He held the sword before him. Intricate gold chasing ran the length of the blade, the pommel delicately wrapped in a cage of gold filigree. The edge was flawless, the balance perfect. His breath caught in his throat and tears in his eyes. Never had he felt such pride in all his twenty years as a master smith. Now, finally, he beheld a true master work crafted of his own hand.
He little felt he could take credit for the work, though he felt the pride of it nonetheless. So moved was he to have been given this commission that his hands had seemed to move by a force outside of himself. No thought, no toil was needed; only to allow the metal to become the thing of beauty it was meant to be. A sword worthy of the honor and valor of his newly knighted friend. He called to his apprentice and then, rethinking the matter, sent him away again. Despite their difference in station he and Briamor had been friends from childhood, it would be appropriate for him to deliver the sword himself.
He stood before his friend’s stately mansion, a sharp contrast to his own modest home, and smiled warmly as he knocked. No twinge of jealousy or envy marred his joy. He had always been happy for his friend’s well earned and deserved successes and felt no disgrace or shame with his own lot.
The maid that answered the door seemed startled by his presence, her surprise quickly replaced by a sardonic grin that perplexed him. “Right this way master”... She led him to the drawing room and bade him warm himself at the fire with a glass of fine brandy while he waited. He smiled as he sank into the high backed chair which would conceal him entirely as his friend entered the room. He drew the blade to appraise it one last time.
The door behind him opened and the voice he knew as well as his own rang out with a childish delight he had forgotten it was capable of… “Oh My Love, I thought you would never arrive.” The smile on his face gave way to confusion as he rose from the chair, and confusion to rage as he beheld his wife. Her state of dress afforded no question as to the reason for her presence in this house. The women paled and stammered as her husband moved towards her. His eyes, that through a decade of marriage had conveyed only love and contentment, were glacial. She could have handled his rage but his cold silence unnerved her and she found her self backing away from his slow approach…
He stared at the fire, his face crimson from the glow of the forge. Surely he was dreaming, trapped in some nightmare from which he could not awake. The broken blade in his hand assured him it was no dream. The severed point would be the key to lock his prison cell. His eyes traveled passed the jagged edge to the still glowing forge. Anger, Pain, betrayal, all of this he poured into its refashioning the storm of emotions redoubled with every blow.
Though, for want of a murder weapon to prove his guilt, he never spent a moment in jail he was nonetheless a prisoner. He could escape neither the knowledge of the deed, nor the rumors that followed. Poverty and despair came to be his closest friends. For 15 years the twisted remnants of what he once had been mocked him from the wall where it hung.
The blade, once elegant and graceful, now has a vicious air. The main blade curves downward like a clawed finger. A gutting hook protrudes beneath the main blade. Curving beneath, from the base of the blade to the tip of the gold chased hilt, the metal has dripped and hardened to resemble three tears. The words etched into the curve. “Is immunda mucro addo erus despero!”(“This unclean sword’s point brings despair!”)
The few that still patronized his shop were the unsavory sort. Those that were found in the bars that good folk walked blocks out of there way to avoid. They came to him believing he was one of their kind. Many offers were made on the blade, offers that would have made his life more comfortable, but none were accepted. The rumor that this was the murder weapon was inevitable. As the rumors grew, so too did the value of the blade, and the desire for it. When the smith’s shop was found abandoned and the blade missing the guard, and the town, showed little concern. Though the fate of the smith was never known the blade, and the tragedies it left in its wake, cut a long and winding path across many miles and years.
The History of the Blade
What follows is a brief description of the blades travels, and the lives it touched, including variations in the legends. Though there are no dates associated with any single legend the first tale has been told for at least 40 years.
Legend: The man who created it found his wife, in their own bed, with his enemy. He murdered her in a fit of rage but the man she was with escaped.
Variation: The man was a noble who came home from war to find his wife with child. The noble commissioned the blade and used it to kill his wife before the child could be born.
Legend: A thief stole the blade and in his haste to escape the scene he slipped from a rooftop and fell on the blade.
Variation: The lover stole the blade to present to the police as proof of the smiths guilt but was thrown by his horse and fell upon the blade before he could deliver it.
Legend: An unsavory merchant found the blade in the body of a noble. Rather than report the “murder” he looted the body and kept the blade.
Variation: A gentle and honest merchant found a wounded thief holding the blade. He recognized the weapon from tales he had heard. He became so overwhelmed with desire to own the weapon that he murdered the wounded thief and kept the blade.
4th (& 5th)? Life:
Legend: A cat burglar became fascinated by the sorted history the merchant told of the blade and sought to add it to his unique equipment. He snuck in to steal the blade but was surprised by the merchant. In an attempt to defend himself, and make an escape, he accidentally killed the merchant. Recoiling in horror from what he had done he fell through the window to his death.
Variation: A notoriously elusive cat burglar became obsessed with the stories of the blade and his desire to possess it. After acquiring the blade he became so boastful of his new acquisition that he gave his identity away to the local thieves’ guild. The guild, displeased with having this rogue slight them, captured the burglar and relieved him of his eyes, to ensure that he could never again practice his craft, and his prize acquistion.
5th (or 6th) Life:
Legend: A mercenary acquired the blade after being hired by a rival thieves’guild to dispense with their competition. He kept the blade as a “souvenir” and it quickly became his favored weapon.
Variation: A ruthless mercenary kept the blade after finding it next to a body in the street. His cruelty and lack of compassion over many years led him to be enlisted in the ranks of a raid against a nearby village. (The raid intended to be a sting against the pride of the rival kingdom.) Taken by a moment of “weakness” he was unable to kill a peasant women and her infant son. He attempted to shield the two from harm but, in the melee, was thrown forward. Falling upon the mother and child he turned the blade to himself to spare them and was killed.
6th (or 7th) Life:
Legend: A peasant born Knight was given the blade by his mother. The tale she told of the noble Knight that gave his own life to protect them inspired him to seek the accolade himself. Though a rather un-knightly weapon, the Knight continued to use the blade because it inspired him.
Variation: A Knight acquired the weapon form his mother who told him it had been his late father’s favorite weapon. The young knight carried it with him in hope that his father’s bravery and honor would guide his hand. During a Melee, he fought with his liege close by. In the heat of the battlec he miscalculated his attack and struck his liege. He watched Duke Briamor slip to the ground, his life draining away. In his shame he fled his kingdom never to be heard from again.
1000 Gold for the return of a rare and unique blade. Identified by inscription
“Is immunda mucro addo erus despero”
Leave contact information with barkeep at the Wayward Sailor Tavern.