While properly called tel'kiira, the name was often shortened to simply kiira, but a true tel'kiira was much more powerful than the lesser kiira in circulation by the time of the late 14th century DR.
The first tel'kiira was rumored to have been created by the enchanters of the Uvaeren settlement in Cormanthyr. One way tel'kiira were created was by an uncommon High Magic ritual known as "lalyshae'Seldar'Wihylos" ("Sacraments of Seldarine Blessing") that also required a clerical ritual to accompany it. The priests prayed to draw the gods' attention and power, while three to four High Mages bound the power to an object to create large amounts of the iconic items of the elven race. In the case of tel'kiira, the god invoked is usually Sehanine Moonbow (as the goddess of omens and mysteries), however Corellon Larethian or Labelas Enoreth could also be called upon to bless the endeavor.
Tel'kiira were not limited to a specific type of gem, although crystals pried from the walls of the Memory Chamber within the Uvaern's Legacy library in Myth Drannor were particularly receptive to the required enchantments, having a modest success rate. Regardless of type, they were never larger than the nail on an elvish pinky finger. They tended to be polished smooth with a slight mound shape, without any facets. The original color of the gem became accented and deepened with each new mind-meld. A number of Elder Houses had gems that were nearly black in hue, depicting the vast amount of knowledge the gem contained.
Typically a kiira was attached to the forehead where it formed a mental link to its user. Certain kiira could be easily removed, while some bearers could will the stone to become invisible while worn.
Unlike the case for other kinds of kiira, elven lore gems could only be worn by elves. They were semi-intelligent and acted as repositories of knowledge gathered by their wearers, including the thoughts or memories of an individual, or arcane lore. This knowledge could be accessed by future wearers of the gem. Usually, one merely needed to touch the stone to reveal its contents, but it was also possible to guard the contents against casual access.
Only elves of high intelligence could wear these gems. If these requirements were not met, the violator could become feebleminded. Even those who met the requirements and wore the gem of their own House did not find it easily controlled. Lore accessible via the gem was not immediately available to a wearer after surviving the transfer.
Simpler versions of kiira were also possible to create, which non-elves could use. In addition, there were also two other kinds of kiira known to exist:
- Kiira N'Vaelahr
- These 24 gems were used by the undercover agents of the N'Vaelahr before the fall of Myth Drannor. They stored memories and magic like a regular kiira, but also facilitated mental communication.
- A selu'kiira was also known as a "High Lore Gem". One would have been made from a rainbow tourmaline, and was typically a larger, more ornate and faceted sparkling crystal than a normal kiira. A selu'kiira changed color over time depending on how many memories it had absorbed. Colors changed from hues of blue to green, to black, to brown, to orange, and finally to a bright red hue after more than 3000 years of age. The main difference between a tel'kiira and a selu'kiira was that a selu'kiira could also store the knowledge of Elven High Magic. Use of one was also not limited to elves, but it took someone of very high mental fortitude to access the knowledge contained within the gem.
While at one time all noble houses of Cormanthor owned a kiira, it was known that the following elven Houses owned a kiira: Alastrarra, Aunglor, Durothil, Haevault, Iliathor, Neirdre, Nimesin, Orbryn, Raedrimn, Starym, and Ulondarr in the 14th century DR.
In 326 DR, The mercenary mage Ansel Burwyth, known as the "Master of Gems", had possession of a kiira from an unknown elven House. With it, he entrapped the soul of the "Ruling Magister" of Tashalar, Onsilur Maerdrathom. The gem was then hidden and never found, though some believed that it was part of a collection of magic jewels hidden within the Dragon Reach.
In 1368 DR the kiira of the long dead house of Hadryad fell into the hands of a human wizard, Oth Eltorchul. He used the Mhaorkiira, or "dark gem", to create the items known as dream spheres. Later that same year the power of the kiira was destroyed by Danilo Thann and the ruby was set into a ring and given to his mother, Lady Cassandra Thann.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), pp. 152–153. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 162. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), pp. 134–135. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 84. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Richard Baker (August 2004). Forsaken House. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-3260-0.
- ↑ Richard Baker (August 2004). Forsaken House. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 51. ISBN 0-7869-3260-0.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1998). The Fall of Myth Drannor. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-1235-9.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend, Thomas M. Reid (1999). Wyrmskull Throne. (TSR, Inc), pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-7869-1405-X.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (December 1998). Elminster in Myth Drannor. (TSR, Inc), p. ?. ISBN 0-7869-1190-5.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (January 2000). Secrets of the Magister. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 978-0786914302.
- ↑ Elaine Cunningham (May 1999). The Dream Spheres. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1342-8.