The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients
and Other Blades of Power
A Mythology By Kit Rae
Of the Exotath (CONTINUED)
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He asked if Enethia knew the Kingdom of Castel well, and she indeed knew the city for part of her training as a Mithrodin had been there in the temple. Agnemmel also knew the city, but he was certain much had changed in the nine hundred years since he had last seen it, for it was no kingdom then. Thus he told that if Enethia would be a guide for him and tell of the layout of the city, he would spare her, but if she betrayed him or tried trickery he would make her suffer greatly before he ended her life. Her sword he returned and she was given a steed to ride with his company, though two Barumen guards were always by her side to be sure she would not flee. For three more days they traveled to Castel on the main road until Agnemmel's scouts gave him word that the city, now only five miles away, had been conquered by the Dark One. He had taken many losses, but the Elven King Menolessar had been slain and his army crushed. Indeed, in the sky high above the trees Agnemmel could see smoke billowing in the distance.
Leaving his army, Agnemmel rode ahead to Castel with a unit of his Barumen. On the plains surrounding the city he beheld thousands of scattered corpses of Elves, men, Barumen. Even the carcasses of the great Baelin lay dead. At the torn gate there were sorcerer guards and the Dark One's Barumen. Agnemmel demanded of them to be taken to the Dark One. As he was escorted to his master he saw the black stone walls of the city had been breached and many of the wood buildings within were burning as the Dark One's Barumen and sorcerers attempted to quench the fires. The Dark One must have suffered heavy losses for the city was littered with dead Barumen. These Elves had fought fiercely and Agnemmel wished he had witnessed the battle, but he also grieved for he saw no sense in this. These Elves should have been made allies to the Dark One. He was brought to a large courtyard, a makeshift command center, and the Dark One came out of his tent to greet him. His two top sorcerers, Nerothos and Valegil, were at his side.
He asked for Agnemmel's report, and Agnemmel told of his conquests on the East plains of Deylund, all for the glory of his master, and the Dark One sensed the bitterness in his voice. He asked Agnemmel what troubled him, and Agnemmel thence looked into the gray and black eyes of the Dark One and asked, if his goal truly was to rid Ammon of men as he had claimed, and that if he no longer sought glory or treasures of the Ancients as he had done in the past, why then had he taken Castel and slaughtered Elves? Was all this done to possess the Swords of the Ancients? To this the Dark One was silent. He thence walked to his weapon chest, guarded by Barumen axe men, where he drew from its scabbard Valermos, the sword of fire, one of the rewards he found in Castel. In that chest lay three more of the Ten Swords of Power - Luciendar, Cinthorc, and Molotoch. He smiled at Agnemmel as he caressed the black blade, causing it to burst into flame. He told Agnemmel that he could not let the Swords of Power remain in the hands of any Elf or man, for they were too powerful for mere mortals to wield and could be used against him. This was his primary concern, above all else, and if either Elf or man stood in his way they would surely die. He told that Agnemmel himself should agree to this reasoning since he carried two swords of immense power himself, the Exotath.
Agnemmel balked and said he thought the swords would be of little concern if the Dark One would but take them by ship far onto the ocean and give them to the depths, but the Dark One did not agree and it was plain that he made to have them all. It became clear to Agnemmel now that the Dark One lusted after the Swords of the Ancients above all other concerns, these talismans made enchanted by the supreme powers of his thirteen brothers of whom he was jealous when they yet lived. The Dark One thence commanded Agnemmel to bring his army into Castel to relieve his own battered battalions. He designed for them to secure the surrounding lands of the kingdom while the wounded rested and healed, thence they would march South to assail the Kingdom of Elund. Agnemmel agreed to do as commanded, but he asked to see Methuscia first.
