Shadowstaff

The Shadowstaff, sometimes called the Shaydan Staff, is a major artifact giving the wielder power over shadows. This staff of black wood seems to be partially made from actual shadow, its length darkly iridescent and at times transparent.

It was crafted long ago.

History


Origin

While Kira's aspects as a goddess of healing and light are accentuated in many of Nora's cultures, in Badikhiya her roles as a redeemer and scourge of evil dominate, making her a goddess of goodness, but rarely of mercy. A crippled heretic bearing the sun goddess's brand upon her cheek, Sadiqa Shaorhan sought to give her people respite from the Brightstar's endless summer. A merciful woman who limped on crutches, she taught a philosophy of balance—that for every labor under the sun there must be a moment's respite in the shade. Inspired by the philosophies of the west, particularly of the goddess Tala Errin, she sought to transform her home into an oasis far from the heat of the desert, the scrutiny of Badikhiyaite culture, and the flame of the Brightstar. So the Cult of the Seventh Veil rose amid the shadowed places of Shadun.

After years of peaceful worship, the accidental death of a Kirite inquisitor at the hands of one of Sadiqa's initiates sparked public condemnation of the cult and, soon, a murderous hunt for its members. Her students and allies falling around her, Sadiqa abandoned her home and was forced to hide amid nameless ruins outside the city. In that dark place a gentle voice spoke to her, prophesying an eclipse that could end Kira's hold on the city for all time. All Sadiqa had to do was carry tokens of her faith to the tops of the nearby mountains of Zhobl and Zhonar under the pall of the eclipse. As the voice faded, Sadiqa found her legs healed and her crutches transformed into staves of dark wood.

At the appointed time, Sadiqa and her few remaining followers climbed Zhobl and Zhonar. As they reached the summits, light drained from the world. Raising their staves high, they called out praises to Tala Errin. The goddess did not answer, but something else did. In the lightless noon the mountains quaked and shattered, spewing black smoke into the sky. Ruin rose and fell over the people of Shadun, and darkness claimed the city as its own.

Weeks later, amid the darkness and seemingly endless rain of ash, Sadiqa Shaorhan alone descended the slopes of Zhobl and entered the ruins of Shadun, using a staff of glistening shadows to drag her again-crippled legs. Those who saw her claimed the brand upon her face had turned black as the skies over Shadun, and when she tried to aid the city's poisoned people, all she touched were consumed by shadows. Eventually she wandered into the deserts of the east, from whence she never emerged.

However, the Shaorhan Staff—or Shadowstaff as it is called by non-Badikhiyaites—reappeared some years later among the markets of Sedjeri. Like Sadiqa, the staff was cursed to be a bane rather than balm, with the shadow-tainted souls of all who died under the eclipse in Shadun roiling within, emerging in waves of darkness and cold hunger at the will of the staff's bearer. A thing of darkness, the Shadowstaff has had dozens of wielders, some powerful planes-walking arcanists, some desperate cads, but all losing the staff after instigating some tragic calamity. As often as not, the staff reappears soon after amid the shadowed market stalls of Sedeq. As for its twin, the staff carried up the slopes of Mount Zhonar, its fate remains unknown.

Under Vastania's possession

Powers and abilites


The Shadowstaff makes the wielder slightly shadowy and incorporeal, however, in bright light (such as that of the sun, but not a torch) or in absolute darkness, the wielder is weak. It is capable of summoning shadow creatures, allowing the wielder to take on the form of shadow, and the ability to cast bolts of darkness at an enemy.

The Shadowstaff offers its user a host of sinister abilities, but does not intrinsically threaten good-aligned users. It relies on tortured souls for its powers.

Those who carry the Shadowstaff risk having their souls cast into darkness.

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