The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients And Other Blades of Power
Evil was born to Ammon in the shape of the Dark One, said to be one of the original Ancients in ages of old, and he wielded the first Sword of the Ancients, Kilgorin, the sword of darkness, from which he drew his power. He made his abode in Lokonia, the underworld, where he created the Barumen, foul, horned creatures with three pupiled eyes that were bred of men, wolf, and ape; and he gathered them in numbers to create the Black Legion, an army that spread like a pestilence throughout the land. The banner of this black army was the three pupiled eye, a symbol of his power over the three great kingdoms of the realm of Ammon: Lumenia, Lokonia, and Deylund. The Dark One designed to destroy all creatures brought forth by the Anath and to seed the world with a brood of his own making. Thence he sent his Black Legion forth from the bowels of Ammon to wage war against the kingdoms of man, Lumenia and Deylund. Those lands were rich with the elements of the forests and plains, and he desired for his Barumen to dwell in them.
To arm his soldiers the Dark One commanded that the Black Elves, dwellers of the mines in Lokonia, create the Black Legion Blades. The Black Elves, expert blacksmiths in the ores mined from the depths of Ammon, created a secret alloy that could not be chipped or broken. With that alloy they forged many evil blades for the Black Legion. Each was formed in a different shape from the other, but all were wrought with hooked blade and clawed hilt, embedded with the talons and claws of beasts slain by the Barumen. The mere sight of these evil blades struck fear in the hearts of mortals, causing many to retreat in battle rather than face their terrible edge.
The fiercest of the Black Legion were the Barumen Axemen of Lokonia. These were the main vanguard of The Dark One's army, made up of the largest and most ferocious of Barumen soldiers. They were heavily armored in plate steel and leather and each wielded two great Battle Axes, used with deadly skill. The Battle Axe was one of the few weapons forged by the Dark Elves in mass, each one being shaped nearly the same. Every Axeman carried two identical battle axes, with hooked and curved blades, leather grips and skull crushing pommels. The axe could be thrown with deadly precision, and its twin, armor-piercing points were devastating. The blades were also used to chop and hack like a traditional axe, and the curved hooks could be used to pull an enemy in close to the great fanged jaws of the Barumen; and one bite from those fangs was deadly.
The Barumen were charged by the Dark One to build many secret fortresses throughout the Great Realms. The greater host of the Black Legion were kept in Lokonia until they were sent forth from its bowels to decimate the Great Realms at the command of their master. Through many campaigns they marched across the land, conquering the kingdoms of men and elves one by one. The Barumen Axemen were frequently used on the front lines of battle, for they were the most relentless and bloodthirsty killers of the Black Legion and their appearance struck fear in the hearts of mortal men and elves.
In the ten thousand and twenty-second year of the Fifth Age Queen Vaelen was the wise and beautiful ruler of Lumenia, Middle Kingdom of the realm of Ammon. A Mithrodin cleric and warrior, she had wed Eadred, the king of Lumenia, only to find herself put to lead the kingdom after his death a few years later by the treachery of the Dark One. She possessed Elexorien by her side on the throne, one of the Ten Swords of the Ancients. Elexorien, or Ōsword of warÕ in the AncientÕs tongue, was forged with the talisman symbol of Akeron on its cross guard, the horned spider, with the shape of its pincer claws holding a symbolic drop of poison venom for any that it may slay. Its blade was graved with Anglecal runes, the language of Men and Elves, that told of its powers and that it had been forged by the great Elven sword smith, Mahgnim.
Seeing that her once peaceful land was now being decimated, the Queen used the power of Elexorien to unite the Great Lords of the kingdoms of Deylund and Lumenia, a feat theretofore never seen in Ammon. Though young and inexperienced in such matters, with Elexorien at her side the Queen commanded her people like a practiced elder. With this host she devised to wage war against the Black Legion and sent many scouts into the Tellorien Mountains, high peaks that encircled eastern Lumenia, to find the secret gates leading into the depths of Lokonia wherein the Barumen held their abode. After many months, several of the gates were made known to VaelenÕs spies due to the carelessness of foot soldiers of the Black Legion. Therein, beyond the gates guarded by the Black Elves, lay long stretches of caverns and great underground rivers and lakes. VaelenÕs spies had secretly mapped these places, for those spies were themselves of Elvish decent, Dark Elves that had long ago given up the shadows and moved to the surface of Ammon to live in daylight. They went without notice among the Dark OneÕs servants. Queen Vaelen, after much planning, sent her forces into those dark hellish caverns to seek and destroy the Barumen horde and their master.
The forces of evil, led by the Dark One and aided by his mysterious sorcerer Navros, were strong and the war lasted many a year; and there were many souls lost to the Dark OneÕs minions. Whence four years had passed, the forces of good had grown weary and many had succumbed to the Dark OneÕs influence, having been corrupted and turned evil. Queen Vaelen, by chance, learned from a captured traitor the location of the Dark OneÕs underground lair in a great cavern beneath the highest peak of the Tellorien Mountains. She thence presented the sword Elexorien to Luthol, the Prince of Deylund, and commanded him take it and lay siege to that place; for it was secret knowledge of the Mithrodin that only ElexorienÕs blade could extinguish the Dark OneÕs fire and ruin his body. The Dark One was Evruc, one of the Ancients, and he could only be undone by the power of his own kind. Whence the Dark Elf Mahgnim had finished forging Elexorien for the Ancients Ones, they had thence instilled it with such power, and the knowledge of it was only granted to the Mithrodin, protectors of the Ten Swords.
The PrinceÕs forces succeeded in overpowering the Black Legion, and indeed all but destroyed it; and upon finding the hidden chamber of the Dark One in the bowels of Lokonia those forces were waylaid and overcome by his power, for he wielded the Sword of Darkness, and it could enforce his black will upon the weak minded. Its clawed hilt was carved of serpents, a three pupiled eye at its center, and the pommel was wrought in the likeness of a horrid face, said to be that of the Dark One himself. Through many years of use by the Dark One Kilgorin was now possessed of a great evil, and it now willed the wielder to evil more so than he whom wielded it. With it the Dark One clouded the minds of LutholÕs forces and turned them back from his door. Vaelen was strong and resisted his control, and Luthol was protected by his influence from the power of Elexorien, thus they alone attacked the Dark One. Though the Prince fought fiercely and did a terrible wound to Dark One with Elexorien, KilgorinÕs evil blade felled him. Queen Vaelen, upon seeing the wounded prince letting Elexorien slip from his hand, took up the enchanted sword herself and smote the Dark One through the heart, thus destroying his immortal soul by the magic of itÕs bright blade; and Evruc of the Ancients, the Dark One, and greatest evil to ever befall Ammon, was gone forever.
The cost of this act to Vaelen was great, as unbeknownst to her, the sorcerer Navros had set a spell upon the Dark OneÕs sword; that any who separated it from its wielder would therewith be cursed and imprisoned in the Neverworld, a realm which the Dark One himself had once been imprisoned. This was a place half in and half out of the world, where one can be seen as if in a mist but never to be heard or touched. Vaelen thereafter waited in eternal limbo for a champion to one day break the spell and free her again to the light of Lumenia.
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).