Description

Almost always made of wood or bone, rather than metal, a sanguine thorn tends to be a tapering wand stained deep red with iridescent gloaming dyes. The wood itself is shaped and subtly influenced through bathing in beggar's lye, and wound about with orichalcum decorations. It often bears the rune Cavul, representing the power of purity.

Some of these wands, especially those crafted by Navarr or the Marches, have a sharp point near the base, usually a rose or briar thorn. When the wand is used in conjunction with a healing spell, the magician pricks their thumb on the thorn. This sacrifice is not neccessary to use the wand, but rather a reminder that the power to heal rarely comes without a price.

Rules

  • Form: Weapon. Takes the form of a wand. You must be wielding this implement to use its magical properties.
  • Requirement: You must have the magician skill to bond to this item.
  • Effect: Whenever you cast (but not swift cast) the heal spell on a target, you also remove the venom and/or weakness conditions from that target.
  • Materials: Crafting a sanguine thorn requires thirteen measures of beggar's lye, ten measures of iridescent gloaming, six ingots of orichalcum, and three ingots of weltsilver. It takes one month to make one of these items.
“Cursed Vallorn-spawn,” spat one of the Thorns, clutching at the oozing gash on his shoulder. His legs trembled as he leant heavily against a tree-trunk, eyes wide and white against the stark colours of the tattoos across his cheeks and brow.

He and a half-dozen other casualties of the venomous horror were clustered here in the grove. Brianna was peripherally aware of the rest of the Thornborn prowling around the edges, keeping their eyes open for more trouble, but right now her attention was on the festering monstrosity that her fellows had finally pinned in place with their spears.

If she had to guess, she'd say it was once an orc. Now, though, its skin was a tangle of gnarled, malignant knots of bark-flesh, sprouting thorns and buds. Its hands had tangled into sap-slick claws. Most incongruous of all were the bright flowers that had come into bloom across its back and arms, almost hypnotically beautiful as they exuded sweet, alluring scents that masked the underlying moss-rot of the thing.

It had lunged from the verdant forest, not trying to tear any one victim apart but darting from Thorn to Thorn, slashing at those not fast enough to leap back. Each strike that tore flesh was not just a wounded man but one with viscous venom bubbling in their veins – a clear sign, in Brianna's estimation, that the toxic husk wasn't working on whatever was left of its own instincts.

The Vallorn must have turned in its slumber, sensing their approach. More like this would come, each weakening the Thornborn a little further by sapping their strength. One berserk husk trying to devour flesh could easily be put down; a dozen hit-and-run attacks, however, would take their toll.

It was time to leave. The Trod-work was not yet done; the Vallorn still possessed too much strength.

The Vate drew her wand and hurried between the wounded men and women; each calmly uttered spell caused wounds to heal and flushed the noisome ooze from their veins. Even with the aid of the Sanguine Thorn, to mend all the injured left her utterly exhausted, taxing the inner reserves of her power til there was nothing left.

But without the wand, it would be far worse. Now that the Vallorn-spawn knew they were here, the Thornborn wouldn't be allowed to leave so easily.

As the Navarr warband began to fall back, twisted figures came capering through the wood in their wake.

The hunt was on.