Opening of the Chamber of Curiosities Document in Sunscald | World Anvil
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Opening of the Chamber of Curiosities

The Opening of the Chamber of Curiosities was a publication released by Argyrian noblewoman Marina-Euthemia Alethe announcing the opening of her family's collection of artifacts, the so-called 'Chamber of Curiosities', for paid visitation. These letters, hand-copied by Alethe herself and delivered at her personal expense, were sent to leading nobles and rich merchants across many major cities of the Sunscald, drawing attention to the Chamber and its collection of artifacts. The letters ultimately achieved their goal of attracting wealthy visitors to peruse the Chamber for a significant fee, ultimately saving the Alethes' cherished collection.  


Marina-Euthemia Alethe, granddaughter of the famous treasure hunter Marinus Alethe, who had been ennobled in the city of Argyria in exchange for the Box of Nicomenos, ascended to the head of her fledgling and indebted House aged just 22, following the ignoble death of her father. As the sole inheritor of her family's sizable collection of artifacts and treasures, as well as its sizeable debts, Alethe was left in a difficult position. Failing to pay off her inherited debts would leave her penniless and destroy her reputation, but the only straightforward way of doing so would be selling off vast swathes of the rare or one-of-a-kind artifacts her grandfather had collected over decades of treasure-hunting. Marina-Euthemia had grown up enthralled by the relics of her family's collection, and could not imagine parting with them simply to pay off the reckless debts of her father. Consequently, she vowed to find some other way of accruing the needed money.   Alethe ultimately hatched upon the idea of opening her family's collection for private viewing after hearing news of other collectors charging visitors to view a single rare artifact. House Alethe's collection was possibly the most concentrated collection of artifacts in the Sunscald and contained multiple pieces of regional renown that had largely gone undisplayed, and consequently could potentially be worth an exorbitant fee for a mere viewing. Though Marina-Euthemia was by no means a gregarious person, and would have rather not risked theft or damage of the collection, she ultimately opted to open the collections to private viewings, with her acting as a host and guide. The letters she sent out then essentially acted as advertisements, hoping to entice Sunscaldic elites to the Alethe estate for a viewing of its 'Chamber of Curiosities'. Running low on funding, Alethe painstakingly copied the letter by hand over 120 times, and used much of her remaining funds to distribute the letters to wealthy nobles and merchants across the Sunscald coast. Alethe unabashedly played to her recipients' egos in her letters, simultaneously praising them for their taste while preying on their fears of missing out on an opportunity to curry prestige. These letters were, of course, ultimately successful, with the Chamber of Curiosities receiving a number of high-paying visitors within weeks of the letters' arrival. Able to pay off her inherited debts, Alethe continued offering these viewings in order to raise funds for the acquisition of more rare or important artifacts.    


Each letter was delivered with one vertical fold in a sealed envelope bearing the arms of House Alethe (lozengy gules and ermine, pictured). The contents have been annotated in places to assist non-native readers.  
  To my fellow connoisseur,   If you are reading this letter, it means your reputation has preceded you. As you are so renowned for your discerning taste and thirst for enlightenment, I thought it only natural that you be one of the few people I personally inform about these joyous tidings.   Though you may not be familiar with me, a person of your stature has undoubtedly heard of my grandfather, Marinus Alethe. It is, therefore, entirely unnecessary for me to mention his many exploits, or the many treasures and artifacts he recovered from both the ruins of Armaidas and the plunder of the King of Raiders. Over the last several decades this collection has largely laid dormant, however I can assure you that it is every bit as impressive as the stories involving my grandfather may contend.   I consider it a great privilege that this vast collection has recently come into my possession as its inheritor. Unlike my predecessors, however, I have no desire to continue the practice of locking away anything of value. On the contrary, I wish to give those who are capable of truly appreciating this collection the opportunity to see it in person. Consequently, I have elected to open my family's 'Chamber of Curiosities' to private viewings.   If you may permit my indulgence, I can attest to some of the more widely renowned artifacts in the collection. Perhaps the most well-known is the Eye of Leth, the severed eye of the King of Raiders himself, which it is claimed always turned to face the next target of Leth's plunder. Another notable artifact is the Jar of Perakonos, the great and ornate pithos that once housed the remains of the infamous Armaidan usurper. These are of course joined by countless pieces of great beauty and value from antiquity, including a functioning bejeweled kryopyxis and a robe dyed with genuine purple.   In order to ensure the collection is respected, and to prevent any unwelcome or unappreciative visitors, I am naturally charging for visitations at this time. Of course, I am well aware of your discerning taste, and will happily accept even a trivial fee of 5,000 scallops if you merely wish to maintain procedure.   While I had intended for this letter to receive you before any less discerning figures were made aware of the Chamber, I am afraid that attention has already been drawn to my plans. Word tends to travel quickly in my native Argyria, and I fear I may become inundated with requests for a visit from those only interested in the prestige associated with witnessing these pieces, rather than those who may truly appreciate them for the insight they offer. Consequently, I would urge you to arrange a visit at your earliest convenience.   Yours in trust,
Marina-Euthemia Alethe.
Alethe coat of arms: lozengy gules and ermine.
Announcement, Invitation
Authoring Date


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