The bindings of Himnorhelm are a set of interlocking metal pieces that form an iron casket around the head of a humanoid victim. The trans-orbital section covers the eyes, and is screwed or nailed through the temporal bone section of the skull. More cruel versions of the bindings will have prongs, screws, or barbs to compromise the function of the eyeballs, though this is uncommon. The maxilliary plate binds the jaw shut and links with the trans-orbital plate to ensure the wearer cannot speak. There are variants that have a plug or other unpleasant device fixed inside the plate that has to be forced into the victim's mouth before the plate can be secured. Some with enhance this with torture elements so that fixing the plate in place forces the jaw into a painful or even dislocated position. This plate is screwed into the jaw and cheekbones. The Occipital Plate is the largest, and the least fiendish. This plate wraps around the back of the skull and links with the two other plates to put the victim's skull in what amounts to an iron maiden. The plate has the main purpose of protecting the screws that anchor the other plates in position so that the bindings are much harder to remove.
Most of the Bindings of Himnorheim are made of a hand hammered black iron. They are crude looking, and there can be no mistaking them for what they are, cursed and evil things.
The bindings of Himnorheim were created by an order of Witch Hunters who used these cruel devices for the subjugation of witches and warlocks. The Order found that killing these infernal spellcasters was problematic. Many would simply escape to Hell, and make a new deal with their demonic masters and would return in a new form, more powerful than before. Others created powerful spells that required their own murder to complete them, and the order found that killing a witch was just her final move, and their moment of victory would turn to ruin as the Witch's death curse would lay unimaginable waste across the land. The simple solution was to imprison and incapacitate those hellsent souls so that they could work no magic, utter no curses, or find the ability to seek the power of their masters.
The Bindings of Himnorheim were created to break the victim wearing them. They would be rendered mute, blind, and deaf. The more cruel bindings made sure that they were in agony as much as possible, making demonic communion nigh impossible. It was a common tradition for a witch or warlock who was bound thusly to be buried as if they were dead, in a large and elaborate tomb. These Witch Tombs were traps, to keep the witches inside, and to ensure those foolish enough to try to seek and release them would be trapped as well.
The Bindings of Himnorheim are magical items, and they are evil. They are created from the metal of the underworld, which can only be dug and hammered by the dead, and can only be forged over the sickly flames of the underworld. As such, the metal can withstand all mortal flame, and requires a great deal of magic or dragonflame to melt. This renders the bindings immune to most of the powers of the infernal.
Creating a set of Bindings requires a cabal of Archivists to use witch magics to reach out to the underworld, and make deals with the Lords of the Dead to craft these horrific items. Once made, they can only be brought out of the underworld and into the mortal world through a blood sacrifice, meaning that each set of Bindings takes a human life to 'create'.
Bindings of Himnorheim radiate magic, evil, and necromancy.
Fighting Evil with Evil
The cost of creating the Bindings of Himnorheim is considered acceptable compared to the amount of good they can accomplish, or perhaps, the amount of evil they can negate. The underworld/undead nature of the Bindings clashes with the infernal nature of witches. The adage of fighting evil with evil preserves the power of good.
Many of the people sacrificed to create the bindings were volunteers. Some accepted their sacrifice as a form of salvation, accepting this terminal act as the ultimate penance for whatever evil they had done in their life. Others offered themselves to end their suffering, especially those who were crippled or cursed by witch magic and still lived. Only the rarest sets were created from non-willing sacrifices.
Reasons to Bind
There are other reasons to use the Bindings of Himnorheim.
1. Victim is immortal, and cannot be slain. If bound, they are no longer a threat to the world. Immortals are likely to be bound, then their bodies confined, and then whatever device holding them is itself placed somewhere remote or inaccessible.
2. Death unlocks greater power, a common theme in video games and anime, defeating and destroying the victim allows them to unlock their next, even more powerful form. If contained, they are unable to transcend to the next power level and are contained.
3. Reincarnation, killing the victim means they will come back later at an unknown time, and it is considered an unacceptable risk.
4. Life-Binding, similar to reincarnation or a new form, life-bound foes can take a new host body, soul hopping or however, and killing them will simply release them to start anew somewhere else.
5. Life-Binding II, killing the victim will destroy them, but their magic ties them to someone or something else, so that killing them will cause said life bound object or person to crumble or die. Hard to kill a witch if she has life-bound herself to the Royal Family, or the fate of the Kingdom.
6. Reinforcements, if the victim is killed, their infernal patron will notice and will unleash a swarm of demons, or whatever was decided in the revenge pact the witch made with them.
7. Self-protection, nothing prevents innocents from being put into these bindings, and so long as a victim remains alive, inside the bindings, their ghost cannot be sought out and questioned. This is useful for protecting dark secrets and evil conspiracies within the Orders and Archives.