The Knight Malijae was many things: a scholar, a warrior, a physician. Still when she found the second of the collars she was unprepared. As the child who has drunk only water is burned by brandy, so her vulnerable spirit was seized by the gnarled and ancient secrets of the collar. Her mind was borne away by dark currents and the wordless roar of the collar’s power consumed her senses.
It was her own dreams, hammered into twisted forms which guided her footsteps. And then for a brief moment before her death she awoke and knew that she had failed. She heard the whispers of those who had defeated her, telling her of the trail of devastation she had wrought. She knew then that she had become nothing more than another leaf, spinning in the swirling waters of Llaewar’s fate. And so she died. But the knights did not die with her.
The end of the Knights of Pharenis came when the news of Malijae’s end reached the last of their order. He was alone and saw no wisdom in building everything again from nothing when he and all his fellows had found only failure. Was their purpose noble or was it folly? If he did not even know himself, how could he teach it? Taking the sigil of the knights from his pocket, he threw it as far from him as he could, turned his back and walked away.
The Llaewar Collars were three artifacts of extraordinary power, crafted by the Sorceror of Llaewar late in the Mythic Epoch. Even he was unable to control them, but he believed this to be due to a failure on his part rather than a flaw in the collars themselves. Whether he was correct or not, no mortal ever managed to employ any of the three safely before they were eventually destroyed by the alchemist Carlo Mendez during the Age of Exploration.
Early in the Age of Wars the collars were stolen and the three became separated as the use of their secrets divided their new owners and led them to a variety of unpleasant ends.
The three collars each had different original purposes and were not made to the same design.
The first, sometimes called The Black Collar or The Serpentine Collar, was made to bestow immortality. When touched it gives strange visions of distorted faces watching from the shadows. If worn, dead beings close to the wearer will rise again, although not restored to life. These risen beings will enact the will of the wearer, although it is not their conscious commands which direct the dead, but rather the shifting whims of the subconscious.
The second, known as the Royal Collar, was intended for scrying and for the enhancement of the senses. When merely touched it dramatically distorts the perceptions, stretching and bending images of the surrounding world and combining fragments of imagery from all directions and from near and far. It is a disorienting experience, but takes only a few moments to recover from. If the collar is worn, this effect extends to a considerable range, affecting everyone nearby. The wearer themselves, however, will for the most part be able to make sense of these jumbled images and sounds and with practice can control the experience of others - although it is easier to inflict chaos than bring clarity.
The third, named the Ceremonial Collar, was intended for command. When touched it instills a sense of danger lurking nearby and a paranoia which lingers for some minutes afterwards. When worn it empowers the words of the wearer such that all who hear them will feel compelled to obey. This compulsion comes with no sense of loyalty or desire to assist; it is a strange and frightening thing to experience. The wearer will also be reluctant to remove the collar and will, over time, experience an increasing desire to employ its powers.