The Helvault was one of the holiest objects on the plane of Innistrad. A large piece of silver said to be from the moon of Innistrad, the Helvault served as a prison for the demons too powerful for Avacyn and her angels to destroy.
Even before the time of Sorin Markov and his grandfather Edgar, before Innistrad's race of vampires existed, the people of Innistrad feared demons. Few of these demonic creatures ever made themselves manifest, to the point that some believed demons were mythical or long dead. But others knew the legends of wicked demon-spawn were true and they feared the day when the demons would return.
Edgar Markov created vampirism on Innistrad thanks in part to the prodding of a fiendish figure called Shilgengar. Shilgengar was one of few demons to exist on the surface of Innistrad at the time, and as it turned out, he became a kind of harbinger for his own kind. Edgar inflicted his curse of vampirism on his grandson, Sorin, awakening Sorin's latent planeswalker spark. And later, Edgar's actions indirectly led to a resurgence of demons in the world.
Now a Planeswalker, Sorin lived and traveled and fed his vampiric thirst for decades, and then the decades stretched into centuries. When he returned to Innistrad and saw the threat to life on Innistrad that vampires and other supernatural monsters represented, Sorin took action.
He created the archangel Avacyn to safeguard humanity, providing both vampires and humans a way to subsist in the world. And Avacyn carried out her assignment with zeal.
The archangel Avacyn and her host of angels took up the sword against those who would harm humanity. They slew vampires with holy fervor, prompting Sorin's kin to brand him a traitor to their kind. The angels thrashed the werewolf howlpacks that threatened to overwhelm those towns bordering the wilds. They banished malevolent geists that haunted the shipwrecks and ancient manors of the plane. They incinerated unholy ghouls with piercing light. They were never able to cleanse the plane of evil, but Sorin's creation had done her job.
Humanity was able to flourish again. The Church of Avacyn grew up around the archangel, and faith in her helped fend off the flesh-hungry monsters. The power balance on the plane tipped in humanity's favor.
The retreat of the supernatural fiends of the plane opened a space, an opportunity for Innistrad's infernal forces to manifest. Like Shilgengar long before, the demons and their hosts of impish devils began to make their presence known in far greater numbers.
Avacyn engaged each demon in single combat, defeating them one by one. She found that new demons would appear a short time later and decreed: "What cannot be destroyed must be bound." She then forged a collar of silver to bind demonkind, so they could be hauled away and imprisoned. The Silver Collar became Avacyn's symbol and the holy symbol carried by Avacynian priests and cathars.
One by one, Avacyn and her host of angels captured the demons, imprisoning them in a huge mass of silver that came to be called the Helvault. Said to be a piece of Innistrad's silver moon, the Helvault sits in the cathedral yard in the High City of Thraben overlooking a cliff's edge and the sea beyond. Stories say it and Avacyn first appeared on the same night, and it remains the most holy object on Innistrad after Avacyn herself.
With the proper incantations and rituals, Avacyn and her angelic host could cause wicked creatures to be drawn into the Helvault. She trapped so many demons within the Helvault that only a handful remained. To the relief of all but the demon-worshipping Skirsdag cult, demons and devils were largely out of human life.
Avacyn & Griselbrand’s BattleEdit
It was only a short time ago that the demon Griselbrand, the most powerful of his kind and one who had never become imprisoned, committed an act of unprecedented boldness and heresy: he landed on the Helvault itself, under a full moon, and challenged Avacyn to combat.
Avacyn and Griselbrand battled for days, out of view of all but Avacyn's host; the Lunarch, Mikaeus; and his most trusted bishops. Finally, in an act of desperate effort, Avacyn used all of her remaining strength to drive Griselbrand into the Helvault. As his final act, Griselbrand threw his spear and impaled the archangel's heart. The binding spell backlashed as she was impaled, and Avacyn was drawn into the Helvault herself.
Innistrad's most powerful demon was now encased in a great silver mass, as was the archangel Avacyn herself, keystone of the Church and protector of humankind. The words of her own spell imprisoned her: "What cannot be destroyed must be bound."
Avacyn was gone. The lunarch reeled. Church officials struggled with what to tell the general populace, and whether to keep Avacyn's imprisonment a secret. As the days and weeks went by, practitioners of the faith felt the effects. Holy wards failed and prayers to Avacyn went unanswered. Avacyn's host of angels dwindled and were seen more and more rarely.
Rumors abounded that Avacyn had abandoned the world, leading to a crisis of faith across all four provinces. The evil creatures that were once held back by Avacyn's power, sensing the absence of holy might, became bolder and hungrier.
Sometime after the imprisonment of Avacyn and Griselbrand within the Helvault Liliana Vess arrived on Innistrad searching for Griselbrand, who was one of her three remaining demonic debtors. Having gathered clues about his whereabouts from across the plane she traveled to the city of Thraben to speak with the head of the Skirsdag cult who also was a member of the clergy.
After a short battle which left the cultist at the verge of death did he tell her that although he did not know where Griselbrand was he did know someone who did. With his final breath he told her the only person who knew the demon’s whereabouts had recently been killed during the Siege of Thraben.
With a smile he gave her the name of the person, Mikaeus the Lunarch. Liliana made her way to the final resting place of Mikaeus and, using her necromancy, brought him back to life. The unhallowed Mikaeus told Liliana about the epic battle between Avacyn and Griselbrand and their current imprisonment within the Helvault.
With her target now in sight Liliana tapped once more into the power of the Chain Veil, she summoned a group of ghouls to defend her and proceeded to cut down any cathar or angel that stood in her way. As she arrived at the Helvault Thalia and her company of elite cathars appeared to defend the Helvault from the intruder.
Knowing she cannot destroy the Helvault herself she used one spell to paralyze Thalia’s men making them unable to defend themselves from her ghouls. She then put a spell on Thalia and the Helvault and gave her a choice, either let the Helvault be destroyed or her men will be killed.
Thalia wracked her mind, should she allow the Helvault to be destroyed despite her vow to protect it or let her men be killed? It only took the strangled cry of one of her men for her to make up her mind, whatever the Helvault was it had not saved humanity.
Crestfallen, Thalia pointed to the Helvault completing the spell. Cracks began to appear on the surface of the Helvault until it shattered and also caused Liliana’s ghouls to disintegrate.
Liberation of Avacyn and the DemonsEdit
A golden helix suddenly erupted from the Helvault and shot skyward, it was Avacyn who had survived her wounds and was now free from his prison. Streaks of black aether spewed out from the remains of the Helvault while everyone’s attention was fixed on Avacyn.
Liliana departed shortly afterward to continue chasing Griselbrand. The remains of the Helvault would later be melted down and used as weapons and armor.
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