In an opulent command tent, the king sits with his head in his hands. His tall pale advisor, Abendiir, leans over him and sets a weak, long-fingered hand on the kings white furry collar, “my liege”, he rasped, “it must be done”, his mealy mouth clicking, and bald pate shining in the candlelight.
“Done?” the young King responds, looking up. To the old veteran guard at the front flap of the tent, the crown looks heavy upon his shoulder length blonde hair with a centre parting (that’s not a metaphor by the way, the crown was dead heavy – made of lead). “Done!?” he squeals, banging his strong hands against the old oak table, sending silver plates and golden goblets of red wine flying. “And how, dear Abendiir”, he says, turning to his advisor, “does one kill… A God?”.
Abendiir smiled (or was it a smirk, the old faithful guard thought), “mmm, my liege, leave that”, he brushed down his long black gown, “to me”. He straightens and walked out the tent, smirking still as he walked past the guard.
“What a mincer” the guard muttered.
“What was that?” demanded the king
“Nothing, your grace”.
Phewf! The stakes have been raised! We’re trying to kill a god now. Ah yes, the Greatgod KOK I mentioned before has become quite the annoyance ‘mongst the pantheon. You see, he’s started believeing in another god! At first, the lesser gods were tolerant of KOK’s new religion, thinking it a test of their own faith. But then he started posting leaflets through their doors, and wouldn’t shut up about it at dinner parties and in chance meeting on the cloud-streets. The lesser Gods had had enough, and so had our mysterious priest Abendiir. I’ll give that advisor credit, he’s got ambition. With his infernal blacksmisth Slurg, he came up with a design for a dagger which could surely kill any immortal. Let’s take a look at this unique, cursed blade:
The priceless gemstone in the pommel is the Aiye-of-Khandaar. This cursed diamond, in ancient times, was blamed for a great many deaths in the sub-eastern land of Ynndya: A filthy land home to ten billion people; almost all beggars, pickpockets or petty criminals. The ancient leader of that land, S’hlamm Ak’khander, ran a massive diamond mine. The health and safety was atrocious, and loads of the workers died. They all wore loincloths and it was dead hot. They had big blokes in turbans whipping them all the time it was mental. Anyway, a young lad, his name lost in the mists of time, had been underground for over a month due to an argument with his sadistic line-manager. As he wept for his simple village life he had been stolen from, something caught his eye in a fissure, glinting in the pitch black. He crawled towards it and picked it out of the rock. It was this gigantic ruby. He was carried to the surface a hero, but alas it was too late. The lad raised the gem and belted out “With my last breathe, I curse thee all, and thys gemstone! Death to thee emperor!” and died. All the workers were naturally upset with getting cursed by the lad. As far as they were concered they were in the same boat as him in terms of being enslaved, but cursed they were. The emperor went on to lead a long and happy life which made it even worse (but isn’t that always the way- the poor suffer while the rich get richer and better healthcare. Remind you of anywhere?? (Earth)).
The 7 gems inlaid in the quillion block signify the seven curses Abendir infused into it. These are (l-r): pain, murder, hex, poison, death, chornic pain, lack of life, and illness. Abendir reckoned that that lot should do the trick.
The actual blade’s design is very careful. The point, followed by the curve, and the serrated bit was perfect for piercing through a big muscly back which the scholars of the age assumed KOK had. But of course, a sharp bit of metal alone isn’t going to be enough to kill a god. So, imbibed in the blade are two pieces of the rarest mystical metal, known only as sharrash, or Death Metal in the old tongue. Rarer than gold, it has a mystical property that poisons blood incurably as soon as it makes contact with it.
The design phase over, Abendiir thought long and hard about how to actually strike the mortal blow on KOK the immortal. He knew he couldn’t do it on his own, so he enlisted two of the lesser Gods- the God of Betrayal, and the God of Good Hospitality. Did he succeed? Come closer, friend, as we peer down unto this night of epic portentions…
Slurg beat away in his dungeon smithy through the night, as Abendiir watched on, his bald pate reflecting in the furnaces flame, a sinister grin on his gaunt face. Cock’s fearful crowing informed them of dawn. Slurg lifted the blade to his master.
