(Part 1 of 2; second part with statblock is here)
Fortunately for the people of the world, the cursed broadsword Druniazth  has been missing for centuries. It is a weapon tainted with the madness of the imprisoned Tharizdun and charged with spreading his twisted word. Those who have fallen to its power are said to lay in a slumber of horrifying dreams and visions for all eternity. This blade was not, however, the only armament crafted by Dreamcatchers of Tharizdun. There was another - The Scion of Druniazth that was born from will of High Priestess Ereshkigal and imbued with the elemental power of Tharizdun .
Ereshkigal's Hatchet was forged from same vein of ruinite ore that was stolen from the Far Realm and used to craft Druniazth. The mirror-like, narrow head of the hatchet has a dark purple hue and a jagged, razor-sharp blade. A velveteen mist, that seems to carry with it the sweet smell of decay, slowly exudes from its surface. The ashwood haft of the axe is decorated with thousands of branded runes and pictographs that seem to shift about as they are read. Not quite long enough to wield with two hands, Ereshkigal's Hatchet is also too large to be called a throwing axe - although both are proven to be untrue once the axe is wielded in combat.
Ereshkigal's Hatchet is by no means a benign object. The Dreamcatchers sacrificed a small part of Ereshkigal's own soul, wrapped it in the madness of Tharizdun, and buried it deep into the haft of the axe. Sages have said that minutes after it was finally assembled, and the last wrappings of leather had been bound to the haft, Ereshkigal uttered her last words and vanished along with the axe into the dreamscape of the world.
"And through this weapon, may Tharizdun's madness be channeled and may I serve him for all eternity in spreading murder by the hands of innocents." -- Ereshkigal's Last WordsThus, the weapon was given a life of its own and a sinister purpose as well.
Since that time, Ereshkigal's Hatchet has appeared into the hands of its victims without warning, seemingly out of nowhere. Once in someone's hands, the will of the axe seeks to dominate the mind of the wielder sending them on murderous rampage that only ends with their own death. On a rare occasion, the axe has found itself in the hands of an exceptionally strong willed individual who is able to control the axe's urges to maim and slaughter. But these periods are usually short lived, for a moment of weakness is all that it takes for Ereshkigal's Hatchet to take charge and lay waste to every living creature in sight. These horrifying bloodbaths usually end with the wielder of the weapon taking their own life and the axe disappearing into obscurity.
Most recently, Ereshkigal's Hatchet was thought to be in the possession of Somerled , a stone-troll warlord who, after slaughtering his own people, roams the hills and valleys of The Fetherruin searching for his next victims. The few who have seen Somerled and live to tell about it often remark that he uses the axe to carve, out of his own flesh, stone figurines that resembling his victims (who he then promptly eats). Recently, numerous campsites and caravans have been found seemingly abandoned, but tiny figurines of the missing are left to indicate Somerled's handiwork.
I'll post the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons game mechanics for this weapon in another, upcoming post. Stay tuned!
- Druniazth is an artifact that was featured in Dragon #294 and is detailed as being a weapon closely associated with Tharizdun.
- Ereshkigal means "lady of the great earth" in Sumerian. In Sumerian and Babylonian mythology she was the violent goddess of death and the underworld. Taken from Behind the Name.
- The inset image of the axe was illustrated by Dan Scott - an amazing artist who has been work has been featured on many Dungeons & Dragons, Warcraft, and Magic: The Gathering products.
- Somerled is the Anglicized form of the Old Norse name Somarliðr meaning "summer traveller". This was the name of a 12th-century Scottish warlord who created a kingdom on the Scottish islands. Taken from Behind the Name.