Friday, December 12, 2008

The song of the swords

The sword that our heroes used to free Dana Briar was named Stonecutter, one of the 12 lost swords of the old gods.

The story goes that in ages past the old gods grew bored of their creation, which was the world and everyone in it, and begged the Smith god to create twelve swords of immeasurable power for sport. Each god would design a sword and infuse it with a small amount of their power. The swords would be set loose on the mortal world to sow chaos. The gods would watch it as sport from their abode in the heavens.

The Smith agreed and gathered ore from the farthest reaches of the universe, magic from the fonts of heaven, and curses from the depths of the nine hells. One by one the gods imbued the swords with their powers and one by one the swords fell to earth. This lead to the War of the Swords, which most historians believe to be mythical at best. They say in that war that the gods themselves were slain by their swords.

Every school child learns at least part of the story: The Song of the Swords.

Who holds Coinspinner knows good odds
Whichever move he make
But the Sword of Chance, to please the gods
Slips from him like a snake.

The Sword of Justice balances the pans
Of right and wrong, and foul and fair.
Eye for an eye, Doomgiver scans
The fate of all folk everywhere.

Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, how d'you slay?
Reaching for the heart in behind the scales.
Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, where do you stay?
In the belly of the giant that my blade impales.

Farslayer howls across the world
For thy heart, for thy heart, who hast wronged me!
Vengeance is his who casts the blade
Yet he will in the end no triumph see.

Whose flesh the Sword of Mercy hurts has drawn no breath;
Whose soul it heals has wandered in the night,
Has paid the summing of all debts in death
Has turned to see returning light.

The Mindsword spun in the dawn's gray light
And men and demons knelt down before.
The Mindsword flashed in the midday bright
Gods joined the dance, and the march to war.
It spun in the twilight dim as well
And gods and men marched off to hell.

I shatter Swords and splinter spears;
None stands to Shieldbreaker.
My point's the fount of orphans' tears
My edge the widowmaker.

The Sword of Stealth is given to
One lonely and despised.
Sightblinder's gifts: his eyes are keen
His nature is disguised.

The Tyrant's Blade no blood hath spilled
But doth the spirit carve
Soulcutter hath no body killed
But many left to starve.

The Sword of Siege struck a hammer's blow
With a crash, and a smash, and a tumbled wall.
Stonecutter laid a castle low
With a groan, and a roar, and a tower's fall.

Long roads the Sword of Fury makes
Hard walls it builds around the soft
The fighter who Townsaver takes
Can bid farewell to home and croft.

Who holds Wayfinder finds good roads
Its master's step is brisk.
The Sword of Wisdom lightens loads
But adds unto their risk.

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