These are examples of a fiction device known as a “MacGuffin.” I recently learned the term, though of course I knew of the existence of such things. And yes, there are two MacGuffins in my book. There is a science of McGuffins. Who knew?
In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so important. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot. The most common type of MacGuffin is an object, place or person. However, a MacGuffin can sometimes take a more abstract form, such as money, victory, glory, survival, power, love, or even something that is entirely unexplained, as long as it strongly motivates key characters within the structure of the plot.
MacGuffin in The Sacrament of the Goddess.
Usually a MacGuffin is introduced in the first chapter, and the importance is explained to the reader. That is definitely the case in my book.
Can you think of other MacGuffins from literature or movies I might have missed?