The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients And Other Blades of Power
(This is an excerpt from the full tale, ŇOf Cinthorc and MolotochÓ)
Whence Naegolus was loosed upon the land to slaughter the Mithrodin he hunted and killed until but a few of those great warriors and protectors remained. Soon came a day that NaegolusŐ and his host of sorcerers came up against the great warrior Aluen and her Mithrodin rangers on the plains of Deylund, a terrible battle was fought. Nearly all of NaegolusŐ multitude perished at AluenŐs hand for she was the most fierce Mithrodin ever to wield the blades of the Valdris, and her rangers were among the mightiest in all of DeylundŐs forces. The plains were stained with the black blood of those wizards for the Mith showed that host no mercy. Sadly, they were no match for the dark magic of Naegolus and they fell in the end. Aluen was captured by Naegolus and brought before his father. Navros however would not slay her for he knew her true identity as that of VaelenŐs child, NaegolusŐ half sister, and so she was stripped and imprisoned in the dungeons of Nokomis.
Morgolien, though her powers of sorcery had been lessened, was allowed to remain in the kingdom for Naegolus regarded her as his mother. Thinking her too weak to pose a threat upon him, Navros turned his attention elsewhere, but Morgolien was cunning and full of malice. She would not sit by idly as the kingdom she had created was taken from her. Though she no longer held the swords of the Ancients in her guard she still possessed Umethar, the aged blade of chaos. It was hidden in a secret place and she still held her mastery over it. Upon a day when Naegolus was away from the kingdom on a campaign and Navros was in meditation, Morgolien stole away deep into the catacombs of the citadel and opened the door to the Neverworld with the Umethar and therewith she released Vaelen, the queen of Lumenia who had been imprisoned long before by a spell from Navros.
Vaelen came forth into Ammon once again and she was of the same age as the day of her confinement, seventy-seven years past. Time passed slow in that gray place, and VaelenŐs mind was clouded by confusion and bewilderment. Morgolien enlightened Vaelen of what had passed in the years of her captivity; of Vardor and the Shadows, of the slaying of the Mithrodin and fall of the kingdoms, and of AluenŐs imprisonment at the hand of Naegolus; but Vaelen was not told that Naegolus was her son. Morgolien also told, in truth, that the death of VaelenŐs husband, King Eadred, was due to a magical poison created by Navros. She also learned that her daughter did not die after birth, but was stolen away; and she now knew that Aluen was that daughter. Though both sorrowful and joyous at this news Vaelen was also filled with great fury and anger at the sorcerers.
Morgolien cast a weak spell of protection over Vaelen that would diminish any sorcery used against her lest she be discovered by Navros or his host, and that act did all but drain the old witch. Thence she informed Vaelen of the whereabouts of the swords of the Ancients, locked in a guarded chamber of NavrosŐ stronghold, and with MorgolienŐs assistance Vaelen subdued the door wardens and entered the room. There were many swords stored here, and not all were of the Ancients, for Navros thought to place decoys among them to thwart thieves in his own home. Vaelen knew the true swords, however, and she found the one she sought, Cinthorc, the sword of justice. She thence sought for her daughter in the dungeons below the stronghold. No guards came to hinder her for they were posted outside the walls of the kingdom and none were posted to guard from within, and Morgolien knew of secret passages within the walls of the stronghold so their passing was not seen.
Naegolus, having returned from his mission, found the affray in the halls before the sword chamber whereupon he discovered CinthorcŐs absence. By using the power of Molotoch to find the one responsible he was shown in his mind the image of Vaelen and he knew she sought Aluen within the citadel walls, but he had no notice of the one who helped her. Naegolus hailed his guards and ordered that they call forth his father and bring Aluen to the arena in the courtyard of the stronghold, and there she was chained, naked and half starved, to a great stone column. Morgolien and Vaelen reached the dungeon too late and found Aluen had been taken. Morgolien surmised that her design had been thwarted because prisoners, unless deceased, were rarely taken from cells, and she used her magic on the door warden to learn where Aluen had been taken. Thereupon she led Vaelen by secret ways to the arena where Vaelen was once again reunited with her long lost daughter.
Vaelen attempted to free her weakened and tortured daughter from the iron bonds, but the horse wards discovered her and called an alert. Many guards encircled her, and thus Naegolus came forth into the arena clad in wizard robes to challenge her. In one hand he brandished Molotoch and in the other his fatherŐs dagger, an ancient, enchanted Blade of Chaos, once known only as the SorcererŐs Dagger. Its grip was of carved Thorcan, its pommel twin hawk heads, and engraved into its blade was an incantation written by Evruc, an Ancient One of the Fourth Age, said to be the father of the first sorcerer in Ammon.
