This grand klaive was created by the renowned klaive smith Jov “Sings-to-Silver” Kutznitopf, a Silver Fang Theurge of Clan Crescent Moon. It was made for Orel “Lance-of-Spectral-Fury” Tvarivich, a Silver Fang Ahroun of the same House.
Sleá Bháis (SLEE-BY) is Scotts-Gaelic for “Death Lance.” In this way, it reflects the deed name of its wielder, Lance-of-Spectral-Fury. But the weapon was not named for its wielder. It was named for the Ancestor spirit bound within it. The similarity exists because Lance was also named after that spirit. Derzhikrai was a powerful spirit warrior, commanding the secrets of Death and Kingship, and creating an ancestral legacy that Orel Tvarivich strives to emulate.
The use of a Gaelic name is intended to have significance to Black Spiral Dancers, Orel Tvarivich’s sworn enemies. The fallen tribe’s cultural traditions stem from Pictish/Gaelic peoples, a tainted continuation of the Scotland-based White Howler Tribe.
The Sleá Bháis is a “lion lance,” an ancient style of weapon. It looks very much like a standard klaive, but grander; it has a broader blade and a much longer handle. The weapon’s overall length is four feet, almost three of which are from the handle alone. A broad blade makes up the remaining length, and the handle is capped with a large pommel.
A lion lance serves the role of both short spear and long axe. The lance has a medium haft with a very heavy, broad head used for hacking as well as thrusting. Anthropologists suggest the weapon was designed to hunt animals from foot as well as horseback. The large pommel helps a rider maintain his grip when swinging the weapon at its longest reach.
The earliest examples of lion lances are Paleolithic, over five millennia old. Early versions were made of knapped stone and found among the ruins of Botai culture, a proto-Turkish people living in the area that is now Kazakhstan, near its northern border with Russia. The Botai are thought to be the first people to have domesticated horses, and the lion lance was their signature hunting tool.
The sheer utility of this weapon shape makes it ubiquitous in pre-medieval cultures the world over. In India, the bhuj was used by elephant riders in all manners of conflict. In Japan, the ya jiri yari could pierce armor or hack through ranks of infantry. In Denmark, the sparth axe inspired a host of short, derivative pole-arms like the bardiche. Some version of this weapon has at some time appeared in almost every primitive culture across Eurasia.
The blade of the Sleá Bháis is long and straight, with a rounded delta head that narrows abruptly to a point like a leaf blade. The length is 16 inches to the tip, and the breadth is 11 inches across. The blade’s thin point is capable of splitting linked or riveted chain, or shearing into the plates of heavier armor. The blade’s straight sides each bear a thicker cutting edge, suitable for hacking rather than slicing.
The material used for the blade of the Sleá Bháis is fetish-hardened silver, some purchased by Orel Tvarivich, some of it scrap that Jov Kutznitopf already had on-hand. This metal was worked and purified in a ritual fashion until it became suitable for use in a weapon of this power. The exact forging techniques remain a secret to members of the Kutznitopf dynasty.
A number of glyphs adorn the flat of the blade. One side’s glyphs describe the station and aspects of Derzhikrai, the Ancestor spirit bound into the weapon. They include Elder Rank, Homid Breed, Theurge Auspice, Silver Fang Tribe, Crescent Moon House, Moon Lodge, and Ivory Priesthood Camp. The glyphs on the other side give the Garou name for the weapon, “Death Lance.”
The blade of the Sleá Bháis is mounted to a sturdy shaft, with almost three feet of exposed length. The mounting is secured by a set of three through-pins.
The core of the haft is a very modern carbon alloy that provides strength and flexibility, while remaining lightweight. The length of the handle is tightly wrapped in leather to improve the comfort of the grip and enhance hand traction.
The base of the haft bears a large iron pommel, an inverted bell with a rounded butt.
Sheath and Harness
Historically, a lion lance was carried in the hand; sheathes were not prominent in the places and cultures of their use. Only the highly-ornamental Indian bhuj is commonly seen with a sheath, a metal blade cover of equal ornamentation but of little practical function.
Jov Kutznitopf crafted a simple leather sheath to cover the blade of the Sleá Bháis. The covering is marked with sixteen Garou glyphs, one for each of the original tribes.
The sheath is attached to a leather harness, allowing the weapon to be worn on the back. The lance hangs handle-down, with the blade riding high between the user’s shoulder blades. A strap over the left shoulder can be pulled to open the sheath, releasing the weapon into user’s right hand, reaching down behind his back. The positioning of the sheath makes it difficult to put the weapon away. It requires an assistant standing behind the user, or the whole harness must be removed to bind the weapon into the sheath.
Klaives typically bear a spirit of war. And grand klaives usually bind in another spirit or two to heighten the power of the weapon or make its functions more versatile. The Sleá Bháis has only one spirit, Derzhikrai. This is the spirit of Orel Tvarivich’s most powerful ancestor. His aspects are sufficient to power all of the grand klaive’s functions. He remains the greatest inspiration in Orel Tvarivich’s life.
Derzhikrai was a powerful Slavic chieftain who ruled several great clans in the old Rus during the Tenth Century. He was also a Garou. In life, Derzhikrai was a Theurge of the First Tribe, a powerful spirit warrior and speaker with the dead. Derzhikrai fully embraced Luna’s two great gifts to the Silver Fangs, the Secret of Kingship and the Secret of Death.
