The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients
Of the Ancient Ones
In the beginning of things in ages past there were the Anath, masters of flesh, fire, and steel, who forged the elements of which the land of Ammon was made, and it became the world in the First Age. The Anath
desired to create beings like unto themselves to dwell upon Ammon, so they conceived the Ancient Ones. They were made immortal and in the likeness to the Anath and each was granted a special power of creation by the Anath so that they may
rework Ammon in their own fashion. Being immortal they would not die or age naturally, and they could not reproduce, but they could be harmed or killed by misfortune or misdeed. Thus their number, which was only but fourteen in the beginning,
would ever be thus unless fate would diminish them.
The ancient Ones were joyous and learned to harness the elements and were experts in all crafts and the arts, but they soon became saddened because they were alone in the world. The Anath beheld their sadness
and thus they resolved to give the Ancient Ones the power to create mortal beings and so charged them to rule over and protect those creations. Thereupon Ammon was filled with many strange creatures of different form by the Ancients. The
firstborn to Ammon were the higher beings, the Elves, later there were Men, followed by the Uldurin, and finally the lower beasts were created. The Ancients Ones purposed to have dominion over every creature, and so, for many ages they kept
order and balance in Ammon. The mortals, though they were wise with many strengths, were also unstable through the weaknesses of the flesh. They were tempted to war amongst each other, and in the beginning there was much bloodshed; but the
Ancients tempered them with steel and over time there was peace.
Of the Swords of the Ancients
The Ancient Ones were born to the world of Ammon with the magical powers of creation and destruction bestowed upon them by the Anath. Those powers prevented the world from decaying into desolation and ruin.
Knowing that their time would eventually come to an end, the Ancient Ones did not trust their powers to be passed on to those of mortal flesh. Flesh could be tempted and corrupted and the great powers could be twisted and altered for ill use,
destroying the delicate balance of the world. The Ancients trusted in steel: steel mined from the very earth forged by the creators, the Anath. The steel of the Ancients was stronger than flesh, stronger than the will, even stronger than
time. Only in steel could the powers of the Ancients be trusted, for steel could not be destroyed, only reshaped. Steel would not betray its power for good or ill. The wielder alone, moral or evil, had that choice; but the Ancient Ones knew
that if the blades were possessed of the perfect balance of powers that, under their use, order and harmony would remain in Ammon for eternity. Thus they directed the creation of the Ten Swords of the Ancients, and they dispersed them
throughout the lands of Ammon, and the fabric of the world has remained unbroken thenceforward.
The Dark Elves, dwellers of the underworld, were the mortals so commanded to forge those ten swords, which were created of secret alloys and temperments known only to them, mined from the depths of Ammon. Each
sword was bequeathed its own special power by the Ancient Ones, but the last sword, Anathar, was the strongest and held a link to all the others. When together, the Ten Swords allowed the Ancients control over all living things in Ammon. For
many ages the immortal Ancients reigned until mortals became greater in number and eventually caused them to disappear from the world at the end of the Fifth Age. When the Ancients began to vanish into the shadows the order of the Mithrodin
was created by Elves and Men to watch over the Ten Swordsí and to see that they were only used in the keeping of order and balance in Ammon, as the Ancients had intended. Anathar, the sword of power, was sealed in a secret stronghold lest it
ever be used to control the destiny of the other swords. Thenceforth the remaining nine Swords of the Ancients have been scattered about the land and their stories have become legend.
The Ten Swords of the Ancients
Each of the Ten Swords, given great power by the Anath, grants this power to the wielder but when used they also claim a price from that one.
Ė The first sword. The Sword of Darkness. Gives the wielder power to bring darkness and enchantment overones enemies. Derives its strength from the Neverworld. Now possessed of a great evil by many years of use by the Dark One.
Ė The second sword. The Sword of War. Gives its wielder strategic power and command over great multitudes to unify them for a single cause. Used in the Black War by Queen Vaelen.
Ė The third sword. The Sword of the Shadows. Influences mortals by its power over the shadow world of minds and dreams. Wielded by Vardor and Borloth in
the War of the Shadows.
Luciendar Ė The fourth sword. Sword of Light. Reveals to the user that which is hidden and shows the true nature of creatures, both natural and enchanted. Wielded by
Barlodir in the War of the Shadows.
Ė The fifth sword. Sword of the Earth. Gives the user power to reshape the earth and its elements. Wielded by the king of the Uldurin and later by Aluen in the Shadow War.
