The Glacier's Fist
Carved to bring glory to the Patient One, the silent and frigid Abomination that holds dominion over the frozen wastes, the Glacier's Fist is heralded as a deadly weapon, but the true purpose of it is a much more subtle thing.
Full Item Description
The Glacier's Fist is a massive two-handed warhammer, appearing to be crafted entirely of translucent blue ice. The grip is wrapped in a dense pelt of some unknown beast, still sleek and glistening despite the age of the legends regarding the weapon. The hammer's head is carven with fine details, depicting the Abomination from which the weapon was shaped, the mighty winter-bound serpent of ice and cold known only as the Patient One.
When wielded in combat, the weapon trails frost in the air behind it, and delivers jolts of terrible cold along with the crashing impact. Those slain by it often seem to have died of exposure to arctic climates, frozen through and locked in a terrible rigor mortis from the ice that fills their veins and binds their bones.
In the early times, when the Mortal races were still one, and the first Mortal Gods had just arisen, the world was still stalked by the wonders and horrors of the Lost Age. Among the Mortal Gods was the first Ascended god, a former warrior of a small mortal tribe dwelling in the frozen wastes, where an Abomination dwelled amid the snow and ice.
This young god, cunning and determined to ensure the survival of his people, struck out to find the Abomination - originally intent on trying to bring it down to ensure it would not harm his people. When he found it - a massive serpent whose body was made of ice so cold that the very air seemed to freeze when it lay still - he knew that even in his divine state he was no match for it, for so keen were the senses it held that it had known of his approach days before, and once he beheld it, the Abomination arose, towering over the divine mortal and transfixing him with a baleful stare from eyes of azure ice.
The god was not slain; instead, he returned to his tribe, bearing a few scales from the massive serpent of ice and the pelt of a storm bear, calling upon the finest crafters of his people to shape the ice into a warhammer, the grip wrapped in the storm bear's lustrous pelt to protect those who would wield it. The serpent - patient and unaging - had observed the rise of the mortal races and the mortal gods who drew their power from these new creatures, and how they would spread across the world and disrupt the workings of existence, such that even the crafty Dragons would find their plans going awry in dealing with them; perhaps, in time, even becoming able to triumph over the might of the Lost Age's creatures. It had struck a deal with the young god; he would take a small portion of the Patient One's form and give it a shape that would be unsuspected among the mortal races as anything more than a relic of the past. The serpent, in turn, would spare his existence and grant him and his people a small measure of power, even as it imbued the fragments of harvested ice with the full and terrible essence of itself.
Thus it is that in the Mortal Age, the Glacier's Fist is still handed down from tribesman to tribesman in the frozen wastes, giving the wielder incredible might and power to go with a cold and clear mind, ensuring the tribe's survival. And thus it is that in the distant future, when the mortal races have forgotten the divine utterly, the Glacier's Fist will hatch, an ageless egg of power, and the Patient One will be born anew into a world ill-prepared to deal with it.
The Glacier's Fist can only be wielded by those who undergo a ceremony to imbue them with the essence of the cold; without this, even the thick pelt of the storm bear wrapping the handle cannot protect them fully, and those who try to wield the weapon find themselves suffering frostbite and worse.
To those who are properly consecrated, the weapon's surface is cold to the touch but not deadly, and the bear's pelt wrapping it more than sufficient to warm the hands against the icy surface beneath.
In combat, the weapon inflicts terrible cold with each blow, the distilled essence of deepest winter driving in like a spike from the hammer's head. Those slain by the hammer are frozen solid, their bodies locked in the grip of an unmelting ice as their souls are dragged into the hammer to feed the power slumbering within.
The true gift of the hammer, however, is the glacial calm it bestows upon the one who bears it; even in the midst of furious and bloody combat, the wielder's heartbeat remains steady, his emotions calm, and his mind clear. This absolute calm carries over into all things, allowing judgements and decisions unclouded by sentiment and emotion. Likewise, it encourages the bearer to think in increasingly longer periods of time, setting goals and plans many years into the future; one of the long-lived wielders set plans in motion that still are playing out centuries later.
