The Earth-Mother's Gift
From Merahilani, they came. A beautiful stranger clad in gentle robes, their face hidden away behind a mask. They beseeched us for succor, and we offered it gladly. Only when they left the next day did we learn what happened to those who had refused.The Earth-Mother's Gift is a legendary Takawaokan artifact that has traversed the hands and faces of many great warriors, scholars, and politicians through the long history of the southern continent. It is one of many artifacts created to protect a given people, now repurposed in each reappearance to defend against whatever rising threat is next.
Its known history is rather a short one, owing to the mask's usually-subtle nature - the remnants of its true history are almost certainly lost to time. The current well-known iteration of the mask appeared only in the past century, after a group of Tzoltecah raiders carved a bloody swathe north through Merahilani to obtain land necessary for growing the crops that could not grow in Xotlan's ashswept plains. Not an uncommon occurrence, with Rhaead often preventing more peaceful solutions. The tribe that had held the mask were wary of its power and refused to wear it, and though the Tzoltecah took the mask from the sacred pool they had trapped it within, they were cautious. They left it well-covered and secured, and kept it with them in secrecy. It was not later until they had returned to their own lands that the mask came under study and experimentation. The first to wear it was a brave warrior, and the moment it cleaved to his face, it shifted to represent his bold personality and brightly-coloured armour. At first, its powers seemed limited - nothing much seemed to happen.
Aside from the implications of the Lament, though, the Mask exhibits terrifying properties of transformation, yet with a bizarrely protection-focused twist. Those wearing the mask do not seek to sow misfortune as the Unbroken March did, nor do they spur war like the Spiritblade. Instead, they seek to protect those they love, and wreak unholy fury on those threatening their peace. The mask does also seem to possess some connection to water; each of the times it has been found away from an individual, it is always located in some form of water. Shiari scholars aware of the artifact suspect a connection to the Sea of Souls due to this and the odd way it seems to corrupt an individual's soul for its own purposes; those rare few aware of the Shards of the Void seek to prevent knowledge of the Gift becoming widespread at all costs.
The abilities possessed by the Gift are largely unknown in scope. It has been pinned as the likely cause of Gaia's Lament, a strange conflict arising from a haunting sound - though the exact date of this sound, or indeed the exact duration of the Lament, is also unknown. If it is the cause, then the Gift is capable of large-scale warding magic potent enough to hold off multiple demigods from being able to return to their planes, and additionally potent enough to prevent all magics involving the creation of food or water for the purpose of either directly consuming or aiding consuption from functioning.