Agnemmel was taken to her tent and she was overjoyed to see him. They embraced long and hard, and she said she had good news to tell him, but Agnemmel spoke first of his meeting with the Dark One. Methuscia became saddened by his mood when he told of his displeasure at the Dark One's move on Castel. She sided with the Dark One with regards to the Swords of the Ancients, which angered Agnemmel, but she tried to soothe him saying he should try to sway the Dark One to a course that would not go against the Elves. But Agnemmel knew there was no changing the Dark One. Methuscia did not recognize this of her master. The Dark One had some hold on Methuscia and she was blinded by it, but Agnemmel knew she loved him more than her master, thus he whispered in her ear his designs. He would indeed bring his army to Castel, as commanded, but not to hand over to the Dark One. He would take the city and wrest control of it from the Dark One. Methuscia was shocked at this and begged him not to take this course, but Agnemmel said it must be done, though he vowed not harm the Dark One if it were possible. Methuscia made it plain that the sorcerers in Agnemmel's charge would not go up against the Dark One for he was their master. To Agnemmel it was no matter, for his own Barumen would obey. They were bonded to him and simple sorcery would have little effect on them even were his own sorcerers to turn on him. He asked Methuscia if she would side with him or against, for he needed to know if his love for her was in vain, and she told that she would go where he led. Thus, he informed her of a place below the Mithrodin temple in the center of the city where she may hide when the battle was begun, revealed to him by King Elliasthol's daughter, Enethia. He promised that would come for Methuscia after the battle was over.
Agnemmel's unit departed the city in haste, riding hard South to his meet his legions. He ordered his sorcerers to stay behind and guard the road, and they questioned this, but obeyed his wishes. He thence had his personal armor mounted to his body and commanded his Barumen to go to Castel as reinforcement for the Dark One's battered legions. Once underway he issued the real orders and battle plans to his captains and began the march on Castel. Two battalions would invade the main gate at his lead, one would strike through the South wall breach, and one would follow behind him to reinforce. Agnemmel summoned a vision from the Exotath of the coming battle, but strangely he could not see any glimpse of what was to come. He expected to attack with complete surprise, for his forces would not engage until they had entered the city, but when he was within sight of the black stone walls of Castel he spied the Dark One's forces, at least two battalions strong, were in formation on the battle plain before it. Had he been betrayed or had the Dark One known of Agnemmel's thoughts through sorcery? It mattered not now for the sword of battle had been drawn and could not be re-sheathed. Thus he issued his battle orders straightway and donned his horned war helm.
Agnemmel ordered his archers' darts loosed at the Dark One's army, and his master did the same in return. The flight of Agnemmel's darts, however, did not reach his enemy, but were blocked and diverted by some spell. The Dark One's darts rained down hard upon Agnemmel's forces. Agnemmel thence sent his sixteen Baelin forth and they broke a line through to the main bridge and across it into the city, whereupon Agnemmel followed with his cavalry. Once within the walls and into the main court, Agnemmel was shocked to see the dead Barumen corpses of the Dark One's army coming back to life by some foul magic. Indeed, this was the work of the sorcerer Othentoth, who could re-animate the dead while their corpses were still fresh. Agnemmel's forces cut them down easily, and realizing too late this was but a diversion, Agnemmel witnessed the Dark One's main guard of Barumen charge in from his left and right flanks. Barumen fought Barumen, and though Agnemmel knew he had superior strength in numbers, he recognized that the Dark One's soldiers were gaining the advantage, and Agnemmel knew this to be caused by Kilgorin's influence. He could feel the sense of doom the sword imbued over the Dark One's enemies, though it had little effect on Agnemmel. He spied the Dark One's sorcerers were among the Dark One's Barumen infantry, and one was sending cones of fire at his Baelin, burning them black to ash. At this, Agnemmel dismounted his horse, drew his Exotath in each hand, and charged into the foray.
By the swords' power, Agnemmel hacked and hewed his enemies down, matching and countering their moves with killing blows by his ability to see their actions before they made them. He cut his way to Othentoth just as the sorcerer was raising his palms to conjure a blast of fire and heat upon his axe men, and Agnemmel hewed off both of his hands with one sword and split the sorcerer's helm and head down the middle with the other. In the same instant the Exotath showed him another nearby sorcerer who would subdue him with an enchantment of fatigue. Agnemmel leapt at that one and thrust both swords into the face hole of his helm and ripped his skull in half. In the next instant he saw two enemy Barumen would come at his backside, so directly he crouched low and spun around, cutting through both their armor and legs with one sword and opening their bellies with the other. Still, he saw a third Barumen would swing an axe into his backside, but Agnemmel swung one Exotath to his rear, before looking back at his enemy, hacking the sword's tip through the mail and into the flesh below the beasts shoulder as it wound back to swing its great axe, and as he turned to face the beast the second sword he buried deep from neck into its torso.
