Studies on Legendary Items
Supplied by Ryoshi Ichinose, Spring 1121
My studies of the winter of the winter of 1120 I spent a good period in the dusty stacks of Brighthelm Stane. In to my studies of legendary items, weapons, armour clothing and many of objects of the history of Albion and their stories.
Obviously, I found many details on Excalibur the most famous weapon of the history of Albion. As well as stories of the Seven Swords of Wayland, much is probably known. But for the sake of wholeness I have included it. While it is not written that the swords of Wayland are legendary, they are deeply rooted in this factions history and tales.
Bellow is info on the more known items of the Harts and their histories.
The Kingsword, being an History of the Lightning Shard, Excalibur
The Binding of the Seven Swords of Waylund into the Kingsword, the Lightning Shard In his days, Arthur received many gifts of great weapons:
Rhongomyniad, the great spear, called striker and slayer
Carnwennan, the dagger, called little white-hilt, which in ancient days was called Dyrnwyn, and belonged to Rhydderch Hael, once High King of Ynys Prydwen. When drawn by a worthy in good cause, the blade would blaze with white fire.
Clarent, the sword of peace, for knighting and ceremony, which was stolen by Sir Mordred and renamed Kingbreaker, out of spite for his liege and uncle, King Arthur. This, alas, was the sword Sir Mordred wielded at the Battle of Camlann, being enchanted by the Lady Morgana, to deliver the fatal wound unto the King.
Seure, the shimmering blade, a gift from the Lady of the Lake, which King Arthur did bestow upon the Queen’s Champion, her own adopted son.
Galatine, called by some the Shadow to the Kingsword’s Light, was gifted to Sir Gawain, by the Lady of the Lake, at Arthur’s instruction.
“Then Sir Gawaine was all abashed, and with Galatine his good sword he smote through shield and thick hauberk made of thick mails, and all to-rushed and break the precious stones, and made him a large wound, that men might see both liver and lung.”
But no weapon was so famous, so exalted, so feared, as Excalibur, the Lightning-Shard, the Kingsword – the blade that was drawn from the stone.
As the song goes “a boy’s hand will grasp it, a man’s raise it high” – it is seen by many that the drawing of the sword from the stone was the very moment that Arthur’s kingship began. In the minds of the people, this much is so.
In the days past, Albion was made of seven kingdoms – scholars call this the Heptarchy – ever at war with one another for this reason or that, there came a time when a peace was brokered between the realms. The High
King of Ynys Prydwen at that time did work with the druids of all the realms to forge what he hoped would be a lasting peace. In celebration of this the ancestor Waylund, the Smith, forged for the kings a sword each.
Each blade represented a virtue found in the heart of that leader. The swords would help them defeat the enemies of Albion, and would always be strongest when wielded together, but weakest when wielded against one another.
The Smith poured this into the very core of the blades – that the greatest strength is to be found in unity – for in his foresight he knew a day would come when that lesson would be shouted across all of the seven kingdoms of Albion.
Thus Waylund the Smith did bestow upon the leaders of each of these realms a sword:
Morax, the sword of Vengeance
Solas, the sword of Wisdom
Beleth, the sword of Might
Albion, the sword of Justice
Lauros, the sword of Honour
Orias, the sword of Mercy
Elidor, the sword of Fealty
And for a time, peace reigned in Albion.
But, alas, peace did not last, and merely a generation later the seven realms of Albion once more began to war amongst themselves.
The swords were brought together by the Merlyn – no small undertaking, for some were lost, others were hidden, and many were in the hands of the great and the greedy. The stories of the Merlyn’s quests for the swords are well documented elsewhere, and we shall not recount them here.
Bringing all seven blades together to forge the mighty Kingsword, Excalibur, for the hand of the King who would unify the realm, bringing together many disparate peoples into one, great family, strong in its unity.
At the time it was believed this would be Aurelius, but that was not to be so. In later days Uther believed that he would be the one, but that too was not so.
Arthur, we now know, was the child of prophecy – the born king, the one destined to unite Albion and, should one believe the stories, to solidify the Pax Prydein. It was to him that the sword appeared, and it was he who was able to draw it from the enchanted stone which held it, thus proving his bloodline and his kingship.
His arcane bargaining with Floris brought the Merlyn great power, but also grave knowledge of the future. His curse, for the harnessing of such power, was his inability to articulate the possible futures he saw, and that he was unable to directly affect those outcomes. Thus, the Merlyn sought to shape the various futures to the best benefit of Ynys Prydwen in myriad ways of influence and subtle art.
We know that the Merlyn wandered the isles for a long while – we have records that he took counsel with the wise folk of all the nations, that he spent a long while with the Iceni, and that he sought out his own mentor, the former Merlyn. He visited the holy places of the Isles of Ynys Prydwen and spent much power in communing with arcane and elemental forces.
At some point, though we know not when, he formed his plan.
Argante the White, Holy Mother and High Priestess of the Lake appointed as her emissary in this undertaking her daughter, the Lady Nimue, a priestess of their order, who, prior to affirming her vows to the Lake, was a blacksmith.
