The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients And Other Blades of Power
Of Anathros and Valermos, the fifth and sixth swords
In the ten thousand and eighty second year of the Fifth Age, Luthol, prince of Deylund in the Great Realm and leader of the forces allied against the Shadow Army of Vardor, called for his great navy ships to transport the hoard of the Orwenoch to the Western shores of Dagorlund, as they had demanded of him. Luthol had brought the Orwenoch forth from the Neverworld by the power of the enchanted Shadow Slayer blade, to use their strength in battle against VardorŐs sinister soldiers. The Orwenoch fought relentlessly until all of the Barumen had perished from the Great Realm and now craved to defeat the larger Shadow Army across the sea in the ShadowŐs homeland of Dagorlund; and this was also the domain of their master, the Lord of the Shadows, Vardor. The Orwenoch desired to destroy all of the Barumen bloodline, and Luthol had no choice but to do as the they commanded for fear of their wrath, which was the greatest in all of Ammon; and he set sail with them and a great part of his cavalry and infantry for the West. Unbeknownst to Luthol, the Orwenoch quest to destroy the Barumen bloodline stemmed from a long standing grievance against the Dark One, VardorŐs father, whom had betrayed the Orwenoch long ago at the end of the Fifth Age, nearly ten thousand years earlier. The Orwenoch had allied with the Dark One to defeat the Ancients in a great battle, but the Ancients prevailed and captured the Dark One; and he betrayed the Orwenoch hiding place to them, resulting in the their ultimate banishment to the Neverworld, where they had thereafter been imprisoned. Now they greatly desired revenge against all whom descended from the Dark One, to destroy all of his creations; and in this way they were more an ally to Luthol than he knew. This was unclear to him because the Orwenoch had no spoken language, but conversed rather by thought, and Luthol could perceive only the will and not the reason.
The journey was long and LutholŐs men were anxious and feared the creatures that they harbored in their ships, as occasionally some men had disappeared in the night and were thought to have been devoured. The fleet reached the isle of Kelledros, Northeast of Dagorlund, and encamped on the Western shore facing that Dark Realm. In the night the Orwenoch swam the sea under the strait to take the fortified coast of Dagorlund by surprise, and Luthol sent his fleet to follow. His soldiers reached the shore and thereupon they found the host of the Shadow Army was all but overcome by the Orwenoch, and Luthol burned the enemyŐs war ships and brought down the watchtowers. Now Luthol and his men were charged with courage, for they deemed that their force was as strong as the Shadows, and foresaw VardorŐs downfall.
Aluen, after recieving her vision from Vaelen, returned to the Elves in the East of Ulaine with the remnants of her Mithrodin company; and she convinced them that it was now the time to attack the Uldurin, who had been weakened by their loss of the Umethar, and remove the sword Anathros from the throne. She told of the vision and how Anathros must be used in the coming war against the Shadow Army. Utilizing the UmetharŐs power to create doors, Aluen opened a passage between Elven villages and the Temple of the Anath in the Eldriun Mountains. When all of the forces of the Elves were assembled there they made an assault upon the Uldurin ice city from the rocky mountains to the North where it was least protected and broke through the confines of its frozen outer walls. Aluen sent her sailing vessel, the Rocinante, and all of Elven ships they could muster to feint an assault on the Southern coast of the kingdom, and thus all of the Uldurin forces were on the wrong side of the city when it was attacked. The Uldurin king, who dared not use the destructive power of Anathros within the city walls, was soon overwhelmed and cast down from the throne by Aluen, and his encircled troops surrendered to the Elves. Aluen took possession of Anathros and used its power to bring down the icy walls of the city. The sword was elegant in design, with engraved runes in the blade telling of its powers, and a wire wrapped and polished hilt whose cross guard folded to point towards the blade tip when its power was focused. Thence the city was secured and the Elves praised the Mithrodin and gave Aluen a company of twenty Elven foot soldiers and archers; and Aluen hastily departed with her forces in the Rocinante for Dagorlund.
LutholŐs forces marched for weeks through the Kilgoriun mountain pass to Annundos, where Vardor held his armies in great fortresses and in the center was his command post, Morgadurin, the black tower. The army was assailed many times in the pass, but prevailed in each battle due to the might of the Orwenoch, until they came at last to the mouth of Annundos; and there they were overwhelmed by the Shadow Army, ten thousand strong, which issued forth from the bowels of the earth, and among them were many Baelin. The Orwenoch crushed their front line and drove through the confines of the iron gates into Annundos where LutholŐs forces came to the fortresses surrounding the black tower, but they were protected by a magic wall, unseen to the eye. Luthol called for his Master of Blades, the keeper of his enchanted talismans, and the master brought forth LutholŐs Spirit Dagger, and with it Luthol stabbed the wall and the spirits within the blade shattered the barrier, thus allowing LutholŐs army to attack the battlements. The hosts of both armies suffered great losses, but LutholŐs forces had all but won the battle when a cavalry, clad in black armor and flanked by a score of Baelin, rode forth from the great arched passages in the foot of the black tower to the front lines. Leading the cavalry were Vardor and his six generals, and the wizard Navros, who kept the besiegers at bay by casting a spell around his companions.
