The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients And Other Blades of Power
Evil was born into the world of Ammon in the form of the Dark One, said to be one of the Ancients, the immortal creators in ages of old. The Dark One succumbed to evil and greed and was cast out by the Ancient Ones into the mortal lands. He wielded the first Sword of the Ancients, Kilgorin, the sword of darkness from which he drew his power. For many years the Dark One waged war against the mortals of Ammon and enslaved countless men and elves. A great battle was fought in the ancient days and the Dark One was at last defeated and banished into the depths of the earth, the Underworld of Lokonia. In those caverns the Dark One did not rest however; and with the counsel of the immortal sorcerer Navros he brooded over designs to one day destroy all mortal creatures created by the Ancients. He desired to seed the world with a brood of his own making.
With the aid of Navros, the Dark One used his great powers of creation to beget the evil Barumen; foul, horned creatures with three pupiled eyes that were spawned of mortal men, apes of the north, and born of giant wolves. For one thousand and seven hundred years he bred these abominations in great numbers. They were grown into an army in the dark pits of Lokonia, and the Dark One trained them in the art of war; and he called them his Black Legion. To arm these most brutal and deadly soldiers the Dark One commanded the elves that dwelled in his Underworld to create the Black Legion Blades. Thence the Dark Elves, expert blacksmiths in steels mined from the depths of Ammon, created a secret alloy that could not be chipped or broken for their master. With that alloy they forged many evil blades for the Black Legion, including many war axes.
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 and afore long they came forth from its bowels to decimate the Great Realm at the command of their master, the Dark One. They spread like a pestilence throughout the land, conquering the kingdoms of men and elves one by one. Barumen Axemen were sent to the front lines of battle for they were relentless and bloodthirsty killers and their appearance struck fear in the hearts of mortal men and elves. They were instrumental in the Dark One’s many victories against mortals up until the time the Dark One was defeated and destroyed in the ten thousand and twenty-sixth year of the Fifth Age, the year of the Black War. With no leader, the primary force of Barumen could not stay united and thus they scattered about the lands in many small packs. The Barumen Axemen however stayed under the command of the sorcerer Navros. But their numbers were few for most had perished in the Black War.
There was peace in Ammon for a time, but ere long one of the Dark One’s concubines bore his child in the depths of Lokonia; The child was named Vardor in the tongue of the Ancients by the sorcerer Navros, and was taken east across the sea of Valesthia to the land of Dagorlund where he could be hidden from the eyes of the West. Navros, knowing that only the Dark One or one of his bloodline could command the Barumen, reared Vardor himself and taught him the dark arts and the lore of the Swords of the Ancients. Though he was of man and not truly a descendant of the Ancients, his heart was black like his father’s. Indeed whatever remained of the Dark One’s power in Ammon now seemed to take presence in his only offspring.
Perceiving that Vardor would need the strength of the Swords of the Ancients to gain power, Navros searched the realms far and wide until at last he found Morthoseth, the sword of shadows, hidden away in the Southern Realm of Loringel by the Dark One long before. When grown, Vardor used Morthoseth’s dark power to take his form as that of a shadow. He became great in skill and strength and soon he was master over the Barumen, and he bred them into a fierce new army, more terrible than his father’s Black Legion.
The Barumen, by Morthoseth’s power, were also given the form of shadows, visible only unto themselves, and they commanded a legion of assassins and spies. These shadows came to men in troubled dreams and inflicted Vardor’s will upon them and by convincing men that since the world was created out of the dark, then there must be some good in his darkness; and to this end he caused many to follow and worship him. These men were sent out into the lands to find the scattered bands of the Black Legion and reunite them into a new army under Vardor’s command. Over time the Shadow’s became the largest army ever amassed in Ammon. The Barumen Axemen were brought into service once again to lead Vardor’s attacks, and with that host Vardor defeated most of the kingdom’s of the Great Realm and brought men and elves to their knees under his rule.
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).