Staff of the Wolf (Rune Staff):

The sounds of wolves howling could clearly be heard over the sound of the wind. Snow was falling steadily and it appeared to be building to a blizzard. Desperation knows no bounds, it was no day to be out but four figures were still out in the deepening snow. This trail was well traveled even in the winter. Wrapped in thick furs, it was hard to tell what they were. Bandits, two Human and two Orcs, they waited by the trail. Like the wolves in the distance, the bandits were looking for prey and anyone on the trail would likely not even notice them until it was too late. The sun was setting and even they were wrapped warmly, they were getting cold. Soon it would be time to pack it up for the night.

Suddenly one of them thought they heard a sound. Looking down the path, he saw what looked like a figure in the distance. It was hard to tell with the deepening gloom and the blowing snow. The bandit tapped the shoulder of the bandit next to him and pointed in the direction of the figure. Slow the figure reveal itself to be a tall figure in robes. A lone traveler would be an easy target. The figures head was down and completely covered by a hood. Nothing of the face could be seen but from the height, thin but over six and a half feet in height, the figure was likely an elf. The figure carried only a walking staff. The was no sword on his side or other weapons. The wolves could feast on his body when they were done.

As soon as the traveler got abreast of the bandits' hiding places, they charge the lone figure as one. While they had only worked this specific trail for a few weeks, they had been together for almost two years. They had been forced to flee their previous territory. First they had ambushed a knight and her companions. They had lost many of their numbers from that encounter. After that, they avoided heavily armed groups. Then the local military garrison began sending out patrols and the survivors were forced to flee. Only these four had stayed together.

The figure responded far quicker than they expected. He turned towards them and held the staff in front of him. This was the first time they could see it clearly. It was jet black and the top appeared to be topped by a wolf's head. He commanded something which sounded Elven although the wind prevented the still charging bandits from hearing him clearly.

Suddenly the sound of wolves howling grew louder, almost as if the beasts were right on top of them. Two bandits were behind the other two by a few paces. Just a moment or two later they were jumped from behind by two positively huge wolves. The bandits were brought down by the weight of the creatures and tumbled into the snow. Fear gripped the bandits as they tried to fight the teeth which were suddenly going for their throats. One almost immediately lost his battle although the other bandit managed to grab the other wolf by the throat and hold the animal off of him. Still it was ultimately a losing fight. The other wolf, blood in its mouth, went to help finish off the bandit.

The closest bandit swung his sword at the robed figure. His staff came up quickly to parry and there was the ringing sound of metal against metal instead of the sound of steel against wood which the bandit expected. From the way he moved, it was obvious that he was not an amateur. The staff was some sort of black metal and the bandit saw that runes ran along the length of the staff. The figure retreated slightly but was able to hold his own against the two bandits which remained. He was even able to get a few blows against them but none were disabling.

Suddenly six more wolves appeared from the blowing snow and charged the two bandits. The bandits went down under the combined weight of three wolves each. In moments, bright red blood spilled all over the fresh white snow.

Some rune weapons break with all of the common definitions of them. Staff of the Wolf is one of them. There are not any other rune weapons known to have similar abilities to it. There is much debate by scholars who study rune weapons about this magic item. The staff is not well know outside of scholarly circles whch strudy rune weapons. Its origins are unknown and there are no mention of the staff prior to the Elven Kingdom in surviving manuscripts. While it is quite possible that written records which mention the item were simply lost, some scholars think that the magic item is of relatively recent origin. There are several gaps in the recent background of the weapon when it disappeared for decades at a time, once almost as long as a century. People who have carried the staff include priests linked to nature deities, druids, earth warlocks, and psi-mystics who are most at home in the wilderness. Few warriors have ever possessed the staff for any real length of time with the exception of a couple of rangers.

The personality of the weapon is hard to fathom and does not really send much in the way of thoughts but instead sends mostly feeling. It is protective of the wolves which it has the ability to summon and will prevent the possessor from attacking wolves. The staff will actively fight the possessor from sending the wolves into what it considers suicide. It is protective of other canines, including dogs and foxes, to a lesser extent but is still protective of them. The staff does not appear to have any strong protective feelings towards wolfen or the other humanoid canine races although it certainly has no hatred for them. Most possessors appear to have a love of the wilderness. Its only real hatred seems to be those who want to destroy the wilderness. The staff does not seem to have any strong feelings of right or wrong and appears to be driven mostly by expedience. If slaying an enemy is the quickest way to remove the problem, if will transmit the feeling of that. It does not seem to bond to those of a true evil alignment, not really evil itself. It also does not seem to bond with the more honorable alignments. It mostly seems to bond with those who are just a bit selfish.

The staff itself is a jet black, almost glossy, and is about six feet in length. While the whole staff is lined with runes, from a distance the runes are hard to see and the staff does not look like it is necessarily made from metal. Most assume at first glance that the weapon is made from a polished ebony wood. On the top of the head is the head of a wolf. Many non magical staves are similarly decorated and there is little to distinguish it at a distance as anything but a normal staff. Of course if someone looks for magic, they will know differently. As with most rune weapons, the staff is incredibly well balanced and shows no signs that it is many thousands of years old. Even without its enchantments, the staff is an exquisite weapon.

Other than the most common enchantments, the staff has two basic abilities. One is the enchantment of "Eyes of the Wolf." As long as a person is holding the staff, they will have limited color vision but this is compensated by multiple other abilities including the ability to see in darkness, the ability to see the invisible, and the ability to track by sight. It gives those who are near sighted or far sighted perfect vision while holding the staff. The other ability is the ability to summon and control canines. It is similar to the ritual but does not require him to draw a pentacle and can be done almost instantly. The wolves will follow the wielder's commands for up to forty hours. In some cases, individual wolves have become attached to the possessor of the staff and have become traveling companions themselves.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2007, Kitsune. All rights reserved.