THE MIDNIGHT BLADE ARTIFACT

APPEARANCE - ABILITIES
- HISTORY/ORIGIN - MYTH/LORE

This blade is thousands of years old and was originally wielded by the legendary Bone Queen, the ruler of the shadow elves, then later dubbed the "Midnight Blade" and used by one of the Chosen. The Midnight Blade corrupts the powers of the one who wields it so as to create greater, if more demonic, effects. Specifically the blade warps the powers of wind magic to bring chaos and torment onto the world, and slowly maddens any mortal foolish enough to attempt to use it.

Appearance. The Midnight Blade is a heavy two handed sword, with an oddly pocked and pitted blade, which seems to be forged of it some kind of dark volcanic rock. While some blacksmiths would conclude that the weapon is made of some variant of black iron, the blade is much lighter and stronger than this would make one assume. A mage of great prowess and wielding of an awesome library of esoteric knowledge might correctly recognize the mineral to be the legendary soulbane, a rare and magically based mineral forged of pain and torment. No known modern mage has the power to create soulbane, such things are reserved for the god-like Chosen. The hilt and hand guard are also forged of soulbane, and an astute smith would note that the weapon is actually one whole giant shard of the magical rock, rather than several attached pieces, which would seem fairly obvious considering. Because of its magical nature, the hilt is far stronger and harder than any good steel and easy to hold. A wielder's hands meet little slippage, as if the hilt were wrapped in supple leather. When staring at the weapon for extended periods of time, one may see the tormented faces of those whose souls the Midnight Blade has sundered. They may seem to slowly swirl across the blade's surface, as if trapped in some kind of an eerie dance.

The sharp edge of the weapon is deep karikrimson, and the fuller is a void of nor'sidian black. This makes the blade look like it is permanently stained with blood. The blade is full tang, and extends into a light pommel which does little to balance the weapon. The hilt has an intricate design, though it is unknown just what the design depicts. Because of what seem to be horns acting as the hand guard, it is usually assumed to be a very stylized representation of Kahlkaroth, the Demon Lord of the Shadow Being nearly two peds long, it is far to large and heavy to be of practical use as a sword, though it's weight gives it a great deal of power upon a swift downward slash.
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Abilities. Wind spells are known for their healing of the soul and body. Those under the influence of the Midnight Blade use the powers of wind to wreak havoc and chaos upon everything that lives. The weapon enhances the magical powers of the possessor, and warps the effects of his spells, making them more powerful, and much more malicious. Usually this means that when a mage casts a violent spell, it steals him some of his target's life force, and imbues it upon the wielder. Also the spell carries greater destructive force, which is touched with a vile taint. With this weapon spells become utterly devastating. A blast from the Midnight Blade can easily rend powerful enemies to pieces.

When the user attempts to heal others with spells such as an equivalent to the Ximaxian spell Enlightenment, the effects are both good and bad. On one hand, the target of the spell will indeed find himself cured of what had ailed him, and the blade will intensify the wielder's abilities, allowing the healer to heal wounds much more terrible than would be possible without the artifact's aid. On the other hand the healer is often burdened with a small portion of the wounds that are healed (mental, physical or spiritual), and the weapon taints the very person who the healer is trying to save with its dark malevolence. This taint will cause the cured victim to suffer slighter versions of many of the terrible side effects of wielding the Midnight Blade which are described below. The magnitude of the taint is determined by the magical power that is required to heal the wound, and the duration of the spell.

Such a powerful tool comes at a terrible price. A man learned in the lore of the Midnight Blade could identify a long time possessor of the artifact by looking into his eyes, which would appear to be washed out and faded, as if the life they once held had slowly ebbed away.

When using the blade to cast spells, one is physically damaged. This damage ranges from sore muscles, bloody noses, and burnt fingertips to broken bones, large lacerations, major burns, and internal bleeding. Each different wound is of course granted with its own, unique, form of pain. If the spell is destructive in nature, such as Ximaxian spells like Static Bolt or Clap of Thunder, the life force stolen from the target heals some of these wounds.

A spell with a longer casting time usually grants greater wounds to the caster, as his wounds grow over the duration of the spell. The basis of the wound, or its beginning, is determined by the power of the spell. A mage must concentrate through the pain in order to finish casting the spell. This, when considering the chaos of battle, is a daunting task indeed. When over exerting himself, such as by casting a spell above his level, the mage can black out due to the pain and damage his body has taken; this can lead to disastrous effects, like spell fizzling. If he can stay awake through the powerful spell, then he will invariably black out just after the spell is finished.

