I like layered steel because its rippling pattern makes the blades look like liquid metal. There have been multiple versions of layered steel over the years. The most common form of layered steel is Damascus steel, but the original process to make it has long since been lost. The Japanese have a form of layered steel called Hada. Even my Viking ancestors had their own version of layered steel that resulted in formidable swords. The layers not only make the blades beautiful, but they also make the blades sharper and more durable than normal blades. I am thinking of including layered steel in my new fantasy book.
I had an interesting thought of a sword in my new fantasy book. It would be a sword that would have a blade that is thin enough to slide between an enemy’s ribs yet sturdy enough to deliver powerful blows. Essentially, it will be too thin to be a longsword yet too thick to be a rapier. In addition, this sword would be paired with a dagger that is of similar design. This dagger would be too thin to be a hunting knife yet too thick to be a stiletto. When used in unison, these blades are fast, precise, and deadly. It would be like their wielder is dancing instead of fighting.
Great news! I discovered that my local museum, the Bowers Museum, will be exhibiting medieval weapons and armor all the way from Florence, Italy. This is just the kind of exhibit I would like to see. I am checking off the days on the calendar as the big day draws near. I will keep you updated on this new development.
I had an interesting thought for my spin-off fantasy trilogy. In the Middle Ages, it was illegal for peasants to possess swords. However, some peasants in Flanders found a loophole to this law. They created a blade that was longer than a dagger yet shorter than a sword. This gave them a means to rebel when the need came. I am thinking of including something similar in my spin-off series. The weapon I am envisioning would be a combination of the Roman gladius and the Greek xiphos. As petty kingdoms rise and fall, the peasants will need weapons of their own to defend themselves against invading armies.
In Numen the Slayer, the weapon of choice for King Robar Baal was the falchion in addition to a cleaver. At first, I thought there was only one type of falchion, but now I discover that there were multiple variants of the weapon. To give you an idea of what Robar’s falchion looked like, I provided this picture. This picture is of a French two-handed falchion. I first saw this weapon in Forged in Fire’s Knife or Death. Due to its jagged spine, this falchion variant looked like an ideal weapon for a villain, which was perfect for Robar. So Robar’s falchion would look like this weapon except its blade would be made of black Ferruman steel that glitters silver. Even though this weapon usually requires the use of two hands, Robar is physically strong enough to wield it one-handed alongside his cleaver.
Today, I got to handle actual blades at a blade shop in my local mall in order to get more inspiration of how to handle such weapons. For example, I got to touch a Damascus steel knife with an antler handle. The handle was smooth yet had notable ridges while the Damascus steel itself also had a dense network of small ridges due to its multiple layers of steel, which was similar to snake skin. I also got to handle three hand-and-a-half longswords from fantasy films and shows: Jon Snow’s sword Longclaw, Aragorn’s sword Anduril Flame of the West, and Gandalf’s sword Glamdring the Foe Hammer. All of these swords could be held in one hand when one has the proper upper body strength, but you have much more control when they are held with two hands. Some of these swords had oval-shaped handles, which gave a secure grip while some were more rounded, which made it hard to index the edge of the blade. Then things got even better! I got to handle a Japanese katana, which made me feel like I was in an anime! The katana I held had a manta ray skin handle with a brass tsuba (crossguard) while its blade had a fuller running along its spine and a hamon line that ran down the length of the blade, which gave it a distinct yet beautiful design. Compared to the European longswords, the katana’s hilt had a much more secure grip and the overall weapon was much lighter. Also, the store owners were trained martial artists and swordsmen who gave me much needed insight on what kind of fighting styles and techniques were required to use these blades. Overall, this was a productive session that gave me more inspiration for future writing in my fantasy series.
From the ore of the earth was I born.
The fires of the forge shaped me.
I was crafted by the hands of an artist.
I began as a weapon of war and death.
Now, I was presented as art for others to admire.
My master looked at me with deep attachment.
For I was a symbol of his rich heritage.
