When an opposing army brings in the big weapons, your kingdom has no choice but to ante up or fold - and a trained Battle Mage from the Guild of Arcane Combatants if nothing if not a big weapon. But what happens your generals and their generals have a common goal?
Swords form a bond to their wielder. A symbol on the grip that is absorbed through the user's hand and appears on the back of the hand. Maybe only visible to them or others that have the abilities. Could give unique powers depending on when it happened and what they did to get it. It takes a specially made sword that only few can receive and made by a certain race. Then they must do something really heroic to unleash the swords power. Once unleashed it is theirs till they die then the sword goes dormant again till another accomplishes another feat.