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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:05:50  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

If the purpouse of the moonblades was to decide the royal house of all the elves, should not all of them go dormant now that Amlaruil (and Zaor before her) sits on the throne?


The powers of other blades were kept to support the royal house and also to warrant that a worthy substitute would be available in case the royal family died all out, somehow.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:08:11  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Unless the elfshadow power was the very first one embedded in Arilyn's sword, then it stands to reason that the souls of all moonfighters are bound to the blades -- otherwise, her sword would have had just the one elfshadow available, not ones for all the past wielders.

Danilo's soul being bound to the blade also, to me, indicates that the source of a moonblade's new power is the bound soul of the wielder.

And when Arilyn gave up the blade, and thus broke her bond to it -- the power she'd added was lost. This, to me, further indicates the power the blade gets comes from the bound soul of the wielder.

That was the impression I got from reading the books, too -- that wielding a moonblade meant a delay between dying and actually going to Arvandor, and heirs who were prepared for wielding a blade explicitly knew that. When a blade goes dormant, the souls are released -- and this also backs up how difficult and extraordinary it would be to reawaken a blade.

It could be argued, though, that Arilyn misunderstood, and that only a part of the wielder's soul is bound to the blade -- though the "unoccupied" body of Zoastria would argue against that.

It could also be that the soul-binding was something unique to Arilyn's sword... After all, we've not seen a lot of these things in action. Though in that case, you've got to explain why her sword is different, and again explain the apparent binding of all its wielders.

At least, that's my read on it. I could, obviously, be entirely mistaken.




So does it stand to reason that the first power of ALL moonblades is Elfshadow?

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out

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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:11:46  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

[quote]Originally posted by Fellfire

If the purpouse of the moonblades was to decide the royal house of all the elves, should not all of them go dormant now that Amlaruil (and Zaor before her) sits on the throne?


The powers of other blades were kept to support the royal house and also to warrant that a worthy substitute would be available in case the royal family died all out, somehow.
[/quote

I'll buy that, but why only moon elves? Are the golds somehow unfit for leadership? History disagrees.

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out

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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:33:11  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just can't see the sunnies rolling over for that even if the Hand of Correllon shoved it down their throats

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:41:02  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

[quote]Originally posted by Fellfire

If the purpouse of the moonblades was to decide the royal house of all the elves, should not all of them go dormant now that Amlaruil (and Zaor before her) sits on the throne?


The powers of other blades were kept to support the royal house and also to warrant that a worthy substitute would be available in case the royal family died all out, somehow.
[/quote

I'll buy that, but why only moon elves? Are the golds somehow unfit for leadership? History disagrees.



That's one of the major issues I need to revisit. It would appear that gold elves can and occasionally do inherit. Elaith expects Anariah to inherit the Craulnober blade, and she takes after her gold elf mother. He wouldn't risk her life if there was no expectation of success.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:42:33  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So many issues to address! For example, consider the state in which Arilyn found Zoastria. Then consider that Amnestria, Arilyn's mother, wielded this sword. THEN consider the possible succession implications of this.

Oy.
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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  15:59:42  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It certainly won't be a chore to revisit Elfshadow, Elfsong and Silver Shadows, but I'm not certain if the line of succession was ever stated clearly.

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  16:49:20  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

It certainly won't be a chore to revisit Elfshadow, Elfsong and Silver Shadows, but I'm not certain if the line of succession was ever stated clearly.



Nope, it wasn't. I have theories, but the succession is...problematic.
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  17:11:36  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire
So does it stand to reason that the first power of ALL moonblades is Elfshadow?


Not if you don't necessarily associate the soul empowering a blade with the manifestation of this soul through an elfshadow. Maybe it only gives the sword magical power to allow it to have a new rune/property.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  17:18:51  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire
I'll buy that, but why only moon elves? Are the golds somehow unfit for leadership? History disagrees.


True enough. Even because elven history changed after the origin of the moonblades publication... It is clear to me that this limitation was written because moon elf clans would have a better chance of accepting the rule of mankind over the world, while golds, which were noble but less tolerant (in general, as a race) would be less likely to generate entire bloodlines who would adapt well to a changing world.

