"Ironic to think the man this blade was forged for not once wielded it in battle. I understand his love for axes made it unworthy for his hand?"
"Not true, cousin. From what father used to tell me of him, Hadvar considered himself unworthy of wielding it because of his barbaric ways."
"Remind me again how the first lord of this fortress felt he was unworthy of anything after King Rurik himself wed their families together?"
"Clearly the realms of green have softened your sense of honour, Lysenian."
-- Klaus & Rhys
Although Hadvar Oathkeeper, Elsest's first lord, was gifted King Reiner III's blade by Rurik's own hand, Hadvar also received another blade several years prior when his king commissioned the forging of it to recognise the former housecarl's rise in becoming a thane. It was an honour Hadvar could not refuse, despite his humble concerns. Ironically, the man's disinterest in receiving noble titles was among the reasons Rurik gave Elsest to him, knowing his loyalty to be greater than those who protested that the newly built fortress was not fit for any lowborn to reign over. Fortunately, such disputes were ignored and Hadvar's reign was a long and fruitful one, beginning the enduring legacy of the Hadvarkin family.
Named after its wielder, Oathkeeper was forged by Beldur, a follower of the old druidic northborn faith, along with his wife, Yaela, and their two sons. Their young family were refugees during the time of Rurik's reign and sought sanctuary with their king's war host when he brought it south to safeguard the crucial Valley of Whispers, the only true passage north into Rannarian territory. It was there that the family found a new life as the walls of Elsest took shape around them. Yaela was a healer and was well-loved by Rurik's own family. Her experience and knowledge about the old ways of their people made her an asset to Rurik as he personally lead the construction of the venerable fortress in its final years.
Yet it was Beldur's steady hand as a blacksmith that scholars in the north remember most when it comes to him and his family. When his wife tended to the health concerns of their king, Beldur served humbly in his stables, tending to cavalry needs while taking random orders to repair the blades and armour of soldiers returning from the south. That was until a housecarl duty-bound to their king happened to cross paths with Beldur and offered to commission him for a new blade to replace one he begrudgingly lost. Although when the blade was forged the housecarl was so impressed with its fine craftsmanship that he brought it to their king to inspect, who soon knew the untapped potential of the unassuming blacksmith.
Beldur's life as Rurik's personal weaponsmith had only just begun, yet that's a story for another day.
The unique weapon which Rurik commissioned for Hadvar was forged with precious moonsilver ore. Imbued with one of his wife's druidic enchantments, the one-handed sword is said to ward off creatures of shadow and in the moonlight the blade is said to harness an otherworldly glow. Despite these traits, however, legend says that Hadvar's love for axes made this keen blade one purely for ceremonial use. Yet when his successor, Harrald, became Elsest's second lord, Harrald's noble upbringing saw him wield Oathkeeper as a show of respect to both his late father, his legacy and Rurik himself for having taught Harrald swordsmanship when the king and his family called the thane's fortress their home. It did not hurt that Harrald was married to Rurik's third daughter, too.
Since then, Oathkeeper has been the preferred blade for many Elsest lords who have sought to honour the vows their family has kept since Hadvar's time, protecting the gateway of the north while remaining faithful to Rannar's bloodline, even when Rafe the Yielder surrendered his proud kingdom's sovereignty to Gaelferan rule. The Lords of Elsest have never abandoned their oaths of servitude to both Rannarian high kings of old and high lords and ladies since Rafe's treachery, though-- a history that aptly defines Elsest's nobility as one of the few incorruptible and honourable families of the north.
Centuries on, the blade has since passed on into the capable hands of Fenrar, Elsest's eleventh lord. Still, the man is rarely seen with it beyond Elsest's walls, preferring the common blades of his guard. Some say Fenrar's decision to garb himself as a common warrior belittles his title, though rumours are the jealously of the northern lords seeking to claim Elsest for themselves has wrote a grim tale where Fenrar's clandestine choices have only been for his health and preserving his leadership, knowing full well what dangers greet those shackled to the fortress his ancestors have long commanded.
Well, I promised some lore... even though it took me roughly a month to fulfil said promise... eheh.
Anyway, I enjoyed drawing this blade. Finally starting to get back into things, so hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come.
Artwork // Lore, Etc - © Kristopher P. Love
Ahem...now that I'm through fangirling the shiny blade, I also love the story! You know how I feel about this sort of stuff.