The Celestial Gavel
"O Victorious Maul, send down your fury!
O Hammer of Justice, bring Dalraaen's law!
O Weapon of Righteousness, cast out the unlawful!"
- Magistrate Archivinus Kelstori, Ode to the Gavel
With the patronage of Dalraaen, this heavenly mace is the focus of the Magisterium's strongest order. Its darker roots, however, are hidden even to its wielders, and its very existance threatens the world.
The weapon known as the Celestial Gavel is a heavy, impressive-looking mace. The shaft of the mace is a full meter long, made of a whitish steel engraved with ten flutes, tapering outward toward the mace head. The head itself is made of a darker, bluish metal and is rectangular in shape, about a foot tall and half as wide. On each face of the rectangle are four large pointed bosses arranged in two rows, made from the same metal as the shaft. The top of the mace has another, larger boss.
Eons ago, during the Empyrean-Infernal War, the demon servants of Vautu sought to create a weapon to turn the tide of the fierce warfare. The Archsmith Teztrazal was ordered to forge the vile weapon or face annihilation into Vautu's devouring mouth. Forged out of fear and hate, Teztrazal created a tool of fearsome destruction: the Seraph Hammer. A maul of unimaginable strength, it is said that Vautu himself oversaw its completion. Teztrazal was consumed after its creation to ensure its secrets were forgotten, and the Seraph Hammer felled many an angel in the hands of the demonic forces. The tide of the war would soon turn again, and Saint Ajor the Archangel - the Strong Arm of Dalraaen - stormed the demonic forge and seized the Hammer. St. Ajor saw that the weapon was built with dark energies, hexes, and curses; indeed, it was so magically built that it could not be destroyed. Thus the Archangel carried the weapon to the Heavens where he reforged it, straightening the twisted spells and bleaching white the blackness of its evil. After weeks of work, the weapon emerged from the forge anew. It was a long mace, a steel block marked on each side with pointed bosses, attached to a column-like tapered handle. Ajor called the weapon the Celestial Gavel in honor of his patron Dalraaen. The weapon turned the tide of the war, and the forces of the Hells were defeated several decades later.
After the Order of Dalraaen rose, Saint Ajor entrusted the weapon to the Sacred Judiciary to defend the Order from heretics and enemies. The problem with the Gavel, however, was that due to the warped mix of magics within it, it was impossibly heavy to wield effectively. Only a one living person could wield the Gavel, according to Ajor, one called the Guardian. What the Archangel could not say was who the Guardian was. Thus for decades it resided in the Sacred Judiciary's court as a symbol of their authority. The Judiciary eventually deemed it too important to leave idly, and thus founded the Order of the Gavel for its protection and the protection of all Dalraaenites. A Warden by the name of Jaipur Norel was appointed the Grand Master of this paladinic order. At the opening ceremony in the Sacred Judiciary's court, Norel shocked all - even himself - when, while lifting the Gavel as part of the ceremony, it rose easily in his hand. Instead of the usual 250 pound weight, the Celestial Gavel was no heavier than a short sword to Norel. The Judiciary sang a praise to Dalraaen, for they knew what had happened: they found the Guardian.
Though there was no war to be fought, Warden (and later Magistrate) Grand Master Norel wore the Celestial Gavel as a symbol of his authority and the strength of the Order. After his passing, it was granted to the next Grand Master, who unfortunately was not an apparent Guardian. In order to find the next Guardian, the Grand Master modified the ceremony of initiation, requiring each initiate to lift the Gavel. This way, he reasoned, the true Guardian could be found easily, for Dalraaen would surely not make a non-paladin the only one capable of wielding the Gavel. Unfortunately, this is apparently exactly what Dalraaen intended. Another Guardian would not be found for two generations. At the time of the Sectarian Wars, there is fortunately a Guardian: the head of the Order of the Gavel, Magistrate Grand Master Baeleric Kytherion.