This topic was largely discussed in many topics here in the keep through the last years, even recently in the Sages of the Realms' Moon Blades thread.

EDIT: As OUR world also changed and tolerance became mroe important and widely accepted, a value reflected in RPG - as one can see by the position of orcs in FR, Warcraft and other fantasy settings.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)

Edited by - Barastir on 16 Mar 2016 17:24:53
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Nacopa
Acolyte

USA
12 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  18:06:19  Show Profile Send Nacopa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From what I understood - which could have been falsely interpreted - the new magical rune provided by the most recent wielder was powered by the bond of the soul, and that is how the blade can evolve magically. It seemed logical that after death, the blade held the soul to continue providing that rune's magical ability for the next generation.


As for other types of elves wielding the blade, I was skimming moonblade posts a while back and I believe it was mentioned that the other subraces were not exempt from claiming a blade, but it wasn't specified whether bloodline mattered. I was under the belief that if a line died out, any elf could potentially reawaken the inert blade, starting the cycle anew.
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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  18:26:54  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Do baelnorn have phylacteries? It would seem as if the moonblades were, in fact, some type of magic jar that houses the disembodied spirits of all former wielders. I cannot recall any other such item with that kind of potency, except, perhaps, Crenshinibon which was said to contain the spirits of many liches.

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out


Edited by - Fellfire on 16 Mar 2016 18:43:51
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30084 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  18:28:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Unless the elfshadow power was the very first one embedded in Arilyn's sword, then it stands to reason that the souls of all moonfighters are bound to the blades -- otherwise, her sword would have had just the one elfshadow available, not ones for all the past wielders.

Danilo's soul being bound to the blade also, to me, indicates that the source of a moonblade's new power is the bound soul of the wielder.

And when Arilyn gave up the blade, and thus broke her bond to it -- the power she'd added was lost. This, to me, further indicates the power the blade gets comes from the bound soul of the wielder.

That was the impression I got from reading the books, too -- that wielding a moonblade meant a delay between dying and actually going to Arvandor, and heirs who were prepared for wielding a blade explicitly knew that. When a blade goes dormant, the souls are released -- and this also backs up how difficult and extraordinary it would be to reawaken a blade.

It could be argued, though, that Arilyn misunderstood, and that only a part of the wielder's soul is bound to the blade -- though the "unoccupied" body of Zoastria would argue against that.

It could also be that the soul-binding was something unique to Arilyn's sword... After all, we've not seen a lot of these things in action. Though in that case, you've got to explain why her sword is different, and again explain the apparent binding of all its wielders.

At least, that's my read on it. I could, obviously, be entirely mistaken.




So does it stand to reason that the first power of ALL moonblades is Elfshadow?



No. The binding of the soul is what allows whatever new power to be added. The elfshadow property allows for one or more of the bound souls to be called forth.

Note also that the book Elfshadow shows that the soul is bound before the power is added -- because Arilyn couldn't add a power until the end of the book, but the elfshadow Kymil was calling forth was hers.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  18:38:42  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Nacopa

From what I understood - which could have been falsely interpreted - the new magical rune provided by the most recent wielder was powered by the bond of the soul, and that is how the blade can evolve magically. It seemed logical that after death, the blade held the soul to continue providing that rune's magical ability for the next generation.


This is what I understand, too.
quote:
Originally posted by Nacopa
As for other types of elves wielding the blade, I was skimming moonblade posts a while back and I believe it was mentioned that the other subraces were not exempt from claiming a blade, but it wasn't specified whether bloodline mattered. I was under the belief that if a line died out, any elf could potentially reawaken the inert blade, starting the cycle anew.

The moonblades belonged to clans, and could only be inherited from members of the same clan, and although the distance in the bloodline was not very determined, a more direct sucession would be one trait to consider if a lineage was more fit to the throne than another, by words of Mrs. Cunningham.