The battle went on for some time like this for Agnemmel, with not a single enemy blow penetrating his armor, though he had slain over two hundred of the enemy and wounded many hundreds more. His speed and agility were increased well beyond his ability, and Agnemmel marveled at this, for he could not be touched in battle. He surmised the reason for this was the nearness of the Dark One, for the Exotath seemed to be drawing his master's power and bestowing it upon him. A part of the Dark One was given to these swords for their enchantments, and those enchantments were of many different kinds as Agnemmel was now learning.
One of Agnemmel's messengers made way to him on horseback and reported that the battle at the South wall had been lost, but the Barumen armies had destroyed each other. Only the Dark One's sorcerers remained there. He also reported that Agnemmel's reinforcements left on the battle plain outside the city had been assailed by sorcerers. These were Agnemmel's own sorcerers, whom he had left in the Deylund capitol, but they had disobeyed his orders and followed him to Castel. Agnemmel issued orders to the messenger to tell his captains to converge all forces to the main court where most of the Dark One's Barumen infantry were gathered, however he witnessed the messenger taken down by an arrow shortly after departing. Agnemmel surmised he would need to find the Dark One and slay him before Kilgorin's dread magic caused his Barumen to lose this battle, and by the Exotath he came upon the way he would find the Dark One within this foray. He removed himself from the courtyard and hastened onto one of the side streets. Concentrating his thought through the Exotath, the presence of the Dark One came to him, and he followed that aura as it grew stronger. Hacking and chopping through the enemy Barumen, he made his way to the center of the city, where impossibly tall stone columns lined both sides of the road leading to the rear of the city where the dead King Menolessar's palace stood high on a hill. Looking to his left he saw where the Exotath had led him. Before him stood a grand Mithrodin temple, the place he had told Methuscia to hide until after the battle. Had the Dark One found her, or had she betrayed him?
The massive doors of the temple were open wide and a unit of Barumen axe men charged down its steps when they spied him. Agnemmel went into action again, slaying every one of the beasts in flowing and fluid moves, as if he had rehearsed where the killing blows would be placed a thousand times. He charged into the temple, entering a massive, dark stone hall. Though there was no candle or torch, light streamed in from windows in the vaulted ceiling whereupon Agnemmel saw a wide, circular central platform with steps before him. A horde of Barumen axe men was stationed around it and they moved to assail him. In the dim light atop the platform Agnemmel spied an altar of three levels, decorated with carvings and statues of the thirteen Ancient Ones. Two of the Baelin beasts guarded the steps, and they too leapt down toward him. Atop the altar Agnemmel could make out the dim silhouettes of people. The ethereal glow of the Dark One was unmistakable, and on the face of one standing before him he saw a golden mask.
Meeting his enemy, Agnemmel fought with a battle rage he had not felt since the wars of his youth, over nine hundred years afore. Every Barumen that came within range of his swords were cut down. From all directions they came, and in all directions Agnemmel fought, delivering none but killing blows with the Exotath. The huge Baelin beasts clawed and ripped their own Barumen soldiers from their paths, sparing none as they bounded through the multitude to reach Agnemmel. The nearest Baelin leapt over the axe men and came down upon Agnemmel, but the Exotath's pre-sight told him the exact moment to drop to the floor and point both swords up, whereupon the blades where driven into the beast's gut. Agnemmel slashed and rolled to the side, spilling its hot entrails across the stone floor. Barumen hacked at him as he pulled himself from under the writhing beast, and leaping upon its spined back, he thrust a sword through the back of its massive horned head, killing it. Barumen hacked at his leg armor and Agnemmel swung his swords both left and right, removing limbs and heads as he dismounted the Baelin corpse. The second Baelin came at him now, but Agnemmel dodged to the side an instant too late and the beast's clawed paw struck him hard, ripping through the mail where he was weakest on the left side of his chest, loosing one of the Exotath from his grip. As the jaws of the Baelin snapped down about his neck, Agnemmel thrust the other sword up to its hilt into the beast's maw and its blade came out through the top of the head, piercing its brain. Though the paralyzing fangs did not puncture his armor, Agnemmel was halted for a moment pulling his sword from its head when a Barumen axe crashed into his helm, ripping it from his head along with one of his ears. Agnemmel swung his sword back, nearly taking the head off the Barumen, and catching its axe with his free hand.