As an Ancestor spirit, Derzhikrai has an aspect of death. He employs this as a function of war. The primary spirit in nearly every klaive has an aspect of war, and Derzhikrai is no different. It is this aspect that allows the silver blade to bite deeply, to inflict aggravated wounds on enemies who are not werewolves.
As a secondary aspect, Derzhikrai embodies the Silver Fangs’ right of kingship. He was particularly renowned among spirits and commanded them by the legion. It is for this aspect that Orel Tvarivich selected this particular Ancestor spirit. For the secondary functions of the grand klaive, the interactivity with spirits, are those that Orel Tvarivich believes will be most necessary for his survival in the coming year.
Derzhikrai is an Ancestor that Orel Tvarivich has called upon many times in his life. Despite their long relationship, the spirit would never consent to be bound into any fetish of lesser importance than a grand klaive.
Like all grand klaives, the Sleá Bháis is a terrifying instrument of battle. When activated, the glyphs on the blade glow with a ghostly white light and a soft, hollow moan emanates from it. The magic of the fetish invests the blade with a spectral energy that allows the blade to pass, almost incorporeally, though the enemy’s defenses. The blade bites deeply into flesh, leaving wounds that mortify instantly. (These are just flavor descriptors for the standard bonus traits and damage provided by a grand klaive.)
The weapon’s secondary purpose is to aid the wielder in dominating spirits. The user can detect the type and general power of nearby spirits. Knowledge conveyed is from the point of view of an ancient Silver Fang Theurge, so may be subject to tribal prejudices and world views. The wielder can issue simple orders to spirits, who will usually obey, at least partially. This secondary function helps the wielder more easily traverse Umbral habitations, identify spiritual threats, and direct spirits under her command. (The two mechanics from the Custom Fetish Guide are Gifted: Name the Spirit and Gifted: Command Spirit.)
Sleá Bháis is a grand klaive. When not activated, it provides 3 Bonus Traits and has the Heavy Negative Trait. The weapon is Trenchcoat Concealable, inflicts 2 levels of damage in combat, and has the Silver special ability. When activated, the weapon provides 5 Bonus Traits and inflicts four levels of aggravated damage in combat.
Sleá Bháis requires the wielder to expend one level of the Ancestors Background with each attempt to activate, whether by Gnosis Test or by Gnosis Trait expenditure. If the user activates the fetish without also spending a level of the Ancestors Background, the user automatically acquires a Notoriety Trait.
When activated, the grand klaive’s wielder can use the Gifts: Name the Spirit and Command Spirit. These function according to the rules in Laws of the Wild (Revised), with any modifications provided by the Mind’s Eye Society’s Apocalypse Addendum. In all other ways it functions as a standard grand klaive.
From the Custom Fetish Guide:
Grand Klaives are larger Klaives, typically the size of a sword, and usually have multiple spirits bound into them beyond the standard War-spirit. A Grand Klaive that does not have a spirit bound into it follows the same statistics as a Non-Activated Grand Klaive. The Black Spiral Dancers have their own form of Klaives, called Baneklaives that follow the same statistics as Grand Klaives.
Fetish: 5, Gnosis: 7
Bonus Traits: 3
Negative Traits: Heavy
Damage: 2 health levels
Special Ability: Silver
Bonus Traits: 5
Negative Traits: Heavy
Damage: 4 aggravated health levels
Special Ability: Silver, Additional Spirit
The Additional Spirit of a Grand Klaive can comprise up to two of the mechanics listed to make Custom Fetishes, excluding Deep Wounds.
Gifted: This mechanic duplicates the effect of any one Basic Gift. The Gift must be in-Tribe, in-Breed, or in-Auspice to the Fetish maker. Activation of the Fetish accounts for up to two Gnosis expenditures required by the Gift. Any other Trait or Temper expenditures and tests must be made by the Fetish-user when activated. Any Gift mechanics that are dependent on Rank are treated as if activated by a Gift user of a rank equal to one-third (round down) the Fetish’s Gnosis Rating. Gifts activated through this mechanic are subject to the same rules and restrictions as the Gift itself (IE: Gifts that have instantaneous durations require the Fetish to be activated between each use, Gifts that require touch still require the target to be touched, Gifts that can only be activated once per scene can only be activated through the Fetish once per scene, etc.).
From Laws of the Wild (Revised):
Command Spirit (Basic Theurge, Revised LotW): You can give simple orders to spirits and expect them to obey, at least partially. Command Spirit cannot draw spirits from a distance, only command the ones on hand. Spend one Willpower and make a Social Challenge (retest with Leadership) against the spirit’s Gnosis. Each command after the first requires another Willpower Trait. You cannot command spirits to leave areas to which they’re bound; that requires the Theurge Intermediate Gift: Exorcism.
Name the Spirit (Basic Theurge, Revised LotW):
You have learned the Umbral ways and can sense the type and general power of nearby spirits. Spend one Willpower and make a Mental Challenge. If successful, you learn the type and approximate Rage, Gnosis and Willpower of a particular spirit within 50 feet (on either side of the Gauntlet). Further expenditure does not grant more knowledge; you learn enough to get started on research or have a general idea what you’re encountering.