A seal stick is a portable means for inscribing ritual sigils, especially in confined spaces or where the environment (i.e. the microgravity aboard a skystation would not be conducive to more elaborate worship activities. Seal sticks are popular with itinerant Rostran Esotericists of all denominations.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
Externally, a seal stick is a tube resembing an oversized drawing marker or tube of lipstick. The tube, often comprised of brass, bronse, or even sacred Eudoxium, features a long, removeable cap at one end and a rotatable dial at the other. This tube contains a length of specially sanctified wax with a pointed tip; this tip may be pressed against any hard surface and dragged around to sketch a ritual sigil. When the dial on the back of the tube is turned, a threaded plunger advances, pushing the wax out from the other end of the tube when the cap is removed. Because the wax inside a seal stick is regarded as sacred, it should never be sharpened by shaving, grinding, or otherwise removing material from it. Indeed, if the cap comes off of the seal stick for any reason, then tradition dictates that a proper ritual sigil must be drawn before it can be put back on the stick. Instead, to keep a fine drawing point on the wax, the tube may be warmed over a candle or heating element to soften the wax; this is why the tube is typically constructed of some type of metal, though ceramic is also sometimes used. The inside of the cap features a 'crucible,' a conical depression that reshapes the softened wax tip into a point so long as the seal stick is angled downward or the dial on the other end advanced. A properly utilized seal stick will last a relatively long time, as it holds a lot of wax compared to a crayon or grease pencil and competent practitioners make conservative use of it. Seal stick lines are very fine due to the point created by the cap, thought the seal stick must often be twirled to maintain a consistent line thickness for larger sigils.
Seal sticks are typically produced within ritual spaces dedicated to Ixaumosana or the Knapper of Spirits. Indeed, Knappist sects often produce seal sticks and provide them to the other Esotericist sects for free or at reduced cost as a sign of good will. Colorless votive candles are at the focus of, and supporting ritual elements within, ritual sigils executed specifically to win the spirits' favor in creating seal sticks. Once a votive is fully burnt, the cast-off wax and the ashes of the wick are transferred to a brazier, ground together, and heated gently until liquid. Pigment powders, fragrant oils, and powdered incense are blended in. It is at this point that a choice must be made; the craftsmen may create a stick attuned to a specific spirit - the choices in all cases made based on the most apparent traits of these spirits - or white pigmentation and neutral scents may be added for general-purpose ritual work. In any case, once all the blending is done, the wax is either decanted directly into a newly-created seal stick or, alternatively, into molds to create refills for pre-existing sticks. Direct pours are the reason why many end-users state that the first lines just 'hit different' when discussing new seal sticks.
Properly using a seal stick for impromptu rituals requires a degree of religious knowledge beyond that of normal adherents to the faith, as the rituals for given spirits must be modified to suit unusual environmental conditions. Receiving a gift of a new seal stick from a Hierophant or other known scholar of the faith is considered a sign of respect for one's level of spiritual attainment. Though it may have to be refilled after many uses, a seal stick is meant to be durable enough to last a practitioner a long time - perhaps even for a lifetime, if one is careful. Some seal sticks, depending on the composition of the wax, could be used for other aesthetic purposes. Religious doctrine dictates that these alternate uses are uncommon, being reserved for specific ritualistic purposes. For example, a female specialist in the mysteries of Ixaumaika might create seal stick wax which does function as lipstick to help her woo a prospective husband, as Ixaumaika is a goddess associated with love and romance. Similarly, a Hierophant creating oar-markers to memorialize fellow expedition members who died in the field might use his seal stick to color them in honor of Ixutabmut, the spirit associated with death.
Religious / Ritualistic
Seal sticks are only produced in small quanities. Even so, these items are not so much rare in the world as they are made for a very specific clientelle: devout Rostran spiritualists who happen to travel far away from access to ritual materials on a frequent basis. As such, seal sticks are most common among Rostran members of the Navigator's Guild, RACMF chaplains, diplomats, and those conducting trade with the Coalition states.
200 NGC; 100 NCG to refill