As for reawakening the blades, it would be a very rare event. It happened to Craulnober's blade, but it involved a major possibility of change in his behavior or attitude in what seemed the eminence of death, and a sort of character redemption, something not very common among "unworthy" heirs (or potential descendants born after his or her claiming attempt). But once again, it didn't happened to other but the heir of that clan's blade.

As for other subraces being able to inherit a moonblade, we should also consider that the offspring of individuals of two elven subraces have equal chance of belonging to one or the other parent's subrace. Maybe some subraces would be more adequate for the potential ruler of Evermeet, in case of a disaster, though.

EDIT: I think an example could clarify this last phrase. Think of a moon/sea elf child that is a sea elf, created in the depths... It would be very hard for him or her to be inserted in Evermeet's courtly life, and to be accepted and respected as a leader - with all the responsibilities of a king - by the People in general.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)

Edited by - Barastir on 17 Mar 2016 10:51:51
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Fellfire
Master of Realmslore

1944 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  18:53:47  Show Profile Send Fellfire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

Do baelnorn have phylacteries? It would seem as if the moonblades were, in fact, some type of magic jar that houses the disembodied spirits of all former wielders. I cannot recall any other such item with that kind of potency, except, perhaps, Crenshinibon which was said to contain the spirits of many liches.



So was the Crystal Shard some kind of corrupted copy of a moonblade's magic? Or, even older? The Nether scrolls?

Misanthorpe

Love is a lie. Only hate endures. Light is blinding. Only in darkness do we see clearly.

"Oh, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but.. blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me." - Bane The Dark Knight Rises

Green Dragonscale Dice Bag by Crystalsidyll - check it out

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  19:00:14  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Keep in mind that there are a LOT of magical items in the Realms. Moonblades are just one type, and a very specific type.
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1426 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2016 :  22:18:48  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

quote:
Originally posted by Nacopa
8.Can you describe the traditional ritual a hopeful inheritor would perform to awaken a moonblade?

Mrs. Cunningham once told me that it's not like a magical or complex ritual, but more like claiming, accepting and being accepted by the blade. As it happened to Arilyn, which wasn't prepared to inherit her mother's blade.

The technical side of a blade-rite is trivial, yes - one need to draw the sword and be accepted rather than killed (in the case of moonblades) or cursed (in case of lesser "badge of office" elfblades), and that's it.
But the elves may want to wrap something this important in some sort of a ritual (if the circumstances allow).
quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

If the purpouse of the moonblades was to decide the royal house of all the elves, should not all of them go dormant now that Amlaruil (and Zaor before her) sits on the throne?


The powers of other blades were kept to support the royal house and also to warrant that a worthy substitute would be available in case the royal family died all out, somehow.

If they just gone cold once the monarch is chosen, this could indeed be a major bummer for lots of elves - from these royals to those who couldn't get to the ceremony because of heavy fighting wherever they are. As to why moonblades didn't just e.g. change to "shut down" one by one as their current wielders die, and instead gradually turned into unusable traps... well, that's the famous elven foresight for you. Typical, really.

quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

why only moon elves? Are the golds somehow unfit for leadership? History disagrees.

Uh, that was the whole point? Moon elves noticeably tend to be more adaptive and less prone to having their heads stuck between their own buns. On the average.
Hence the idea: hey, it looks like the weakened elvenkind faces more complicated times? If someone's got to lead them, those should be Moon Elves, now pick some good ones, give them the legitimized crown (so that they could actually get things done, rather than bogged in the usual bickering up to eartips) and make sure that there's a good-sized clan of them (so that the monarch will have someone for support and "peer review", and problems with succession will be unlikely).
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

I just can't see the sunnies rolling over for that even if the Hand of Correllon shoved it down their throats

Well, yes - see "Elfshadow".
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

Do baelnorn have phylacteries?

No. But there were mentions that they're bound to an area.
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Note also that the book Elfshadow shows that the soul is bound before the power is added -- because Arilyn couldn't add a power until the end of the book, but the elfshadow Kymil was calling forth was hers.