Ė The sixth sword. Sword of Fire. Gives the ability to command creatures in spirit form and creates and controls the flames of Ammon. Wielded by Vardor in the Shadow War.
Ė The seventh sword. Sword of Justice. Has the power to deal out just punishment to wrong doers.
Ė The eighth sword. The Slayer Sword. The most deadly of the Swords of the Ancients , for it gives the user boundless skill and speed , as well as great focused rage to beat down an enemy.
The other two swords are lost throughout the lands of Ammon and have yet to be discovered.
Of Elexorien and Kilgorin, the first and second swords
Evil was born to Ammon in the shape of the Dark One, said to be one of the original Anath 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, for their lands were rich with the elements of the forests and the plains, and he desired for his Barumen to dwell in them.
To arm his soldiers the Dark One commanded that the Black Elves, who resided in his mines in Lokonia, create the Black Legion Blades. The Elves, expert blacksmiths in the elements 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 a hooked blade and clawed hilt, embedded with the talons and claws of beasts hunted by the Barumen. The mere sight of one of these
evil blades struck fear in the hearts of mortals, causing many to retreat in battle rather than face its terrible edge.
Queen Vaelen was the wise and beautiful ruler of Lumenia, Middle Kingdom of the realm of Ammon. Once a Mithrodin cleric, she had wed the king of Lumenia, Eadred, only to find herself
put to lead the kingdom after his death a few years later by the Dark Oneís treachery. 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. They 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 and 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 evil. 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 lay siege to that place; for it was known that only Elexorien's 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, from which the sword drew its power. 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.
Of Luciendar and Morthoseth, the third and fourth swords
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. Navros, knowing that only
the Dark One or one of his bloodline could command the Barumen, reared Vardor 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 fatherís. Indeed whatever remained of the Dark Oneís power in Ammon now seemed to take presence in his only offspring.
The sorcerer Navros, knowing that Vardor would need the strength of the Ten Swords to gain power, searched the realms far and wide until at last he found Valermos, the sword of fire,
and Morthoseth, the sword of the shadows, hidden away in the Southern Realm of Loringel by the Dark One long ago. Vardor, who when grown used Morthosethís 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 Ancient Onesí 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, by Morthosethís power, 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, taking Morthoseth, secretly West across the sea of
Valesthia to Lumenia and recruit the weak and lure them to his cause. Vardorís shadows, by the power of Morthoseth, 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. Though
Vardor gave Morthoseth to his army, he kept the sword Valermos for himself.
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. Barlodir, the elder of the kingís sons, was
given charge of their quest and he sent his younger brother into the Outlands 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, driven by dark dreams, did not have the love of the kingdom or its lands in his heart, but instead desired its power and possessions.
Ere long Borloth was lured to one of the Shadow Lordís agents and, through deceit and promises, Vardorís host caused him to betray Lumenia. In exchange for his treason, Borloth
was given the sword Morthoseth by Vardorís servant, the sorcerer Navros, and Borloth disclosed 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. That blade 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. Soon after Borloth declared himself King of the middle realm. The lady Althea was enslaved in the dungeon of the citadel,
never to be set free until she agreed to reject Barlodir and become betrothed to Borloth as his queen.
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, whom he claimed 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 company
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, whom had aided his father in the past.
Methuscia, 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, of whom she
was a descendent, 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 men, as if they 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 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 and shows the true nature of creatures, 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, encountering numerous perils including servants of the Shadow Lord, but none could stay them and Barlodir marched on. Into the Southern realm of Amunach
they came and waded through the dreaded Balach Marsh until finally reaching the shore of Lake Eldinyed. The company constructed a rough seacraft and crossed the mistey water to
the isle whereupon they came to an ancient temple. An evil presence was in the air, and upon entering the aged shrine they found it guarded by a Baelin: an age-old breed of immense
beasts created by the Dark One almost six thousand years before.
Many foul creatures were bred by the Dark One to do his bidding and wage his wars, and the fiercest of these 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 within its 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 innumerable 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 had hidden throughout the world. A Baelin could live for thousands 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.
Barlodir had been told many terrible tales of these ferocious beasts and their deeds throughout the ages of Ammon, but he did not show fear now that he at last faced one; for Barlodir was
also a mighty warrior having defeated many a foe. With his great battleaxe he fought and slew the creature, though the battle was long and Barlodirís wounds were many and deep, non
were caused by those dread paralyzing fangs, which Barlodir had hewed from the great beasts head. While he lay in healing for many days thereafter, his company scoured the temple
labyrinths until they had found the sword Luciendar. It was graved on the hilt with many sacred 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.
