Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another Haunted Sword of Cinder

illo by Pauline Baynes
The blade properly called Caudimordax is oft referred to in common lays as Tailbiter, and sometimes styled The Sword That Would Not Be Sheathed. The earliest report of Tailbiter puts it in the hands of the ancient hero Bellomarius, a well-known slayer of dragons. Bellomarius eventually became king by his own hand. The last of the Bellomarian dynasty, Augustus Bonifacius, gave the sword as a gift to the adventurer Aegidius in reward for driving a troublesome giant out of the realm. Aegidius famously used Caudimordax to subdue the dragon Chrysophylax, afterward looting the wyrm's lair. When Bonifacius died without an heir Aegidius assumed the throne, taking the royal name Draconarius. The reign of King Draconarius is remembered as long and mostly peaceful, and most later depictions of Aegidius Draconarius show him as a smiling elder with a long white beard, his magic blade upraised in justice rather than anger, with a cowering dragon at his feet.

Like most haunted blades the tale-tellings conflict as to the magic the sword holds. The most well-known property of Caudimordax is its eagerness to fight dragons. All the lays report that when a dragon is to be found within five miles of Caudimordax the sword leaps from its scabbard and into the hands of its owner. Only the greatest of strength can force the blade back into its sheath and every utmost effort must be maintained to keep it there.

[The above was gleefully adapted/swiped from Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham. In my campaign world Bellomarius, Augustus, and Draconarius ruled one of the Kelno Successor States after the forces of the Kelnorian Empire withdrew to their home among the stars. Caudimordax was lost during the chaos of the Adelian Invasion.]