I, Ad Dakhla, scribe and chronicler to the court of the Sultan of the City of Bronze, do here set down what I have learned of the Ossuary Blade. It is within the Sultan’s possession, and I was permitted to examine it but not to test it or to take a sample. The sword is quite remarkable in that it is made entirely of human bones, with the longest bone, the femur, forming a blade. Based on my measurements, the femur must have come from a man at least seven units tall, a rare but not impossible height. The bone was sharp enough to cut the paper that I had with me, which is very strange; bone can be sharpened, but not to such a razor’s edge, and certainly not one that could cut my quill as well. There also appears to be no adhesive or other mechanism holding together the other bones that make up the tang and the grip, all human as well.

The history of the sword is all oral, and the Sultan himself claims to have heard the story from his great-uncle and predecessor as sultan. They say the bones are those of a great warrior names Twoen, who was a man of unparalleled strength but also uncommonly kind. He protected his people, desert migrants, on their travels until he fell ill with fever. It is said that Town was struck by a vision of the Dreaming Moon, and a thousand voices speaking in unison, when he prayed for something to protect his people when he was gone. He relayed his vision to his tribe, which honored it. Upon his death, Twoen was left in an oasis, and scavengers picked clean his bones in a sky burial. But rather than scattering them, his people followed his instructions to create the Ossuary Blade from his remains.

It is said that it delivers the life force of an opponent to the wielder, though I could not test this for myself. As to how it came to be in his collection, the Sultan claimed his uncle said that the nomads came to live in the City of Bronze many years ago and offered up their blade as a tribute. But I had the impression he did not believe this, and that the blade had been taken by force and brought as a trophy. On the truth of that story rests the legacy of Twoen, a man who may or may not have protected his people after death.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!