The Seven Swords

The legendary weapons known only as the Seven Swords are possibly the most destructive force on the face of Allornus. These immensely powerful enchanted blades have been in the world for centuries - some even say that they were the first swords, the template upon which the iconic weapon was based. Whether or not this is true, an army that carries one of the seven at its head is unstoppable, and one who wields one of their number, invincible.

Almost six thousand years ago, in a time before reliably recorded legend - a time made up of myth and legend - there lived a worker of metal in the northern lands where eastern Haedrasia now sits, in the north of the Ironheads. There is much dispute as to this man's race, some call him bärchak, and others mhulak, and others hobgoblyn, and others a great many more, but most agree that he was called Kandar, and would come to be known as Kandar the Mad. But Kandar was not always mad. In the twilight of the First Age it happened that Kandar was at work at his forge, forging axeheads of brass and copper for warriors, when the sky darkened, and then turned a terrible red. And where others cowered with fear, Kandar chanced to look up and saw falling from the sky a star (many say it was an awful divine disaster known as the star-rain). And as he watched, enchanted by the star and the trail of quicksilver in a colour that did not exist it painted on a blood-umber sky, it came closer and closer until the bright star struck him upon the head.

All thought Kandar dead, for the star was of a size greater around than a myr is tall, but Kandar rose, untouched, and without a word he took up the star and walked away into the wilderness with nothing but his great hammer. Few saw him again for months, but while he was gone it became known that Kandar took the star, and examined it, and in time he discovered a crack down its length where it had struck his head, and he was able to break it in two with his hammer like some giant celestial egg. And at the heart of the star he found a silvery shard so strong that nothing he had in his power would scratch it, though he tried for days, building the hottest furnace that his art allowed, and casting it in.

And by and by it occurred to Kandar to take the crude head from his own hammer, and affix the heart of the star to the now bare shaft, to make a crude and ugly hammer. Then he struck the two halves of the shell, and they each broke into several pieces, making seven in all, and they glittered like the finest metal, and Kandar was enchanted by them, and danced and sung and was taken at once by a capricious madness that would remain with him all his days.

And so, with his forge and hammer, he cast the shattered parts of the star-shell into seven weapons - not axes nor knives, but long blades that are said to have been the first swords, and he poured all of his skill, and his madness into these swords, and made them the finest weapons the world would ever see. And each learned a portion of his will and a portion of his mad desire, and each developed, if not an intelligence, a will, all of its own - taking a part of Kandar with it when it was doused for the last time.

Then Kandar travelled to the far ends of the world, and now and then he stopped, and he left one of these weapons, sometimes in the hands of a man, or child, sometimes in the limbs of a tree, or driven into a stone, or cast into a lake, until they were all gone. All seven, left at the far corners of the world, in the wake of a singing, capering madman. And where every sword was left it sowed chaos and terror all about it, but myr desired it. Still, after a time the swords took from their gleeful owners, everything, and left them empty and lost - wanderers who simply vanished from the world, and the swords with them, only to appear again centuries later on the other side of the world.

As for Kandar himself, he too vanished, but where he had passed and people believed him some wonderful and bountiful patron, who had brought them a great and powerful gift, he was venerated as a divh, and even today his name remains in a many regions, and those smiths who remember him invoke his name before they undertake work upon a weapon of war. And some say they hear merry laughter and mad songs in the ring of hammer on anvil.

Maimbron, the Equalizer

Shard, Madforge, Doomhammer, Hammer of Kandar

The first, and perhaps the greatest, of the weapons made by Kandar the Mad was not a weapon at all, but rather the tool that he used to create the seven swords. Called Maimbron, Shard, the Hammer of Kandar, Madforge and Doomhammer, the hammer is said to have been the smith that imparted the powers of the swords upon mere star fragments, and Kandar merely the implement that the hammer used to wield it. The hammer is said to be a crude wooden shaft, so ancient that it is crumbling away, but still somehow intact, surmounted by a head that looks to be made of a sliver of obsidian, except that it glitters with silvery powder like the night sky, and glows a faint flickering blue in the night time hours. One end is ragged like broken stone, and the other beaten flat by some titanic force.

