The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients And Other Blades of Power
In the depths of the Underworld the Dark One bred many terrible creatures in hopes of spawning a beast that could destroy the creations of the Ancients. He drove out most of the Dark Elves that made their abode in the cavernous kingdom of Lokonia under the Tellorien Mountains, but many of the Elves stayed to serve him, ensnared under his evil power. Above all, the Dark One desired power and subjects that would worship him and do his bidding. Even though the Dark OneÕs body had been destroyed by the Mithrodin in the four hundred and eighteenth year of the Fifth Age, a powerful dark spirit remained that could ensnare the weak willed, and it endured for thousands of years in the Underworld.
Through those ages the Dark One created many foul beasts, but none were as terrible as the great Baelin that he created in the four thousand and twenty-seventh year of the Fifth Age. The Baelin were immensely powerful beasts that towered twice the height of the tallest Elf or Man. They were covered in thick furred hides with great bony plates of armor and sharp spined backs. Their great fangs could paralyze and devour with ease. The Dark One created a Multitude of Baelin, but the greatest in stature and might was the first, the one the Elves called Folkor. Folkor was twice the height of the later brood and he sported wings that allowed limited flight, which the beast used mostly for surprise when attacking.
Whence the Elves made their exodus in the four hundred and nineteenth year of the Fifth Age from the Underworld to escape the Dark One they later settled in the Realm of Ammunach along the great river Ragendeld that ran from the Tellorien Mountains to the Southern Sea. Many of the greatest Elven houses arose in the forests on the banks of the Ragendeld over the ensuing ages. Anvari, an Elf of the Evesdrou family, was a renowned warrior of those people and he rode his great horse Eglanti along its borders, protecting it from invading enemies. The Elves were a fierce people and their lands were forbidden to all but Elven kind.
Upon a day in the four thousand four hundred and forty-ninth day of the Fifth Age, Anvari and four of his companions were patrolling the edge of the marshlands to the South of Ammunach they came spied an encampment of Men trespassing their lands. This was in the early hours of the day, before the sun had arisen, for the Elves were night creatures that lived in the twilight while men lived in the daylight. Hearing the ElvesÕ steeds approaching, the Men awoke, and fearing they were being attacked they drew their swords and bows and took to battle against the Elves. The Elves were the swifter on horseback and easily overtook the Men, but one man fought fiercely and grievously wounded one of AnvariÕs companions. At this Anvari, a most skilled lanceman, sent his finest lance, Occsdrow, through the man and killed him. The other men were disarmed and bound. When questioned the men claimed to be of the house of Nattan, from an isle to the south on the great lake Eldinyed. They had been sent on an errand to make contact with the Elves of the North and request aid. The Dark One desired their island to build a fortress, and when the Duke of the Nattan refused to give it up the Dark One had sent his great Baelin, Folkor, to torment them. The Nattan hunted and grew crops in the lands surrounding Lake Eldinyed and Folkor had become a great bane to them. Many warriors were sent to slay the Baelin but all had perished at the horrible fangs of the beast. The Duke had sent his son and the last of the Nattan warriors through the dreaded Balach Marsh to call upon help from the Elves. The DukeÕs son was the one whom Anvari had slain, and now Anvari had great grief over this, for he hoped to one day befriend the strange people of the misty isle.
Anvari took the men deep into the forest kingdom and their story was told to the elders of the great Elven houses, but the elders refused to help fearing that the Dark One would seek vengeance upon them if they interfered with his doings. Anvari argued that the Elves should help the men, for the Dark One may yet attack their own lands and the Nattan would be needed as allies. The elders laughed at this, but even so they allowed Anvari the choice to join the men if he so desired, since he had been the one to kill the DukeÕs son. Anvari owed a blood debt for his wrongful slaying, and the Elves were an honorable people in all things. The Elders armed him with their most sacred heirloom to aid in his task, the enchanted blade Archeros, for no Elf or Man had ever defeated a Baelin; and as many tales had told, Folkor was the greatest of all Baelin.
Anvari gathered his most prized lances and he gave horses to the five men of the Nattan. Together they traveled along the outskirts of the dreaded Balach Marsh to the eastern shores of Lake Eldinyed where Folkor hunted. It only took two nights before they found sign of the beast roaming the shores of the northern inlet of land where the Nattan grew their crops. Anvari, knowing they could not hope to defeat Folkor on open ground, waited until night and alone he silently followed Folkor to his lair in the ruins of the ancient kingdom in the Red Marsh, north of the inlet. Folkor slept there among the ruined stone walls of a long forgotten people, thinking he would be hidden from attack. To Anvari it seemed the perfect place to ambush the beast, but he feared death for the ground was littered with the skulls of many men whom Folkor had devoured and the grass was red as if stained with blood.
The blade of power the Elders had given Anvari was Archeros, and it was a Blade of Chaos forged by the Ancient Ones in the Fourth Age. Its hilt was fashioned in the form of its namesake, an ancient paralyzing sea drake that lived in Ardere, the sea of fire. The blade was decorated with the form of the drake and one stroke of its steel would cause time to slow to a crawl for the one touched. If the user were to touch the blade he would be unaffected, but by drawing a drop of his own blood with the blade he would gain the foreknowledge to accomplish his goals; and this Anvari did.
In the morning Anvari returned to his camp and told the men of his plan to defeat the Baelin. He then trained them in the Elven ways of lance fighting from horseback. After a week had passed Anvari felt the time was right and he led the men to the BaelinÕs lair. When Folkor settled into sleep on moonlit night three of the men rode upon him from opposite directions to confuse and surprise him, but the BaelinÕs great sense of smell had alerted him to their presence. Before the men could throw their lances Folkor gave a mighty flap of his wings and leapt high into the misty air. He came down and crushed one man, and with another leap he landed on the other and devoured him and his horse. At this Anvari signaled to the third man who charged from behind Folkor and launched his lance, but Folkor again leapt before it struck. This time when he came down the other two men and were waiting behind a stone wall and each sent a lance into his chest while Anvari rode with lightening speed at the BaelinÕs side. Folkor sensed the trap and with a mighty swipe of his clawed hand he sent the stone wall crumbling around the two men but he was too late to stop Anvari who had slashed his belly with Archeros as he rode Eglanti under the beast. Folkor tried to leap upon Anvari but found he could no longer move with great speed for Archeros had slowed him down almost to stop. Before Folkor was aware of it, Anvari rode at him again from the opposite direction and sent his finest spear, Occsdrow, into the beastÕs heart and Folkor was at last slain.
Whence the Nattan sent a ship to shore many days later Anvari greeted the men and told of the heroism of his five slain comrades against the Baelin and he gave them gifts to take back to the Duke as payment for AnvariÕs mistaken slaying of his son. One gift was a bladed weapon forged from the metal of OccsdrowÕs steel tip and the armor of the dead Baelin, which he had beaten into its handle, and he called it Folkor's bane, the Adrasil. The other gift was an impenetrable shield made from a single plate of armor from the back of the beast, which he had boiled and beaten to shape with Elven skill. Thus was the tradition born of weapon making from the bones and armor of slain Baelin, and an alliance between Men and Elves was forged from that day forth.
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).