Aye, that's kind of the point - the power is added at an arbitrary moment in response to the wielder's need (like having to hide or being blasted by dragonbreath).

quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

As for other subraces being able to inherit a moonblade, we should also consider that the offspring of individuals of two elven subraces have equal chance of belonging to one or the other parent's subrace. Maybe some subraces would be more adqequate for the potential ruler of Evermeet, in case of a disaster, though.

...and their descendants may be Silver again.
Thus if Lady Elfia Leafhugger is a Silver elf, and she married into the Bigears who are not, some of her children will take after her husband... but they and their children still will be descendants of Leafhugger clan and as such potential claimants of Leafhugger moonblades (in absence of designated heir to the given blade). And even if those elves are not eligible beyond one generation, when one of them marries into Swirlydance clan of Silver elves, half of the children will be Silvers eligible for moonblades of both Leafhugger and Swirlydance (if any).
Which may have desirable effects - whether they'll go for Leafhugger moonblades depends on whether:
1) they are proud of Leafhugger ancestry or want to have as little to do with it as possible;
2) they consider this option because Swirlydance moonblades became too tough as a challenge - this evens the playing field a bit;
3) there are unclaimed Leafhugger moonblades in the first place - this also gives negative feedback, but on the level of clan membership;
4) the potential claimant is coached by a member of the clan in question, or even better, was an apprenticed of one. Both because it improves one's chance and because they know this.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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CorellonsDevout
Master of Realmslore

USA
1980 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  03:09:28  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Anything about elves by Elaine has my interest

Sweet water and light laughter
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  10:54:18  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder
...and their descendants may be Silver again.


Or not, and yet be eligible to inherit the blade. Not originally, but see the case of Azariah, mentioned by Mrs. Cunningham some posts ago.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  11:02:30  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

  • History of several specific blades; i.e, Arilyn's sword, the Craulnober moonblade, the King Sword

  • The story of another house's moonblade, told in a serious of short stories depicting pivotal events in the life of each wielder

  • 5E stats for several blades that are still "out in the wild" and available for use in campaigns, as well as suggestions on how to incorporate invent-your-own moonblades into a campaign



If there's anything else you'd like to see included, or questions you'd like answered, please add your suggestions in comments.


As I've just noticed that the history of the most famous blades, the story of the new blade and the stats are in separate items, I ask you if the 5E stats for the King Sword, and for Craulnober and Arilyn's blades will be provided, or at least a description of all of their powers...

EDIT: ...along with the powers and/or stats of the "another house's moonblade".

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)

Edited by - Barastir on 17 Mar 2016 11:50:51
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  14:08:20  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

  • History of several specific blades; i.e, Arilyn's sword, the Craulnober moonblade, the King Sword

  • The story of another house's moonblade, told in a serious of short stories depicting pivotal events in the life of each wielder

  • 5E stats for several blades that are still "out in the wild" and available for use in campaigns, as well as suggestions on how to incorporate invent-your-own moonblades into a campaign



If there's anything else you'd like to see included, or questions you'd like answered, please add your suggestions in comments.


As I've just noticed that the history of the most famous blades, the story of the new blade and the stats are in separate items, I ask you if the 5E stats for the King Sword, and for Craulnober and Arilyn's blades will be provided, or at least a description of all of their powers...

EDIT: ...along with the powers and/or stats of the "another house's moonblade".



At this point, everything is negotiable. I'm very open to addressing any questions and interests readers and gamers might have.

My first reaction was sure, I can describe their powers and history, but since none of those swords are "up for grabs" in campaigns, there's no sense in doing 5E stats.

But then it occurred to me that this is based on the assumption that that no one will run a campaign or play a character that deviates from my view of moonblades and their history, and that's the type of thinking I'm trying to steer clear of. If someone decides to create a timeline in which Prince Lamruil's newly-invented daughter inherits Arilyn's sword, they might like to have a set of ready-made stats. So, yeah. I can do that.

As a scribe pointed out to me in a private message, DMs and players need room to create and interpret the lore. I agree. Being too pedantic--my natural inclination--will not result in a product people find useful or interesting.
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1397 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  14:21:36  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
(...) but since none of those swords are "up for grabs" in campaigns, there's no sense in doing 5E stats.


