The Gate of the Labyrinth is a euphemistic name for this savage weapon that exists solely to end the life of defeated opponents. Whether formed as a poll-axe, a massive hammer or a razor-sharp hafted blade, the weapon is commonly used by skilled warriors who first send their enemy sprawling, then deliver an irresistible blow that cripples all but the most heavily armoured of foes. The enemy being knocked down can provide a vital moment to pick the best spot to strike to ensure a suitably devastating blow. The reach provided by a polearm often means that the wielder of a Labyrinth's Gate can strategically cripple an opponent, or impale them on their blade with surgical precision.
According to historical records, the Highborn cataphracts made great use of these weapons in their early wars against the orcs, riding them down on their mighty war steeds, then spearing them while they were on the ground. They were especially popular with the cataphracts of the Thundering Tide. They are also weapons favoured by brutal warriors, from the Marches to Wintermark, valued for their ability to strike terror into opponents and dispatch powerful foes.
Some of these weapons bear the rune Yoorn, and in Wintermark they are sometimes called Reaper's Shears. Among the Navarr they are often decorated with intricate labyrinthine designs, and there is an unspoken taboo in some stridings against using them against human opponents. In Urizen some sentinels favour this weapon in the form of a razor-sharp yari, simple and unadorned, and say that it is unseemly that a weapon intended to deliver such devastating blows should appear beautiful.
- Form: Weapon. Takes the form of a polearm. 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 point to call IMPALE with this polearm.
- Materials: Crafting a Labyrinth's Gate requires seventeen ingots of tempest jade, eleven ingots of green iron, and four measures of Orichalcum. It takes one month to make one of these items.
The brand moved slowly, withdrawing a pace at a time to keep the three scouts in view. As soon as one had her blindsided, they would all attack. She spoke quietly to them, matter-of-fact, to keep them off balance.
"We are few." She said, "Our armies are not like those of the Marchers, or the Dawnish. We are like the unconquered Highborn, I think. No battlefields unless we must, but the silent kill, the melt-and-fade. We are perhaps most like the Urizen, of all people. Few, so our power must be directed precisely and with most impact. They wield magic, intelligence, precise bladecraft. We do not. We wield fear like a sword. It must be thus. Our stridings are small, and travel light. Our steadings rarely fortified, save in secrecy.
"See my war-marks? The painted face I wear? These are not my tattoos, because they are not me. I am not I when I wear them, I am a creature of carnage, a killer born. They make me Other.
"That is what this blade-staff is. See it is marked as I am? With my skill, it is death, so I become Fear. In my hands, it is carnage, so it makes me Terror. Its effect is more than one corpse, its effect is in the minds of others. It is not the short spear, nor the long pike. It is not to keep enemies from me, but to welcome them on. Into the ground's embrace."
She moved suddenly. Stepped to one side, reversed the blade, and slashed down and across, exhaling hard, snarling like a beast:
"Now you are on the floor."
She drew the weapon up, high above her head. She drove the point down into the orc's belly and scooped up through the heart. The orc spluttered, red foam at his mouth.
"Now, you are dead."
She retook her watching, vigilant stance, the weapon's point down and to the right, and stared at the other two.
"Now, you run."
The orcs looked at her, turned and fled. There was a snapping noise, as if a taut cord had broken, and two screams, rapidly cut short."And now you die, too..."