I'm so sorry it took this long to get the poll up! There were over 400 entries, and most of them went waay over the word limit, but I read them all anyway, which took several hours
And I really couldn't narrow it down to 5, so we have the top 10 poll instead! Here are the shortlisted entries with descriptions if you want to read them, edited a bit for length and clarity - or you can scroll down to the poll and vote just based on the way each name sounds if you like
If anyone's interested, I picked these because I liked the mythology behind them and because the names were all really nice. All the entries were pretty brilliant, and some pretty hilarious (someone suggested Bob), so thank you all very much for taking part.
Suggested Name: The Hyperboreans key
Backstory: In Greek mythology, griffins guarded the gold of the Hyperboreans. Only by presenting this key to the griffins can one access their gold and the land, and the jewel is the map to get to that mythical land, so you have two keys in one a map to the land, and the key that will unlock the treasure.
Suggested Name: The Smaragdus Tear
Backstory: Smaragdus is an emerald, and the creatures around it are gryphons. Being called a tear represents not only the fact that gryphons wept for their enemies, but also because of the almost tear-like style the gem is in.
While doing research, I came upon this interesting piece of literature here:
Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (De proprietatibus rerum, book 12): A griffin is accounted among flying things (Deut. xiiii.) and there the Gloss saith, that the griffin is four-footed, and like to the eagle in head and in wings, and is like to the lion in the other parts of the body. And dwelleth in those hills that are called Hyperborean, and are most enemies to horses and men, and grieveth them most, and layeth in his nest a stone that hight Smaragdus against venomous beasts of the mountain. (Book 18): The griffin is a beast with wings, and is four footed: and breedeth in the mountains Hyperborean, and is like to the lion in all the parts of the body, and to the eagle only in the head and wings. And griffins keep the mountains in which be gems and precious stones, and suffer them not to be taken from thence. ( Steele edition of 1905)
Suggested Name: Ningishzida
Backstory: A mesopotamian fertility god (the green color), also a god of magic and healing. He "stood at the gate of heaven", and I think that fits well with the idea of the key. And the lion-birds on the key fit well with a description I found:
"There is in the Louvre a carved green steatite vase, inscribed c. 2025 B.C. by King Gudea of Lagash, dedicated to a late Sumerian manifestation of this consort of the goddess, under his title Ningizzida, "Lord of the Tree of Truth." Two copulating vipers, entwined along a staff in the manner of the caduceus of the Greek god of mystic knowledge and rebirth, Hermes, are displayed through a pair of opening doors, drawn back by two winged dragons of a type known as the lion-bird." Campbell(1964)
Suggested Name: Sárkány
Backstory: This is a key that the Valkyrie created to enter the realm of magic and dragons, known simply as the Dragon Realm. Besides the power to open the Realm, the key itself has hidden magic. The stone in the center contains energy from the universe and can show the handler visions of the past, present, and future, though they are just short glimpses. The dragons themselves contain the elements of the world making the user virtually unstoppable unless he is in the Dream Realm with other magicians. Depending on the handler, the power of Sárkány is both good and bad.
Suggested Name: Mór-ríoghain`s menace
Backstory: The creatures rounding the smaragd look to me as if they coud be a mixture of all those animals she could appear as:They've got the body shape of an eel, the wings and beak of a crow, legs and tail of a wolf. The Morrigan, too, is a kind of tripple goddess, like a triplet of sisters, sealed in just one body. The seal is hold by a chain connected to a keyhole, which she wears as a necklace. If one possesses the key, he would be able to ban the sisters to that body - or to free them.
Suggested Name: Emethothian
Backstory: This name is a cross between "emerald" because of the green stone, and Thoth, an Egyptian god. The ancient Egyptian Pharaos believed that emeralds were a gift from Thoth. The emerald was believed to symbolize spring and eternal youth. Emeralds were also placed at the throats of mummies to protect the souls of the dead and bring eternal youth in the afterlife. It would be as though the "emerald" were protecting the eternal youth of the bearer's soul. Being a key also suits this meaning, as it would be like the key to their soul. And the two creatures on either side of the "emerald" are like guardians of the emerald, which would be the soul protector.
Suggested Name: Basilique
Backstory: The creatures on the key itself don't strike me as griffins, more like basilisks: Head, wings and legs of a bird, body of a serpent. It is said to be by far the deadliest creature known to man. With a glance, can strike a person dead and with a bite, guarantees pain and a dreadful passing. What's more, the basilisk's name is taken from the ancient greek basiliskon, which means King. Danger to be found for the one seeking the lock that this key opens, emphasized by the two dueling basilisks. Perhaps riches worthy of kings can be found should an adventurer succeed? Also, Basilique in french is a term used to describe ancient greek forums and buildings, such as the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, similar to the way the key is styled.
Suggested Name: Arimaspi's Covenant
Backstory: Arimaspi is a well known place where gryphons presumably resided and were "gold-guardians". This gold was frequently stolen by the "one-eyed people" who all had a single eye in the center of their forheads. It looks as if the two gryphons on the key are embracing each other, perhaps in an agreement or contract (aka, covenant) to protect something like the great treasure from the one-eyed people. To me, it's a bit ironic because the jewel seems to represent the eye in the forheads of the Northern Arimaspian people.
Backstory:- Protector from the sea: Gryphons, instead of laying eggs, lay agates, a kind of precious stone. They were also widely revered as protectors. their prowess was so great in so may cultures that they were even adopted by the Christians as protectors. They were depicted as stone protectors or gargoyles on cathedrals. It just seems like its a pair of gryphons, holding or protecting their new agate. They're just protecting their "child". And the stone is the color of the sea, so it just fit. Also, the circle thing is like a nautical compass/compass rose.
Suggested Name: Apocrypha
Backstory: Originally a Greek word meaning "those hidden away," it has been speculated that the name Apocrypha refers to what the key opens as well as its griffon guardians. Hinting at something more than just treasure, scientists have been hard-pressed keeping this key in their hands and away from typical looters. Their current theory is Apocrypha opens the gateway to a world with griffons - if you're lucky enough to find where to use it.
The poll for voting is down below, you can comment/discuss there, but please, no slamming any of them by saying "Mine was better etc etc". It took me a really really long time to choose from such a great pool of entries, and it was nearly impossible to get it down to these 10! So vote away, vote closes on 23rd July Monday (since I was late posting up the poll) and I'll notify the winner and post another journal then.