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Sunfang sword

Sunfang or Lacelothrai in Eltharin was the famed sword created by Caledor Dragontamer during the First Chaos Incursion for Aenarion the Defender. It was later recovered by Prince Tyrion.[1a]

Properties

The blade is four feet long and burns with the power of the sun. It has enchantments that make it so that it will never become dull and automatically adjusts to its wielder.[1a]

Indeed, if a new bearer holds onto Sunfang, the blade glistens, glowing as if flames were trapped within. The weapon's weight and balance adjusts as one wields it, almost as if the sword itself were a living thing. Such enchantments are but a part of a complex web of magic pinned in place by the runes found on the blade. Even without magesight, Sunfang leaves a faintly visible, glowing trail.[2g]

At the blade's heart, Caledor trapped one of the elemental spirits of the volcano. It burns in there, its life force powering the sword. By contacting the spirit, saying the word of power, said-power can be unleashed as a torrent of flame from the blade's tip. It is unwise to do so too often, however, as it risks over-drawing the elemental's life force, thereby unraveling all the magic within Sunfang. Teclis likened this to an Elf losing a lot of blood, and so the blade takes time to recover.[2g]

Sunfang's aura shows its age. An artefact of the ancient time when mortal gods walked the earth. Made when magic flowed much more strongly through the world. One can tell from the brutal strength of the spells - so difficult to replicate in the modern era - that magic had been more abundant when Sunfang had been forged. The world had been fundamentally different.[2h]

Remnants of the Maker

Magic is always personal. Because of this, an observer can learn much about a given wizard by what they see in their spellcasting. Caledor Dragontamer's work in forging the sword was meticulous - the runes on the blade had been inscribed with care, and the flows of fire magic through them were still bound as tightly today as they were the day the sword was forged. He had been strong-willed. No one could have bound one of the Elemental spirits of Vaul without being so.[2h]

The archmage had not been at all artistic. The magic was utilitarian. There was none of the florid scribblings of trace energies that many mages used to leave their own mark on spells and artefacts. The Elf that had made this sword had been grimly determined to create the most powerful weapon he could for his friend, Aenarion. He had not been concerned with imprinting his own personality on it.[2h]

And, of course, the single-minded determination had left the strongest mark possible. From this, Teclis had a sense of Caledor as though he were standing in the same room with him, of the indomitable will, the desperate courage, the despair.[2h]

Caledor had not been a warrior. He had never wanted to fight. It was not in his nature. He had been driven to it. He had been a maker where Aenarion had been a destroyer. He had made even this sword with great reluctance, but having been driven to it he had made it to the best of his abilities. He had put all his genius into the creation of something whose purpose he despised.[2h]

In Teclis' mind, the Elven race lived in the shadow of titans, lived in the world that destiny-cursed pair had created. Sunfang was like the whole history of his people. It bears the stamp of Aenarion and Caledor. Through his conjuring of the Great Vortex, Caledor had created their land in the same way Aenarion had shaped their people. The whole continent of Ulthuan was part of his vast geomantic design. The sheer scope of the mind that could do so - plan and execute the most powerful spell in the history of the world in the midst of fighting the greatest war ever. The same elf who had forged Sunfang had forged the continent.[2h]

The world had been fundamentally different when the sword had been made, and Caledor had been the one who altered it when he created the Vortex. And so it would be that from studying the pattern and grasping its essential nature that Teclis would glean the knowledge to one day forge his own blade. One that was, if not as powerful, than at least of a similar level of sophistication.[2h]

History

In the beginning of the Great Catastrophe, Caledor travelled to the Shrine of Vaul to begin making weapons for the princes. Along with the High Priest of Vaul, Caledor forged Sunfang using knowledge that the Elves no longer possess. Upon presenting it to the newly crowned Phoenix King, Aenarion immediately adopted it as his weapon of choice. Wielding it along with the Shield of Averlorn, Aenarion beat back the Daemons in victory after victory. For a short time, there was peace in the world as the Daemons retreated to recover and regroup. Almost unexpectedly, the Daemons struck out once more and Aenarion's wife, Everqueen Astarielle, was killed and his children Morelion and Yvraine lost.[1a]

Driven by grief, Aenarion gave the sword to Furion, one of his most trusted lieutenants, and then ventured north to claim the Sword of Khaine. Sunfang would be used for the remainder of the War by Furion, who then had it passed on to his descendants.[2b]