It was through this undertaking that the Merlyn’s apprentice, Emrys, first met the Lady Nimue, though it would be many years before the Merlyn Emrys and Nimue would marry. The tales of the offspring of that marriage, the three sisters Igraine, Morgause, and Vivianne, are documented elsewhere.
There has long been a tradition across Ynys Prydwen that the weapons of fallen warriors are thrown into the nearest bodies of water.
The Ladies of the Lake scoured the waters of Prydein and brought forth the greatest blades of the worthiest kings and warriors of Prydein, and brought it to the Great Smithy of Waylund, which had been constructed at Silverlake.
They built the forge atop a deep chasm, which was said to go down to the Dragon itself, similar to the chasm in the crystal caverns beneath Camelot, where the Merlyn established his chambers.
The forge was fueled with charcoal burned from each type of sacred tree to be found across the isles.
Oak, for strength. Ash, for protection. Apple trees from Avalon, for choice. Beech, for guidance. Birch, for utility. Blackthorn, for fate. Elder, to drive away evil. Elm, for stability. Fir, for clarity. Hawthorn, for prosperity. Hazel, for wisdom. Hazel, for knowledge. Holly, for watchfulness. Larch, for warding. Mistletoe, for healing. Pear, to ward off temptation. Pine, for purity. Poplar, for shielding. Rowan, for ward off enchantment. Willow, for peace. Yew, for vision.
The Merlyn and the Lady Nimue did call on the aid of the great smiths, Waylund and Govannon.
Taranis did harness the lightning. Mananaan gave forth the armoured scales of his greatest salmon. The Merlyn did call forth the very breath of the Dragon. Coel Hen breathed into it the stinging chill of winter.
The Merlyn stole the staff of the sorcerer king Vortigern, an artifact of great magical power, and with the aid of Waylund and Govannon, bound its power into the re-forged Excalibur. Some say it was this act which precipitated Vortigern’s fall, and the ravaging of Albion by the Saes.
The light from the Great Forge could be seen, so the stories say, from miles away.
The dual hammers of Waylund and Govannon rang through the heavens, as they beat their power into the blade. It took all of Nimue’s strength to hold the blade in place.
“Brought by a queen for the hand of the chosen.
From fish scale and currants and winter’s reply.
Brought from the deep by a prophet who knows
In the arms of the water again it will lie.”
The host of Silverlake, the order of priestesses who made the lake their home, aided in this endeavour in the Waters of Silverlake
In the waters of Silverlake did the blade lie, seemingly for an age. Cooling, tempering,
The Lady of the Lake bound the sword to the Pendragon bloodline, that Excalibur might ever serve Arthur’s heirs when required. The Green Man connected it to the very land itself.
And into the blade was breathed by all the binding spell, “Take me up. Cast me away.”
And so it became the blessing and the curse that all who took up the Kingsword would, after time, willingly cast it away, or by force have it cast away from them.
Aurelius cast the sword away willingly, when he saw peace dawn across the realm. Uther refused to relinquish the sword, and thus it was forcibly taken from him. Arthur saw the truth of the matter, and when his time came, ordered that the sword be cast back into the Lake.
There is a common rumour that Excalibur is often lost by those who wield it. This is merely the magick at work – for the blade itself knows when it must be cast away, and when it must once again be taken up.
Now let’s move on to my studies of perhaps more unknown information, I found many references to ancient, legendary and very well-known magics and items from Albion’s past. Looking through more books, I found references to weapons from the time of Arthur, and more.
Rhongomyniad, the Spear of Arthur. This mighty spear was potent with magic and was often remarked to be wielded by Arthur as an extension of his own arm, such was the ease that the spear could be moved and brought down upon its enemies.
It was said that the spear could not miss it’s target and, indeed, the greater the foe was, the more devastating the blow that could be landed by the king. It is not known what became of the spear.
Carnwennan, the dagger, called little white-hilt, which in ancient days was called Dyrnwyn, and belonged to Rhydderch Hael, once High King of Prydein. When drawn by a worthy in good cause, the blade would blaze with white fire.
An ornate knife, carried by the King, it was considered part of the royal regalia, although tales of its use towards the end of Arthur’s life are patchy at best.
Seure, the shimmering blade, a gift from the Lady of the Lake, which King Arthur did bestow upon the Queen’s Champion, her own adopted son. It is said the sword had the power to smite a foe, and to heal a friend. We know from record that the Champion took the sword with him when he fled from Albion. No tales, alas, tell whether or not the blade was returned when the Champion was defeated.
Galatine, called by some the Shadow to the Kingsword’s Light, was gifted to Sir Gawain, by the Lady of the Lake, at Arthur’s instruction.
Clarent, the sword of peace, for knighting and ceremony, which was stolen by Sir Mordred and renamed Kingbreaker, out of spite for his liege and uncle, King Arthur.
This, alas, was the sword Sir Mordred wielded at the Battle of Camlann, being enchanted by the Lady Morgana, to deliver the fatal wound unto the King.
