The five weapons were forged by the greatest Invitus, Craftmaster Apollo. His long-ship crashed into a strange dark rock, deep in the night-void. The rock drew in light from its surroundings and kept the power. Craftmaster Apollo took the rock and broke it apart into a black metal ore. Incased inside the rock, he found the strangest thing. The branch of a huge tree. The branch was black. Like the ore, it was imbued with strange powers. It could be bent, yet his hardest and sharpest tools could not scratch it. He sold half of his goods for better tools. Yet still, the ore and branch defied the work of his hands. Such a thing could not be; materials that an Invitus Craftmaster could not craft or forge.
Apollo took his best forge and placed it in a longship with the thickest Mirror-Armor he could craft. He selected his finest tools, gather together food and supplies for a long voyage. On the first day of summer, in the three hundredth year after the fire, Craftmaster Apollo went viking to find what he needed to forge the ore into metal and work the branch. He sailed until he found a great blue star, hotter than any white or red sun. With great difficulty, Apollo touched his longship to the star’s surface and fed the star’s fire into his forge. Hotter and hotter it grew until the forge glowed blue and the guarding runes threaten to melt. Then he began his work. First Apollo crafted the branch. He poured all the water aboard his longship into the streaming box and placed it in the forge. Then Apollo placed the ore in the forge and loosed the fire of the blue star on it. Slowly, that great smith worked the ore, adding carbon from the bones of the wolf and bear for strength. For ten days and ten nights he tended the forge, until at last on the eleventh day four metal ingots came forth. The branch too he tended, adding water as needed to steam the wood hotter than any wood had been steamed before. Apollo kept it at an even heat and a full head of stream until the wood was soft and easy to work. Once it was ready, Apollo withdrew from the blue star to work the branch. He carved it into four staffs. The first three, Apollo worked into a spear pole, a javelin’s shaft, and an ax’s handle. The fourth, he took and bent into a curved short bow. All of these, he locked into frames to hold their shape as they dried.
Once again Apollo returned to the blue star and dived down to its surface. Then Apollo drew away from the heat of the blue star and rested for a full day. On the thirteenth, he returned and began the forging of three ingots. He folded them fifteen times and then twice more. With great skill, Apollo worked them into the shape of weapons and inscribed them with enchanting runes to bring out their powers. Then he joined them to the wood staffs he had prepared from the branch.
The first was Banahogg or Deathblow, a bearded ax so strong that it could fell a tree two arms wide with a single blow. Yet, it needed only the might of a strong man to wield. The second weapon was Hyrratgeirr, the Fire Spear. The runes engraved into the spearhead burn so hot that fire flew from it upon its master’s command. The third weapon, Apollo made was the javelin Flaugun-Einn or Flying One. Flaugun-Einn was so well-made and well-balanced that it could not miss its target. It flies true regardless of the skill or strength of the thrower. Once thrown, it returns to the hand of its master to be thrown again. Then, he took the fragments of metal and wood left over from the first three weapons and turned to the bow. He welded on a strong handle, marking the arms with powerful runes, and forged from the fragments one hundred barbed arrowheads. Into the arrowheads, he etched with magic runes. They drew on the bow’s power and loose it like a winter storm upon their launch, freezing like ice, roaring like thunder, and striking like lightning. Moreover, Apollo enchanted these arrows always to find their way back to the bow. Lastly, he spun a fine string of threads made from the black metal and strung the bow. He named it Skot-Hríð or Shower of Missiles.
With four weapons complete and only one ingot left, Apollo paused in his work and drew free of the blue star. Far away in the night-void, he rested for three days and prepared for the task ahead. A task he knew would be his greatest and most difficult work. At the beginning of the fourth day, he returned. He plunged his longship deep into the blue star until the Mirror-Armor hummed with the heat and the forge burned a bright blue. Long he beat the fourth ingot with his hammer. Many times he twisted it to add strength. Many more he folded it over on itself. Slowly he hammered it into shape, heating and reheating it. He lengthened it, flattened the edges into sharpness and pounded a groove down the center. He warmed it, engraved fair runes on it, and cooled it. Finally, he heated it up one last time until the black metal turn red. Then he quenched the sword in the purest water and polished it to a fine shine. Apollo called it Svartriss, the Black Icicle, and into it he poured all his knowledge of battle and war. All that he knew of swordsmanship and fighting was caught in its blade, yet still the sword was not full. So he made a great enchantment. Svartriss would draw in the knowledge of those who wield it. Each who drew the sword would give their battle-knowledge to add onto the Craft-master’s own. Then fearing the power of what he had crafted, he cast a great spell over the weapons.
Should these weapons be abused
Or in the darkness be ill-used
Then all shall fall who hold these blades
Being cursed and doomed to rant and rave
Only with honor can they be swung
Until the final battle be won
At the death of the last sun
Craftmaster of Clan Cygnus,
Born of House Brighteyed Song
Now with his work finished, he returned home. Where at the age of one hundred and ten, he died in his sleep. His body was placed in his longship along with the weapons, for none dared to wield them, and launched into the star-dance to drift until a star’s fire consumed them all.
© 2019 H.A. Austin