Describe the functions and uses of a commonplace item in your world.
Those who have dealings with the dromemel caravans of Marivar, and this includes most traders, shopkeepers and many farmers across the Empire will be familiar with the dromemel tooth seal used to authenticate contracts and provide audit trails on valuables. The fantastically complicated teeth of the Marivan Dromemel and related species provides not just a long lasting material for the seal but also a unique and unreplicable part of the patterning.
One edge of the crown is filed to give a smooth curve from the complex of ridges and cusps to the smooth flat of the side. This curve and the side are then engraved with a design of the commissioner’s choosing - this may be a family crest, a personal device, text or some combination. As the aim is to be able to roll the seal from the unique patterning of the crown to the readily identifiable design on the side it is not strictly necessary and many of the poorer classes whoi need a seal will forego, or minimise that step and accept a need for more care in use. Seals for the rich will often then be passed to a jeweller for further embellishment which may form part of the seal design, or may simply be decorative.
The seal serves to identify goods and contracts and as such their loss can be devastating to an individual’s dealings.
Use of the Seal in CommerceAs you may be called upon to use a seal as part of a business transaction it is well that you should know the details of the practice. First, know that the seal is the right way up when the imprint of the tooth is at the top and your design or mark under it. To record a transfer the buyer and sellers seals will be affixed to the package or deed as a pair in a single patch of clay or wax. The sellers will be on the lefty and the buyer’s on the right. Where there is no transaction of trade intended but, for example an joint statement being agreed, then the seals will be arranged vertically. The order of sealing has no significance in this instance. For goods of high value the “audit trail” of the seals is an important part of the verification of the goods; if you are selling goods that were not made by you without the previous seller’s seal attached you will not get full market price for they will be seen as of dubious provenance. Where goods are traded with subdivision than the normal practice is to view the previous transaction’s seals, but only to mark with the current transaction.
Breaking the SealWhen an individual or trading house dies or is bankrupted their seal will have a portion of the crown and the design struck off and the defaced seal will be used to record the transfer of ownership to the creditor or heir. On completion of these administrative processes the seal will be broken into small pieces to prevent further use. Whilst the destruction is a common feature, customs for the disposal of the fragments vary between areas.
Clothing / Accessory
A commonplace, perhaps a fifth of adults will need one, and many who do not need them have them as an aspirational device. In some areas they are given as part of the coming of age ceremonies.
Seals for general use are made from the frontal molars, thumb length but rather wider than the average thumb. The larger rear teeth rarely used.
Dromemel teeth are easy to come by but most seals require several hours labour by a skilled seal smith. Here the sky is the limit, and that’s before decoration.
Carriage and UseSeals are generally kept in leather cases lined with Dromhair felt, though some will have more ornate cases. These cases often come with space for a piece of wax and they are often worn at the belt, with a variety of means of securing them. In most instances this includes a fine chain or cord securing it to the case or the belt, to minimise the chances of misplaying or forgetting the seal.
The seal is made by rolling its identifying surfaces in a suitable material such as a hard wax or clay which may be affixed to a document; some will apply the seal direct to the document with a thick ink which has advantages of security but can be rather messy: a true trader’s approach, rather than that of ceremonial or status.
A responsible person will take care to keep their seal clean - though the seal is unlikely to come to permanent harm from dirt, it can affect the quality of the impression and bring the seals it makes into question.