His ancestors used me to unite kingdoms and defy empires.
Perhaps my master sees me as a window into the past.
I existed in many forms across many centuries.
For every nation gave me a variety of names.
An obsidian blade glistened like a mirror in the light.
Ruby eyes adorned my gilded crossguard.
A beast’s polished ivory shaped my hilt.
My golden pommel had a single crimson star.
Now, I rested in my master’s garage.
Free am I from the horrors of war.
The atmosphere was peaceful and time was my friend.
Years eroded my shell as my soul was slowly liberated.
That was the life of the blade forged by man.
From the ore of the earth was I born.
This is a type of sword I included in Numen the Slayer, a falchion. A falchion is a type of single-edged sword that operates like a machete and can only be wielded one-handed. It is one of the weapons of choice of King Robar Baal and has a blade forged from a meteorite called a Ferruman. King Robar uses this in conjunction with a meat cleaver that has a handle made from human bone. These weapons make King Robar a frightening enemy on the battlefield.
Gramfyre is the weapon of choice for Numen Magnus. I named it after Gram, which was the sword the Norse hero Sigurd used to slay the dragon Fafnir. I also drew inspiration from Excalibur from Arthurian Legend and the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings. Just as Excalibur and the One Ring answer to no one except King Arthur and Sauron respectively, Gramfyre answers only to the descendants of its creator, Vaegar Dragonsteel or Vaegar the Mad. Instead of having Gramfyre in a stone like Excalibur, I had it in something else that rhymes with “stone”. Like the One Ring, Gramfyre has the ability to influence the mind of its wielder in order to fulfill its desires. While the One Ring influenced its bearers to return to Sauron, Gramfyre influences its wielders to satisfy its desire for conquest. As a result of this influence, Numen’s personality tends to shift from his normal personality to one of an ambitious and ruthless conqueror, often on a subconscious level.
In terms of appearance, Gramfyre is a hand-and-a-half sword that was forged from the organic metallic ore of a dragon scale. Its blade is pitch black with ancient runes engraved along the fuller. Its crossguard is cruciform in structure, made of gold, and decorated with rubies. The grip is made from polished ivory from dragon bones. Finally, the pommel resembles that of Narsil from The Lord of the Rings except it is made of gold and has a big ruby embedded in the center. Despite its size, the sword is so light that it feels like it’s not even there, which gives it a scary nature, yet it is virtually indestructible and sharp enough to cut through castle-forged steel like a hot knife through butter.
When wielding Gramfyre, its master tends to perform deeds that would be considered impossible by most. Most of the time, Gramfyre constantly influences fate so that its wielder could achieve its desire for conquest. In combat situations, it grants its master the strength, speed, and fury of ten men as well as a high tolerance to physical pain. The only drawback of these abilities is that Gramfyre requires the life force of its wielder in order to fuel its magic. The Civil Folk call Gramfyre the Sword of Power while the Welts refer to it as the Sword of Miracles. Overall, Gramfyre is a selfish, bloodthirsty, and capricious sword that is both a benefit and a liability.
A type of high quality metal in Numen the Slayer is Aetherian Steel. Aetherian Steel is made from the cosmic ore from meteorites and creates armor and weapons that are stronger, lighter, and sharper than castle forged steel. Due to the quality it produces, Aetherian Steel is worth three times its weight in gold. The coloration it comes in range from black that glitters silver to silver that glitters white. Such items are a rarity because meteorites land in random locations, which makes it even harder to find them because they could be on top of the highest mountain, at the bottom of the sea, or in the middle of a monster infested wilderness. Because of its rarity, only the various kings and emperors in the Empire in the form of their ancestral swords. The kings and emperors are the only ones that have the gold to buy and forge it or the muscle to take the steel if they want it bad enough. I named it “Aetherian” Steel because aether is the blood of the gods in some aspects of mythology and since this metal comes from the heavens (which is where gods live) I thought it fit it like a slipper.