Saint Vedast's Zephyrous Icon
'Let me to battle, Brother. I shall sweep thine enemies as the wind, and thou shalt have vict'ry.' -St. Vedast's revelation to Hural
Winner of The Shards of the Storm Quest.
The icon is a stylized, inspiring image of St. Vedast raising his blade victoriously and wearing the armor of his god. The icon is two feet wide and four feet tall, made from a thin sheet of electrum backed with oak. The image is embellished with a variety of metal etchings and gems, notably a shard of bone creating St. Vedast's blade. But a single silvery shard that makes up a point on St. Vedast's helm stands out. Long viridian ribbons flow down from the sides and bottom of the icon. The icon is attached to a meter and a half tall pole used to carry it into battle.
Saint Vedast was a man of legend. A paladin general of the Sectarian Wars, Vedast led the worshipers of Modoaldus to victory over heretics and infidels. He helped found the Modoal Empire and brought peace and prosperity across the land. Centuries later, though the Empire had waned and Modaldus became a forgotten deity, St. Vedast was still honored by all who needed an inspiration and a higher cause.
The monk Brother Hural was such a man. His order was persecuted across many lands, and only a few monasteries remained. He prayed to the gods for inspiration, some sign of hope. His prayer was answered when he recieved a vision through a dream. In this vision, Saint Vedast appeared before Brother Hural in full battle armor and carrying the habit of Hural's order. His words were brief: 'Let me to battle, Brother. I shall sweep thine enemies as the wind, and thou shalt have vict'ry.' Hural took these words literally and began franticly searching through tomes on the saint. He eventually found a map that marked Vedast's tomb and, to his surprise, it was only a few miles from the monastery. Hural found the forgotten tomb where Vedast's bones were interred. With great reverence, he took a sliver of Vedast's ulna and returned to the monastery with it.
As he began to exit the tomb, he noticed something sparkling on the ground just inside of the tomb's entrance. He knelt down to examine it: a thin metal shard, only an inch or two long, glittering silvery-blue. A remnant of St. Vedast's armor, perhaps? He picked up the shard, and a sudden gust of wind came from the tomb, pushing the monk out the exit. An omen! St. Vedast must wish for the shard to go with Hural. He took the metal shard and rushed back to the monastery.
Brother Hural explained his vision and findings to his abbot, who gave him blessing to create an icon of St. Vedast to consecrate their order's cause. Hural rummaged through the monastery's treasury (or what was left of it) and found the finest materials he could. In a little over a month, he fashioned a grand icon of the saint as he had seen in his vision. Made from electrum, the embossed image was adorned with small bits of sapphire, emerald, quartz, and topaz. Hural used the bone relic of St. Vedast to form the blade of his sword, and he placed the metal chunk he believed to be Vedast's armor in the crown of his helm. It was an impressive sight to behold, one certainly worthy of the saint.
It was finished just in time. Two days after the icon was blessed by the abbot, a band of raiders rode in to plunder the monastery. The monk, only forty in number, took up simple staves and scepters to do battle with the bandits and defend their church. They were led zealously by Brother Hural, who bore the icon on a pole, a banner to lead the faithful to righteous triumph. As the raiders galloped toward them and the monks shook with fear, a sudden gust of wind rushed down, knocking many of the raiders from their mounts. The stunned brigands recovered and rushed towards the monk on foot, but a veritable army of small cyclones suddenly came down from the sky, spinning the bandits about and flinging them to the wayside. The monks were awestruck, immobile until Hural let forth a battle cry and rushed towards the fallen foes. The monks struck down the bandits with their simple weapons, and the monastery was safe for another day. They wondered what mysterious force had saved them, but Hural had no doubt: it was the intercession of Saint Vedast. The monks glorified the icon as a sacramental beacon of divine power.
Victory of the monks soon spread, and peasants began looking to the monastery for leadership and protection from the invading barbarian hordes. The abbot led the people until his death, when Hural took the seat of the abbey and guided the faithful to victory over their enemies. He attributed all their successes to the workings of St. Vedast, and the icon became a glorious relic.
Hural eventually met an unexpected and unfortunate end. He led a peasant army into battle against an intruding kingdom. As he rushed forward carrying the icon, a cyclone suddenly came down - this time, not on the enemy, but on Hural. He and the icon were taken up into the air and Hural's body was thrown a kilometer, the fall killing him. The icon was nowhere to be seen, and the peasants were crushed. After the battle, as the invading king oversaw the executing of the peasant leaders, the icon fell from the sky and landed right next to the regent, the pole holding the icon next to his head. The devout peasants saw this as a sign of Vedast's blessing. Without question, the knelt before the king and pledged their alliegence to him. The king was impressed, and kept the icon for himself, housing behind his throne.
Despite Hural's piety, the icon does not draw its power from St. Vedast, but from the metal sliver in the icon's crown: a fragment of Typhoon, a Shard of the Storm. Nonetheless, the icon is revered as St. Vedast's tool, and the faithful who follow him will honor its holder. When carried in battle, an army will find the winds to be in their favor. Their enemies' arrows will be blown short, and their own will sail far and into their targets. The wind will be ever at their back, and their enemies will be blown to their feet. A war at sea will find the opponents' ships blown off course and colliding with one another. The most impressive feat of the icon is its ability to summon a series of small cyclones, known as St. Vedast's Zephyrs. These tornadoes will sweep across the enemy's lines, at the least confusing them and at the most tossing them aside.
The icon is not without its curses, however. One of the most serious and physical is the curse that befell poor Hural: the winds may take not the enemy, but the bearer of the icon. This is known as St. Vedast's Martyrdom. The icon is likely to go with it, usually coming back to rest where it was taken, but it is possible for it to be thrown far, perhaps hundreds of miles away. This event is sure death for the one who carries the icon. A lesser known curse is hubris. The one who has St. Vedast's icon in his posession can quickly develop a megalomania, contributed to by the well-meaning but overzealous faithful who venerate the one who bears the icon. The bearer may see himself as a prophet or messiah, and will take foolish risks in the name of divine authority. This hubris can hasten St. Vedast's Martyrdom, or simply cause the carrier make some greivous tactical error that results in his death.
Some time ago, I posted up the Shards of the Storm. In essence, they are fragments of a goddess's essense, containing a piece of the driven fury of the concept of the Storm. Much of their purpose, from a GMing point of view, is to provide a common thread for items of power. So? So, so far I have only been able to come up with two not-weapon items to make out of these, and I'd like to see what better minds than mine can do with them.
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? Responses (9)-9
Good work, I like the religious zealotry having both positive and negative repercussions. I can also see a minro shrine being made for poor Brother Hural. Maybe in a few decades he himself will become a saint...
Very interesting-an entire order could unite around this holy item.
Thanks for the HoH submissions, guys. I'm glad you liked the item.
Brother Hural's position is debated by the faithful. Some see him as a martyr, but others believe his end was the wrath of Saint Vedast punishing the monk for some offense. So while some see him as a hero who died honoring his patron, others view Hural as a fallen man who did not heed the saint.
Definately a good solid write-up. I like the fact that you could use it as story background or be thrown right in the middle of it with equal success. Great one!
I liked it. But I'm not hard to please.
Winner of the The Shards of the Storm Quest and 100XP!
Wow! Very impressive background information. I love how the true properties of the icon lie not with the deity, but with the shard planted within. Well written!
you know, I voted this as a Quest winner, but forgot to actually vote here...oops. here you go!
Very cool. I like that it is not all flowers and sunshine.