The Tale Of The Swords Of The Ancients
by Kit Rae
In the beginning of things in ages past there were the
Ainur, masters of flesh, fire, and steel, who forged the elements of which the land of
Ammon was made. The first born to Ammon were the Ancient Ones, who harnessed the elements and were experts in all crafts and the arts and were rulers of all life below them. Other races followed through the ages and thereupon Ammon was
filled with many strange creatures of different form. When men and beasts came into the world the Ancient Ones purposed to have dominion over them, hence they commanded that the Dark Elves, dwellers of the underworld, create the Ten Swords
of Ammon, which were forged of secret alloys and temperments known only to them. Each sword was bequeathed its own special power by the
Ainur, but the last sword, Anathar, was the strongest and held a link to all the others. When together,
the Ten Swords allowed the Ainur control over all living things in Ammon.
For many ages the Ancients reigned until man became greater in power and eventually caused them to retreat into the darkness.
Anathar, the sword of power,
was sealed in a secret stronghold lest it ever be used to control the destiny of Ammon again. Thenceforth the remaining nine Swords of the Ancients have scattered about the land and their stories have become legend.
Of Elexorien and Kilgorin
Evil was born to Ammon in the shape of the Dark One, said to be one of the original Ainur in ages of old, and he wielded the first sword,
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
kingdoms of Ammon, Lumenia, Lokonia, and Deylund. The Dark One designed to destroy all creatures brought forth by the Ainur and to seed the world with a brood of his own making, thence he sent his Black
Army forth from the bowels of Ammon to wage war against the kingdoms of man, Lumenia and
Deylund, for their lands were rich with the elements of the forests and the plains, and he desired for his Barumen to dwell in them.
Queen Vaelen was the wise and beautiful ruler of Lumenia, Middle Kingdom of the realm of
Ammon, and she possessed Elexorien, one of the Ten Swords, at her side on
the throne. Elexorien, or Sword of War in the Ancientís tongue, was forged with the talisman symbol of
Akeron, the horned spider, on its cross guard, with the shape of
its pincer claws holding a symbolic drop of poison venom for any that it slays. 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 where the Barumen held their
abode. After many months, several of the gates were made known to Vaelenís spies by 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. Vaelenís spies had secretly mapped these places, for they were
themselves of Elvish decent, Dark Elves that had long ago given up the shadows and moved to the surface of Ammon to live, and went without notice among the Dark
Oneís servants. Queen Vaelen, after much planning, sent her forces into the dark caverns of hell to seek and destroy the Barumen and their master.
The forces of evil, led by the Dark One, aided by the sorcerer
Navros, were strong
and the war lasted many a year; and there were many souls lost to the Dark Oneís minions. Whence four years had passed the forces of good had grown weary and many had succumbed to the Dark Oneís influence, having been corrupted and turned.
Queen Vaelen, by chance, learned from a captured traitor the location of the Dark Oneís 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, at her side, lay siege to that place; for it
was known that only Elexorienís blade could extinguish the Dark Oneís fire. He was of the Ancients and could only be undone with the steel fashioned by the power of his
kind. The princeís forces succeeded in overpowering the Black Legion, and indeed all but destroyed it; and upon finding the Dark One in the bowels of Lokonia the prince
and Vaelen were waylaid and overcome by his power, for he wielded the Sword of Darkness. With a clawed hilt carved of serpents, a three pupiled eye at its center,
and a pommel wrought in the likeness of a horrid face, said to be the likeness of the Dark One himself, Kilgorin willed the wielder more so than he whom wielded it. Though
the prince fought fiercely and did a terrible wound to Dark One, the 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 banishing his soul to the pits of hell by the magic of itís bright blade.
The cost of this act to Vaelen was great, as unbeknownst to her, the sorcerer Navros had set a spell upon the Dark Oneís sword, that any who separated it from its
wielder would therewith be cursed and imprisoned in the Neverworld. 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
Of Luciendar and Morthoseth
After the banishment of the Dark One and
the defeat of his army, there was peace in Ammon for a time, but ere long one of the Dark Oneís concubines bore his child in the depths of
Lokonia, for Vaelenís army did not cleanse all of those dark tunnels of
evil. 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. Vardor was reared by Navros and taught the dark arts and though he was of man and not truly a descendant of the Ancients, his heart was black like his fatherís.
Indeed whatever remained of the Dark One in Ammon now seemed to take presence in his only offspring.
Vardor, who when grown used the dark power to take his form as that of a shadow,
desired to consume the world and re-make it in his own twisted vision; and he also desired to destroy all of the Anathís creatures. He grew in power and soon became
master over the remaining Barumen, defeated soldiers of the Dark One, and bred them into a fierce new army. They too were given the form of shadows, visible only unto themselves, and each commanded a legion of assassins and spies. Vardor
decreed this Shadow Army to go secretly back across the sea to Lumenia and recruit the weak and lure them to his cause. Vardorís shadows came to men in troubled
dreams and inflicted his 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.
