A technological hallmark for the Nikiltu, Perception Stones are deceptively flashy spectacles, worn by the more prestigious Scrollkeepers. One of the few things to clearly and consistently show Nikiltan origins, they are often worn by diplomats on excursions, even when their purpose is not at all relevant to their mission.
The earliest noted use of Perception Stones was in 14CE, when the Scrollkeepers had fully established their organization and workings. The need for confidentiality became ever more pressing, and early Keepers began to use gemstones as keys to read documents properly. These stones were handheld and fairly impractical, with handsfree stones surfacing around 230CE, and ultimately these goggles around 382CE, made by the legendary Nikiltan craftsman Urtefax. As per usual, exact dates have been recorded, but vary widely depending on source and translation.
A common stance between Nikiltans, is that jewelry should be practical as well as decorative. The Perception Stones are among these practical jewels, constructed of:
- Soft but strong leather/felt for the borders and strap
- Any kind of noble or malleable metal, usually gold, silver or copper, sometimes lead
- Two equally large crystals, usually the same kind, either coloured or uncoloured.
The gemstones can be quartz, topaz, aquamarine, but some goggles incorporate rarer stones, like sapphire, ruby, and emerald. In picking these, little attention is given to the stone's purity or colour palette, only clarity is of any concern.
once enough stones of a kind have been found, they are all faceted in the same random pattern. Ensuring the stones are identical takes a lot of effort, time and polishing, sometimes many months, before they are good enough for the next step. Then, encased in metal cylinders, pairs of stones are lined up as identically as possible before connecting the two together with a supple leather framework, with added metal crossbars for support.
Very exclusive versions have limited copies, some even being wholly unique. These often have an absurd amount of facets, making reproduction ludicrous.
The purpose of the goggles is deceptively simple. They distort the wearer's vision, so if the wearer carefully writes a document whilst wearing the Stones, the document looks normal through the glasses, but becomes a mess of lines and directions without them. To put the words on any document together correctly, someone needs the right Stones. For optimal legibility, one needs to look at the document from no further than 30cm away, in a perpendicular stance.
Additional security measures come in the form of coloured stones. With these, scribes can use coloured ink that is invisible through the stone. Light yellow markings, for instance, can be used to further confuse the page layout, as with red stones, they become invisible.
The documents themselves often have numerous tricks to prevent accidental legibility: writing in curved lines as opposed to straight ones, twirling the letters around, shifting fonts for no particular reason, etcetera.