Stats of the novels' heroes and villains - and everyone inbetween - and their blades can also be used by DMs who intend to use your characters as NPCs, mostly fans of your work. And probably, new fans will arise as more people will have contact with your characters.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  14:22:00  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This has been posted on Candlekeep before, but since it pertains to the topic I'll add it to this thread. It's a silly bit of flash fiction I wrote a few years back. It's meant in fun--no offense is intended to those folk whose fascination with moonblades takes them in directions I didn't predict. It does, however, skewer the idea that anything in life--moonblades included--are supposed to be "fair." In the immortal words of the Dread Pirate Wesley, "Life isn't fair. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something."

***

Moonblades were designed to be a test of kingship, a visual symbol of the right and fitness to rule. But over the years, concept creep has set it. For those who are in need of clarification, consider, if you will, an imaginary conversation that I'll call...



A CONNECTICUT GAMER IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT

I woke up in a stable, though I'll be damned if I could tell you how I got here. One minute, I'm racing an approaching thunderstorm so I can level up before logging out, the next, I'm face down in straw. Everything hurt, and I smelled like a KFC Double Down that had been left in the fryer a little too long.

After a few tries, I hauled myself up. Remembering how to walk took a while, but pretty soon I was staggering out of the stable into the grounds of a Ren Faire that looked--and, unfortunately, smelled--more authentic than most. The sun wasn’t quite up yet, and the only person in the muddy courtyard was an old man with a long white beard. He sat on this boulder, next to the hilt of an old sword that someone had Crazy-Glued to the rock. He watched my approach with eyes that saw way too much. I got the feeling that he knew things about me I don't know myself, and probably won't figure out until I'm old. Like, forty. Although come to think of it, forty isn't looking as old as it used to, considering Jennifer Anniston.

"Around here, that name is pronounced 'Gwynevere,'" he said.

"Huh. Like Drizzt's panther?"

He shrugged. "Sure."

It hit me then that he'd responded to something I hadn't actually said. I looked from the old guy to the sword, to the stone. Something clicked.

"No way!" I marveled.

"Way," he said gravely. "Took you long enough, dude."

Now, that just didn’t seem right. "Wait. If you're Merlin, shouldn't you be all, 'forsooth, ye saucy varlet' and so on?"

A longsuffering expression crossed his face. "Whence and wherefore art thou come, young sir?”

“Damned if I know. Last thing I remember, I was playing an MMO and found an old sword in an abandoned dragon’s lair. Looked like it might be elf-crafted. I was trying to level up, in case it was a moonblade, so I’d have a better chance of claiming it without getting fried.”

His shoulders rose and fell in a sigh that held about a thousand years of been-there-heard-that. “And how’s that working out for you?”

“Hard to say. Thunderstorm blew in and…” I spread my hands, palms up. “Here I am.”

“I see. And now I suppose you want to attempt to draw the sword from the stone.”

“Dude, that’s the high king’s sword. Excalibur. What exactly are you smoking?”

He almost smiled. “That’s refreshing. Most people think they ought to have a shot.”

“Seriously? At being the next high king of the Britons?”

Merlin thought that over. “At first, perhaps. Now they mostly want to prove themselves worthy.”

“Of what?”

“Just ‘worthy’ in general. The definition gets broader and more vague by the day.”

“So it’s not just the royal wannabes, but people who want to prove they’re as good as the next guy.”

“Pretty much.” He scowled. “And it’s not just the Britons anymore. Irish, Saxons, Danes, Jutes, Scotti—they’re all wanting in. Last week a Greek sea captain showed up.”

I tried to make sense of this, but apparently the lightning had fried more than my motherboard. “You’d think they could come up with swords and myths and rituals of their own.”

“You’d think,” Merlin grumbled.

A goat trotted up to the boulder, fixed its weird yellow dragon’s eyes on the wizard’s face, and let out a long string of bleats and bahs. Merlin listened politely for a while, then held up one hand to staunch the flow of goatspeak.

