I’ll admit I labored on this post a lotlonger than I should have because it covers one of my more things on my back burner: the Parable of Blades philosophy.
Note that I said philosophy, not religion. In the post about the Blue Pantheon, I talked about how this philosophy was built around nine swords, one loosely attuned to each alignment mixture. The blurb there suggests that the swords were wielded by nine deities who were slain in some fashion, leading to each blade’s powers, associated alignment, etc.
However, that is just one thought on the blades’ origins. Some think that they blades are just artifacts that have been wielded by powerful entities in the past, lending those entities nearly godlike power during earth-changing events.
Others believe the philosophy existed first and became tied to weapons wielded by early adherents. As in the last content post, the actual existence of gods is questionable in Kalanesia.
Regardless, the religion/philosophy is centered on nine swords, each of which has a parable — a key ideal from the story of the weapon’s first wielder tempered with how that wielder perished. These parables guide how adherents life, leading to a religion that is, more or less, unaligned, meaning general followers can be of any alignment. This makes up the majority of the faithful.
However, some choose to live close to the path of one blade.
Since the weapons are artifacts, some of them are currently held by individuals, though not by any of the clergy of the Parable of Blades. They take some solace, though, that Arriette Nova, the headmistresses of the Warmage Collegium and wielder of Axiom, is a follower.
Description: Golden-colored broadsword with ornate hilt basket woven in a tight knot pattern. The inside of the basket is lines with blue and green cloth, and a tassel of the same colors hangs from the pommel.
Parable: Lawgiver holds sway over order and the peace that comes from it. It teaches adherents that they should seek to bring order to things around them and help other attain peace of mind and spirit. However, it also teaches that to force order where is not welcome can bring about the antithesis of peace.
History: It believed the original wielder of Lawgiver was an entity that spread civilization through the world, helping primitive tribes put away bows and spears for plows. However, it is believed that, as he or she provoked the ire of a tribe that did not want the rigidity. When the wield set up laws, the tribe brutally murdered the wielder.
Last Wielder: Lawgiver has been missing for several centuries. One rumor has that it fell into the Elemental Chaos, but another has that it was captured by one of the Demon Lords.
Description: The leather-bound haft of this great sword is long even for a two-handed sword, approximately 30 inches of the 72-inches weapon. The blade is also wide, about five and a half inches.
Parable: Protections and guardianship is governed by Shield, adherents claim. However, it also teaches that protection should not lead to self-destruction, for, if adherents die, who shall protect others.
History: Adherents believe the first wielder of Shield was a paramount guardian. However, the wielder gave up her life protecting those she loved, leaving them at the mercy of her enemies when they caught up to the loved ones.
Last Wielder: Shield was lost in the fall of Nothren. Alongside the faithful of Halath, a paladin of the Parable helped protect the people from the Bloodrift Warlock. The Warlock hoped to claim the sword, but was unable to do so. However, there are rumors of a viridemon wandering the northern wilds, protecting caravan from savage beasts and bandits.
Description: The blade of this scimitar is etches with intricate markings, scenes of the creation of the worlds and the universe. The handle is made from polished silver and studded with tiny emeralds, rubies and sapphires.
Parable: Radiance governs unbridled passion, creativity. Adherents believe that Radiance teaches them to apply ingenuity to all things in life. However, they also believe restraint is necessary to reign in the damage that passion cause when it comes at the price of others.
History: The wielder who first owner of Radiance was a peerless artist and inventor, whose genius led countless peoples to civility and technology. However, she is believed to have died when she attempted to prevent her creations from being used as weapons.
Last Wielder: Radiance has been missing since it’s second wielder held it two millennia before the Bloodrift War when a human inventor flung it into the sea to prevent the Blue Empire from laying their hands on the sword in its attempt to conquer the world.
Description: This bastard sword comes in the form of a katana of black. The handle is wrapped in black silk, and the sheath is lacquered black. The tsuba forms the wings of a silver dragon.
Parable: Axiom teaches adherents about justice. Under its dominion, justice is sought against those who transgress others. It often operates under the “Eye for and Eye” notion. However, the fall of its first wielder teaches the necessity for mercy and understanding so that justice doesn’t become blind and cold.
