Swordtember 2022 – gothic


A two-handed greatsword of massive make, Joyeuse is almost unreasonably heavy.

Its blade is wider than one’s palm and well over an inch thick, shaped like a flattened hexagon in cross-section; both cutting edges are highly polished, as is the chisel-like tip of the blade. The remainder of the sword’s surface, flats and vertices both, are covered in a dizzying array of rows of sunken, arched cells — filled with ornate figures nearly sculpted in the round and framed with stylized foliage — looping volute patterns, and organically branching finials. In contrast, Joyeuse’s hilt is relatively plain, a hexagonal shaft of metal sporting a simple bar for quillions, though both quillions and pommel-nut are sculpted to resemble balls of foliage.

* Joyeuse is an ancient and famed blade, the life’s work of Vorcan Saint-Dove, fourth sorcerer-smith to the Blood Emerald Emperor. The tableaux in the sword’s sculpted cells depict legendry from the Emperor’s nigh-eternal reign: coronation, blood baptism, anointing, war-victories, the slaying of Jairistryx the Scaled Seraph, the conquest of the lands of the Shadowmoon, midnight revelations, and more.

With the shattering of the Empire, Joyeuse was believed lost, though descriptions of a fearfully sculpted greatsword have surfaced over the years, often connected to tales of driven heroism and bloody self-sacrifice.

* Joyeuse grants no new skill at attacking, though it injures creatures immune to mundane weaponry. The sword deals double damage to radiant beings, devils and oathbreakers.

Its intricate sculpture draws the blood and the life from wounds it causes; twice a day its wielder may claim that life as their own, gaining damage dealt as healing. It may also consume its wielder’s life, if desired, converting any amount of life-force (and blood) sacrificed to the blade to twice that in vicious savaging during the next successful strike with the sword.

Claiming Joyeuse for longer than two months invites the invasion of the Blood Emerald Emperor’s shattered psyche into one’s dreams, goading one to save and serve the descendants of those left to the winds when the Empire fell. Communication is difficult; escaping the Emperor’s mad remnants even more so.

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