When fully healed, Balodir took the fangs of the Baelin and forged a rare weapon of the old tradition. In the days of old when one of the great beasts was slain the fangs were removed
and used as weapons, for they possessed great strength and paralyzing power. The handle for these fangs was formed from parts of the Baelinís armor and bones, for they held the unique
ability to bind and grow themselves together, even after death. With the great armored plates of the beasts underbelly, Barlodir crafted a shield of impenetrable might.
Barlodirís company journeyed back to the Kingdom of Lumenia and returned to the citadel, after having been away from it for nine moons. By taking the sword Luciendar and speaking
the words graved upon its hilt, the Shadow Army was revealed to them; and the company breached the citadelís gates. A fierce battle ensued, with many of Barlodirís former soldiers
abandoning their corruption and returning to his side. The Barumen soldiers were slain, but Barlodirís men also were slain and much blood was spilled in the great halls. Barlodir then
sought for his lady Althea, and upon entering the dungeons below, Barlodir learned of her holding place, not in a cell, but at a secret chantry of 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 an altar, with the sorcerer Navros in the midst of performing a dark
sacrificial ritual upon her that would aid in one of his demonic spells; and Borloth was there, in the shadows, waiting for his brother.
Borloth, who anticipated Barlodir, commanded the shadowed Barumen to waylay
him; but Barlodir, by once again speaking the sword Luciendar's ancient words, became invisible and charged the shadow soldiers, for he could see them by Luciendar's light which shown from its crystal pommel. Borloth, however, also
held one of the Ten Swords and his brother was made visible to him by it and he did Barlodir a grievous wound. The two brothers assailed one another and Borloth, under the mad spell of the sword Morthoseth, bested his brother,
striking the sword from his hands. Barlodir, however, held one other weapon, the Fang of Baelin, and with it he paralyzed his brother with its poison blades, but Borloth would not let go
the hilts of Morthoseth, and the poisonís effect was but brief on him. Recovering Luciendar, Barlodir then hewed his brotherís hands from his body, even as they still grasped Morthoseth;
but from behind, Barlodir was struck down with a Talisman blade wielded by the sorcerer Navros, who then escaped the citadel. The Talisman, with a hilt fashioned in the shape of the
dreaded flying serpents of the Eastern land of Nasnandos, was forged with the black, venomous blood of those ancient beasts and no mortal could survive its strike. Thus Barlodirís
life ended, yet, by not allowing his brother to ever wield the Sword of the Shadows again, Borloth lost all of his power and 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 the oracle 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, came to power and created the Shadow Army, creatures that were invisible to mortal men. Vardorís Shadows spread
throughout Ammon and conquered many of the great kingdoms. The kingdom of Lumenia now held the sword Luciendar, which was the only known defense against the Shadows, but they
had no king to wield it. 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 Lutholís father, the lost king, Almaeth. Almaeth held in his power one of the
Swords of the Ancients, Cinthorc, a talisman of the realm of Deylund for almost four thousand years. Many years earlier Almaeth had banished Morgolien from Deylund for practicing the dark
arts and using witchcraft to force her will upon the throne, and she secretly used the sword Cinthorc for evil purpose. Since her exile she had become a mighty sorceress and created the
vile city of Nokomis, in the Eastern lands of the realm of Deylindor, populated by many that practiced the black arts. It was there that she had begun to create her own enchanted
blades, like unto those created by the Ancients, but with far less power. King Almaeth later left Deylund with Cinthorc on a quest to find the sword of power, Anathar, but he was lost in the realm of Dagorlund and never returned.
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 she granted Luthol his request, he then
use his great resources to find Cinthorc, one of the Ten Swords, and surrender it to her. Luthol, knowing that the great sword would only come to evil in her hands, agreed to send a
quest party to find it, for he felt at ends and without choice. Morgolien then created for Luthol the Shadow Slayer, a blade enchanted with part of her power; and its hilt was
fashioned by her blacksmiths 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. The serpentine blade of the Shadow Slayer was formed in the shape of
the forked tongue of Orwenoch. When blood from one of the Shadow beasts touched the blade it would call forth the spirit of the Orwenoch to destroy any creature whoís veins flowed
with that blood. Morgolien, who was greatly weakened by the creation of the blade, informed that the Orwenoch would remain corporeal until every last Barumen of the Shadow Army lay
slain, and then retreat back into the darkness from whence they came, which was the Neverworld.
