The gray portrait was an artifact that halted the natural ageing process.
Despite his goddess' edict that beauty is only skin deep, Belarian lived his entire life attempting to enhance and preserve his physical appearance. So obsessed was he that he forsook Sune to petition any power that would listen to make it so his looks never degraded. One such power gave him his wish, granting the gray portrait to Belarian in exchange for his soul. Who created it and who gave it to Belarian are not recorded.
No sage has done anything more than speculate about Belarian's fate, but it is known that the portrait existed since the mythologically stated time of Belarian's life. It was owned by several individuals since then but, as with many items of such power, its location was lost by 1373 DR.
If the portrait remained in the possession of an individual for an entire tenday, an image of that individual appeared on the otherwise blank canvas. Once this occurred, the owner of the portrait no longer showed any sign of ageing and would retain the looks and vitality that they had when they first acquired the item. As the owner grew older or was the subject of an attack that negatively affected their life-force, the portrait would display the injuries and deterioration associated with such things, while the owner became effectively immune to them. However, these penalties would be stored within it and, if the artifact was ever destroyed, every single penalty that the portrait had absorbed would be visited upon the owner immediately.
Behind the ScenesEdit
This item is obviously based on the The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, a real-life work of fiction where a self-indulgent man acquires a painting that ages while he does not.