A bloodwoven braid is usually crafted to appear as at least three thin rods woven together. Sometimes the braids interweave, sometimes it takes the form of two strands weaving around a third. It is commonly made of precious metal and weltsilver alloys, although a core rod of carefully shaped and stretched ambergelt is also a common feature. The wand is often wrapped with the hair of a loved one, especially in Navarr or Varushka, or bound with a beautifully woven favour in Dawn. In the Marches it is common to craft the wand to resemble stalks of wheat, and to weave fresh stalks of wheat, blades of grass or supple orchard twigs around the wand.
The woven strands that make up the wand are sometimes fancifully carved; in some places it is called a hydratongue wand and the various strands are carved at each end to depict serpents' or dragons' heads, drawing on the legendary healing power of that many-headed legendary beast.
A unique artefact example of this wand was crafted for the Urizen healer-magician Sithicus by his wife from eight strands of white-gold and a single strand of ilium. Called the Fountain of Life, in honour of that constellation, it was lost along with Sithicus' entire expedition somewhere in the depths of Spiral in 334 YE.
- 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: Three times per day you may cast the heal spell as if you know it and without spending any mana.
- Materials: Crafting a bloodwoven braid requires seven ingots of weltsilver, three measures of iridescent gloaming, five measures of ambergelt and three measures of beggar's lye. It takes one month to make one of these items.
The dry dirt of the track kicked up in little clouds of dust as Henry strode along it, each puff stirred and tugged by the pleasant breeze that danced across the countryside. Overhead the sun shone bright and proud, a pride that the Marcher shared as he looked out across the farmsteads that cut a patchwork into the forests. Rich earth, the swaying ranks of golden crops, the woodlands' shadows filled with the flitting shame of abundant game; Big Henry could see the virtuous prosperity of the Marches everywhere he looked. Nowhere more so, in fact, than the heavy coin-purse that hung from his belt, rich with his takings from the market-deals in Wayford.
As he reached the turn in the track, the place where the wagon-ruts swerved across onto the winding path towards his own farmstead, Henry found that something threatened to upset his sense that all was right and good in the world. Squinting, he couldn't see Alfred or Thomas in the fields where they should have been hard at work with hoe and shovel. That alone would have been irritating – he'd sworn that this summer would be the defeat of the great stone that squatted in the upper field and took up space that should have gone to good wheat, and the pair were supposed to be using oxen and the new rope he'd bought to shift it. But while he muttered an annoyed curse at the brothers' laziness, he noted he couldn't see Agnes either. In this weather, nothing would have stopped his diminutive wife from setting about her work under the open sky of the yard, even with little Margaret stumbling around in her wake.
So Big Henry frowned and hurried his pace a little, wondering what might have happened. Half-way down the wheel-rutted path he saw young Becca, Branden's girl, perched on the fence, playing with her poppet. It looked like she was weaving together grass, wheat and bark into a little wand for the tiny figure.
Despite his disquiet, Big Henry stopped to greet his neighbour's child and to admire her delicate work. The girl beamed up at him as the big man stooped to take a closer look. “You've made her look like a little Landskeeper,” he said with an indulgent smile. “Is that a wand?”
Becca nodded happily. “A man with no hair ran past with one in his hand,” the little girl said, holding the 'wand' up so that Big Henry could better see her handiwork. “It was silver and gold and brown. He was going to do important magic with it.” She nodded sagely.
Henry thanked the virtues that the child didn't notice how he paled. The bald man she spoke of could only be Gregor the Landskeeper, and the wand – that gleaming wand of weltsilver, amber and willowbark – that could only be the magician's most potent healing tool.
And stiff-jointed old Gregor would never run anywhere if it wasn't an emergency.
“Which way did the man with the wand go?” he asked Becca, trying to keep the rising panic from his voice. It was to no avail when, with the inevitability of a nightmare's beginning, the girl pointed at his farmstead. He swore loudly.Big Henry started running for home, nothing left in him of the day's good humour.