Luthol took the blade and it gave him the power to see all as the Qrwenoch did and he found the Shadow Army encamped on the shores of the east. Wielding the Shadow Slayer, Luthol
drew first blood upon attacking the encampment; and when that vile blood touched its blade the hoard of the Orwenoch appeared, a thousand strong. The vile beasts were armored with
ribbed plates like bone, walked on four great legs with the forepaws ending in large, hooked talons, and their great horned heads were studded with six piercing eyes. Protruding from their
lower bodies were many whip like tentacles that could subdue and strangle their prey. Resembling some giant twisted insect insect or sea beast from the depths, they could only be
seen in the moonless night by the red reflection of their multiple eyes, which shone in the dark. Vile and terrible creatures, they 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, hewn in many pieces, the Orwenoch did not retreat back to the Neverworld. Instead they
remained, demanding that Luthol take them across the sea to the land of Dagorlund where the Shadows had been spawned.
Of the Valdris
When the immortal Ancients began to disappear from the world, the order of the Mithrodin was created by mortals to watch over the Ten Swords. The Mithrodin, or Mith as they were called,
were a highly secretive cadre of warriors and protectors in service of the Great Realm. Dating back over three hundred generations, to the time of the Ancient Ones, the Mith were
guardians of the sacred steels bestowed with powers by the Ancients. They were charged with the full knowledge of the Ten Swords of the Ancients and they alone knew of the swordsí
powers and lore. It was the duty of the Mith to keep order and balance in Ammon by directing the use of the known swords, and keeping secret the unknown ones. Each sword required
counterbalance by itís opposite. When a sword of power appeared and was used to shift the balance of Ammon, the Mith, through careful counsel and deliberation, would seek the
opposing sword and release it into the world. They alone were also responsible for recovering and protecting any sword that fell from its masterís hand at the edge of another. The Mith understood the mystery and power of steel.
Mithrodin temples numbered in the hundreds and were spread across Ammon in each of the Great Realms. Only a select few were ever admitted to their ranks and even fewer passed the
rigorous training, which lasted several years. They were masters of the mental and physical arts of combat. At the completion of each level of training, the Mith tattooed a portion of
their bodies in sacred designs of the Ancients, thus the highly skilled were adorned the most. The chosen weapon of the Mith was the Valdris, a double bladed sword of strange design. The
hilt of the Valdris, like many weapons of the Great Realm, was fashioned from the bones and armor of Baelin, great brutal and ruthless beasts created by the Dark One for his Black Legion.
Its twin blades, forged of extraordinary Elvish steel from the mines of Lokonia, were designed for the intricate blocking and offensive fighting style the Mithrodin used in combat. Only they
could wield the Valdris properly and many were skilled at using two at one time, honing the mind and flesh to become one with the blades. A high level Mithrodin could disarm and subdue
an enemy with this weapon at lightening speed; or destroy with the same precision.
The most skilled user of the Valdris was the great warrior Aluen, high soldier of the Mithrodin, under the command of Vaelen, Queen of Lumenia, in the war against the Black Legion of the
Dark One. Aluen was orphaned at a young age when a siege by nomadic thieves on her village left her the only survivor. By chance, she was discovered by a company of Queen Vaelenís
cavalry returning from the realm of Deylund. They brought her to the Queenís palace in Lumenia. It became clear to Vaelen that Aluen, although wild and undisciplined, was quick to
learn and skilled in the arts of hand to hand combat; hence she was enrolled into military training for Vaelenís personal guard to give her life purpose other than revenge against the
destroyers of her kith and kinsman. Aluen quickly excelled beyond all other soldiers and therefore was recruited by Vaelen to become one of the Mithrodin and serve the Great Realm.
Aluen was trained by the highest master of the Mithrodin for seven years before being released into the world to carry out her duties. She had the distinction of being the only Mith
in ten generations to have defeated a Baelin in single combat. Aluen forged her own Valdris hilt from that beast. She bravely served in the war against the Black Legion for Vaelen, defeating
many Barumen soldiers with that blade; and also returned the sword Kilgorin to the Mithrodin when the Dark One was defeated, with the Valdris as her only defense in taking it out of the
his dark caverns. She was saddened greatly when Vaelen was lost to the Neverworld and vowed to find a way to free her friend from that deathless prison. Only a blade of the Ancients
could accomplish such a deed and Aluen know not of one with such powers, but she had learned the myths of the Blades of Chaos in her studies.
