The Widow Harun
Minor Artifact of the Ge'ez
The Gezerite Cross is a metal or hardwood staff, tipped with a spike (typically of adamantine) at the bottom, and topped with an ornate, solid sliver or silver-inlaid cross with a hollow circle at its center. The cross itself is always a richly decorated work of art, featuring various inlays of precious metals, scroll-work and relief, and often also precious gems. It will be at least a foot across but is often much larger. Most Gezerite Crosses are also draped in purple or green cloth like a sash, invariably woven with gold or silver thread added. The staff itself will be about the height of a man, though much larger Gezerite Crosses are known.
When activated (typically by jamming the spike into the earth to plant the Cross in place), a Gezerite Cross produces a Consecrate effect in a 60’ radius, centered on the Cross. The effect persists for as long as the Cross remains upright in the ground. The Cross itself does not count as an altar to Tariq Dede, but an altar nearby will enhance the effect as per the spell description. A Gezerite Cross cannot be used to curse an area dedicated to another deity like a Consecrate spell will. This power of the Cross can be used only once daily.
When used in combat (which happens often), the cross end functions as a +1 Mace of Disruption and the spike end as a +1 Spear made of adamantine, except that it cannot be set for a charge since the cross end must never touch the ground. If this ever happens, the Gezerite Cross loses all its powers and becomes a mundane item.
Finally, if the Gezerite Cross is ever touched by an undead while planted in the ground (typically because those rallying around it have just been overwhelmed), then it explodes in a burst of positive energy equivalent to the retributive strike of a fully charged Staff of Power (Reflex DC 17 half).
Gezerite Crosses can never be bought and sold. They cannot be made by anyone other than a 15th level cleric of the Ge’ez, nor have any been constructed except by a direct commission from the Emperor Tewodros.
The Gezerite Crosses are artifacts commissioned by Emperor Tewodros of Gezer to help combat the undead spreading from Rurikan in recent years. Several dozen were made, each by a very high level cleric of Tariq Dede, ranging in size from staffs carried in one hand to the enormous cross above the altar at the Cathedral of Lalibela in Gondar, which was made personally by the Patriarch of the Ge’ez. Other medium-size Gezerite Crosses were made to be marched at the head of a column of troops of carried by a man on horseback. Most churches and some of the monasteries in Gezer now have a Gezerite Cross, either installed as a fixture in the building itself or carried on ceremonial occasions by the highest-ranking member of the Ge’ez in residence there. Some powerful nobles such as Adam of Gezer have personal crosses as well, which they typically give to the most powerful priest in their entourage, especially when traveling in the hinterland or outside Gezer, where the threat of attack is greatest.
The method of creating a Gezerite Cross requires at least five pounds of silver and a Consecrate spell cast by a Dedeist cleric of at least 15th level. In the final step of the process, the whole item must be immersed in holy water. The sashes used to wrap the Cross are immersed separately, then draped over the Cross, where they magically remain no matter how the Cross is subsequently manhandled.
In Gezer, the cross-and-circle device is centuries old and symbolic of the five directions that Gezerite people believe define all the movements in a man’s life. One can travel north, south, east, or west, but must always eventually move in a fifth direction: back to the center of things, toward Gezer, toward Gondar which is believed to be the geographic center of Faerun. Since the truth of Dede is also found at the ‘center’ of all things, the spiritual journey of each person through life can be understood as a physical journey in a centerward direction, toward truth.