It is said that the hammer can break any substance, and will crack anything it strikes, and can forge any metal, or destroy any foe, for no matter how hard the metal, no matter how strong the stone, it will strike it with force uncannily exact, so as to break it. Be it swung against stone or steel, man or beast, what it strikes it will break. And when it forges a weapon it seems to impart power upon that weapon, though never anything so great as that to which it gave the first seven swords. The few times Maimbron has made a weapon, it has always made one of uncanny properties and deft workmanship.

The Swords

The seven swords are know through legend the world over. They have each appeared, mysteriously, to men who went on to be great and tragic heroes or villains of their times, sometimes appearing to a petty player in some greater narrative, only to fail him when their true owner came by, sometimes just appearing, and sometimes being handed out by a mysterious old madman. Whatever the manner in which they are given, the swords always bring great and glorious victory. But their rage, their hunger and their capacity for destruction, in different ways, are horrifying to all but the most hardened warrior, and the terrible toll they take upon their owners - turning them into shells, little more than instruments designed to wield a sword - always leaves men lamenting that they ever took them up. If they even remember the day that they did.

Akadane, the Lucksword

Boonforge, Blessing, Sword of Destiny, Marigor

The stout, unremarkable shortsword Akadane, aptly called the Lucksword, is the most subtle of the seven, and while its powers are not characterized by massive desolation and murder, it is no less of a boon to its wielders than its fellows. The Sword of Destiny increases the fortunes of its chosen owner, whether it is in his hand or not, as long as it stays with him, tenfold. The Lucksword's choice will find every road paved with dropped coin, and every route ends in opportunity. He will have his fortunes better, his dreams fulfilled. He will find his uncanny luck saves life and limb in even the most inescapable situation, and he will feel more favoured than even a divhi's most prized champion. And he has hunches that lead to wondrous salvation, or guide him on the right route so reliably that he will learn to navigate life by them more than his own sense.

Uniquely, Akadane does not choose to drain all of its wielders, finding certain owners whose fortunes it turns without sapping their very being as the other swords do. Sadly, the mercy of Akadane is often short-lived, for when it chooses to leave it simply disappears when it is done with a wielder, seeming to fall from scabbards, never to be seen again. And even though those who have carried it, but never drawn it forth in anger, are often left with themselves, they will pine for their lost fortunes. Most stumble into foolish deaths or else take their own lives within a season.

Akadane is one of the most frequently seen of all of the seven, though its purported appearances might be seen as great strokes of fortune as much as the powers of the lucksword. Its last known coming and going through the world was in the hands of a common shepherd, whose name has not survived, who had lost his parents and home to invading marauders, in the lands around Sipra some hundred and fifty years ago.

Gundaan, the Dominator

Sword of Majesty, Kingmaker, Manslicer, Parusis

The so-called Sword of Emperors, Gundaan is a magnificent and terrible weapon. This willowy longsword has been fitted with a beautiful basket hilt of white gold, inlaid with gems and worked by the finest jewellers. Its hilt is wrapped in exquisite white leather, and its scabbard is of the same. The blade is lovingly polished to an almost mirror-like sheen, and men who look into it see crowds chanting their names, and great monuments erected in their honour. Gundaan is called the Dominator because this is precisely what it is does. When its chosen wielder draws it forth Gundaan makes him appear beautiful, radiant and glorious. Suddenly his every word is the very core of the truth, the exact notion that sings in the heart of all those around him. Throngs of eager servants press around him in the hope that he might deign to tread upon their backs as he passes, and any man thereafter speaking ill of their new lord will be their mortal enemy. Crowds have more than once literally torn one another apart to be close to their idol, who they hold in highest esteem, forsaking any man, myr or divh who would claim to be his equal.

To its chosen, Gundaan delivers empire, the world is his eager servant, but it also instils in him a hunger. The entire universe would not be enough, for the wielder of the Dominator must have all fall before his feet. He will be fearless, driven, and lust for power beyond the scope of that possible for any but the eternal divh. Eventually this lust invariably consumes Gundaan's wielder, and he vanishes in search of new worlds to conquer.

