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History of the WardsEdit
Whilst many of these Wards were lost after Gruul's initial defeat, Professor Van Heldenghast succeeded in locating six of the Wards, tracing them to their resting places within Blackhaven, where she was conducting her search for Gruul, and dispatched a bounty hunter who had once suffered Gruul's sorcery to retrieve them.
List of Known WardsEdit
- Angevin Shroud
- Blood of Baron Milescu
- Chain of Argolis
- Hand of Glory
- Mask of Belthegor
- Skull of Mora Tao
The Wards in BlackhavenEdit
According to Gustav Hollman, in whose Chamber of Horrors the shroud had ended up, it was once a normal shroud that had been used to wrap the decapitated body of a Necrophage, and in doing so had absorbed much of the foul being's death-consuming magical aura. The Angevin Shroud was found to possess only a portion of its original strength, but that was still enough to divert a conjured a bolt of lightning during the arrest of Gruul.
Blood of Baron MilescuEdit
Baron Milescu was one of the most feared Vampire Lords of Vannan, of whom a small vial's worth of blood had somehow survived the ages and ended up in the possession of Kiennar the Curiosities vendor. It was purchased at a reasonable sum by the bounty hunter and was learned to protect against a Skein of Undoing.. However, the vial was particularly fragile and broke during a fight - when the blood of the bounty hunter mixed with that of the Baron, the unholy hellspawn became manifest once more on the Earthly Plane! Fortunately, he was no match for the bounty hunter and was killed once more, this time permanently.
Chain of ArgolisEdit
Argolis was a female Demothrax who had wreaked considerable havoc before being bound by a magical chain, which had swept her beneath the earth. However, Argolis was effectively invincible and could not die, but only rot and suffer the maggots which crawled over and through her. Shortly after her imprisonment, the Olde Gaol in which she had been bound collapsed and she was forgotten by many. The bounty hunter was forced to throw her back into the pit that she had been held in when retrieving the Chain - breaking the magic which protected her and destroying her - for the Chain would have bound them there instead, something that no Human would have survived. It was discovered that the Chain had the power to avert curses of ill-fortune powered by Notura.
Hand of GloryEdit
At first merely the wooden hand of a common thief hung for his crimes, the Hand of Glory acquired its full power when the bounty hunter who retrieved it took the grisly item to a Necromancer - Mawn Pretagorus, who proceeded to take it into a nether world and conduct some ghastly, unknown ritual upon it. When he returned, the wooden hand had become flesh, able to induce drowsiness in those whom the bounty hunter wished, and to protect him from an attempt by Gruul to transform him back into the mindless, slavering beast he had once been by means of a hypnotic implant.
Mask of BelthegorEdit
Belthegor is an oft-forgotten deity of the middle Old World, responsible for what is named Second Life, though his sphere of influence also extends to bestowal of the Second Death. These terms are less directed at physical birth and death, and more directed at mental birth and death - those blessed with the Second Life are invariably bestowed with a new ability of sorts; those cursed with the Second Death have lost some of their skills and are compelled to seek actual physical death also.
The Mask of Belthegor was an ancient relic attached to a forgotten shrine near Blackhaven's South Gate. Only by deciphering the equally ancient runes adorning the shrine wall could the Mask be retrieved safely - any attempt to do so by force would result in the curse of the Second Death being inflicted. However, the bounty hunter was equal to the task and solved the puzzle of the runes, discovering that the Mask prevented harm from coming to a person injured by a damaging barrier of Notura.
Skull of Mora TaoEdit
Whoever, or more precisely, "whatever" Mora Tao was, it was most definitely non-human. Though its skull was evidently humanoid, it had a pair of short horns and canines that were long without being exaggerated - and at least some part of the being's spirit must have lingered, for it would speak to those it wished, usually through a joining of minds, but sometimes audibly to others also. Part of its power in life remained also, for it could grant eternal - or near-eternal - life in exchange for feeding on the soul of its bearer, as it had done for centuries to one ancient warrior. He finally perished when the bounty hunter refused to hand the Skull to him as the two vied for it. Professor Van Heldenghast described it as the most powerful of all the Wards she knew of, and it was protected accordingly. The tomb in which it was kept beneath Blackhaven's graveyard was protected by a Devil Bat and a room that only a skilled climber or a lock-pick could escape from, and that too was buried beneath the earth rather than exposed to all in a mausoleum or alternate crypt entrance. It proved capable of diverting the most powerful of Gruul's conjurations, deflecting a horrific amoeba-like entity of Notura that would otherwise have consumed the bounty hunter whole.