King Aethelred, chosen to replace Vaelen as ruler of Lumenia after her passing many years before, soon heard rumors of the Shadow Armyís treachery. He thence sent his
two sons, Barlodir and Borloth out into the land to uncover the overseer of this new threat to the Middle Kingdom and make known the enemyís location.
elder of the kingís sons, was given charge of their quest and he sent his younger brother into the south lands with a small force while he himself took a company of
soldiers and journeyed north to the kingdom of Deylund to consult with its ruler,
Luthol. Borloth, who was jealous of his older brotherís favor in the kingís eyes,
secretly loathed him and desired his lady, Althea, whom Barlodir was destined to wed. Borloth did not have the love of the kingdom and its lands in his heart, but
instead desired its power and possessions. Ere long he was lured to one of the Shadow Lordís agents and through deceit and promises Vardorís host caused him to
betray Lumenia by disclosing the secret entrance to the kingís citadel. By this device Vardor commanded a regiment of his Barumen lay siege to it. Though strongly
fortified, the fortress could not withstand an attack from within and soon was overwhelmed by the Shadow Army; and the king was slain by Borloth with
Morthoseth, the Sword of the Shadows, given to him by Vardorís servant,
return for his treason. Morthoseth was one of the Ten Swords of Ammon and Borloth used its power to hold influence over Lumeniaís army and caused it to suppress the
peoples under a harsh rule, imprisoning them to the realm. The lady Althea was enslaved in the dungeon of the citadel, never to be set free until she agreed to reject his brother and marry
Soon Barlodir heard the terrible word that his brother now held the throne and of his treacherous deeds; and of the death of his father, whom Barlodir had greatly loved.
Borloth had spread word throughout the land that he had saved the kingdom from evil by ridding it of his father, who he found was in league with dark powers of the
underworld. Barlodir knew these to be lies, for in his heart he perceived his brotherís true nature and he vowed to avenge his fatherís death, free his lady, and reclaim the throne. Having only a small group of men and few weapons with which to fight his brotherís army, his predicament was hopeless. Seeking guidance, he journeyed to the Dead City at the foot of the eastern mountains to consult the oracle,
Methuscia, who had aided his father in the past.
Methuscia, or Medusa in the old tongue, was once the most
beautiful creature in all of Ammon, a lady in white with eyes of shimmering pearl who was wise with the knowledge of the world. In ages past she had offended one of the Ancients, descendents of the
Anath, and was set upon
with a terrible curse. Any male who looked upon her would see her beauty for only an instant and then be stricken with fear and death by her true appearance, which was so hideous that it froze him, as if
he were stone, for an eternity. She tempted the creatures of Ammon now with her wisdom and if any male could survive her presence and not look directly upon her she would grant him her foreknowledge, for she was lonely
and greatly desired their company. As it was, the only companions she had were the few women she had captured and kept imprisoned in her palace of stone ghosts.
Thereafter entering the city, Methuscia tested Barlodirís men and several perished, but Barlodir resisted the temptation and did not gaze on her. Upon hearing his dilemma she instructed Barlodir to seek
Luciendar, the Sword of
Light which reveals that which is hidden, in the isle of Eldinyed of the southern lands of
Amunach. Only with that enchanted sword, one of the Ten Swords, would he be able to slay the Shadow Army. Methuscia warned
him also that whatever gains he would make by wielding the sword, he would also lose something of equal value to him, for each of the Ten Swords claimed a price from those whom they served. Methuscia beckoned Barlodir
to stay longer but he hastened and his party left the Dead City without looking back.
For many moons they traveled south, encountering many perils including servants of the Shadow Lord, into the realm of Amunach and through the
Balach Marsh until finally they reached the shore of Lake Eldinyed. The company made a seacraft and crossed the water to the isle whereupon they came to the ancient temple and found it guarded by a
Baelin, an immense
beast created by the Dark One many ages before.
Of the Baelin
The Dark One made his abode in
Lokonia, the underworld, where he bred many foul creatures to do his bidding and wage his wars. The fiercest of all of these creatures were the
Baelin, great fanged beasts the size of dragons that were unlike any animal ever seen in
Ammon. They were black furred creatures with bony armor and spines like a reptile. If one bite from these black horrors did not defeat an enemy then
the paralyzing poison from their fangs would render the attacker defenseless. The Dark One bred thousands of Baelin and placed them in the front lines of his army and they won him many victories, as they were very brutal and ruthless,
capable of defeating numerous soldiers in battle without being slain. The Baelin were also used by the Dark One as guardians of his magical talismans and treasure hoards, which he placed hidden throughout the world. A Baelin could live for
hundreds of years and many remained in service to the Dark One even long after his death. It is said that no one other than the Dark One himself or one of his generals could command a
Baelin. To this day the remaining Baelin still obey the
last command of their master. Many tales of ferocious battles with these beasts throughout the ages have been told in
Ammon. If a Baelin is found today it is sure that some powerful object or vast fortune is concealed
About the Baelin Fang Knife
The Baelin Fang knife showcases the fiercest part of the creature, its poisoned fangs. When one was slain in battle, the fangs were removed and used as weapons because of their
great strength, durability, and paralyzing power. The handle for these rare weapons was usually formed from parts of the Baelinís armor plates and spines. The armor of a dead Baelin had the unique ability to fuse itself together, allowing
it to be used to create sturdy weapons and shielding.
