The Tragedy of the Mystletainn

mystletainn_pommel.jpgThe Tragedy of the Mystletainn occurred in the duchy of Brei in Y522. It concerns a curse laid on the holy blade Mystletainn, the death of the crusader Baldur, and the disappearance and supposed suicide of his brother, the crusader Hod.

The Curse of the Mystletainn
During the Remnant War, Hod and the Augustian army led a four month siege of Castle Blacktail, one of the mightiest remaining Du’un strongholds in the west. Blacktail was ruled by a ruthless imperial governor and his equally ruthless wife. He wielded unmatched arcane power and ruled through liberal application of force. He was so feared by his subjects that none dared join Hod’s uprising. Yet even though he rained fire down upon Hod’s army day and night, he could not break the siege of Blacktail.

Starvation began to set in as Hod’s warrior-druids rotted the food in Blacktail’s larders and his warriors blocked their supply lines. Remnant soldiers began to whisper of defecting. In a last ditch effort to salvage her once-grand fiefdom, the governor’s wife—who was as deadly with a blade as her husband was with magic—challenged Hod to a duel. The crusader knew it was a ruse, but he hoped that winning this duel would finally break their enemy’s morale and end the long siege. Their duel was bloody, but Hod’s peerless skill and divinely-blessed weapon overpowered his foe. He cut short her life at the neck with a swift blow, ending the duel.

The governor, who had been watching the battle from the balcony, howled like a wounded beast and ran to his wife. Hod leveled the Mystletainn at the governor’s neck and, with all the diplomacy he could muster, requested his immediate surrender, lest the governor too see his head removed from his body. The Du’un pointed a withered finger at the crusader and roared a vile curse. Know, murderer, he wailed in his anguish, that yours is the blade that rends love in twain!

Hod’s army conquered Blacktail as the governor’s soldiers fled in all directions, but he felt no joy in the accomplishment. He knew that a Du’un curse was no small worry, and swore never to fall in love and never to take a wife. Though some tellings of the legend claim that the stalwart crusader had feelings for his companion Freya, he never acted on them in any version of the tale. After the war, he swore never to draw blade again, and gave the Mystletainn to his beloved brother Baldur for safekeeping. Hod never spoke to Baldur of the Du’un curse.

Ten years later, in Y511, Hod fell deeply in love with a woman from the Kurtulmak Desert, a beautiful woman who had helped children escape the Child Hunts in the birthplace of the Du’un Empire. Her name was Aisha, and she had traveled to the west to find these children a new home, away from the black magic that had engulfed her homeland. Hod fell in love with the woman whose beauty and compassion were exceeded only by her passion and swordsmanship, and Aisha fell for the man whose noble and handsome features were tempered only by a strange, lingering melancholy. The next eleven years were among the happiest in Hod’s life. He and Aisha became the first duke and duchess of Augusty when the small kingdom became a part of the Kingdom of Grandévere, and they both became the proud parents of four daughters. The indelible curse was soon nothing more than a distant memory.

The Tragedy of the Mystletainn
In Y502, before the onset of the Remnant War, Hod’s brother Baldur married a refugee woman named Nanna after he rescued her from a group of Du’un and goblins. They bore their only child, a boy named Forseti, the very next year. Nineteen years later, in Y522, Forseti was also to marry. Peace had been restored in Grandévere, and the kingdom was enjoying a time of great prosperity. Forseti’s wedding drew men and women from all corners of the kingdom, and all of the Nine Crusaders, Baldur’s former companions, were in attendance. Baldur gave the Mystletainn to his son as a ceremonial blade to wear at his side and the Tyrfing to his fiancée.

Hod could not place the source of his discomfort throughout the beginning of the ceremony, but he twitched and fidgeted as his friends sang and drank. It was not until the couple approached the altar that Hod realized what had happened. Forseti bore the Mystletainn at his hip. As soon as Forseti spoke his vows and placed his ring on his bride’s finger, the young prince’s hand reached for the Mystletainn’s pommel. Hod sprang instinctively from his seat in the grand hall, struck his nephew’s hand away, and, like a man possessed, drew the Mystletainn himself in one clean stroke. Before the ring of his unsheathed sword died, Hod had already spun around to cleave towards Baldur’s throat. The hall was silent as the grave as Baldur’s severed head struck the marble floor.

Had Freya not immediately leapt to her feet and hastened Hod and his family from the wedding hall, he would likely have been killed on the spot. Forseti sat in shocked, wretched silence for the rest of the evening, but was able to summon all of his courage the next morning. He summoned all Breian knights still possessed with reason to his side in an attempt to quell the populace’s thirst for Hod‘s blood, allowing them to escape to Augusty. Were it not for Queen Freya and Lord Forseti’s decisive and timely intervention, Grandévere would likely have been plunged into chaos and civil war as the men of Brei threatened to slaughter the citizens of Augusty as retribution.

Augusty quietly seceded from the Kingdom of Grandévere that same year. Hod and Aisha ruled the fledgling Kingdom of Praetoria for nearly a year before Hod disappeared one winter’s night. He took the cursed Mystletainn with him and was never heard of again.

The Tragedy of the Mystletainn

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