Agnemmel went at the enemy with axe and sword, moving as in some spinning dance, and taking each one down as he cut through the horde making his way to his fallen Exotath. Recovering the sword, Agnemmel rushed toward the stone stairs, slashing and thrusting as he went, engaging score after score of the enemy. Their axes had now landed many blows upon him and he was bleeding from numerous wounds, but none were mortal. As he fought his way up the steps and platforms below the altar he left a trail of Barumen corpses behind him, and when he reached the last stairway leading up to the altar he looked back, as there were no more enemy to assail him. He had killed every Barumen in the temple, a full battalion of axe men - near five hundred strong - and two Baelin.
Drenched in blood and sweat he crawled up the steps to the altar and looked up to see his former master, and Methuscia was there at his side. The Dark One looked ill, and Methuscia seemed to be holding him upright. He made to draw Kilgorin from its scabbard, but floundered and dropped the sword. Thence he fell to his knees as if weakened and drained. Methuscia draped herself over him and begged Agnemmel to sheath his blades, for their use had drained the Dark One of all power and strength. Too much of his essence had been given to those twin swords and the closer they were in use to him, the weaker the Dark One grew. Agnemmel struggled to stand, and he told Methuscia he could not spare the Dark One live, for he would want revenge and would always seek him were he to run. Methuscia begged saying Agnemmel had promised not to harm him before the battle, and she thence told that the Dark One was Evruc, her father, and if Agnemmel were to slay him her love for him would turn to hatred. He dropped to his knees at this, exhausted, and his mind clouded at the revelation that the woman he loved was the daughter of his nemesis.
Methuscia crawled to Agnemmel and the two embraced. Tears streamed from under her golden mask. After a moment Agnemmel pushed her back from him, saying the deed must be done before Evruc would regain his strength. He grasped the hilt of one of the Exotath and placed the tip of the sword over the Dark One's heart. Methuscia put a hand to his cheek, asking what it would take for him to stay that blade. Agnemmel looked into her pearl eyes and said if he could but see her real face just once, he would grant her wish. Methuscia thence reached up and slowly pulled the golden mask away, and for a moment Agnemmel saw her true face. She was indeed the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes upon. He loved her more in that moment than ever before, and she kissed his lips. But thence her face changed and grew so horrible that he could not bear it, for it was the face of death itself, and though he tried to tear his eyes away he could not for he was frozen in fear. So by the curse set upon Methuscia that no mortal man should ever look upon her face, he died.
Thus Agnemmel, most fierce of the Dark Elves, perished that day. Those Barumen that he had brought forth from the future were also slain to the last, as were the Baelin beasts. The Dark One's army in Castel had been destroyed. Methuscia and her sorcerer kin took the Dark One and his sword Kilgorin away from that city of black stone to the capitol city of Deylund. There his sorcerer army carried him away in his ships back to their home across the sea into the Realm of Dagorlund, where he did heal. But Methuscia, in her grief, did not go with her father. She had not been able to tell Agnemmel that she was pregnant with his child, and the guilt of what she had done to her love weighed heavily upon her until the end of her days, for she was ever alone without him. Taking his remains, Methuscia and a company of six sorcerers followed the Ennol Mountains down to the Northern tip of the Realm of Amunach, where no men or Elves ventured, and there they made a shrine and buried him. They made their abode in that place and Methuscia bore her child there; a sorcerer, and she named him Navros. Eventually mortals did find that place, and they named it the Dead City, for death is what most mortals found there. Some heard the tales of Methuscia, and knew to not look directly upon her face, and to those she read the oracle.
Of the Exotath, the Dark One's sorcerers did not find those swords that day in Castel, for the child Enethia also fought in that battle, and she had followed Agnemmel to the Mithrodin temple and had watched until Agnemmel had died. Thence she had stolen away with both swords, even while Methuscia grieved over her dead lover. Away from the city she fled with them until at last she came to the Kingdom of Elund in the South, and there she gave the Exotath over to the Mithrodin temple, keeping her oath as protector of the sacred swords.
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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 One's 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 Elves' 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 Anvari's 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 Duke's 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 Duke's 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 Baelin's 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 Baelin's 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 Baelin's 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 beast's 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 Anvari's mistaken slaying of his son. One gift was a bladed weapon forged from the metal of Occsdrow's 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.
Of the Adrasil
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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. Even though the Dark One's 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 he created in the four thousand and twenty-seventh year of the Fifth Age. These immensely powerful beasts 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 four times the height of a man or elf and he sported wings that allowed limited flight.