Many say that Marius reunited the Haedrasian Empire with Gundaan in his hands, though few can confirm this rumour. No reports more reliable than here say have arisen of Gundaan since the reunification, and some say that Marius realized the terrible power of the weapon early enough that he was able to imprison it, and himself, so that it could not cement its hold on the line of Imperators. Others say that now it is in the hands of the immortal Divh-Imperator himself!

Kartaado, the Nemesis

Doombreed, Doombringer, Feytaker, The Spear of Forgetting, Faithbreaker, Thothmuth

Once a shortsword, many years ago a zmey-slayer turned the blade of Kartaado into the head of one of their unusual long-bladed spears, transforming it into an oddly thick, heavy spear. With its hilt and crossguard removed, only the slim, silvery blade remains. Though thicker than the head of any spear, it is narrower than a normal shortsword, and much lighter. Cleft up the centre as if for trapping weapons, the blade is of a shimmering silver, and the cutting edge is strange to look upon, but after careful examination it becomes clear that the very edge of the blade is so fine that it cannot be seen by the naked eye, making the blade blur like something seen through squinted lids. When it is swung, Kartaado sings as it cuts the very air in twain. The haft is finest polished blackwood, inlaid with arcane sigils and signs - proof against the unnatural sharpness of the blade.

The weapon is so sharp that no substance in the world will stand against it - perhaps this is why it was refashioned - but this is not the spear of forgetting's greatest power, for it is said that it turns a foe's greatest strength against them. Sadly, it also has a further effect beyond merely turning its wielder into one of the lost, it also causes him to slowly begin to forget his life before taking up the spear. Eventually forgetting who he is and what he was before he took the spear in his hands, remembering only the spear.

Said to be in the hands of a knight in the north of Ralstaa some three centuries ago, the spear and the nameless knight went on to save many villages from trol attacks, and fight amongst a great Ralstaan host against a Haedrasian incursion, defeating the legion champion in single combat with ease. The knight vanished into the darkest part of the Starwood and never emerged.

Saanbane, the Shadow Walker

Curseblade, Turnjoy, Labrosias, The Imperial Sword, Lambord, The Crossing Sword, Fairflight

The reflection in the mirror-polish of Saanbane's blade is a precise window to the shadow world, and light does not reflect from the sword, but rather passes through it, and out of it, like a hole more than an object. The hilt and cross-guard are lacquered black, and the pommel is a large midnight-blue opal clasped in the claw of a bird of prey. When Saanbane strikes it can neither open a wound, nor even leave a scratch. It seems to pass harmlessly past any foe at a hair's breadth, or even sometimes through them. While people are not harmed by the weapon, now and then those it touches simply fall dead, as if their very spirits were severed from their bodies. Despite never cutting a thing, occasionally it will seem to catch its point, as if on fabric, where there is nothing. And with the right care Saanbane can be used to slice the fabric of reality, opening up a ragged gateway between the waking world and the shadow world. And when the creatures of the shadow world cluster to the opening into the world it annihilates them with the merest touch.

The Shadow Walker, along with Takaado, the Task Sword, was last seen in the hands of the Kardesian known as Braglok the Wanderer. With the powers of both weapons Braglok was able to penetrate Lone Peak, and slay Steltum Thrumbard, the so-called Herald of the End Times, in single combat. However wielding two of the seven - a previously unknown feat - took a toll on even the mighty Kardesian hero, and he lost himself in wandering the world aimlessly, and was last seen passing over the border into the Frozenland three decades ago.

Surrido, the Implacable Sword

Ironwall, Shieldsword, Rhenecrool, Amadon’s Bane

The massive claymore Surrido is the grandest of the seven, and it is dull of blade and hard looking - as if it might sooner split a mountain than break. Its blade, cross-guard and hilt are simple, but robust, and pitted as if they have endured much use and great hardship. The claymore is heavy, heavier than it should be, and the wielder feels a sense of bone-deep tired whenever he holds it in his hand. However, with the sword drawn, only the most titanic blow will harm Surrido's chosen wielder, and the sword might attack sluggishly, but when it blocks an attack it flies like the wind from place to place. Those blows it cannot turn in a flurry of screaming metal and sundered blades, may as well fall upon a man of iron as one of flesh and blood, as they leave not a scratch and are barely even noticed.