The Witch King Malekith had coveted the blade, with his customary hunger for all the possessions of his father. Yet Furion's family refused him. Over the course of time, agents of the Witch King made many attempts to acquire the blade, and always failed.[2b]

Yet, in the end, Nathanis, the last descendant of Furion, had sailed with Sunfang for the Old World on a trading trip, where both he and the sword gained fame and legend.[2b]

He visited the forest of the Wood Elves, and fought alongside Wardancers and backwoods archers, eventually making his way down to Tilea and the Border Princes, and then on to Estalia. The Elf would die there but his sword would be taken up by a Human, or so the tales told.[2b]

Sunfang was passed from father to son down the fast, fleeting generations that humans experienced. The power of the blade made its possessors heroes and mighty champions among Humans. It had not brought them luck, though, as John Argentes, the last bearer, became a landless, wandering mercenary.[2b]

The trail of the sword became lost for a time, after Argentes set sail from Estalia aboard an explorer's ship bound for the uttermost west. The Marienburger Leiber had been the ship's captain, and it had never returned to its home port. By sheer chance, however, rumours of Captain Leiber washing up in the human colony of Skeggi drew the attention of the Asur twins Teclis and Tyrion.[2b]

Indeed, a trade captain of House Emeraldsea had spotted Leiber, and informed the two princes, as they had spent years hunting for the legendary Sunfang. This was in part due to Tyrion's need for such a weapon for the inevitable return of N'Kari.[2b]

For Teclis, however, it was hope for some means of aiding their father Arathion in the restoration of Aenarion's armour. The young mage reasoned that the magic of the two heirlooms would reveal clues to the armour's restoration, as they had both been forged in Vaul's Anvil by Caledor Dragontamer.[2b]

Despite being a long shot, the twins followed up on the rumour, taking a trading clipper to the coast of Lustria. From there they found another rumour about a human with a fiery sword who had vanished within the interior, searching for the gold of lost Slann cities.[2b]

Eventually, Teclis and Tyrion found Captain Leiber, who had witnessed Argentes' disappearance into the temple of Zultec, and been the sole survivor. After spending months lost in the jungle, the Marienburger brought word of Argentes' loss, staggering out of the jungle half mad with hunger, thirst and fever.[2b]

Leiber had spent further months making a map to Zultec, whilst seeking to tempt others with tales of treasure big enough to fire the imagination of a hundred pirate kings. He would agree to guide the twin Asur to Zultec in return for gold and their protection. Together, the three of them would organize the expedition into the green hell that was the Lustrian jungle.[2b]

Into Lustria

Said-expedition's warriors and guards were comprised mostly of Norsemen from Skeggi, with their thralls acting as porters. Few of the humans would last long in the jungle, most of them either dying or vanishing. Some died from fevers that not even Teclis' medicines could cure, others from sabre-toothed jaguars the size of horses. Between these, piranha lizards, pygmy attacks, bloodwasps and plants whose leaves drank blood on contact with the skin, only a handful would survive.[2a]

This handful would drop even further after the expedition was ambushed by Chameleon Skinks, Tyrion himself narrowly dodging - and then catching - an obsidian-tipped dart covered in black ooze.[2c]

Surviving the ambush, the expedition eventually found Zultec, the ancient settlement seemingly devoid of occupants. Even Tyrion could sense an evil presence within the air, a form of corruption whose focal point Teclis narrowed to the central ziggurat, alongside the radiant aura of what could only be Sunfang.[2d]

Complications only continued to arise when they penetrated the inner workings of the temple. Lieber and the remaining humans grew more and more on edge, especially whenever the twins conversed in their native tongue, or Teclis used visible forms of magic.[2d]

Whilst Tyrion did his best to maintain morale, Teclis was able to navigate them through the maze of twisting corridors till they reached a reinforced wall. Magesight revealed it as a secret door wreathed in a web of magical energy. Untying one knot would open the door, yet the web gave Teclis pause, suspicious of both the power flowing from the turnkey, but also how the circumstances of how John Argentes could have gotten Sunfang this far into the temple, and behind such a well warded door.[2d]

Impatient, and needing to prove himself after the ambush earlier that day, Teclis forced open the door. Beyond lay a chamber filled with dozens of well preserved, human corpses, as well as gold that lay strewn about. But most distinct of all was the sword that lay gripped by the hilt in Argente's long-dead hands.[2d]

