Alithiel is one of the twelve Blades of Isaer. The sword is the appropriate size for a human or undersized centaur, and is described as a sword of unearthly beauty with patterns of silver inlay on a black blade and a spindle of green light emanating from an emerald set in the hilt. In illustrations, it has a decorative metal guard which is not unique to this particular blade.
The edge of the blade is enchanted, and cannot be nicked or damaged. The enchantment imbued by the unicorns will make the sword dazzle the eyes of the enemy, but only if the engagement was just, and if the sword was defending its true bearer. The emerald in the sword was cut by a sunchild's spells and contains a leopard crest with initials of the sword's owner. The initials change as the sword is passed on to an heir. Because many owners embraced kingship, the blade was also known as Dael-Farenn or Kingmaker. However, few High Kings actually wielded the sword, since another sword accompanied the crown.
|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Curse of the Mistwraith.|
The blade was forged in the First Age by the centaur, Ffereton s'Darian, using metal from a meteorite. It took ten years to create an edge that would never dull, through the work of twenty-one masters. The sunchildren created the hilt and chased the channels for the inlay, and the unicorns imbued the metal with the primal chord of vibration, as a spell of defense.
The sword was created for the undersized centaur son of Ffereton s'Darian, Durmaenir s'Darian. After his death to the Khadrim, the sword was presented to the king's heir, Enastir. When Enastir died heirless, the sword passed to the s'Perhedral family. It then passed through several heirs to Cianor Sunlord.
Early in the Third Age, it was awarded by Cianor Moonlord to Kamridian s'Ffalenn for his defense of the princess Taliennse. It remained in s'Ffalenn possession until the invasion of the Mistwraith, and was brought to Dascen Elur by the s'Ffalenn prince fleeing the uprising.
It was eventually owned by Avar s'Ffalenn, father of Arithon. On the day that Arithon left Rauven to become Avar's heir, the blade was given to him. He decided to leave it at Rauven to reinforce his pledge of peace.
|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Traitor's Knot.|
After Davien dispels Arithon's assumptions that the blade was made for killing, Arithon studies Alithiel and discovers that the sword is actually an instrument of change with its own aware presence embodying the essence of Air.
Role in the Story
|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from multiple books in the series.|
Curse of the Mistwraith
Third Age 5637: When Arithon is exiled through the Worldsend gate on Dascen Elur, the Rauven mages make sure to deliver the blade with him. The power of Alithiel is first shown when Arithon draws the sword in the presence of a Khadrim. The harmonics of the sword kill the Khadrim.
During the Battle of Strakewood, Arithon is affected by the Curse after scrying for Lysaer's location. Jieret is forced to cut Arithon with Alithiel to bring him back to his senses. The cut is described as a coruscation of white light, followed by a ringing, pure chord of harmony. Arithon is left hollow and desolate as the Paravian spell-craft leaves him. Arithon and the clansmen are ambushed enroute to the grotto, where he uses Alithiel as a common sword to fight Pesquil's headhunters.
Ships of Merior
Warhost of Vastmark
Third Age 5652: Following a performance of the Masterbard's Lament in an Ilswater tavern, Dakar watches over Arithon's recovery with Alithiel nearby. He is unable to draw the sword in time to stem an unconscious attempt at escape.
Third Age 5653: Arithon is affected by the curse at he Laughing Captain Tavern in Riverton but the sword is in his hands, preventing the spells from triggering. Caolle disarms Arithon in combat, allowing Dakar to speak Alithiel's Name. The resultant tone restores Arithon's wits. Dakar then reclaims the sword and uses the pommel to knock Arithon unconscious. During the subsequent escape, Arithon acts in his role as Masterbard to protect Felirin's rights as a free singer. He uses Alithiel and twines his mastery of sound with the defense wards, causing mayhem with man-made structures in the area.
Third Age 5669: When Arithon returns to the continent, he brings Alithiel with him. Alithiel's defense wards are activated when Arithon draws the sword to save Fionn Areth from execution, and Arithon amplifies the effect using his voice to capture the sword's resonance.
Third Age 5670: Arithon is knocked unconscious near Ithamon by Jaelot guardsmen who recover the lost sword from the snow. Arithon recovers the sword later when he escapes. When Jieret's war band intercepts Arithon, Jieret orders the Companions to keep Alithiel safe in case it is needed to bring Arithon back to sanity. During a ritual to awaken Jieret's mage-sight, Arithon sings to Alithiel. His song encompassing the sword's history as well as Arithon's love for Jieret. The awakening of the sword brings Jieret back to awareness. Arithon asks Eafinn's son to guard the sword in the aftermath.
As the war band prepares to enact Arithon's plan to thwart the Alliance army, Braggen swears an oath on Alithiel that he will not falter. Arithon's spirit is bound to the sword, which is sheathed and wrapped to avoid detection by Lysaer's scryers. Two days later, Braggen unsheaths Alithiel, restoring Arithon to his physical body high in the Mathorn Mountains. After consuming a restorative draught provided by Davien, Arithon orders his clan escort to unsheathe Alithiel slightly, confirming that he still has self-control over the curse.