Of the Umethar
Long ago in the Fourth Age, the age of chaos,
there was malcontent among the three mortal races created by the Ancient Ones: Elves, Men, and the Uldurin. The mortals, though wise with many strengths, were also unstable through the weaknesses of the flesh, and there was much
hatred and jealousy amongst them. Thus the Ancient Ones created the first enchanted talismans to temper the mortals and restore order and balance. They were given to mortals and each took the form of bladed devices bestowed with powers of
many forms; but the mortals misused them and were corrupted by the new power, and there were many wars fought and much blood shed by reason of them. The Uldurin surmised that the Ancient Ones did not favor them as equals to the other mortal
races because they were only granted one of the enchanted blades, while Elves were given three and Men two. Thus they demanded the Ancients make more of the blades, and when
the Ancient One sent to them as emissary refused, the Uldurin killed that one and set out destroying any enchanted blade they could find. This was the first slaying of immortal by
mortal and Ammon was forever changed. Thenceforward the talismans became known as the Blades of Chaos, for that is what they created.
The Ancient Ones, seeing the grave mistake they had made, set forth to create the Umethar, a talisman to restore order to the Chaos. It was given the shape of many blades within blades,
for it held powers within powers. The hilt was carved from bone of the Ancient One whom was slain by the Uldurin and the pommel was fashioned in the image of the Anath, whom created
Ammon. The blade was quenched with the blood of every immortal Ancient and within it was held their greatest power. The Ancients commanded mortals use the blade to heal the hurts
they had caused, lest ere long they destroy themselves by their own hands; and they took it and by the power of the Umethar they brought life back to the dead mortals who had been
slain in wrath over the Blades of Chaos. Order and harmony were restored between mortals, for a time at least, until the Dark One came and unbalanced the world once again; and when
the dark One was captured the first time and brought to justice, the Umethar was used to unlock the gate to the Neverworld and seal him in, for it had the power to open doors between worlds.
It came to pass as has been foretold that the Dark Oneís offspring, Vardor, came into power, and with the aid of the evil sorcerer Navros, became the Lord of the Shadows. Thenceforth
the high priests of the Mithrodin ordained that the known Swords of the Ancients must be protected lest he seek for them. The leadership of Vaelen, whom herself was of the order of
Mithrodin and had slain the Dark One, was sorely needed in this dark time. Thus the Mithrodin commanded that the warrior Aluen and a company of seven Mithrodin search the lands of
Ammon for knowledge of the fate of the Umethar, which had been lost for over ten thousand years, and with it attempt to release Vaelen from her prison in the Neverworld. Their quest led
them to the far corners of the Great Realm; Lumenia, Deylund, Deylindor, and Ammunach, with no wisdom of the blade she sought.
Aluenís company then set sail with the mariners of the Rocinante, a white sailing vessel of the great fleet of Lumenia, and they crossed the sea of Valesthia to the Southernern realm of
Loringel wherein lay the Mithrodin hall of records in Athelstan. For seven moons Aluen studied the ancient scrolls and tablets of the Fourth Age. It was there she found knowledge of the
Blades of Chaos, the first to be given powers by the Ancients. Indeed, the Mithrodin still held one of those blades, the Isis, in their possesion; but its power was for harnessing the sun and
the earth, and could not open the gate to the other worlds. The others were mostly weak talismans, lost over time, but one blade, the mythical Umethar, was accounted to be the true
blade of creation and destruction, harnessing the original force the Ancients used in the conception of all mortal creatures in Ammon. The Ancient texts told of a great battle between
Elves and Uldurin many thousands of years earlier and of its hiding place in the realm of Ulaine. The Umethar had long ago passed out of memory and was recorded to have been destroyed;
but Aluen knew a blade of the Ancients could not be unmade. Thus Aluenís company and the mariners of the Rocinante made for the frozen lands of the North. All the while, back in the
homeland of Lumenia, their King had been slain and Vardorís Shadows swept over the land.
The journey took three moons time, with one sojourn on the isle of Kelledros off the Northeastern coast of Dagorlund, before finally landing on the frozen Eastern shores of Ulaine,
which were strangely broken and in upheaval as if the earth had been twisted and wrenched. The Elves making their abode in the villages of the coast had no word from the Mithrodin for
many a year and were elated by Aluenís visit. She learned from them that the Uldurin, who had degenerated into vicious savages since the time of the Ancients, harshly ruled Ulaine.
