As told by Hirt, a man of Simnel

In the days before Eyon I, the first king of Pexate, the land was rent by petty kingdoms and strife. One of the strongest was a realm which once stretched where we now sit, centered on the city of Simnel. Elves had carved a great citadel for themselves, and ruled as far as their spears would reach.

Their old king died just as their lands had begun to be threatened from the south, and his wife was heavily with child at the time. It was decided by a great council that her child should succeed him. But when the time came, she gave birth to twins–both mules, for it happened that she had been unfaithful to the old elf-king with many who had come through Simnel-that-was. Her son, Vol, had a human father and was fair-skinned and fair-haired. Her daughter, Elw, had a goblin father and had dark olive skin and midnight-black hair.

At their birth, the sword traditionally forged for the new king was hurriedly duplicated, and thus Volen and Elwva were forged. In the elven dialect of the time, Vol was noon and Elw midnight, so Volen and Elwva were the Light-Blade and the Dark-Blade respectively.

Decades of war followed as the Twin Monarchs came of age, and in them Eyon I found his craftiest opponents in the north. Vol was a cruel man, prone to fits of bloody rage on the battlefield, but nevertheless a skilled warrior. Elw was temperate and kind, a formidable diplomat. Together on the throne, they kept King Eyon at bay for years.

The King, in his great wisdom, dealt with them in his own way. He sent emissaries to Vol, promising recognition as King of the North if he would only remove the thorn of Elw, with the shadow-blade Elwva to be handed over as proof of the deed. Vol greedily acquiesced to the terms.

Then King Eyon sent emissaries to Elw, revealing Vol’s treachery. He promised her the title of Queen of the North if she wiped away Vol’s dishonor with blood and collected Volen, the blade of light. The two siblings met in the great hall of old Simnel and fought for hours, forbidding their retainers to intervene. Their final blows, in parallel, struck at each others’ hearts, with the obsidian of Elwva shattering in Vol’s chest and the translucent quartz of Volen breaking between Elw’s ribs.

King Eyon then arrived, took the fealty of the retainers, and collected both shattered swords. “Let these broken blades be a reminder to all who follow me in my line,” he said. “If their bearers had remained unified, and not let the petty strife of their common history drive them to violence, I would never have triumphed.”

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