“I believe I have the gist. To recap, you found a sword similar to this one in a meadow and kicked it into a hollow log. When a fox threatened your offspring, you led it in a chase and tricked it into taking a shortcut through the log, thus ending its life and the threat it posed. Having successfully employed a sword in defense of your young, you believe you have the right to this one.”

The goat bleated enthusiastically.

“I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way,” the wizard said. “You are not the destined king. You’re not a Briton, nor, for that matter, are you human. For all these reasons, you are not eligible to claim the sword.”

Judging from the nipping and head-butting that followed, this wasn’t something the goat wanted to hear. Merlin kicked at the angry goat for a while before he figured out it would make more sense to scramble up onto the highest part of the boulder and stand out of reach.

“I didn’t say you weren’t a worthy goat,” he called down. “No doubt you’re a paragon among goats. But you don’t. Need. A frickin’ sword to validate that!”

The goat thought this over and then bleated some more.

“No, I will NOT train you to be a warrior king!” howled Merlin. “And no, you can NOT impregnate a human woman and expect to pass Excalibur to your theoretical offspring. It doesn’t work that way.”

The goat huffed. It turned its back to Merlin, lifted its tail, and dumped a load. Off it trotted, grumbling.

I clapped one hand over my nose to ward off the smell and reached the other up to help the old wizard climb down from the stone.

Merlin nodded his thanks and sank down to sit on a low edge of the boulder. “You see how it is.”

“Yeah.” I shook my head in disbelief. “Weird, though. It’s such a simple concept.”

“It was certainly meant to be.”

He pulled out a pottery flask, took a swig, and offered it to me. We passed the flask back and forth for a while. The high-blood-pressure-red slowly faded from his face.

“So, tell me about this moonblade. You’re acting as a representative for a noble moon elf clan, I assume?”

I swallowed a mouthful of mead and shook my head. “It’s for my PC. She’s a half-orc, half-tiefling fighter who moonlights as a courtesan.”

Merlin stared at me for a long moment.

“She’s neutral good,” I said defensively. Since he didn’t look convinced, I added, “And she’s thinking of multi-classing as a paladin.”

The wizard rose and gestured to a lanky kid who was foot-dragging his way toward us, scratching himself and yawning widely.

The kid glanced my way. His gaze sharpened as he took in my WTF are ELADRIN?!! tee shirt.

“Let me guess: Moonblades again?”

Merlin nodded and took a couple of quick steps away.

Moving faster than I would have thought possible, the kid lunged for the sword, yanked it out of the stone, and swung it toward me in a shining arc.

The world spun and rolled. When it came to a stop, I was eye-level with the pile the goat had left behind. A few paces away, my headless body twitched in a spreading red pool.

Interesting. I’d heard that the brain takes a few minutes to shut down after decapitation. I lasted long enough to see young Arthur sheath Excalibur in the stone and head off in the direction the goat had taken. I guess a future king can’t be too careful when it comes to potential rivals.


THE END

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 17 Mar 2016 14:30:18
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  15:21:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've actually been tinkering with creating a moonblade for an NPC, but it's more of a MacGuffin than anything else. In fact, I'm not 100% sure the elf in question will even wield it -- he's more concerned with retrieving it and bringing it back to his family.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 17 Mar 2016 23:49:15
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Nacopa
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Posted - 17 Mar 2016 :  22:25:00  Show Profile Send Nacopa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham


Moonblades were designed to be a test of kingship, a visual symbol of the right and fitness to rule. But over the years, concept creep has set it.



It makes a lot sense. Every reader has an imagination to some degree, and so it's natural to fill in gaps. One of the most intriguing gaps tends to be the great Why.

I pose this question: If the moonblades were created to identify characters fit for rulership, how heavily does the need or purpose of the crown in question influence the High Mages that created the swords? Since the swords were created with a specific set of traits in mind for use in selecting a king, would not the very reason for creating this new monarchy inform their creation? If so, what was the thinking of the time that brought the elves to this point? I seem to recall they desired to protect the People from extinction, basically, and that was the most primal reason for unification under one ruler. I may remember incorrectly or partially, of course, but that had always explained to me why the blades could potentially be claimed by any Tel'Quess if the original noble line died out.
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