What became of this sword, none know the right of it, but a trace can be found, here and there, in a number of books through the ages. Whispers, mostly, of a blade sacred to those who follow the teachings of the Ruinous Prince. Those who march beneath the wing of the Black Dragon on the Path to Pandemonium tell of a blade named Thronebreaker, destined to be wielded against Arthur in the Final Battle, when the ending of the world shall come and the host of the King shall ride out from Avalon.
Said to have been fashioned by the Dwarves of the Delvinghold – great artificers of their time – the King’s Mantle gave the wearer the ability to pass unnoticed by all but the most keen and perceptive of observers. The feat was said to have impressed even the Merlyn themselves – not an easy task, regardless of which Merlyn is spoken of.
The story tells us that Alberich, Lord of the Delvinghold, and his kin created the Mantle as payment for some great feat of heroism performed by the Pen Ddraig which saved their home in the mountains of Avalon. They were to create Mantles for each of the Knights Companion of the Round Table, though no record has been found of those mantles.
I found a report from far more recent years, only a few years old in fact. During the Gathering of nations set within my home the lands of Nihon, a legendary blade known as Tadaka was presented to the harts. A Cathayan warrior came to offer an honour duel. Upon completion of the duel, the harts were found to have acted with honour. Tadaka is a blade so sharp it bypasses armour with ease. Many times folded metal, it had starmetal woven through the blade in deep veins. The blade was apparently presented to the Lions as a gift a year later.
The Helm of the Bannerlord
Reading through some material, I found information retain to the helm of a banner lord and information on a people called The Saes, and their leader of whose title is ‘The Bannerlord’. Some poems below detail such;
“Through the mists I rode
Bearing arms to new shores
For the Bannerlord’s cause;
My path was clear.
I spurred my mount on,
At the dawning of the day,
As the sun burnished the way,
And the mists billowed and furled.
A green and pleasant land,
Beckoned me to its heart,
But all I felt was dread.
The trees and rocks and rivers
Were angered at our coming,
But the Bannerlord rode on;
And the mists billowed and furled.”
“From dark Kenric in the dim morning
with gesith and captain rode Gedrun’s son:
to Aethelshof he came, the ancient halls
of the Spear-wardens, mist-enshrouded;
golden timbers were in gloom mantled.
Farewell he bade to his free people,
hearth and high-seat, and the hallowed places,
where long he had feasted ere the light faded.
Forth rode the Bannerlord, fear behind him,
fate before him. Fealty kept he;
oaths he had taken, all fulfilled them.
Forth rode Cerdyc, five nights and days
east and onward rode the vaulting-gate
through Folde and Fenmarch and the Fallenwood,
six thousand spears to Vortigern,
Aelaban the mighty across Afallun,
the many kingdoms of the other-realm,
Battlehunger drove them on. The Mists took them,
horse and horseman; hoofbeats afar
sank into silence; so the songs tell us.”
What we know of the Saes comes mostly from the accounts written in the time of Aurelius Pen Ddraig, of his younger brother Uther, and Uther’s son Arthur. They came, through the Mists, at Vortigern’s call, from another realm, and thus their histories are mostly unknown to us.
What we know can be found in various books, but of interest particularly, here, is Cerdyc. He was, to the Saes, what we might call a king, and yet, he was not. Cerdyc led the Saes not through the will of the ancestors, nor through the popular acclamation of the people, but by right of strength.
The Saes were a warring and disparate people – they had no singular, unifying leader. Each of the Hyrds was a law unto itself, and more often than not they would be fighting amongst themselves. But the stories we know tell us of a helm.
The Helm of the Bannerlord. They say that some Saes would take it upon themselves to quest for the Helm, and that most would die in the attempt. Were the Helm to be found it was not guaranteed that the finder could wear it, for the Helm itself required mastering and conquering.
But, in those rare times, perhaps once in a hundred years, the Helm would be found, and mastered, and for a time the Saes would be united, for all would march behind the Bannerlord. The strongest of a people who valued strength, it was the Bannerlord who could command the Warhyrd – the massing of the Saes.
Cerdyc was such a Saes, and using the helm he led his people through the Mists to conquer Albion. A great, shining thing, the Helm, with a full face-plate that would hide the wearer’s own face – the purpose of this was, we surmise, to show that the wearer was no longer an individual, but the avatar of the Saes as a whole.
When Cerdyc was killed, the Helm was claimed by Uther, however, owing to the magic of the Helm, it soon faded from his grip, for when the Helm’s wearer is defeated the Helm will shift itself, to be ready for the seeking. Wherever that Helm lies it is somewhere within Albion, and should it be found, and mastered, the Bannerlord may find themselves in command of the remaining Saes – for we know they are out there still.
The sword of Hyrsa, daughter of Cerdyc the Bannerlord, Gesith to her father, a leader among the Saes. Little is known of this blade, other than the fact it seemed to never need the touch of a whetstone, and even in darkness the golden blade shimmered with light. Hyrsa wielded the blade when she rode forth from Avalon once more – where the blade now lies, none know.
Grails, plural, yes. There are many across the various tales, each seeming to fulfill different purposes. Several are devoted to healing, one of which was brought back from Arcadia by Arthur the King, after a successful invasion of that land.
The Horn of Bran of the North
A magical drinking horn in which could be found whatever drink the wielder could wish for.