The king of the Uldurin possessed the sword of the earth, Anathros
, and he used it to govern the Elves by threat of its power, which could melt the ice and crack the earth. With it he had
all but destroyed the great cities of the Elvish kingdom and the Elves now lived in many scattered villages. Anathros
had been given to the Elves long ago, but was later stolen by the
Uldurin, who now resided on the shores of the West. It was there that the Temple of the Anath was rumored to lie, hidden in the Eldriun Mountains. The mariners transported Aluenís
crew to the Western shores where they parted company. The main host of the Uldurin dwelt there and Aluen chose to travel around the city to the foot of the mountains by night and avoid detection.
The ascent through the mountain pass was harsh and cold, but this did not distress the Mithrodin, and after many days travel they finally descried the three great peaks of mount
Eldriun, wherein the temple should reside in the valley between the peaks. The company took rest for the night but were assailed in the twilight hours by an Uldurin patrol; and they were
twisted beings, savage and unrecognizable, with bare, scaly spined black skin, and taloned hands and feet. They fought fiercely and three of Aluenís company were slain, but Aluen also
took six of the intruders to death with her Valdris before the others retreated. At dawn they crossed the mountain and advanced into the valley below, which was peculiarly devoid of
snow or even cold, but was bright, green and warm like midsummer as if some magic had averted the elements. In the center of the valley stood a great ring of immense fir trees, but
when they came closer they could see a grand palace hidden within, ancient and in disrepair, but still majestic and beautiful: The Temple of the Anath, now vacant of the Ancient Ones
since they passed from the world ten thousand years beforehand.
Upon entering the magnificent temple halls, which were carved of a polished black stone, the company was beleaguered by more of the Uldurin, deranged guardians set to watch ages ago,
their minds bent by long abuse of the Blades of Chaos. A prolonged battle ensued but the Mithrodin were triumphant, and proceeded into the inner labyrinth in search of the chamber
that held the talisman they sought. Aluen, using all of her skills and training, deciphered the puzzle of the labyrinth and found the great hidden chamber within, a circular room ringed by
fourteen statues of the Ancient Ones, each holding a bladed scepter. In the center of the ring there was a stone pedestal that firmly held the Umethar, and Aluen knelt in front and grasped
its hilt; and by invoking the Ancient Ones names she asked for it to be released from the temple. It broke free of the stone and a brilliant light shone from the blade as Aluen held it
aloft, and through it she was given a vision by Vaelen from the Neverworld. In the vision the hoard of the Orwenoch were coming out of Dagorlund to destroy the Great Realm, commanded
by Vardor; but Aluen was also in the vision, commanding an army of the undead against them, and she held the sword Anathros in her hand.
Aluen then knew that her fate was to lead the Elves in conquest of Uldurin and wield the sword Anathros against Vardor.
Of Anathros and Valermos, the fifth and sixth swords
Luthol, prince of Deylund in the
Great Realm and leader of the forces allied against the Shadow Army of Vardor, called for his great navy ships to transport the hoard of the Orwenoch to the Western shores of Dagorlund, as they had demanded of
him. Luthol had brought the Orwenoch forth from the Neverworld by the power of the enchanted Shadow Slayer blade, to use their strength in battle against Vardorís sinister soldiers. The Orwenoch fought relentlessly until all of the
Barumen had perished from the Great Realm and now craved to defeat the larger Shadow Army across the sea in the Shadowís homeland of Dagorlund; and this was also the domain of their master, the Lord of the Shadows, Vardor.
The Orwenoch desired to destroy all of the Barumen bloodline, and Luthol had no choice but to do as the they commanded for fear of their wrath, which was the greatest in all of Ammon;
and he set sail with them and a great part of his cavalry and infantry for the West. Unbeknownst to Luthol, the Orwenoch quest to destroy the Barumen bloodline stemmed from a
long standing grievance against the Dark One, Vardorís father, whom had betrayed the Orwenoch long ago at the end of the Fifth Age, nearly ten thousand years earlier. The
Orwenoch had allied with the Dark One to defeat the Ancients in a great battle, but the Ancients prevailed and captured the Dark One; and he betrayed the Orwenoch hiding place to
them, resulting in the their ultimate banishment to the Neverworld, where they had thereafter been imprisoned. Now they greatly desired revenge against all whom descended from the Dark
One, to destroy all of his creations; and in this way they were more an ally to Luthol than he knew. This was unclear to him because the Orwenoch had no spoken language, but conversed
rather by thought, and Luthol could perceive only the will and not the reason.