Surrido appeared in the hands of a goblyn qadar known as Ashiva, a little under a century ago, on the shores of the Inner Sea, where he used the weapon to dominate much of the northern basin before vanishing when his flag ship went down in a storm. In fact, over the years the only seemingly real appearances of Surrido have been along the banks of the Inner Sea. It seems the weapon has a fondness for the majestic body of water.

Taadane, the Destroyer

Flamebrand, Firetongue, The Red Hand’s Sword, Avenger, Forgeheart, Kaventirn

The shortsword Taadane has a surface like burnished gold, that shines in such a way that it appears that flames dance up and down the blade, leading it to be called Firetongue and Flamebrand. Beautiful swirling designs like smoke decorate the blade, while the hilt is wrapped in intricate brass wire of the same burnished metal of the blade, with exquisite detail, creating a weapon of great, but austere beauty. Taadane not called the destroyer for naught, for when it is drawn it takes control of its wielder, making him a mere instrument of its slaughter. Hacking with uncanny speed, and moving to block uncannily within the arc of its unending attack, Taadane thrums with the thumping of a fevered heart. Its blade becomes first red, then white hot as it strikes again and again, slaughtering all it can reach like a butcher slaughters a lamb. No armour is proof against it, no shield nor weapon can turn it, wherever its blows fall it cleaves limbs, tears flesh, and cripples foes in a cloud of sizzling blood-vapour. Sadly, the wielder can only look on numbly as something of unmatched skill and ferocity wields him, and cleaves through friend and foe alike as long as they are in its reach. Only when there is no one left can Taadane's master stop, and take stock of the carnage he has wrought, usually exhausted and sick at the rage and terror that the Destroyer has channelled through him.

Though Taadane is drawn to the most bloody and violent conflicts, it last appeared in the hands of the magician known as the Red Hand in Dunsain Ralstaa, and he used the terrible sword to cleave through entire armies, and massacre a castle full of men without taking a single wound himself, before simply sitting upon his ancestral throne, seemingly for months on end, and then simply vanishing. It is said he found it in fell Caer Yvengheiste, and there is every possibility that to that mystic labyrinth it returned.

Takaado, the Task Sword

The Sword of Mourning, Widowmaker, Bittertear, Sathokoth, the Slayer Sword, Coldstalker, the Ancestral Sword

The shortsword Takaado is perhaps one of the most fierce of the seven, for once it has found a foe it is unstoppable in its hunt for them. Takaado is narrow-bladed and razor sharp, so as to cut the skin with a mere touch. Its blade is dark, marbled with a sooty black, so that it does not reflect light, and its hilt and cross-guard look almost like pewter, and is engraved with spidery text in what looks like a shaking hand. However the terrifying aspect of the Task Sword is that once it has tasted blood it seeks its victim until he is dead. Once it has drawn blood form a person but not taken his life then the point is always drawn in the direction of its victim, and the blade vibrates and starts to glow with malicious excitement when victim is close. When fighting with its chosen foe Takaado strike with uncanny accuracy and power for the heart, attempting to pierce it and end the life. Unlike Taadane, Takaado does not force its wielder's hand, and waits to be swung, but if its chosen wielder is not pursuing its chosen victim zealously enough, it will quickly find a new owner who will.

The Task Sword is one of the most recent of the seven to appear in the world. Along with Saabane, it vanished into the Frozenland in the hands of Braglok the Wanderer less than a generation ago.

The Lost

Almost invariably, tales of great heroes wielding these weapons end with the hero disappearing, losing himself totally, a slow degradation leading to a dispassionate, empty state. Many say that this is the price the swords exact for their power, feeding off a man's very soul. Others say that this is how these terrible weapons move from place to place where they are needed, turning their wielder into a hollow courier once their job is done.

Legend often refers to these great heroes as 'the lost', and many legends have arisen around their final fates. some say that they are taken to the halls of Kandar the Mad, where they feast and sing and laugh for all eternity, while others say that they vanish from the world to be restored at the end of days when they are again needed. Some say that the swords simply absorb them, feeding upon their souls, while others say that they shed their mortal bodies and become one with the sword, forming a great collective will that drives the swords to choose their next wielder, and when next to appear. Whatever the case, the remains of the lost disappear along with the sword, and unlike the swords, never seem to appear again.