Malefic Means

Fallen Goods:

The chief reason for Oblivion's power to throw things together is its position as the great, devouring maw of all Underworld matter. Everything in the Tempest and Shadowlands eventually spirals down to the mouth of The Void to be destroyed, when its time has come. The dark gravity of Oblivion calls to all, in turn.

But just because a thing is called doesn't mean that it comes along as neatly as a rock falling straight into a waiting pond. Sometimes an object's destruction can be delayed for a long time. It might get buoyed on crosswinds, it might tumble into byways, or islands in the stream...

Or it may slam into the Labyrinth, instead. If it does, there is an excellent chance that a Spectre of one caste or another will find it. The scavenging folk will either keep the things that fall from the sky, or - more likely - present them to a member of a higher caste. This is done both to curry favor, and bargain for other, "better" goods, and such lucky finds are often hoarded by Apparitions and Nephwracks for their Malfean masters.

And should the things required not fall from the sky, some Spectres have a talent of snagging them from the endless storms before the Labyrinth. The Dark Arcanos of Tempest Weaving allows Spectres to get what they need - or at least something they could use - from the winds that whirl by outside their home. So if their masters decree, their servants will reach up to the grotesque skies and pull down whatever is required of them, or suffer the consequences.


Shaped and Pulled:

There are also the arts of Moliation, as practiced by Spectres. Shadowy "Masquers" find that girding another for war is a tough calling, and requires a certain knack, just like their wraithly cousins do. But anyone can throttle a Nothing - or plasmic, for that matter - into a weapon, armor plate, helmet or shield with a little doing. Such weapons rarely last through an entire battle before breaking, or turning to necrotic sludge, but they can make the difference between victory and defeat.

And when it comes to Moliating heavy weaponry, or machines of battle, the imaginations of the Labyrinth are legendary, both in scale and depravity. Tales have been told of massive war engines made from hundreds of spectres, put together by entire packs of degenerate Masquers to fulfill some goal. And such monstrosities may dwarf even Hekatonkhire in size, strength and freakish corruption.

However, just as Moliated goods are usually only good for one battle's use - if that - these great and terrible works cannot hold together for long. It is said that during the Third Great Maelstrom, one Nephwrack ordered the construction of a Moliated battleship. This great doing was made from mountains of Nothings and plasmics, and might well have been the terror of the Isle of Sorrows, had it ever reached there.

But the ship did not even leave the Sea of Shadows. Its bulk proved to be as cancerous and near-liquiescent as the squirming things which went into its construction, and it soon broke apart into sludge. And that was that.


Forged In Darkness:

Should one need material goods that are a little sturdier, there are always the forges. Spectres are, after all, as good as wraiths at the arts of Soulforging. In fact, Lord Nhudri himself was found in the Labyrinth, and had no-doubt imparted a great deal of his knowledge to Oblivion's servants before Charon liberated him.

In the aching expanses of the primal maze, where venomous flames sputter and roar, lie great foundries and factories. And it is there, in those rusted iron slaughterhouses, that the Nothings and captured wraiths are led to be culled and hammered then into the Labyrinth's equivalent of Soulsteel. Weapons and armor can be churned out in great amounts, subject only to the lines of supply and the discipline of those tending the forges.

Since the stuff of Raw Oblivion can be found all over the Labyrinth, one might expect a great deal of what's forged there to be "Stygian" Steel, just under a different name. However, one would be wrong: Stygian Steel is rarely, if ever, made by the servants of Oblivion. In fact, if a high-caste Spectre gets its hands on Stygian Steel Artifacts, it will often take them to the nearest jet of barrowflame and respectfully consign them to slag.

This is because most high-minded Spectres feel that it's sacrilegious to place the raw flesh of their master into something as base as soulforged corpus. The way they see it, Oblivion can stand on its own, and should not be diluted or adorned. That's not to say that the occasional apostate or shifty Spectre won't use the stuff, but that one won't be getting it from the forges of the Labyrinth, and should have a good excuse if caught with it.

{Technically, what was done with the blade of Zyras The All-Consuming - affixing shards of of Oblivion onto it - would also be considered blasphemous. However, any who would impugn Her must also impugn Her legions of black angels, and then have the courage to stand before Her, and her sword, and raise the objection. Needless to say, none have tried, though some wonder if the feud between Her and Lamachis the Devourer wasn't sparked over something like this...}


Darkness In My Hand:

It is also possible to fashion edged weapons entirely out of the stuff of raw Oblivion, itself, and these are known as Shard Weapons. They often appear to be blades made entirely of pulsing, strangely-colored crystal. Others seem to be edged weapons so black that they cannot reflect the light, and seem like a blade made from nothing at all.

The raw, unworked shards are harvested in the deepest spans of the Labyrinth. There, vapor from the mouth of The Void laps onto solid surfaces, and leaves crystalline deposits of pure Oblivion behind. It might take a century for a crystal to grow long enough to become a dagger, and centuries, or even an aeon, for a sword.

Gathering and working with this form of Oblivion is a dangerous business. The spectres who seek it out might be dissolved by the Void, eaten by the horrors that dwell nearby, or lost to their own cargo. And those who would carve the raw, crystalline material require a lot of skill and patience, as well as implements specially made from other Shards. One wrong move and a shard will explode into fragments, releasing a dangerous gas that melts corpus like wax.

The end result of all that dangerous work is a weapon whose cutting power is the equal of Stygian Steel. Any wraith who is damaged by one not only suffers, but has her Shadow strengthened by the wound. And a Spectre who is even touched by one loses whatever's touched to the Void forever.

Such properties make these weapons rightfully feared by wraith and Spectre alike, and only the highest servants of the Labyrinth tend to have them. Followers of some of the more powerful Malfeans make a show of equipping all sepulcher guards, temple priests or forward warriors with Shard Weapons, but this is a rare thing.


The Titan Awakes:

Lastly, there is another, recently-discovered means by which the Labyrinth can arm itself for war. And this is a very literal thing, indeed: thanks to a new understanding of the Labyrinth, the necrotic stuff it's made of can be reshaped, manipulated and controlled.

The advance comes from an ingenious servant of Oblivion. He came into Spectrehood not long ago, but did so as a Nephwrack of Ialdabaoth: a Barrow Neverborn who has slept since the dawn of time, and wakes only when Great Maelstroms begin and end. The crystalline augurs of the Malfean prophesied that he would come, one day, and claim the title of the War Chief. And so he has.

The means by which the War Chief can make the Labyrinth conform to his wishes involves some arcane combination of various Arcanoi and Dark Arcanoi. He needs only make contact with the walls to make entire regions curve and bend to his will.

The reach of such control is limited to the expanse, itself. But those fed who have discovered and refined this new technique are convinced that they will soon leave this limitation behind, and usher in an entirely new era of war. They speak of a day when the Labyrinth, itself, might be sent up to tear the Shadowlands to pieces.

And they speak as though the day is close at hand...