The journey was long and Lutholís men were anxious and feared the creatures that they harbored in their ships, as occasionally some men had disappeared in the night and were
thought to have been devoured. The fleet reached the isle of Kelledros, Northeast of Dagorlund, and encamped on the Western shore facing that Dark Realm. In the night the
Orwenoch swam the sea under the strait to take the fortified coast of Dagorlund by surprise, and Luthol sent his fleet to follow. His soldiers reached the shore and thereupon they found
the host of the Shadow Army were all but overcome by the Orwenoch, and Luthol burned the enemyís war ships and brought down the watch towers. Now Luthol and his men were charged
with courage, for they deemed that their force was as strong as the Shadows, and foresaw Vardorís downfall.
Aluen, after she received her vision from Vaelen, returned to the Elves in the East of Ulaine with the remnants of her Mithrodin company; and she convinced them that it was now the
time to attack the Uldurin, who had been weakened by their loss of the Umethar, and remove the sword Anathros from the throne. She told of the vision and how Anathros must be used in
the coming war against the Shadow Army. Utilizing the Umethar's power to create doors, Aluen opened a passage between Elven villages and the Temple of the Anath in the Eldriun
mountains. When all of the forces of the Elves were assembled there they made an assault upon the Uldurin ice city from the rocky mountains to the North where it was least protected
and broke through the confines of its frozen outer walls. Aluen sent her sailing vessel, the Rocinante, and all of Elven ships they could muster to feint an assault on the Southern coast
of the kingdom, and thus all of the Uldurin forces were on the wrong side of the city when it was attacked. The Uldurin king, who dared not use the destructive power of Anathros within
the city walls, was soon overwhelmed and cast down from the throne by Aluen, and his encircled troops surrendered to the Elves. Aluen took possession of Anathros and used its
power to bring down the icy walls of the city. The sword was elegant in design, with engraved runes in the blade telling of its powers, and a wire wrapped and polished hilt whose cross
guard folded to point towards the blade tip when its power was focused. Thence the city was secured and the Elves praised the Mithrodin and gave Aluen a company of twenty Elven foot
soldiers and archers; and Aluen hastily departed with her forces in the Rocinante for Dagorlund.
Lutholís forces marched for weeks through the Kilgoriun mountain pass to Annundos, where Vardor held his armies in great fortresses and in the center was his command post, Morgadurin, the black tower. The army was assailed
many times in the pass, but prevailed in each battle due to the might of the Orwenoch, until they came at last the mouth of Annundos; and there they were overwhelmed by the Shadow Army, ten thousand strong, which issued
forth from the bowels of the earth, and among them were many Baelin. The Orwenoch crushed their front line and drove through the confines of the iron gates into
Annundos where Lutholís forces came to the fortresses surrounding the black tower, but they were protected by a magic wall, unseen to the eye. Luthol called for his Master of Blades, the
keeper of his enchanted talismans, and the master brought forth Lutholís Spirit Dagger, and with it Luthol stabbed the wall and the spirits within the blade shattered the barrier, allowing
Lutholís army to attack the battlements. The hosts of both armies suffered great losses, but Lutholís forces had all but won the battle when a cavalry, clad in black armor and flanked by a
score of Baelin, rode forth from the great arched passages in the foot of the black tower to the front lines. Leading the cavalry were Vardor and his six generals, and the wizard Navros,
who kept the besiegers at bay by casting a spell around his companions.
Vardor was wrathful upon seeing that the Orwenoch had indeed returned, and he rode to the nearest one and demanded a parlay, at which point the Orwenoch horde ceased the battle
and surrounded Vardorís cavalry, closing through Navrosí magic barrier. Vardor, upon witnessing this, knew then that the Orwenoch were not flesh and blood, but spirits called
forth from the Neverworld as he had surmised. He withdrew his sword Valermos, the sword of fire, from its scabbard and held it aloft and its rune covered blade turned black and burst into
flame. The black hilt was adorned with the shape of the fire scarab and the symbol of the eternal sun was engraved in its pommel. Valermos was one of the Swords of the Ancients, and
among its many powers was the ability to command creatures that served the fires of hell and those in spirit form. Vardor cast its power upon the Orwenoch and, against their will, he
became their new master; and they turned against the forces of Luthol causing a great part of his troops to perish. Luthol, surmising that to continue the battle was now hopeless, called
his army to retreat back to the mountain pass, but the Orwenoch followed.
