Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Magic Sword

Among the Eorðwerod there are no two peoples who hate each more than the Geats and the Jutes. This ancient enmity began when Etheldreda, a Jutish princess, was betrothed to the Geatish prince Herebeald, but his father King Hrēðel did not approve of this match.  Hrēðel forbade his son to marry, but Herebeald would not be swayed and renounced his claim to the Geatish throne for the sake of his beloved.  Enraged, by such disobedience, Hrēðel ordered his other sons Hǣþcyn and  Hygelāc to slay their brother. They invited him to hunt on the eve of his wedding and Hǣþcyn slew him with an arrow.
The shameful murder was hidden behind the lie of a ‘hunting accident’ but Etheldreda used witchcraft to learn the truth and to find Wayland Smith. She begged Wayland to forge a sword with which she could take her vengeance. Wayland himself knew the bitter-sweet joy of avenging loved ones and obliged her by forging Wudwuewyrhta, the widow maker, for the woman who would never herself become a widow.
Etheldreda took the sword Wudwuewyrhta to King Hrēðel and presented it to him as a gift from the Jutish people in remembrance of his son Herebeald. Hrēðel felt greatly honoured to receive a sword made by Wayland. Urged on by Etheldreda he tested its blade with his thumb, the blade drew blood, and though the wound was but a mere cut King Hrēðel fell to the ground his face ashen, his body stricken with a mortal wound. Etheldreda seized the sword from the wounded king and cut both brothers, before she was struck down by the King's men. 
By fall of night both Hrēðel and Hǣþcyn had died of their wounds, which all agreed were mere cuts, but Hygelāc, who was as  then unmarried, survived even though his wound was by far the worst of the three.
When he was healed and newly crowned Hygelāc took Wudwuewyrhta and used it to wage war on the Jutes seeking vengeance for his brothers. He was slain by Etheldreda’s father King Wihtgar. Since then the Jutes and the Geats have ever been at war, and that doom-lusty blade: Wudwuewyrhta, fell into the hands of warriors of both kingdoms and did its work well making many widows and much sorrow.
Wudwuewyrhta:  This ancient sword’s blade  is dull and pitted, and won’t take a good edge. The hilt, pommel, and guard are all damaged. Because of its sorry state it only does 1d6-1 damage. Other than that it is like any other broadsword: except that any married man who takes a wound from it, no matter how slight, will die within the day.
Current Location/Owner: Wudwuewyrhta, like the legendary smith who forged it, has long since become a thing of myth. Despite this there are rumours that somewhere on the borders of Jutelund and Geatlund, the sword lays in the Barrow of a long forgotten king.

2 comments:

  1. Great write-up and idea. Unique and tragic weapon, excellent.

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  2. Cheers - again -. I might have made a rod for my own back here, but I thought I'd give all the magic items a little fairy-tale type story, and effects that aren't dice or bonus related. Just to give them a mythic feeling, as if they come from little side-stories from long forgotten Sagas.

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