The secret of the warhammer, however, lies not in the potent magic it offers those who carry it, but in the source of that power; for the Patient One bestowed the whole of itself upon the fragments that became the weapon, becoming a dormant thing until the day when the divine is known no more among the mortal races; for, in the calculating thoughts of the eternal serpent of endless winter, it had foreseen the likely rise of the sciences and the collapse of the lesser tiers of the divine, the destruction of all gods that were of a physical form, and the coming of an era of faithless mortals who would be ill-prepared to handle the return of the true divine.
When that day comes, the frigid weapon will shatter, unleashing the patient serpent will be freed once more, far from the machinations of the other gods, ready to bring the final, endless winter to the world.
Winter. The final frontier. For who truly knows, if spring will ever come.
This months quest revolves around the concept of winter, in all its hoary splendor. Cold, death, decay, and torpid hibernation. Snow, ice, and frost. These are the ubiquitous images of the long, bleak season.
We are looking for the finest examples of winter-themed submissions. The winners of this major quest, will become worthy recipients of frosty mugs and glasses, engraved with odes to victory, courtesy of Scrasamax! Good luck to all. Don your mittens!
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? Responses (10)-10
I love the backstory.
Thanks. Once it again, it's one of my "I'm exhausted, let's see what spills out of my synapses in this state" submissions.
As I started reading this submission, I was filled with a certain familiar dread, that this was going to be Yet Another Kick Ass Weapon. The backstory is good, and the powers of the weapon are fitting, and the interpretation is loose enough I can wedge in some flaws. Berzerkers who carry the 'fist cannot enter a berzerker rage, and like Hamlet I can see them working out towards such a long scale of planning that they become almost disconnected and plan rather than act.
The part that really made this shine for me was the image of the head of the weapon shattering and the Patient One being reborn into the world. On the other hand, this is not entirely pristine territory, since Dozus has also explored the concept in The Celestial Gavel. Either way, this is a nice piece.
This would definitely not be a weapon for a berserker, no; the absolute calm would completely butcher their ability to rage, and as you noted, those who carry it for long enough tend to end up viewing the world from such a detached and objective viewpoint that they may make plans for centuries into the future rather than handling the here-and-now.
And to be perfectly honest, the Celestial Gavel's touching on this matter was something of a moderate inspiration for that aspect of the Fist. I wanted something that would have that kind of feel, but bent to the kind of Mythic Age feel I try to get in the items that involve the Lost Gods/Dragons/Abominations of Kuramen. Which is a bit of a trick when also trying to keep it generic enough to be useful outside Kuramen...
If the Gavel inspired this, then I'm glad I submitted the Gavel. I like the backstory a lot, and though I agree that it's tough to fit this into a non-Kuramen setting, I don't think that's necessarily a detractor; some items, NPCs, and other elements are made to fit their setting and needn't be anywhere else. I do reflect Scras's thought that there should be another penalty or two from wielding it, perhaps something that could be a side effect of being "consecrated" with the essence of cold. One so consecrated might become eternally reliant on miserable cold to survive, or they would lose passion and ferocity forever from their minds, for example. Overall, though, I think it an intriguing piece.
The Gavel was definitely an inspiration; the key-to-return aspect was the main thing I ran with. And yeah, sometimes things just belong in the setting that birthed them. Kind of like Thaumatech - it may echo things, but in the end it is purely of Kuramen, and can't really belong anywhere else without a lot of work.
I suppose there might be some other side effects, but overall the tribesmen only allow those who they trust to lead them wield the warhammer. That right there is a significant limiter on usage, given that this is a somewhat insular barbarian tribe in one of the most inhospitable climates in the known world. It could easily afflict the bearer with a need for cold weather, though; the warhammer's never been out of the Wastes where it was crafted, so no one would know about it until some fool of an adventurer tries to bring the tribe out into the warmer world...
Very well crafted! I could see mages trying to obtain this weapon to try and drain off some of it's immense power, unknowing of its true origin.
They'd certainly be in for a hell of a rude shock, I expect.
That is really well done,