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Jalmar and the Unbreakable Blade.

By Gavain (Graylor)

In the fight against Gabji, the Deceiver, Jalmar fought many mighty foes and prevailed. On this day Jalmar was tracking down a powerful follower of Gabji when he came across a hell demon fully fifty feet high and wreathed in flames. The heat from the monster was unbearable. Though Jalmar braved the flames and struck at the demons legs, he was not rewarded by the sound of rending flesh. Instead, what he heard was not dissimilar to the sound made by steadwives beating wet clothes on the rocks to wash them! The hero tried to retreat but the demon was quick enough to kick Jalmar and send him flying many feet through the air. When he had recovered his wits he found his sword was bent into a strange shape by the heat of the monster.

What he needed was a stronger weapon, one that would be proof against heat or acid. Jalmar thought long about where he could find such a powerful weapon. His final conclusion was that the only sword that fitted these requirements was Humakt’s sword, Death. Unlike the original Death, which left pieces of itself with everyone who used it, since Humakt re-forged Death, it had never broken.

Jalmar gathered his supporters and questing regalia and went to the gods’ plane to witness the re-forging of Death. What he saw astounded him. Humakt looked at Death and using the power of his truth Humakt saw that all the various deaths he had collected were in fact the same. The intensity of his gaze was sufficient to heat all the pieces he had collected so they joined together and formed one piece. Humakt stretched out the piece and formed his honour into a hammer and beat death into shape. The shape fashioned matched Humakt’s honour in that it was straight, uncompromising and incredibly sharp. Finally he quenched the blade in the waters from the Styx. This allowed the river goddess to fulfil her duty to surround and protect Death. After he completed the re-forging of Death, Humakt left the Vale of Death and faced Sunbiter the Deathound a enormos wild dog with three heads. Sunbiter recognised the power Humakt possessed as the master of his own and granted Humakt free passage into and out of the Vale.

Jalmar despaired of being able to use Humakt’s methods on more mundane materials than Death. Eventually he realised that the principles were the same. All he needed to do is to be able to see the true nature of the material, with all its flaws. Once known the flaws could be strengthened with the power of death, and finally Styx water would bind the whole together. Getting Styx water would be a matter of persuading the river to help as she had done for Humakt. Death powers he already had, the magic to perceive the weaknesses in a sword would be difficult to find. How would he put it all together to form a coherent focus was another problem to be solved.

Lacking inspiration he went to the sages to ask their advice. There he learned of the Flame of Truth that is housed in a shrine near Lhankor Mhy’s great library. One of the greybeards thought he remembered a tale of a sage trapping some of the flames power in a circle of gold to make a lens through which he could see the true nature of things. Jalmar was granted permission to use the Flame of Truth in return he would teach the sages how to fight.

This sparked an idea in Jalmar’s head. If the essence of a flame can be bound into a golden ring, could the other powers be also bound if a suitable material was found to contain them? Aluminium was the metal most used by water creatures and iron was the preferred material for the dealers in death. Jalmar settled on fashioning a pair of gloves with thin strips of the metals running down the fingers: Gold for the index finger, iron for the middle finger and aluminium for the ring finger.

Jalmar returned to the hero plane and journeyed to the Flame of Truth. Not knowing what else to do Jalmar put his gloved hands into the flame. As soon as he contacted the flame it passed into his body. He bravely endured the pain knowing that this was part of his testing. Rapidly the Flame of Truth passed through Jalmar probing his thoughts and testing his worth. He passed and the Flame retreated. The two gold bands now glowed brightly. Somewhat stunned Jalmar staggered off to the Vale of Death and the River Styx. At the edge of the vale Jalmar heard a deep growling from behind and a warm breath of hot air against his neck. He turned slowly and saw an enormous black silhouette of a hound standing about four manheights. Silvery glows signal where the beast’s eyes were, reflecting the faint glow of the Underworld. "I am Sunbiter Deathound," it growls, "I must warn you that you are about to enter the lands of the Underworld and leave the Grey Lands. Twenty more steps and I shall ensure that you may never again leave." With that it leaped clear over Jalmar’s head and disappeared into the twilight of the underworld.

Jalmar continued on to find Styx. Her testing of Jalmar was gentler but just as thorough; she made Jalmar promise to give up the use of his ancestral spear. With this oath completed she held both his hands in hers and the aluminium strips now started to glow. Jalmar left the River Styx and climbed out of the Vale of Death to find the last power he needed. As he stepped out of the vale Sunbiter returned. "I warned you. You are not permitted to leave this place." Sunbiter lowered his great heads to push Jalmar back down the slope. Jalmar’s great speed allowed him to dodge the blow. His sword seemed to leap into his hand and in the same movement struck the hound on the top of its nearest head. Jalmar put all his effort in the blow only to find the creatures skull seemed to be made of stone. His blow only cut the skin and no more, though, as all head wounds do, it bled profusely. More tragically the blow cracked his sword and Sunbiter’s head shaking had sprayed blood in his eyes. Jalmar wiped away the blood so that he could see. As he griped his sword once again a dark light passes up the blade where it passed the blade was renewed and strengthened. Jalmar looked with wonder, he noticed that the iron bands in his gloves were now also glowing. With the three bands activated he could now feel the weakness in the sword where it had cracked. No sooner had he noticed this than he found the death power strengthening the flaw and the watery power of Styx sealing the magic in place. He had found the final power to activate the Unbreakable sword.

With the new power in his blade Jalmar fought the Deathound into submission. Before Sunbiter left to heal its wounds it told Jalmar. "You are only the second being to have defeat me. You hold a lesser version of the power that defeated me last time. I now see that all who bear that power should have the right to access these lands. Next time we meet show me that power again and I will let you pass." As Sunbiter loped off the magic in Jalmar’s sword faded and left him with the cracked blade. As he journeyed back to the mortal realm Jalmar practiced with his new power and soon was able to call the power to any blade he held. He soon realised that the gloves were no longer necessary as the power for the Unbreakable blade came from within and the testing only really served to release the self imposed blocks to his own power.

Soon after Jalmar returned to the demon and with the power of the unbreakable blade he was able to defeat the demon and eliminate the follower of the Deciever.

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