The body is not the only aspect that this sword thirsts for. The mind is slowly maddened by its power. Each moment that one holds the blade in the hands, it urges the person to do evil acts: casting spells for nefarious purposes, slaughtering the innocent, rape, pillage, murder, and the pursuit of chaos. Each day the wielder's will is broken more and more, until it brings the person fully to do its bidding. About once every two or three weeks, more or less depending on the will of the wielder and how long the blade has crushed the victim's mentality, the wielder is driven mad by the Midnight Blade's dark intentions, and the person will remember everything he or she has done, watching one's self do it in Coór's vile name; yet she cannot stop herself. By the time the wielder regains control, it is absolute. Sometimes it will take minutes, sometime it takes days. Every time, however, the wielder once again has complete control of one's self, only for the cycle to begin again. As the time of the breaking comes closer, the mind can lose control at vital moments, such as the directing of a powerful spells, as was the case supposedly at the Bone Queen.

The wielder's soul is also supposed to be drained by the weapon's power. This cycle is guided by the light of the sun. At any time where the sun is coming onto the blade, he grows weaker. By high noon on a sunny day he could cast more than any other mage, as the blade needs his spirit to defend itself from the purity of sunlight. He feels frail and weak, as he indeed is. His body is more susceptible to damage, as is his mind. He is much slower and the world seems to be a blur rushing ahead of him. But as the sun sets he is rejuvenated and all the life that he had lost surges back into him, with the additional boost granted by the sword's might. He feels like he could crush stones with his bare hands and can feel his magical potential pulsing in his ears and fingertips.

It is assumed that the Midnight Blade takes life energy from the wielder in order to protect itself from the sun's light and warmth. The weapon seems to flow with the movement of the sun, and seems to draw strength from cold and darkness.

Lastly, the Midnight Blade's influence on the wielder's spells wanes by daylight. If he could summon the energy to cast any spell in pure sunlight, without a cloud in the sky - which he cannot, unless he is supremely powerful - it would be as pure as any good wind mage's. But by midnight, or on a stormy day, the spell is more the sword's than his own.

The blade can, of course, also be used as a weapon. It is sharp like volcanic glass, and never loses its edge. Though the weapon appears to be pocked and pitted, it is immune to wear and cannot be broken by mortal hands. The Midnight Blade is a two-handed greatsword, which, though slow and cumbersome, could easily slice a man in two with a good downward slash. A knowledgeable warrior could use the weapon's very unbalance to create great momentum with each attack, able to rend armour and foe alike.
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History/Origin. A blade of this power was not built this century and surely not in the century before that. Many millennia ago, when the Midnight Blade was well known and feared, wielded by one of the most ruthless Chosen to walk the land, sages debated the blade's origin. Some clerics stated that the blade was built for Lokath by Kahlkaroth, citing its ability to corrupt wind magic, and the demonic engravings on the hilt and pommel, more skeptical historians suggested that it was created for the Bone Queen. Nobody knows why it harms its wielder so, some say it is because the weapon is meant to be handled by a Demon Lord, and uses the godly powers of such a master to enable much more powerful effects, others assume that the mortal creator of the weapon was mad.

For this section we shall concentrate on founded history, and ignore the more mythological accounts of the artifact's past.

The first written account of the Midnight Blade originated in a piece of literature that escaped the ruins of Fá'áv'cál'âr, and was later incorporated into an ancient tome, "Demonic Origins and Pathways" which was stored in the Aellenrhim Library. Upon its addition to the tome, which was compiled around 8000 b.S. the literature was updated, and a wholly separate section was added, which centered around the exploits of a man who was simply referred to as the "Demon Son", and his devastating artifact sword. Both ancient and new were cryptic in nature, and the whole tome was lost to a devastating orcish raid thousands of years ago. Today, only fragmented copies survive.

Within the updated papers it is stated that the blade was mended within massive forges of pure liquid flame (which refers, obviously, to the heart of a volcano) and cooled within a pool of an innocent elven slave's blood. Here it becomes evident that the weapon is made of soulbane. What little we know of the anciently powerful magical rock is that it is formed of a mixture of magma, magic, and pain. How the pain is actually imbued into the liquid rock is unknown, though the tome hints at several horrific contraptions which fueled the weapon's mending with the torment of tortured slaves and warriors. Magical preparations are also described, though no modern mage has been able to make sense of the rituals or divinate their exact purpose, though several marks and signs are illustrated. It is said that Soulbane is deprived of the life which touches all things, and so takes it from anything which touches it, in an attempt to obtain the balance inherent in nature. This lack of essence which seems to characterize the mineral may also explain why anything forged of Soulbane seems cold to the touch, and may account for some of the blade's stranger properties.