Vardor was wrathful upon seeing that the Orwenoch had indeed returned, and he rode to the nearest one and demanded a parlay, at which point the Orwenoch horde ceased the battle and surrounded VardorŐs cavalry, closing through NavrosŐ magic barrier. Vardor, upon witnessing this, knew then that the Orwenoch were not flesh and blood, but spirits called forth from the Neverworld as he had surmised. He withdrew his sword Valermos, the sword of fire, from its scabbard and held it aloft and its rune-covered blade turned black and burst into flame. The black hilt was adorned with the shape of the fire scarab and the symbol of the eternal sun was engraved in its pommel. Valermos was one of the Swords of the Ancients, and among its many powers was the ability to command creatures that served the fires of hell and those in spirit form. Vardor cast its power upon the Orwenoch and, against their will, he became their new master; and they turned against the forces of Luthol causing a great part of his troops to perish. Luthol, surmising that to continue the battle was now hopeless, called his army to retreat back to the mountain pass, but the Orwenoch followed.
In the harrowing days that ensued LutholŐs army reached their ships at the strait of Kelledros, but less than half of their numbers remained as the others had been overcome and had perished in the pass. The way was long and the soldiers were weary of battle, but the Orwenoch were soon upon them once again. Only a handful of ships survived the onslaught to reach the isle beyond the strait, but ere long the enemy would follow. LutholŐs generals, out of desperation, tried to seize the Shadow Slayer from his possession to break its blade, thus ending the spell and sending the Orwenoch back to the Neverworld; but Luthol refused and he was slain. The traitors broke the talisman but its destruction only caused the dread beasts to be free of the NeverworldŐs grasp. At this time AluenŐs ship reached the isle of Kelledros, guided by VaelenŐs vision, and she saw from afar the retreating vessels and followed them. Upon reaching the shore of the isle she learned of LutholŐs demise and the coming hoard of the Orwenoch, who were now visibly crossing the waters. She persuaded one ships company of mariners and foot soldiers that all hope was not lost, for she held the Umethar and it had the power to bring those slain back to life, and they followed her. The two ships sailed twenty leagues North to the bay of Ilmarin, while the Orwenoch reached the isle of Kelledros behind them and thereupon slaughtered the remainder of LutholŐs scattered men.
Aluen and her troops journeyed Southeast by the Atoror River, North of Annundos, and then by foot made way South to the mountain pass where the main host of LutholŐs forces had perished. At length they found a company of Barumen in the midst of burying LutholŐs dead troops in great pits and gathering their weapons. Aluen, by invoking the power of the sword Anathros, caused the earth to tremble and open, revealing the dead, and then by UmetharŐs magic she bestowed them with life; but they came back not as the living, but as the undead. UmetharŐs power had dwindled in the ages since its creation and it could not make them entirely whole again. The Barumen fled at the sight of the dead arisen and Aluen commanded her undead soldiers to take up arms and follow in the name of Luthol, and they obeyed. Thence they marched on to Annundos.
Vardor had retreated into Morgadurin, his black tower, after sending the Orwenoch, his generals, and the sorcerer Navros to pursue LutholŐs retreating army through the pass thirteen days afore. His Shadow Army of ten thousand had been all but massacred and only his personal guard, cavalry, and a multitude of Baelin hidden in the caverns below the fortresses remained. Thus his forces were unprepared when AluenŐs army of the undead besieged his strongholds in the night; and he called his Baelin forth from the caverns but it was too late, for Aluen used Anathros to collapse those dark tunnels and crushed the Baelin within. The vanguard of the undead then assailed the black tower guard and AluenŐs company set upon the Barumen soldiers streaming from its five black mouths. But Aluen herself entered one of those mouths of Morgadurin alone, seeking Vardor, and the Barumen guard fled from the sight of her, for she had the tattooed markings of the Mithrodin, signs of her great adeptness in combat. Therewith she discovered Vardor in his great lower hall waiting, for through his dark powers he sensed her and the sword she possessed. His sword Valermos blazed with fire and he assailed Aluen, and the most fierce battle in all of Ammon was fought, but Aluen was the greater skilled of the two and she disarmed Vardor and beheaded him with Anathros. Thus the Shadow Lord, bane of mortals, was at last rid from Ammon.
The sorcerer Navros, upon returning to Annundos with his company of Orwenoch from the battles to the East, spied the attack and hastened by horseback to the black tower to protect his master, but he was too late; for Aluen emerged from one of its mouths holding VardorŐs severed head high. The Orwenoch were free of his command and the remains of the Shadow Army lost all hope at the this sight, but Navros did not, and he cast a spell of blindness upon Aluen and rode her down with his armored steed. Before AluenŐs forces could aid, he took Valermos from her and escaped through the Western Mountain pass into the dark wastes of Nasnandos.
Aluen regained her sight and was healed after a time and her company repaired what ships of the great fleet still remained seaworthy. The Orwenoch claimed dominance in Annundos and warned the mortals to leave its lands and never return. Thence the company made the long journey back to the shores of Deylund, bringing with them the army of the undead; and those souls were at last put to rest in the earth of their homeland. The Great Realm had peace once again but all evil was not cleansed from the land and darkness was growing in the East.
The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients and Other Blades of Power and its previous versions, The Swords of the Ancients and its abridged excerpts, and other forms, are ©1997 and ©2005 by Kit Rae. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any other form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, computer networking, or otherwise without prior permission in writing by the copyright holder(s).