Teclis realized his mistake when Leiber and the humans raced forward to claim the gold. No sooner had they than the air of the tomb shimmered. Ghosts in the silhouette of skinks possessed the dead, vanishing like poison gas being breathed into the lungs of the cadavers. As the ghosts struggled to puppet bodies too different from their own, others took to the mummified remains of other lizardmen that lay in the dark of the tomb.[2d]

Unable to cast spells due to wards in the chamber, Teclis watched as Tyrion raced in to fight off the growing horde of zombies. Teclis was dumbfounded, his knowledge of the Slann condemning necromancy despite what he saw! The mage quickly directed his twin to claim Sunfang from the now reanimated corpse of Argentes, telling him the sword would burn them.[2d]

After nearly having his throat torn out by Argente's dead hands, Tyrion tore Sunfang from him. And as the corpse hissed like a serpent with the Estalian's grey tongue, Tyrion set it aflame. The zombie reeled away, and thus caught the rest of dead's clothing and flesh, leaving themselves open to the Asur's onslaught. Only after both Tyrion and the humans retreated out of the warded chamber did Teclis incinerate the growing zombie horde.[2e]

Return to Ulthuan

Upon reaching Skeggi and saying their farewells to Leiber and the others, the twins found Captain Joyelle awaiting them at the docks. She would be the one to tell them that the Everqueen was dead, and that House Emeraldsea needed them back in Lothern. The sight of Sunfang, however, removed all sorrow from the Eagle of Lothern's crew, the blade a sign of hope in these troubled times.[2f]

During a week at sea, Teclis nearly set fire to Tyrion's cabin after accidentally triggering Sunfang's magic. It wouldn't be until they reached Lothern that the mage tried further examinations.[2g]

The sword would be immediately brought to the twins' father Arathion, whom had moved back into the family townhouse with all his research materials. At first, Teclis would find all the hardship worthwhile upon seeing his father so animated with joy. More than once, however, the mage saw his father seem manic, almost frightfully so.[2h]

Upon hearing that Tyrion would be taking the sword with him to the tournament in Avelorn, his father would grow irritable, as that meant both he and Teclis had a single night to examine the blade.[2h]

Initial tests began with Teclis inscribing a magic circle with chalk around Sunfang in the basement laboratory, inscribing runes around the edges, making signs of Isha and Hoeth and numerous minor deities of knowledge. Relaxing as he began to chant, his heartbeat slowed and his breathing deepened, his spirit hanging loosely within his body. And so he inspected the sword's aura.[2h]

Through this ritual, Teclis was able to confirm Arathion's assertions that Aenarion had wielded the sword, had fought with it, had killed with it, had trusted his life with it. Sunfang was a weapon intended to be wielded by a hero, one touched by the power of the gods. Teclis, however, was unsure that even Tyrion could ever wield its full power. Not for lack of heroism, but because he had never passed through the Flame of Asuryan as their ancestor had.[2h]

Having touched the Flame with his own magic - back during N'Kari's siege on Asuryan's Shrine in XI 10, Teclis could sense resonances of the Flame within Sunfang's blade. Most likely these were simply traces of the fact Aenarion had handled it. There had been a direct link between the first Phoenix King and Sunfang.[2h]

Beneath all of these were echoes of another personality, one of more interest to Teclis. The presence belonged to one infinitely sadder, wiser and far less bold, the first of the true Archmages, Caledor. He too had handled the blade, and he had done so before Aenarion. The spellwork flowing through it was his.[2h]

Pending...

Recovery

Tyrion, son of Arathion and descendant of Aenarion, sought out the blade along with his twin brother Teclis. After several decades of searching, they tracked the blade to Lustria and found it in the ruins. Claiming it as his own, Tyrion wielded Sunfang to great use, first using it to defend the Everqueen as they ran from the Dark Elves, then during the Battle of Finuval Plain. Wherever Tyrion goes Sunfang gleams bright in his hands, perhaps recognising the blood of Aenarion.[2a]

Trivia

  • When Tyrion first held Sunfang, he noted how it felt like a living thing in his hands, how he could feel the blazing heat coming off it despite the blade's metal neither softening nor breaking from the flame's intensity.[2e]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 16 - 24
  • 2: Sword of Caledor (Novel), by William King
    • 2a: Chapter 1
    • 2b: Chapter 2
    • 2c: Chapter 3
    • 2d: Chapter 5
    • 2e: Chapter 6
    • 2f: Chapter 8
    • 2g: Chapter 9
    • 2h: Chapter 10

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