The Tale of Chrysaor
In the primordial world that existed before the true ascendance of mankind under the Exalted, there was a day when a sword fell out of the sky and embedded itself in a block of stone. No one knew where it had came from. No mortal nor god nor even the Primordials themselves took credit for it's forging. Legends surrounded it almost immediately. The most prominent these held that it was forged on a hot star, from a tongue of gold flame broken off the sun, and dipped to cool in the silver oceans of the moon. This legend was created and spread by the sword itself. The sword called itself Chrysaor.
Everyone who looked upon it coveted it. It was it's nature to be desired. Wars were fought over it or in it's name; great and bloody sport the sword itself demanded to decide who would be worthy of wielding it. Yet, none was ever chosen and millions died, while Chrysaor simply sat and grew stronger on the blood spilt in its name and the fevered dreams of the men and gods obsessed with it. In time, a great palace was built around Chrysaor and people continued to flock to where the sword rested, worshiping the blade in their dreams and killing at it's word in their waking lives.
But then everything changed. A great mortal shaman-king of the north marched to Chrysaor's palace. He was the Warrior Yi, Tiger of Thirteen Tales. He had lost many of his best young warriors to the influence of the sword and at last could stand no more. He was a man of great principle and character and he demanded of the sword to end the madness it had caused for so long. Chrysaor refused and tried to temp Yi. But the king worshipped no god save the sun, for the sun was life where he lived, and calling on his faith, he resisted the temptations offered. In doing so, he awakened as the first Zenith in Creation. Chrysaor grew upset and called on his servants to kill the new Exalt, but Yi did what no man had ever dared before. He grabbed the sword by the handle and ripped it from the stone.
"You have defiled a great natural order," Yi told Chrysaor. "It is the man who wields the sword. The sword does not wield the man."
And so demonstrated by cutting down all of the servants in Chrysaor's palace.
Enraged, Chrysaor called upon it's legions of fanatical devotes, promising the right to carry it into battle to the one who killed Yi. But one by one, Yi cut them down. He cut them all down. So many that the layers of blood upon Chrysaor grew thick and hardened like enamel. Each one who died was another dream of Chrysaor that ended. He made the sword drink so much mortal blood and end so many dreams that it's golden luster faded, it's very material reformed - or perhaps revealed itself to be - naught by base iron.
In the end, Yi killed all of those who had been held in the thrall and broke the spell Chrysaor had cast. The sword yielded to Yi and claimed obedience. But with so much blood spilled in it's name, Chrysaor had grown stronger than ever despite it's claims of submission. Not trusting the sword, Yi had it broken apart into thirteen pieces and locked it away beyond the world, before he set out to rally those who had lost loved ones in the War of the Sword and bring them into the healing light of the Sun.
Yi may have hoped it would then simply be forgotten, but Chrysaor would not soon leave the world.
Brothers of the Cruciform Sword
They call themselves Brothers, but the only blood they share is that of millions that was once spilled against their edge.
They are thirteen in number and thirteen in name. They wear the shapes of men, yet cast the shadows of swords. When they stand too long in one spot, their shadows leave a stain upon the ground; a red so dark it looks almost though the image had been burned into the earth, but wetted reveals itself instead as a stain of blood. The faces they choose are those of the first thirteen warriors cut down by Chrysaor's blade. Their 'sacrifice' imprinted deeply into the soul of the sword, burnt their very image into it's existence in a way that clung on even after it was broken apart.
One and all, their flesh is black like cold forged iron. Shot through with glowing lines of color, it is as though their skin were merely a cracking shell over something far larger and somehow more empty. It differs from Brother to Brother, but it is the color of their eyes, their hair, their nails, and of the two-barred enamel cross that each of them wears. Each Brother carries a blade of remarkable craftsmanship; as with the colors they don, no two swords are alike in style. They honor these and even pray to them, offering a reverence to the blades that few mortal swordsman could comprehend. Serving as the very center of their beings, the Brothers can be compelled to do much, but never to surrender their swords.
The Brothers of the Cruciform Sword, known more accurately by few to be the Brothers of Chrysaor, are spirits called forth from their prisons by the higher arts of Sorcery. Most of those who call them fail to realize just what it is they summon. Spirits, they think. Weapons sealed away for times of need. Yet the spirit they call is little more than a byproduct. An extension of will from the object the sorcerer truly calls back from beyond the world: a shard of Chrysaor.
Shard is a word which gives the wrong impression to most. It brings to mind the image of something small and jagged and broken. But the might and majesty of the golden blade had been so vast that to break it apart was not to truly shatter it, but to make of it a circle of lesser blades. It's physical form and power alike were split apart into thirteen swords, each one powerful by itself, but alone weakened enough to be sealed away and even, to a lesser degree, controlled. But not entirely. Though they serve as spirits when called, their true power lays in being wielded as blades, but this is an act they will not undertake without negotiation. A deal must be brokered before they will subsume themselves into their swords and allow the sorcerer to carry them. Their demands range from the enigmatic to the sinister to even the seemingly benign, but never is an explanation offered as to why.
Still a bit tentative about this one, but a friend suggested I put it up anyway. Plan to add a spell for calling the shards of Chrysaor later, a rather nasty ritual in my mind, as well as some crunchy stuff for them. Fluff is always more fun than crunch though. - Greymane
- I like this; the story is evocative without constraining the Storyteller (Chrysaor could be a cosmic principle or something alien from beyond reality, but can as easily be defined as a Fair Folk, a Primordial-like entity, or a Primordial's secretive Third Circle soul). Likewise, the Brothers are well-described, useful to a sorcerer, and add interesting choices and story potential to play. Bravo. - Quendalon