Arithon is pursued to Kewar Tunnel where Alithiel flickers in warning. When he awakens inside of Kewar Tunnel, the starspell goes active with no enemy in sight. Arithon uses the sword to light his way until the strength of light and sound emanating from the sword render him unconscious. He learns that enemy he will face in the maze is his own self. During one of Kewar Tunnel's trials, Arithon captures Alithiel's tones and uses his Masterbard's talents to suppress the effects of the curse.
Third Age 5670: During Arithon's recovery, Davien cleans the blade and hangs it in his armory. After Davien dispels Arithon's assumptions that the blade was made for killing, Arithon discovers that the sword is actually an instrument of change with its own aware presence embodying the essence of Air. Arithon takes Alithiel with him in defense of the Evenstar. He forges an active partnership with its defense wards to create a sphere of protection that iyats cannot enter.
Third Age 5671: After visiting the King's Glade in Selkwood, Arithon awakens to find Alithiel in his arms, delivered to his care by the Athlien Paravians. He brings the sword with him when he travels to Alestron, and its wards go active when Duke Bransian challenges him to a sword fight.
During the Siege of Alestron, Sidir is mortally wounded. Arithon rests the blade in the clansman's hands, in hopes that Alithiel might speak for him during the healing. The sword goes active and also raises the wards in Alestron's walls in unison. The sword awakens again when Arithon and Elaira consummate their love, neutralizing Selidie Prime's sigil of fertility.
A fortnight later, Arithon uses his Masterbard's arts to awaken Alithiel at Watch Keep. A new sound emanates, one never heard before from Althain Tower, and forces a reevaluation of priorities in all combatants at the Siege of Alestron. Arithon is the first human to tap these powers.
|On a note beyond hearing, those who loved war heard only rage, and these would seek solace in fighting. Others who yearned for creative peace moved to abandon the field and return to their distant homes, or, in the case of Alestron's free citizens, to uproot their families and claim life, resettled amid the free wilds.|
The song has a range of proximity that grants Lysaer the clarity to realize that he is cursed. He makes plans to leave the battlefield for Avenor, which would put fleeing refugees at risk once he reached the range of the song. Dakar and Elaira reach Arithon's awareness to stop the effect of Alithiel's song, keeping Lysaer at Alestron.
To escape the citadel, Arithon wants to reuse his past tactic of binding his spirit to Alithiel to appear dead. However, the sword does not awaken. Parrien wounds Arithon in anger and forces everyone to flee aboard a galley as the Sea Quarter falls. When Sulfin Evend intercepts the galley, Talvish draws Alithiel in defense, rendering everyone but Elaira, Talvish, and Dakar unconscious.
Third Age 5923: A premonition causes Khadrien s'Valerient to steal Alithiel from the armory in Halwythwood, where the clans have kept it since Arithon's capture two centuries earlier. As he, Esfand, and Siantra travel to Tysan to help Arithon, the resonance of the planet shifts when Davien and Seshkrozchiel cause a plant to grow on Kathtairr. Alithiel sounds in resonant sympathy.
Out of options when cornered by headhunters near Athili, Siantra draws Alithiel and causes Athili's borders to move. Asandir answers Alithiel's call and protects Esfand, Khadrien, and Siantra from being consumed by Athili.
During the clash between High King Gestry's war band and the True Sect, a projection of a centaur appears before the children and charges one of them to bare Alithiel. Khadrien accepts the charge and takes Alithiel from Esfand, before riding away on the reborn Isfarenn. The horse throws him off and flees with the sword's sheath still around her neck. When the horse reunites with Arithon, he reclaims the sword. It allows him to cross the border into Melhalla without falling prey to Selidie's ring of spells.
Third Age 5925: Arithon has Alithiel with him when he discovers the Talliarthe concealed in the Cascain Islands. Battered by storms, the Talliarthe runs aground on a reef near Los Lier and sinks. Arithon dives to the cabin to retrieve Alithiel. When a wild unicorn on the beach challenges his trespass, only the defense wards in Alithiel prevent his dissolution. The location vanishes from Sethvir's earth link once Alithiel's chords have gone silent.
- The US Hardcover editions of Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy, and Peril's Gate show Arithon wielding Alithiel. The US Hardcover edition of Curse of the Mistwraith shows Lysaer holding a sword with a similar guard but different coloring.
- © Janny Wurts, Curse of the Mistwraith, p. 129 (US-Hardback)
- Some editions of the Curse of the Mistwraith glossary has a typo that lists this date as the Second Age.
- © Janny Wurts, Curse of the Mistwraith, p. 539 (US-Hardback)
- © Janny Wurts, Stormed Fortress, p. 331 (UK-Paperback)