A Butcher's Cleaver is a practical weapon that allows the wielder to deliver crippling blows to an enemy. The weapons exist in various forms and by different names across the Empire and beyond, but are often shaped as somewhat crude, heavy butcher's cleavers in honour of Kaisa Battle-Butcher. The saga of this legendary Suaq warrior recount many tales where her brutal blows not only dispatched her opponents (both barbarian orcs and dangerous creatures such as the great white dire beast Penju), but also terrified their companions into fleeing.
These weapons gained great popularity among the Imperial Orcs after they were introduced to the legions by Wintermark runesmiths, as the heavy style appealed to the orcish tastes. Some called them ”Thrace’s Bounty” after the rumour that the leader of the rebellion acquired one of these cleavers among the first weapons the rebels looted. The Worth of that cleaver, if it were located, would be staggering.
In the Marches, these take the more orderly form of long axes and are known as Wayford Axes after the town in Mitwold, where several were made and sold to notorious bandits. One of those same axes was later used to behead members of the gang, once it was bonded to the town executioner as a fee for her work. This did not tarnish the design’s reputation as much as expected, as yeomen are too sensible to dismiss a useful weapon on such grounds.
Finally, they are also known by much cruder epithets of which Limb Breaker and Orc Killer are very much the mildest. Across the Empire they are called Orcbane or Orcslayer weapons. This is not just bravado - in many orc tribes the rank-and-file warriors wear light chain, mithril breastplates, or heavy leathers rather than the heavy chain or steel plate popular in most Imperial nations. This means that a well-placed blow from a Butcher's Cleaver can quickly take these opponents out of the fight. Needless to say, these names have become a little awkward to employ since the Imperial Orcs joined the Empire.
Jotra, the Rune of Battle, is a common feature of these weapons but a few bear Yoorn, the Rune of Ending, to emphasise the deadliness of the wounds delivered.
- Form: Weapon. Takes the form of a two-handed weapon. You must be wielding this weapon to use its magical properties.
- Requirement: You must have the Weapon Master skill to bond to this item.
- Effect: You may spend a hero point to call IMPALE with this two-handed weapon.
- Materials: Crafting a Butcher's Cleaver requires no special materials. It takes two months to make one of these items.
How Kaisa became the Battle-Butcher
In years which followed the founding of the kingdom of Wintermark, barbarian bandits still prowled the sparsest parts of the land and preyed on the smaller halls, like runtish dogs snapping at a wounded deer. Kaisa was a young Suaq, dwelling in one such hall in deep woods of Sermersuaq, when one night came the report that a band of orcs was fast approaching the settlement. The thane told his people to brace themselves for death, for they lacked the strength of arms to see off such a threat.
Kaisa stepped forward and said, "Do not despair so quickly! I can drive off this horde, if you will grant me a single boon."
The thane snorted and said, "I do not see how one young magician can face such a band and hope to win, but we have little left to lose now. What do you wish to ask of me?"
"Grant me that axe you have been forging, my thane, and I shall get rid of them all," she asked with a smile.
"That axe? But it is barely finished. The magic has settled but it still needs shaping. It looks little better than a butcher's cleaver."
"That will serve me well, my lord. It is all I ask of you."
With a shrug, the thane granted her the weapon. Kaisa bound it to her with a swift spell and set off to find the bandits. That proved simple as the orcs did not try to hide their path. Kaisa stepped out before them and challenged them to send their best warrior to fight her. Thinking to make some sport out of the silly human, the orcs agreed.
Kaisa had learnt to wield such a weapon but was no great warrior. Still she found the single opening she needed to put the enchantment to good use, throwing her heart and soul into a fearsome blow. The orc champion fell at her feet and at once she cut off his head.
The other bandits were astonished.
"Are you that hall's finest warrior?" their leader asked. "Is that your finest weapon?"
"Oh no," replied Kaisa. "I am but a lowly butcher and this is but my butcher's cleaver. I use it to cut up goat meat The others are all far greater warriors than I and armed with blades far more brilliant. They sent me to see if you were worth their time."
The orcs pondered what kind of people would think such a weapon suitable only for chopping up goats. As one, they decided that they did not wish to meet such people in battle. As one, the orc bandits fled.
And that is how Kaisa became known as Kaisa Battle-Butcher.