The dagger had been passed down from sorcerer to sorcerer until it was given to Navros in the one thousand and fourteenth year of the Fifth Age, the year Navros had been crowned King of Nasnandos. Now Navros had passed that enchanted weapon to his son, and Naegolus was about to learn the true use of this blade. When close enough, his father instructed that he was to plunge it into the heart of Vaelen; for that Blade of Chaos was special and could absorb the power and living essence of any being into its steel, but only a direct strike to the heart would awaken the ancient blade to do its deed. Once done, the power and life with which it had stolen could be passed on to another.
Naegolus demanded Vaelen face him in combat, for he claimed she was the last of the Mithrodin that still walked free in the land. He baited her and balked that he was a great slayer of Mithrodin, that he had killed many warriors, priests, and clerics alike, and he made them suffer before they died. Hearing this Vaelen went at him in a rage and using all of her skills she beat Naegolus down and wounded him grievously, and though Naegolus was a magnificent swordsman and sorcerer, none of his enchantments would affect Vaelen and he could not match her skill with the blade. Vaelen fought fiercely until Naegolus was weary, then she struck hard and sent him to the ground. As she was about to deliver the death blow Navros appeared from the shadows, clapping, and hearkened to her to stay her blade, saying that he would slay Aluen if she did not stand down, and he brought the point of his bladed staff, Tallisett, to AluenŐs chest. Now, Vaelen loved Aluen more than anything in the world of Ammon, and pleading, she offered to surrender her own life if Navros would free her. Navros accepted the offer, but when Vaelen laid down Cinthorc Navros raised his bladed staff and he put Aluen cruelly to death with a bolt from its tip. Now Vaelen was in a fury and she charged at Navros but from behind her Naegolus moved quickly and threw the SorcererŐs Dagger, piercing her side. The magical protection that Morgolien had cast over Vaelen kept the blade from harming her. Vaelen grasped the dagger in her side and felt the powers harbored in that enchanted weapon, and she was given great strength and dexterity. To NavrosŐ astonishment, Vaelen then threw the dagger back at him, and it stabbed deep into his belly, gravely wounding him. Quickly she took up Cinthorc, rushed Naegolus and brutally hewed off his sword hand. She raised her blade to put and end to his life, but Navros struck out with his staff. This time he dealt her a death bolt from Tallisett and she fell to her knees, unable to move and her life slipping away; and MorgolienŐs protective spell was no more. Thus Naegolus pulled his fatherŐs dagger from his belly and crawled to Vaelen. As he plunged the blade deep into her chest, piercing her heart, he felt the life drain from her, and Vaelen, last of the Mithrodin, fell.
Now, Morgolien had watched this battle until its end and she cursed and spat on the spiritless body of Vaelen; but secretly she had used what little magic she had left to keep VaelenŐs body alive, although dead in appearance, just as Navros had done to VaelenŐs infant daughter, Aluen, in ages past; for Morgolien had designs that Vaelen would fulfill at another time. She tended to her foster sonŐs wounds, feigning concern, and helped him use the enchanted SorcererŐs Dagger to heal the gash in his belly, though as she held the dagger in her own hand she used it to draw power for herself and regain some of her former might. In the night she crept to the chamber where VaelenŐs body had been placed and she once more pierced VaelenŐs heart with the daggerŐs enchanted blade. Using her great skill and knowledge of the Blades of Chaos, she reversed the effect of enchantment and returned the spirit and life from the blade back into VaelenŐs body; and Vaelen breathed in deeply as life returned to her. Morgolien pulled the blade from her and caused the wound to heal, but she kept Vaelen in a deep sleep for a time. Whence the way was safe, she ordered her acolytes to steal Vaelen away from Nokomis, taking her by horse cart across the desert of Deylindor, Southwest to the Dead City where Methuscia ruled, whereupon Vaelen was revived and presented to Methuscia as a slave. Morgolien was in league with that dark oracle and she had plans to be repaid for the gift at a later time. Methuscia thought this gift a great prize indeed and she made her blind sorcerer guardians take Vaelen deep into the bowels of her protected palace where she was locked away to work in the dungeons. Vaelen, her spirit broken and in grief by the death of her daughter and this new imprisonment, did not resist and she succumbed to the will of Methuscia.
Soon thereafter the sorcerer Navros learned of MorgolienŐs treachery in the opening of the gate to the Neverworld, and the release of Vaelen. Desiring the witch to suffer greatly he commanded that she be imprisoned in the deepest catacombs of his dungeon. In that dark place all of her power was lost and her appearance regressed to that of an old hag. To his son he told that Vaelen had feigned death, awoken and slain Morgolien in the night before escaping. Thus Naegolus never learned that his true mother was not Morgolien, but was indeed Vaelen of Lumenia, slayer of the Dark One
The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients and Other Blades of Power and its previous versions, The Swords of the Ancients and its abridged excerpts, and other forms, are ©1997 and ©2005 by Kit Rae. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any other form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, computer networking, or otherwise without prior permission in writing by the copyright holder(s).