“’Tis done master, what ‘ee think?”
Abendiir touched the Black Metal. Red hot, yet cool to the touch. He gazed lustfully into it’s endless blackness “Slurg, dear servant, tonight we will be killed by a God”, he flicked his eyes to the blacksmith, “ or become gods ourselves”. He smiled a sinister grin, and the dagger disappeared into his large sleeves. He strode from the smithy.
Slurg put down his worn hammer, wiped his big green face and spat onto the hot floor. “What a mincer” he muttered.
Night. Abendiir stood at the altar of the Cathedral of KOK. His hands in his massive sleeves, the light from the myriad lanterns licking his bald head. He was bowed in silent prayers.
“ooh! He’ll be here any minute!” wailed the God of Hospitality. He was running up and down the centre aisle, straightening the pews and brushing imaginary dust from the cold slabs of stone. “How does the place look?! I hope he likes it! Oh no, look at that candle, its dribbled right down to the holder! Abendiir, help me, its-“
Abendiir slammed his fist down on the altar and turned to the minor god. “For the last time, the place looks great. You’ve done a lovely job. Now, fuck off and find a place to hide. If this shit doesn’t work I’ll need you in here with your massive fireballs”.
The God of Hospitality scurried off up the stairs with a whimper. Abendiir finished his silent prayer. And not a moment too soon, for from the massive oak doors came three booming bangs.
“Child. KOK has come”. At the sound of the name there came an enormous low rumble, as if the very foundations were shuddering.
A curtain to the priest’s right twitched, and The God of Betrayals impish face appeared, “Psst… that’s him arrived I think”, he said, and then disappeared back into the folds of heavy gold cloth.
Abendiir straightened up, and then did that thing where you clench your jaws a few times, then turned and strode to the door. Opening them, he saw KOK, naked muscly and massive. He was holding a leaflet.
“Ah almighty KOK, please, enter…” the priest bowed low and KOK strode in, each sandaled footstep causing a huge boom around the church. As KOK reached the altar, he turned to study the room, and then turned to his arch-priest. “Look at the state of that candle, but no matter… What summons thee of myself?”
The priest rubbed the back of his bald pate. “Well, ah, it’s just, uh… God of Betrayal! Now!” he cried, and the little scamp ran out from his curtain hideout with a hideous cackle and stabbed the Greatgod in the back. A momentous boom echoed round the whole chamber, and loads of blood and a bright light spurted out of his back. He staggered, and turned to the priest. His face a picture of shock. “Et, tu Brute?” he sighed, then fell to the floor and died.
Abendiir strode over to the rapidly cooling body of his former god. A single tear appeared on his bald face. “Sleep well thee, for thy has- ughnn!”. As he spoke, the little God of Betrayal jumped up and stabbed him right in the arse. Blood spurted everywhere as the infernal priest collapse and died. The God of Betrayal cackled like a mad man and ran out the door, carrying the sacred knife with him.
Echoing footsteps filled the cavernous space, as the God of Hospitality ran down the stairs. “Ooh! Abendiir what’s happening! I heard screams!”. He appeared at the base of the stairs and stared down at the two bodies, entwined as though lovers. “Oh. what a mess” he whimpered. Then vanished.
What a mess. Indeed
I cannot deny that swords are intrinsically very basic instruments. They’re sharp, you swing them at things and they cut. Sometimes you stab them into things but the result is the same. There’s no depth there (barring the depth of the wound ;-)), no buried ulterior motives (barring the buried blade in flesh ;-)). It does one thing and one thing only, a simple automaton. The human equivalent would be a secretary or a nurse.