Anvari, an Elf of the Evesdrou family, was a renowned warrior of the Fifth Age who had mistakenly killed the son of the Duke of the Nattan, a clan of men from the Southern lands of Amunach. As atonement he set out to kill Folkor, who had become the bane of the Nattan. Though his five companions were slain in the battle, Anvari was successful in killing the dreaded beast with the poisoned blade Archeros and his finest spear, Occsdrow. Thence Anvari forged weapons and arms, as his kind were wont to do, and he presented these to the Duke as a gift. First he created 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. The second gift he forged using the metal of Occsdrow's steel tip and the armor of the dead Baelin that he had beaten into its handle. And this four-bladed weapon he named Adrasil, Folkor's bane. Engraved on the blades were the names of the Duke's son, Ettiel, and Anvari's family name, Evesdrou. Thus, in the four thousand four hundred and forty-ninth day of the Fifth Age, 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.
Anvari trained the Nattan in the ways of Elven fighting for many years and after a time he became as a second son to the Duke. Anvari also trained the Duke's only heir, his daughter Atteniel, and she became protector of the Duke's great house and chief of his house guard. When came the terrible day in 1480 that the Dark One unleashed his new brood of Baelin upon the lands of Amunach, Anvari fought alongside Atteniel in defense of her father's house on the Isle of Eldinyed. The Dark Elves from the Underworld, now in league with the Dark One, made a craft to carry a Baelin across the lake to the Isle of Eldinyed and they attacked the Duke's fortress at dark. The Duke fought many Dark Elves that night. In the end the Baelin mortally wounded him and most of his men were slain by the horrid beast. Before he died he passed his weapon Adrasil on to Atteniel. In a rage she led a last charge against the Baelin and killed it with the four-bladed weapon, but many of the Duke's army were lost in that battle, and the house of Nattan was no more. The Isle of Eldinyed was overrun and it's fortress taken by the enemy, thus Anvari took Atteniel and they escaped through the eastern forests of Amunach to the land of Deylindor.
In Deylindor the two sought refuge in the great temple of the Mithrodin, which had become a haven for Elves and Men whose lands had been conquered by the forces of the Dark One. The Mithrodin had been created long before to protect the Swords of the Ancients, but now they had also become protectors of the lands of the Great Realm, and at times had served as its army. Atteniel, now with no home to fight for, joined the ranks of the Mithrodin. She was the first female mortal to become a master of the highest level of the Mithrodin cadre. She taught other Mith in the fighting style of the Nattan and trained them to slaughter the Baelin, and Anvari taught them the art of making weapons and armor from the dead carcasses. In later days the Mithrodin adopted this custom in forging weapons and it was practiced for many thousands of years. Anvari taught the art of making the great Adrasil to the Mithrodin and it soon became their chosen weapon. As a symbol of achievement Atteniel began the practice of tattooing her body with a new symbol each time she graduated to a higher level of training. In later years all of the Mithrodin warriors would adopt this practice. A Mithrodin whose body had become completely covered in tattoos was said to have reached the highest level.
After a time Anvari wed Atteniel and they both served the Mithrodin temple in Lumenia as teachers. Before long they were forced into battle once more when the Realm of Deylund waged war against Lumenia. Deylund had succumbed to the power of the Dark One through the treachery of his puppet, the immortal sorcerer Navros, and sought to take Lumenia's lands. Mithrodin warriors fought long that year and in the end Lumenia was victorious in repelling Deylund. Unfortunately Anvari was slain in the last battle defending the passage over the Abelard River at the foot of the Kingdom of Lumenia. When Atteniel buried him she laid Adrasil, the weapon he had forged for her father, upon his breast so he would have it with him in the afterlife, as was the Elvish way.
In later years Atteniel created a new weapon in honor of her slain husband. It was a double bladed weapon and it was called the Valdris.
Of Elexorien and Kilgorin, the First and Second Swords
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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 'sword of war' in the Ancient's 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 Vaelen's 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. Vaelen's 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 One's 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 One's minions. Whence four years had passed, the forces of good had grown weary and many had succumbed to the Dark One's influence, having been corrupted and turned evil. Queen Vaelen, by chance, learned from a captured traitor the location of the Dark One's 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 Elexorien's blade could extinguish the Dark One's 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 Prince's 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 Luthol's 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, Kilgorin's 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 it's 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 One's 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.
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