With his great battleaxe, Barlodir fought and slew the creature, though the battle was long and he had to heal for many days thereafter. When well rested the company scoured the
temple until they had found the sword Luciendar. The sword was graved on the hilt with writings in the tongue of the ancients. Whence the wielder spoke these words aloud he became invisible to his enemy; but the sword also held a lighted
crystal in its clawed pommel, which gave the user vision to detect others that were also unseen or shadowed.
Barlodirís company journeyed back to the citadel and returned to the kingdom after having been away from it for nine moons
and with the sword Luciendar, the Shadow Army was revealed and one by one the Barumen were slain, but Barlodirís men also were slain. Upon entering the dungeons in search of his brother, Barlodir learned the location of the lady Althea,
not in her cell but at a secret chantry with Borloth and the sorcerer
Navros, and he made his way to her by the sound of her cries. Unseen by the shadowed Barumen soldiers, he at last found her, bound to a sacrificial altar, with his
brother and Navros in the midst of performing some dark ritual upon her for her defiance.
Borloth, who anticipated Barlodir, commanded the shadowed Barumen to waylay him, but
Barlodir, by once again speaking the swordís words, became
invisible and charged the shadow soldiers, for he could see them by Luciendarís light.
Borloth, however, also held one of the Ten Swords and Barlodir was made visible to him by it and he did his brother a grievous wound. The two brothers
assailed one another and before he was felled by his injuries, Barlodir hewed his brotherís hands from his body, even as they still grasped
Morthoseth. Thus Barlodir ended, yet by not allowing his brother to ever wield the Sword of the
Shadows again, Borlothís power was lost and he was soon overtaken and imprisoned by the peoples of the Kingdom of
Lumenia. The lady Althea and the other captives were set free, but as Methuscia had foretold, Barlodirís life was lost as
payment for that freedom.
Of the Shadow Slayer
After the banishment of the Dark One, his only son,
Vardor, rose to power and created the Shadow Army, creatures that were invisible to mortal men. Vardor's Shadows spread
throughout Ammon and conquered many of the great kingdoms. The Kingdom of Lumenia held the sword
Luciendar, which was the only known defense against the Shadows, but it was not enough. When hope seemed lost and it appeared as if Vardor
would triumph in his scheme to control the world, Prince Luthol, commander of the armies of the Kingdom of Deylund in the Great Realm, called for aid from an ancient and powerful lamia,
Morgolien. She was mother to Luthol's father, the
lost king, Almaeth. Many years earlier Almaeth had banished her from Deylund for practicing the dark arts and using witchcraft to force her will upon the throne. Since her exile she had become a mighty sorceress and had created the vile
city of Nokomis, populated by many that practiced the black arts, in the eastern lands of
Hoping that she would aid him, Luthol sent word to the lamia begging for aid and Morgolien agreed to assist, for a price. She
required that after granting Luthol his request, he then use his great resources to find
Cinthorc, one of the Ten Swords of the Ancients, and surrender it to her.
Luthol, knowing the great sword would only do evil in her hands, agreed to
send a quest party to find the sword, for he felt at ends and without choice. Morgolien then created for Luthol the Shadow Slayer, an enchanted dagger with a hilt in the shape of the
Orwenoch, horrid creatures so feared in Ammon that no
one had uttered their name in over a thousand years. They were the original dwellers of the underworld of
Lokonia, and had been defeated by the Ancient Ones long ago with the Ten Swords. When blood from one of the Shadow beasts touched the
blade it would call forth the spirit of the Orwenoch to destroy any creature who's veins flowed with that blood. Morgolien informed that the Orwenoch would remain corporeal until every last Shadow lay slain, and then retreat back into darkness from whence they came.
About the Shadow Slayer Dagger
The hilt of this baneful dagger was forged by Morgolien in the shape of the Orwenoch - large, four legged creatures with ribbed, bony armor, long hooked talons, and great horned heads with
six eyes. Protruding from their lower bodies were many whip like tentacles that could subdue and strangle their prey. The serpentine blade symbolizes the forked points of Orwenoch tentacles, which were said to be able to drain the life out
of any creature with whom they touched. Some have said the Orwenoch resembled twisted insects, and others giant sea beasts. They were known to attack by the moonless night and could 0nly be seen by the reflection of their multiple eyes,
which shone red in the dark.
Luthol took the blade and it gave him the power to see as the Orwenoch could and he found the Shadow Army, visible to him now, encamped on the shores of the east. Wielding the Shadow Slayer, Luthol drew
first blood upon attacking the encampment and when that blood touched the blade the hoard of the Orwenoch appeared. Dark and terrible creatures, the Orwenoch were relentless and unmerciful in their utter destruction of the Shadow Lordís
army, and when all of the enemy lay slain across the shores of Deylund, the Orwenoch did not retreat. Instead they remained, demanding that Luthol take them across the sea to the land of Dagorlund where the Shadows had been spawned...
The tale will be continued...