The smith's name is not clearly stated, it is simply mentioned that he was born of demonic powers and held in his heart the cruelest of evils. The tome's subject is centered around the times of 9000 b.S., and leaves no doubt as to its main subject, the War of the Chosen. From logical deduction and much scrutiny one realizes that the forger of the blade must be one of the legendary Archmages, who must have planned to use the blade to gain an upper hand over his fellow Chosen. The colouration of the blade being a deep crimson black seems to suggest that it was most probably reforged within the bloody forges of Tak'Dinal. It is noted that the entry specifically used the word mended, which infers that the blade had already been forged, and was simply being repaired, which is critical, considering that soulbane is actually poured into form with magic, and immensely difficult to repair if sundered. To use the word "mended", the tome shows that the Demon Son went through a great deal of pain to repair a very important blade, as it would have been much easier to simply forge a whole new weapon. Thus, its original powers must have surpassed even this Demon Son's capabilities, or had some kind of special significance to him.

The first and elder document is far older than the other and its origins alone truly dates the Midnight Blade. The scroll tells the tale of Bone Queen and her battle with the orcish general, Us’gar Loc’um’rak. It clearly states that she is armed with a gigantic blade with devastating magical powers, which is broken in the heat of battle. In the entry, the artifact is called by the name, Móhephér (Styrásh for "dark fire"). The tale centers around this blade, and describes the hilt as being engraved with the likenesses of the horned lord of darkness, and was as long as the woman who wielded it. It then revels in the myriad of powers which it had imbued onto its mistress. The precision of the description and how exactly it matches the unique appearance and powers of the Midnight Blade leaves little doubt to historians that the midnight blade is the blade which the story speaks of, and that it was indeed used by the Bone Queen, and presumably forged for her by her most skilled smiths and mages in the final days of Fá'áv'cál'âr. Of course, the Midnight Blade is not to be mistaken with the sword which was later fashioned of Avásh'aelía's famed bone armour. That weapon was destined of a much more glorious fate. By the writings of the elven authors, Avásh'aelía hid the shattered Midnight Blade away after her battle, and didn't find any further use for it. Perhaps she felt that the weapon had failed her, having shattered under Us’gar's flurry of blows, and from such sundering, allowed his axe to carve a grievous wound into her cheek. A wound which would forever mar her once unparalleled beauty.
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Myth/Lore. Neither of the two documents there exist about the Midnight Blade gives concrete evidence to the actual origins of the blade, though hints of Coór's bidding lace both, and both do mention the wrathful Chosen Queen of Wind. Because of these hints, clerics believe the weapon is of more demonic origins than historians would have them believe. The sword's massive girth seems to denote that it was not made for human hands, as it is longer than most men are tall, far too heavy to be used effectively in actual combat by a human. A demon on the other hand would find the weapon very capable, and perhaps they would find themselves immune to the weapon's vast array of negitive effects. Clerics of Coór take these facts as proof that the weapon was created by a powerful demon. As superstition grabs hold of the general populace, it is held in the lore of the Midnight Blade amongst commoners that the weapon was created by Khalkaroth for Lokath, who later gave it to the Bone Queen so that she might sow hate and pain beyond the scope of mortal reckoning.

The tome that calls the weapon "The Midnight Blade" goes on to further detail about the blade's creation and uses. Many of the powers that the book speaks of seem unlikely to really have been imbued within the weapon. Such as the notion that the blade eventually mutates the wielder into a demonic being. The book also supports clerical theories as to the final resting place of the sword, stating that the blade was last taken into a great battle of wrongful death, through which men were prevailed to survive great trials, and after which there saw no mortal eye. "With the Twelve's will, the blade was buried beneath sand and water for all of eternity. Let us all hope it shall never touch mortal hands again."

The battle that ended the War of the Fallen took place near the keep of Tak'Dinal, at the great gash in the earth that is now Eight Winds Bay. In this battle a massive spell was cast that destroyed the surrounding area and all of the warriors in it, including four of the Chosen. Considering the proximity to the Archmage Eckra the Cruel's great tower, Tak'Dinal, it is assumed he was one of the mages to be caught in the spell's path. Clerics and commoners both believe that he brought the weapon with him to that final battle, which he would then have fought till the bitter end. Many even state that it was this weapon's great powers which sundered the earth in the final moments of that great battle. If so, the Midnight Blade may still rest in the depths of Eight Winds Bay.
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 Date of last edit 22nd Passing Clouds 1666 a.S.

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