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Traft

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Traft / Saint Traft
Traft / Saint Traft
Birthplace Stensia, Innistrad
Lifetime Unknown
Race Human
Sources
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Contents

[edit] History

In the benighted, vampire-afflicted province of Stensia, on the plane of Innistrad, there was a man called Traft, and the creatures of the night feared him.

Traft was a young priest in the Church of Avacyn. Strong and valiant, he vanquished all manner of evil creatures, specializing in fighting demons along the Ashmouth (a sulfurous pit that leads down into the bowels of the world). Traft's prowess with the sword and his skill with evil-destroying magic was renowned—so renowned, in fact, that the angels themselves honored him. Avacyn's own ranks of warrior-seraphs trusted Traft's skill in battle and fought soul-hungry demons alongside him.

Together, Traft and Avacyn's angels hunted evil along the Ashmouth, slaying demon after demon. Traft's exploits became famous, and he became recognized as a saint before his fortieth year. But as Saint Traft came to learn, demons on Innistrad do not stay away for long. Kill a demon, and it returns to the world in another form in short order—usually with a grudge. When Saint Traft would slay a demon, the black mana bound within it would be released, and safety would be restored to the nearby villages for a time. But that dark mana would coalesce again in some sunless corner of the world, and another demon would be born. Alchemists and theologians of Innistrad wonder whether demonic energy might be an eternal, unchanging quantity, able to change forms but never waxing or waning.

[edit] Traft's Demise

Traft, the celebrated slayer of fiends, had become a thorn in the side of demonkind. While the act of being destroyed was not a permanent obstacle for the demons, Traft's repeated slayings had frustrated their plans to corrupt human minions, gather eternal souls, and feed their lust for power. So, as demons do, they laid a trap and plotted their revenge.

One night, Saint Traft returned home to the human village of Shadowgrange in Stensia. The first thing he noticed was that an angel of Avacyn was perched on the roof of his tiny cottage, her sword drawn as if ready to leap into the air and fight. Angels often accompanied him to battle infernal forces, but none had ever visited his home. The wards above his door had been scratched out and neutralized, and the door hung ajar. The lock had been ripped free of the latch.

The angel didn't speak, but her concern was clear. She was ready to hunt down whatever had breached his cottage. Traft touched the Silver Collar symbol that hung around his neck and greeted the angel with a nod. Then he went inside, and made a horrible discovery.

Spread across his small kitchen table was a map of Stensia. A jagged, demonic dagger had been jammed into the table right through the map, stabbing into the infamous mountain pass known as Needle's Eye. Letters of blood ringed around the dagger, spelling out a message:

COME • WITHOUT ANGELS • OR WE SEND • THE REST OF HER

Resting near the words was the finger of a young girl.

Traft never removed his scabbard from his belt. He turned and left, closing the door behind him carefully, readying his horse to leave for Needle's Eye immediately. But there was the matter of the angel.

A saint rarely lies. But Saint Traft knew he must choose the lesser evil—lying to an angel—in order to prevent a greater one—the death of a child. The dark choice also meant he knew it must be demon's work, tempting him to do wrong.

He looked up to the warrior angel on his roof. "It's nothing," he told her. "I'll handle it."

He got on his horse and rode away, not knowing whether his message was clear.

The angel had sensed the lie, but she also sensed the urgency in Traft's voice and trusted the saint's skill in battle. She did as he wished, and did not follow.

Needle's Eye was a path humans only used in emergencies. It was beset by vengeful geists and blood-lusting vampires, and Traft was alone, without his angelic attendant. Saint Traft used Avacynian magic to protect himself from a cloud of skeletal bats, and had to sacrifice his horse to escape a vampire that had gone mad from blood rage. But he made his way to the highest point of the pass: the crest of Needle's Eye.

He saw a gathering of cultists in robes, their hoods pulled up over their faces. They danced in a jerky, crazed circle around a young girl. The girl was missing her left index finger, and her eyes had rolled into the back of her head. With a flourish, the lead cultist enshrouded her in the same kind of robe that the rest of the cultists wore, and cast a withering grin at Traft. Before Saint Traft could act, the cultist-priest drew from his sleeve an intricately carved dagger made from bone.

"You call your angels, and she dies," said the cultist.

Then the cult-leader uttered a string of syllables and cast a spell. A black, ash-flecked fog gushed from the earth, covering the mountain pass in malevolent darkness. The shuddering, reeling cultists and their victim disappeared into the gloom, leaving Traft blind. From within the cloud came an unearthly voice, a booming laugh that sounded like the echoing rumble of an infinite pit.

This is when Traft would have summoned the host of Avacyn. flights of angels, trusting his call, would have appeared from the clouds and swept the mountain with holy light, purging the monsters.

But Saint Traft was not willing to endanger the child. He didn't even utter a warding spell, fearing that to call upon Avacyn's protection would risk bringing the attention of an angelic flight. He merely drew his sword and stepped forward, wracking his brain to remember where the entranced child stood and where the dancing cultists had been spinning.

Within the dark fog, Traft's blade found cultist after cultist. Each one shrieked with an eerie cackle, their bodies falling to the ground one by one. Finally he slew what he believed to be the lead cultist, putting his sword through the man's heart and letting him drop to the ground, and the fog cleared away.

To his great relief, the girl remained. The cultists had put a spell on her to make her dance, making her indistinguishable from the cult members in the gloom, but he had not touched her. The bodies of the dead cultists bled out onto the ground.

But to Traft's horror, his hand did not hold his sword, but the bone dagger of the cult-priest—and now it was covered in the blood of many sacrifices. He began to hear that echoing laughter again, booming up from below him like infernal thunder.

Betrayed. Tricked into doing a demon's bidding yet again.

Traft dropped the dagger on the ground, and the ground began to crack at that spot, splitting like shoddy fabric. The cultist's bone dagger disappeared into the crack, swallowed by earth.

Saint Traft rushed to unbind the child. He called on Avacyn's aid to dispel the possession spell they had cast on her, and she groggily came to as if awaking from a dream.

"What's happening?" she said.

"Go," he told her. "Run, child. Run home."

As the girl ran down the path toward the village, Traft found his sword hidden in the lead cultist's robe. He turned to face the shattering crack in the earth. As the horns and spreading wings of a great demon rose from the rent in the ground, Saint Traft finally said his withheld prayer, calling on the aid of the angels of Avacyn.

An angel arrived, the same one who had perched upon his cottage. But she was too late. The demon Withengar had destroyed the living saint, the famed slayer of demonkind. With the help of more angelic attendants, the angel pushed back the demon-lord Withengar, unleashing her fury upon him and destroying him for a time. But Saint Traft was no more, and Withengar, no longer bound by ancient magics, began to torment the world once more.

Geist of Saint Traft

[edit] The Geist

The angel was consumed with sorrow and regret, and Traft's spirit burned with restlessness at having played into a demon's scheme. After Traft was buried, he never passed into the Blessed Sleep, and instead became a geist to haunt the world.

The Geist of Saint Traft still appears around Innistrad, particularly around Stensia and near the Ashmouth, the infernal gateway not far from Needle's Eye. One can visit a Shrine of Traft in Thraben, and occasionally receive aid in the form of prophecy and omens.

Saint Traft's geist still strikes at demonkind and other creatures of the night, looking brave and zealous just as he did in life. Although as a geist he does not possess the same holy skill he had in life, it's said that wherever his apparition appears, a certain angel is never far behind, always watching over him and always matching his every movement with her own.

[edit] In-game references

Represented in cards:

[edit] External information

http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/stf/160