All know the story of the Gavel's creation. However, few know its deeper nature; indeed, not even Saint Ajor was aware of what lurks beneath the steel and spells of the Celestial Gavel. This weapon is a vessel for Vautu's power. Years before St. Ajor stormed the demonic forge, Vautu knew the tide of the Empyrean-Infernal Wars was turning against him; his dark angels were spread too thin, the Heavens' forces too strong. Though his armies might fail, Vautu refused to die. He extracted from himself his own heart and had it forged into a weapon. Onto this weapon he placed many spells, curses, hexes, and darkness, wrapping the maul in evil so dense it could not be destroyed. No matter what may happen, he swore, this weapon would survive. This extraction of himself weakened Vautu, and the tide turned quickly. When Saint Ajor reforged the Seraph Hammer into the Celestial Gavel, he was blind to the depth and nature of the dark weapon. Even as he sanctified the Gavel, making it a holy weapon eternally tied to Dalraaen, Vautu's heart remained. It waits, and watches.
The Celestial Gavel is quite large for an average human, and almost impossibly heavy to wield. The only one that can wield it properly is the Guardian, only one of whom can exist at one time. Each Guardian is predestined by Dalraaen, often chosen to carry on some great task. The Guardian may or may not know of their particular vocation; they may not even be a Dalraaenite. In the hands of the proper Guardian, however, the Gavel is a powerful weapon. It focuses and strengthens any clerical spells, and deals holy damage against all creatures aligned with chaos or evil. Its very presence repels wicked beings.
If one were to unlock its true identity, however - the identity of Vautu's own essence - the weapon would become a unimaginably evil tool. Scant few know of the weapon's truth, however; some say only the Paragon of the Cultus himself knows it, and even then would find it impossible to access. Until that dark day, the Celestial Gavel serves the Order of Dalraaen.
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? Responses (12)-11
So it would turn from good to evil in seconds.
Theoretically, yes. There is a "key" that unlocks the Gavel to reveal its true form, but that's for another sub.
This appeals to my twisted sense of humor - a divine, potent holy weapon, forged with the heart of evil hidden within it. A clever way to cheat death, even if they way to unlock it isn't exactly something I'd expect to be easy.
A question: does 'unlocking' it make it possibly to revive/restore Vautu in some way, or does it just make the maul a weapon of darkness and evil? If the latter, I could see it being insturmental in the fall of a Guardian from being a paladin to an anti-paladin/blackguard...
It's primary purpose is to restore Vautu to strength after his defeat, yes. Then the "Gavel" - or, in this case, Seraph Hammer - would function as an evil weapon, but it's main purpose would be to act as a focusing point for Vautu's power. It had never actually occurred to me to have a Guardian be the one that restores Vautu's power, but that would make for a fascinating turn of events.
In restoring him, transforming the Guardian into Vautu's new form - a fallen paladin become host to a dark god - would probably be an intriguing twist. Perhaps the restoration would be incomplete, with the fallen Guardian becoming host to Vautu's power and spirit, but hybridized with the original mortal, or sharing space with it somehow, egging the unfortunate on to fully restore and release the god into the world once more, if only to be rid of the darkness suffusing him. If the Guardian is still somewhat himself, it might even make for a troubling issue for the PCs - the Guardian can be redeemed, in theory, but to do so you have to purge him of Vautu's spirit and power - which just might bring the god back to corporeal form. Picture the fallen Guardian, manipulated like a puppet, fighting to kill the PCs while pleading with them to destroy him and Vautu...
Now this is the sort of thing I was thinking we need for the quest; not made by a wizard, in this case being made by a demon as a quasi-phylactary and then being reforged by the divine into a holy weapon. I like the role of the guardian and an entire knighly order built around tht position and the hammer. Excellent work Dozus and well done.
Great one, Dozus! Intricate and absorbing and evokes great imagery. Then again, I am a sucker for anything Sectarian Wars related. Got to this one late, so I will also echo Scras' comment.
Excellent story, though the powers of the mace could be described better. Still, a highly original take - earns a HoH from me.
The reforging aspect is quite nice and the overall post is excellent!
I like the weapon, and the idea of using in a 'fallen Paladin' quest is a great idea. I will post this as a alternative to the weapon causing the fall: A fallen Paladin finds the Maul, unlocks the evil within, but turns away from its power? In doing so he could break the curse, and seal Vautu's power away for good, and restore his own nature. This 'fallen' guardian could have been chosen for exactly that reason.
Second note: its implied in the article that each guardian is chosen, but what if that's NOT the case? What if it requires some special property of the wielder to use, perhaps a sufficiently tormented soul with both good and evil in their soul, to match the weapon they wield? Choosing a guardian could be a much more difficult proposition if each and every choice to wield this immense power has, by definition, a tendency to 'Fall'.