Whelpmaster's Fang Revision as of 17:13, 3 February 2013 by Harry
This rod is usually made of wood and bone, bleached with beggar's lye and then stained darker colours. It often bears the rune Naeve (hunger) rather than Kyrop (weakness). The Varushkans and Imperial Orcs alike decorate these rods with the teeth of predatory animals, especially wolves.
The rod takes its name from the hungry Winter Eternal Sorin, and it is not often used by pious individuals. In Highguard especially it is called a withering rod instead, where they sometimes tell the stories of Mahalath of Habor's Retreat and her daring, but clearly virtuous, escapades in which such a rod is often used to good effect.
- Form: Rod.
- Effect: Once per day when you cast the weakness spell you can do so without spending any mana.
- Materials: Crafting a whelpmaster's fang requires nine measures of beggar's lye and six measures of iridescent gloaming. It takes one month to make one of these items.
Her Test had been only to involve herself in this war and to bring back a great story, to be told by her troubadour at her Earl-Enchanter’s court. That was enough. She’d lived two great stories already, alerting her Company to an ambush in time to outwit it and rising from near-defeat to shatter the shield of a mighty orc warrior at the centre of a scouting force they’d encountered, but this damnable mist had hidden her true prize from her, and it seemed she would never find the chieftain she sought.
She never did. Out of the shrouding mist sprang a single figure, capering in a way that suggested madness. The orc spoke to himself constantly, as if answering voices whispered in its ear, and hissed a string of vile swearing when it saw her.
The knight-errant readied her sword, and raised it for a mighty blow that would snap the creature’s wand and leave it powerless. She swung once, but it darted beneath her sword with astonishing speed and jabbed its wand right into the centre of her armour-
-and time seemed to slow for her. The orcish shaman dropped back and fell to his knees, panting in exhaustion, but she hardly seemed able to lift her sword. Nausea crept into the edge of her awareness, as it had in her first ever combat, and vertigo made her stumble. She reached down into her soul, thinking back on her heroes – and found none of their strength there. Somehow, some vile magic had weakened her. She could barely stand in her armour, let alone fight in it.
Coming back to her senses, she saw the shaman, still grinning, shaking with exhaustion but still a very real threat to her. She blocked his first blow, but not his second, which cut her from temple to her jaw, nor his third, which cut deep into her elbow where the plates met. Screaming in pain and rage, she lifted her sword high to bring it down in a devastating blow.
She was too slow. The shaman’s dagger slipped into her armpit, and she dropped the sword and fell, screaming, to the ground. The creature cackled triumphantly while she struggled to get up again, though her arm hung uselessly by her side.
Seconds later, the fallen knight felt rusted iron at her throat-
-and woke up screaming in the arms of his Stormcrow. The mist evaporated in the heat of the sweat-lodge, and the old Suaq held the Steinr warrior to his chest as he wept bitter tears for the death he’d just watched.
“What was that?” he whispered as he regained his composure.
“The wand? It was a cruel enchantment, power-eating, strength-sapping, Naeve and Rhyv bound up together in a wand of oak. The orcish shaman, foul corruptor, gave it his power to take yours from you. You were vigilant, great in courage, but the hidden weapon is the worst to guard against. We will tell this tale, o' battle-burned warrior, a warning to the unwise courageous, those who fear the sword over the wand.”
“Are they common? The wands?”
“As common as the unvirtuous man who puts his trust in those around him,” came his answer. "Some of great Virtue may use them for good, those with the strength to hold back the wand's cruelty."
The warrior laughed, “So, not really. C-can I make a request, noble stormcrow? I-is that alright?” He had never been so polite in his life before, but somehow it seemed the right time to start. After all, the stormcrow bore a wand too, and he'd never trusted magic as little as he did at this moment.
“Son of my nation, descendant of my people, do not be so coy,” the stormcrow chided him, though not unkindly.
“Can we leave out the part where I was Dawnish?”“Nobody’s perfect, my boy,” he laughed, dropping for a moment out of his storyteller’s cadence to address him as a man, rather than a stormcrow, “Not in this life, not in the next.”