only one aspect of their suite of powers:
- Ring of Air
- as a ring of invisibility
- Ring of Earth
- as a ring of feather falling
- Ring of Fire
- as a ring of fire resistance
- Ring of Water
- as a ring of water walking
Individually, each of the ruling rings was formidable versus elementals from the attuned plane, but two- and three-ring combinations gave the wearer extraordinary influence over the associated para-elemental creatures as well. Wearing rings of opposing elements (Air/Earth and Fire/Water) did not grant any power over para-elementals, but still increased the number of regular elementals that could be controlled.
- Rings of Air and Fire
- effective versus smoke para-elementals
- Rings of Fire and Earth
- effective versus magma para-elementals
- Rings of Earth and Water
- effective versus ooze para-elementals
- Rings of Water and Air
- effective versus ice para-elementals
Wearing all four rings, two on each hand, spanning the two pairs of fingers on each hand, gave the wielder absolute control over all elementals and para-elementals that could be charmed by the wielder.
Yrix Alquinnar died of natural causes sometime during Netheril's Golden Age (roughly −2207 DR to −1205 DR) and he bequeathed one of the ruling rings to each of his four apprentices—the sisters Leia, Natasa, Sarim, and Tasia Maarekh, nobles in their own right. These women eventually married and started families, with three of them passing their family treasure down the ages until the line faded or tragedy struck. In total, the four rings had over two hundred owners spanning well over two millennia.
Ring of Air: The only ruling ring to remain in familial custody throughout its history, this ring was in the possession of Lady Aldara Maerklos (née Marrek), matriarch of the noble House Maerklos in Waterdeep, as of 1372 DR. It was kept in the family vault and Lady Aldara did not deign to use it, but was preparing to reveal its existence and pass stewardship to her daughter Tehss. Aldara could only trace her family back to the 8th century DR, but Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun knew that the Marrek clan was formerly spelled Maarekh and she was a direct descendant of the four Maarekh sisters.
Ring of Earth: This ring was lost very early in its history. It was bequeathed to sister Sarim who later died at the hand of her greedy brother-in-law who coveted the ring. Her husband slew his brother in revenge and tossed the ring into the Sea of Swords where it passed into legend and tavern tales. The only hint that it may have been recovered was the unusual command over earth and stone by a wizard pasha from Calimport wearing a double ring that fit the description of one of the ruling rings in the Year of the Wall, 1227 DR. Unfortunately, he was slain by rivals in the Year of the Blue Dragon, 1243 DR, and the ring was not on his corpse when it was found.[note 1]
Ring of Fire: Khelben himself won this ring off of a tiefling wizard in a spell duel while planeswalking in the Year of the Guide, 1192 DR. He kept it in Blackstaff Tower's magically protected treasure vault on a scarlet crushed-velvet pillow. Laeral Silverhand, the Simbul, and Elminster were supposedly the only other people who knew of its resting place. The last known use of the ring by one of these august personages was in the Year of the Frozen Flower, 1221 DR.[note 1]
Ring of Water: The Simbul, also known as the Which-Queen of Aglarond, was the bearer of this ruling ring since she received it as a gift from the last descendant of Natasa Maarekh, a former lover, sometime in the 8th century DR. As of 1372 DR, it had remained exclusively in her possession except for a brief loan to her sister Laeral and Khelben for study.
Rumors & Legends
Yrix Alquinnar was a legendary figure among elementalists and he was described using the four rings simultaneously by cupping his hands, bringing the outer rings on each hand in contact and forming visible bands of radiating power. For those not familiar with the history of the rings or elementalism, it was a common misinterpretation that "ruling rings" meant some form of mental control over other people, enabling the wearer to bend others to their will.
Sometime around 1372 DR, Khelben began feeling surges of power emanating from the ring of fire. He discreetly inquired about Lady Aldara's ring and was told that it was also behaving oddly. Since he knew the location of the ring of water, he speculated that the ring of earth was somewhere in the city of Waterdeep. He consulted with Lord Maskar Wands and the two archmages began a quiet search of the vicinity, hoping to acquire the item or at least prevent its misuse.
Aznar Thrul, the Zulkir of Evocation and Tharchion of Priador in Thay in the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR, was a former apprentice of Khelben Arunsun, and was indebted to the church of Kossuth for their assistance in defeating Tharchioness Mari Agneh after the Salamander War. In exchange for their help, it was said that Kossuth's clergy demanded that Aznar fetch the ring of fire from Blackstaff Tower and give it to the Flaming Brazier as an offering to the Firelord. Rumor had it that Aznar was successful in getting past the defenses, stole the ring, and purposefully left a clue behind implicating the servants of Mythalanir, the Eternal Flame of Kossuth (leader of the Flaming Brazier temple) in the hopes of acquiring the ring for himself during the anticipated recovery mission.
- Lady Aldara Maerklos of Waterdeep: ring of air
- Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun: ring of fire
- The Simbul: ring of water
- Ring of air elemental command
- Ring of earth elemental command
- Ring of fire elemental command
- Ring of water elemental command
- Steven E. Schend (January 1995). “Series Magic”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #213 (TSR, Inc.), p. 97.
- Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 152. ISBN 978-0786906574.
- Steven E. Schend (January 1995). “Series Magic”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #213 (TSR, Inc.), p. 98.
- slade et al (June 1995). Encyclopedia Magica Volume III. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 960–961. ISBN 0-7869-0187-X.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1989). Dungeon Master's Guide 2nd edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 148. ISBN 0-88038-729-7.
- David Cook (April 1995). Dungeon Master Guide 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 200. ISBN 978-0786903283.
- Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 153. ISBN 978-0786906574.