Thus writes Martlegar of Sternwall:
"In the days of King Othelgar, a terrible enemy came in great numbers across the sea. They slew many of the people who lived along the shores, and many more they carried away to slavery and doom. None could stand against these fiends, and a great number of knights were killed.
Thus it was that the noble king sent his finest knight, the Blessed Osberth, to deliver his people from their scourge. Many and great were his deeds already; his spurs he had won after having defended a village from an elvish attack.
Once the Blessed Osberth came to the shorelands he sought out the fiercest of the foes and challenged him to single combat. For a full day they fought before the enemy fell before the steel-clad knight. So awed were the enemies that they departed the lands and vanished into myth.
The Blessed Osberth himself suffered terrible wounds in the combat, and once the last of the fiends had left, he succumbed to his injuries. Such was the valour of the saintly knight that even in death he watches over the watches over the righteous."
There are three known reliquaries dedicated to St Osberth, these contain his sword, his left arm, and his head. The two former are in the possession of the Order of the Black Friars, the latter in the Scholae of Treviaro.
I have myself visited all these three and more. They are what Armatrix calls Fetters, or artefacts serving as a metaphysical anchor for outerworldy entities. There are presently one hundred and seven and fourty alleged angelic reliquaries in Western Eria.
The term angel is subject to some confusion and controversy amongst the learned, but the guardian angels of the saintly relics have been declared pure by the High Collegium of the Cabal of Pure Thought. Still, there are many who hold them to be akin to any Outsider, and thus that prayers offered to a saint are blasphemous in nature.
In my studies I have come to conclude that the angels of the saints are indeed from beyond the Veil, but that there is nothing corrupt or foul about them. These entities are aspects of the saints, and thus pure in nature and intent. In fact, of the five angels I have encountered, only one, the Angel of the Sword of St Osberth, was capable of communicating in any constructive manner outside the sentinel's simple challenge.
There is an established theory, as described by Theophrastus, that says that the saintly angels were once benign spirits, bound by the saint in life. Another common theory holds that the angels are the souls of the saints, protecting the living even after death. This theory can easily be refuted as an unabridged truth by the fact that no man has more than one soul, and thus no saint would have more than one angelic relic. Another theory again states that the angels are spirits drawn to the earthly remains of saints by the worship of believers.
I myself believe that all these theories are in part true. It is known that certain humans have such a great soul that they may remain attached to the mortal world even after their death. One such example is St Anivia. According to Iacomo de Cortona, the angelic form of the saint herself protected the Monastery of St Anivia of Mantellavia until its destruction in YE 266.
The angels of St Osberth are examples of the other two theories. The Angel of the Sword was in all likelihood bound by the saint in life, and continues to serve even after the death of the binder. The other two angels appear to be simpler in nature, and I believe them to be lesser spirits drawn to the reliquaries by the prayers of the believers.
It is a curious paradox that even Macharius condones the worship of saints and their angels, exempting these from the ban on all communion with Outsiders.
[picture source: Karen's Whimsy]