But what if a sword was to be infused with something else…something unworldly… something that makes it able to do something else. Imagine if that secretary got an HNC in cake decorating or something. Of course she’d never make a career out of it, but it would give her something to talk about on the phone to her sister while she filed her nails with her feet up on the desk instead of making tea for her boss.
Now I’m not suggesting for one second that I’m the first person in the world to imagine a so-called “magic-sword”, but I feel safe saying that I’m the first person to draw a sword inspired by surrealists such as Dali, and other surrealists. I spent a good twenty minutes looking online at pictures of clocks all melted, mad long giraffes, stuff that looks a bit like things but might not be, and am pretty confident I have channelled the essence of that movement into this blade. The Surreal Blade.
Like all great surrealists, I have designed this piece to be more than a sum of its parts. You have to look at all the parts together to see what the sum of it truly is. Observe that the crossguard and the handle jut out in two different angles! Imagine the look of terror in an enemy’s eyes as he slices down the blade, expecting to skilfully dodge the ‘guard and slice into the un-gauntleted fingers (the wielder’s probably wearing oven mitts or something random like that). But! Clang! Counter and stab! The assailant goes down; his last sight the off-kilter coffin-shaped crossguard, implanting surreal, subconscious images of death in his head, which subtly helps him die.
Ah yes, the coffin design. An interesting choice you might think. But not so, for you see, the original owner of this blade was locally known to be what was known locally as a Bloodpire! Count Suckgard was a mysterious man; oft misunderstood by the villagers who lived in the town at the base of the path up to his castle, high in the hills to the East. Rumours spread that he would sneak down into the town when the moon was full (differing reports also suggest he did it when the moon was crescent, or half, or eclipsed or when it was cloudy) and stalk the lanes, hunting for an open window. Many’s a tale around the town of Fabhaven of wives, back from a long day’s labour, rubbing their sore backs walking into the bedroom to find mysterious count sucking from the groins of their moaning, be-witched spouses, draining them of their life-force. After chasing the count off with their brooms made of twigs and a branch, the men would have to be shaken awake, dazed, unable to remember that the strange man from the house at the top of the hill was in their bed. They also seemed to have lost all track of time, often asking why the wives were home so early.
Alas, poor Suckgard was tragically killed when the wives of the village finally forced their men to break down his gates and set his mansion ablaze. As the flames grew higher and high pitched squeals were heard from within, a lot of the men shifted uncomfortably and whistled while their wives looked on, tapping their rolling pins and huffing.
The sword was lost for generations, until a fearless warrior found it in a cave, thought to be hiding place for men exiled from their villages for unknown reasons (the men were always a little cagey when asked). The blade was hidden amongst a pile of old glittery shirts, garish jewellery and bright cushions. This adventurer’s cohorts mocked him for taking such a useless blade, but after doing the crossguard thing they changed their tune.
In his first skirmish afterwards, the warrior (Chungkka Youngka was his name –more on him in later posts 😉 he slashed a bandits throat- but instead of dying, the miscreant turned into a fence-post. Thus the magic of the blade was revealed. Every time it killed someone, the poor cadaver turned into something totally random!
For you see, the tragic part of this tale is that Count Suckgard was actually really into culture and the arts. A priceless collection of surrealist art was lost when the ignorant villagers burnt down his home. His trusty manservant, a muscular young brute of a blacksmith named Sin-Hen spent years crafting this blade for his master and imbibing within it surrealist magic, as a thank you for taking him under his wing; away from a child brothel in a decadent city far to the south which Suckgard had visited on a number of occasions before old age caught up with him.
I firmly don’t believe in all tales having a moral, sometimes life is just life, and things happen for no reason. However, if I was to seek some sort of meaning from this tale of a lonely old man and his hidden love for art, it is this: Sometimes people are more than they look on the outside. Here was an educated, lonely man, with a love for art and all the beautiful things in life, tragically shunned and then killed by his neighbours. Was it jealousy of his house and wealth? Or simply for being a randy old poof? Whatever the truth died in that fire so long ago.