Idly, he clinked the iron rings that occupied three of his fingers together. The rings, as well as a rather cluttered house on the Embankment had come with his current position.

“The Artist as Wolf” (2011)

The origin–and purpose–of the three rings of office which Charles St. Cyprian wears are as much a mystery to the current holder of the offices of the Royal Occultist as they were to his predecessors. Of the most recent of those, only Aylmer Beamish might have had an inkling of the secrets of those rings, but it was not one that he ever shared with his apprentice, Edwin Drood.

What is known about the rings is that they are iron, and that Dee himself wore them and passed them down to his successor. There is evidence, among what few papers and grimoires remain from the office’s origins, that there were originally five rings. Whether this is true, and what might have happened to the other two, is anyone’s guess.

Drood, seemingly unaware of the significance of the rings, wasn’t wearing them when he vanished from a rented Soho loft in 1906. His apprentice, Thomas Carnacki, wore the rings only intermittently. It was only due to chance that he was wearing them when he fell at Ypres in 1918. He passed them on to Charles St. Cyprian as he lay dying in the mud of the Continent, and the latter has worn them ever since…

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