History: The original wielder of Axiom was said to wander the worlds righting wrongs without questions. However, legend says the wielder let that justice blind him, allowing an assassin to trick him into slaying a man carrying a warrant of peace between two nations. The wielder, to see justice, carried the warrant the rest of the way, only to be shot down by an arrow as he entered one of the warring cities.
Last Wielder: Axiom is one of the few still in the possession of a wielder. It is held by Arriette Nova. As stated, she leads the arcane guild that trains wizards and the like in combat magic.
Description: This gladius — a short sword — is simple in appearance: a blade of dark bronze with a mahogany handle and pommel. The major physical mark is a bright bloodstain on the blade itself that has never been removed.
Parable: Requiem covers sorrow and grief. Adherents usually invoke this blade during funeral practices. However, it also teaches resilience in the face of grief.
History: It is said that Requiem’s first wielder was killed by the blade itself, the cause of the bloodstain. It was during a great battle, and, when the host of allies of the wielder saw the death, they retreated. However, one ally overcame that grief and reclaimed Requiem and killed the entity that slew the first wielder. Since then, Requiem has passed through many more hands than any other blade — when one wielder falls, an ally picks it up.
Last Wielder: The current wielder is shrouded in mystery. It is said he came into possession of the weapon when his mentor was slain by a corrupt noble family. Since then, the wielder, going under the same name as the blade itself, has turned to the worship of Boudicca and has now set about reeking vengeance on the family.
Description: This kurkri is an oddity. It was crafted from a single piece of bronzewood, carved and honed without break or addition.
Parable: Willful, as its name implies, represents freedom and choice. Adherents believe Willful teaches them that they must be free to make their own decisions. To go along with this, though, adherents believe that, just because you are free to make whatever choice you want, you must temper that with preparing for the consequences of that choice.
History: Legends say the first wielder of Willful was a trickster, who went about humbling those who forced their will and enslaved others. However, the wielder met her end when her prank resulted in the death of an innocent, which led to her own destruction out of retribution.
Last Wielder: Willful was last seen several centuries ago, but some claim it was wielded by Boudicca before she fell in battle to the Blue Empire.
Description: Other than the lustrous black iron that forms the blade of this longsword, it is rather simple. A simple leather strip covers the grip, and a silver cap closes the pommel.
Parable: Irontooth is all about control. It is through control that adherents are taught they can achieve their ambitions. However, the sword also teaches to avoid domination for that is when others topple you in your rise in power.
History: Adherents tell the tale of how Irontooth’s first wielder tried to build an empire through conquest and domination. However, the wielder was toppled when others rose up against him and demanded their freedom from tyranny.
Last Wielder: Rumors float that the last wielder of Irontooth was Tobias Azurai, the Blue Emperor under whom the empire’s control spread. Some say he was buried with Irontooth, but none are allowed in the burial catacombs to find out.
Description: Pierce is a stiletto dagger with purple trappings that fits easily up a sleeve, all components slim and light.
Parable: Pierce holds sway over deceit and trickery. Adherents use the blade to teach how to manipulate others into doing what is best — with for themselves or just the adherents. However, the blade also teaches that too much treachery isolates an individual from allies.
History: It is believed that the first wielder of Pierce was once a good person, helping others, but, as she began acquiring power, she began to care less about how she achieved it. This led to betraying one to many people. Paranoia set in, and, lacking allies, she was unable to
Last Wielder: No one has seen or heard from a wielder of Pierce for nearly a millennium. It is believed that this would be normal, since Pierce deals with deception and secrecy.
Description: This wicked khopesh has serrated teeth along both edges and a bone handle.
Parable: Fury, as its name implies, governs anger and wrath. Adherent believe anger can be a catalyst for affecting change and fuel action. Conversely, they also believe can cloud minds and lead to rash decisions is left unchecked.
History: The first wielder of Fury was an entity of anger that wandered the universe fighting and slaying all that crossed it. In the end, others rallied to destroy the wielder for the greater good.
Last Wielder: The blade is currently held by a leader of an orc tribe, Rothgr. His fury has helped lead the tribe to the sacking of several small hamlets.
As you may notice, I was unsuccessful at sketching these swords. There’s a reason I write and don’t draw. If any of you out there can draw and feel inspired by the brief description here, feel free to send me any mock-ups you like, though I have to say upfront I won’t have money to pay you for your efforts — about all I could do is give you props on here.