Before 1726 there were tens of thousands of individual requests submitted to the Museum of Traditional Antiquities every year, asking for access to a specific pair of Queen Immas’ gloves. It’s not even a particularly pretty or valuable pair, and if it were not for their provenance would be worth very little. They were once white, not lacy or embroidered, or stitched of the finest leather, just simple (off) white cotton gloves, similar to those an archivist might wear. Yet even now, in post-Revolution Buentoille, they are still in high demand.
It was not due to lowering demand that the number of requests to handle the gloves went down so drastically in 1726, but instead the introduction of today’s festival. Today fifty people will each be given the chance to handle the gloves with their bare hands for a short number of minutes each. As is normally the way with this sort of thing, these handlers are chosen via a raffle, held on the Museum’s balcony early this morning at 7:00am. Large crowds generally gather in the surrounding streets.
What’s so good about a pair of off white cotton gloves? Well, there is nothing particularly special about the left glove, which is crisp and white as the day it was made, a sharp contrast to the yellowing right glove, which has had so many different hands touch it over the years. If you believe the stories, this right glove is one of the most lucky items on the earth, or at least in Buentoille; this glove touched the hand of Ellion Sweerwate, the luckiest woman ever to walk this earth.
It was on this day that the gloves were first put on that Sweerwate shook the hand of Queen Immas. At this point, Sweerwate was a mere street child, but a street child who had saved the City from a gang of marauding wolves, escaped from the Queen’s personal enclosure. The wolves, who had previously killed or maimed anyone who stood in their way, seemed strangely intrigued by this young girl. Apparently, she just stroked them, thinking they were very big dogs, and then afterwards they returned home. The Queen gave her a small financial reward for the return of her wolves, and shook her hand, with a glove on of course because she didn’t want to catch anything from the poor.
There were a quite few other instances of blind luck that occurred to Sweerwate, such as when she managed to open the Elder Door on her first attempt, simply by pressing random buttons, or when she stopped a cart crash happening by throwing a ball for a dog, meaning that the two horses slowed before rounding the corner where they would have collided. These stories have been embellished and modified over the years, and it’s unlikely that Sweerwate was quite as lucky as they suggest, but one instance where we have evidence of her luck is in her long and illustrious gambling career.
By the time she died, Sweerwate was an incredibly rich woman, but she started out with nothing. She retained the payout receipts from all of her gambling victories, and they make up a few volumes of thick books. It took an abnormally long time for the gambling houses to figure out that she was seemingly unstoppable at Lid, Caphernon and Knifedice, but when they did, instead of banning her outright from the premises, they kept her on retainer to work out the odds, and to play card games like bezute on behalf of the house against wealthy competitors.
During her life, Sweerwate was fairly famous, and rumoured to have got her awesome powers of good luck by being struck by lightning as a baby, but it was after her death, when Jason Direman wrote a book about her that she achieved true mythical status as the luckiest woman to have walked the earth. All the people vying with each other at the raffle today will be looking to soak up the tiniest remnant of that magical essence, still contained within that white cotton glove which was almost immediately disposed of, but retained by the royal household for many years like all the things that Immas touched. She believed that her thoughts could be read by others if they managed to get hold of anything she’d owned, but could also be used as a time capsule by herself, a way to see what she had been thinking in the past, so everything was preciously hoarded and catalogued, putting the vast empty rooms of the palace finally to some (dubious) use.
Perhaps, then, it will not be good luck that is imparted from the glove to those touching it today, but the thoughts of a very strange queen, long dead and only remembered for a single, throwaway glove she left behind.
Other festivals happening today:
- The Festival of Wretched Kirkem
- The Festival of Longing to Leave
- Withy Day