In the harrowing days that ensued Lutholís army reached their ships at the strait of Kelledros, butonly less than half of their numbers remained as the others had been overcome and had
perished in the pass. The way was long and they were weary of battle, but the Orwenoch were soon upon them once again. Only a handful of ships survived the onslaught to reach the
isle beyond the strait, but ere long the enemy would follow. Lutholís generals, out of desperation, tried to seize the Shadow Slayer from his possession to break its blade, thus
ending the spell and sending the Orwenoch back to the Neverworld; but Luthol refused and he was slain. The traitors broke the talisman but its destruction only caused the dread beasts to
be free of the Neverworldís grasp. At this time Aluenís ship reached the isle of Kelledros, guided by Vaelenís vision, and she saw from afar the retreating vessels and followed them.
Upon reaching the shore of the isle she learned of Lutholís demise and the coming hoard of the Orwenoch, who were now visibly crossing the waters. She persuaded one ships company of
mariners and footsoldiers that all hope was not lost, for she held the Umethar and it had the power to bring those slain back to life, and they followed her. The two ships sailed twenty
leagues North to the bay of Ilmarin, while the Orwenoch reached the isle of Kelledros behind them and thereupon slaughtered the remainder of Lutholís scattered men.
Aluen and her troops journeyed Southeast by the Atoror river, North of Annundos, and then by foot made way South to the mountain pass where the main host of Lutholís forces had
perished. At length they found a company of Barumen in the midst of burying Lutholís dead troops in great pits and gathering their weapons. Aluen, by invoking the power of the sword
Anathros, caused the earth to tremble and open, revealing the dead, and then by Umethar's magic she bestowed them with life; but they came back not as the living, but as the undead.
Umethar's power had dwindled in the ages since its creation and it could not make them entirely whole again. The Barumen fled at the sight of the dead arisen and Aluen commanded
her undead soldiers to take up arms and follow in the name of Luthol, and they obeyed. Thence they marched on to Annundos.
Vardor had retreated into Morgadurin, his black tower, after sending the Orwenoch, his generals, and the sorcerer Navros to pursue Lutholís retreating army through the pass thirteen
days afore. His Shadow Army of ten thousand had been all but massacred and only his personal guard and cavalry, and a multitude of Baelin hidden in the caverns below the
fortresses remained. Thus his forces were unprepared when Aluenís army of the undead besieged his strongholds in the night; and he called his Baelin forth from the caverns but it
was too late, for Aluen used Anathros to collapse those dark tunnels and crushed the Baelin within. The vanguard of the undead then assailed the black tower guard and Aluenís company
set upon the Barumen soldiers streaming from its five black mouths. But Aluen herself entered one of those mouths of Morgadurin alone, seeking Vardor, and the Barumen guard fled from
the sight of her, for she had the tatooed markings of the Mithrodin, signs of her great adeptness in combat. Therewith she discovered Vardor in his great lower hall waiting, for
through his dark powers he sensed her and the sword she possessed. His sword Valermos blazed with fire and he assailed Aluen, and the most fierce battle in all of Ammon was fought,
but Aluen was the greater skilled of the two and she disarmed Vardor and beheaded him with Anathros. Thus the Shadow Lord, bane of mortals, was at last rid from Ammon.
The sorcerer Navros, upon returning to Annundos with his company of Orwenoch from the battles to the East, spied the attack and hastened by horseback to the black tower to
protect his master, but he was too late; for Aluen emerged from one of its mouths holding Vardorís severed head high. The Orwenoch were free of his command and the remains of the
Shadow Army lost all hope at the this sight, but Navros did not, and he cast a spell of blindness upon Aluen and rode her down with his armored steed. Before Aluenís forces could
aid, he took Valermos from her and escaped through the Western Mountain pass into the dark wastes of Nasnandos.
Aluen regained her sight and was healed after a time and her company repaired what ships of the great fleet still remained seaworthy. The Orwenoch claimed dominance in Annundos and
warned the mortals to leave its lands and never return. Thence the company made the long journey back to the shores of Deylund, bringing with them the army of the undead; and those
souls were at last put to rest in the earth of their homeland. The Great Realm had peace once again but all evil was not cleansed from the land and darkness was growing in the East.
The tale will be continuedÖ
Reprinted from ©2002 Kit Rae ©2000-2002 United Cutlery Corp.
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