Oathbinder

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The Dukes of Midrealm take turns bearing Oathbinder in the court of King Laurelen.
King Laurelen knights Nathan at Spring Crown, first knighting with Oathbinder
King Laurelen knights Talymar at Pennsic VIII with Oathbinder
Oathbinder as she was until her blade was reforged in 2006. Her original furniture was fitted to the reforged blade.

The sword of state carried before the King and used for fealty ceremonies and to make knights, made for the Middle Kingdom by Duke Syr Laurelen Darksbane during his first term as Tanist and presented by him to the Kingdom at his Coronation in May, A.S. XIV (1979). It is no mere Bearing Sword or ceremonial ornament. The sword is a warrior's weapon, steady and whispering in the hand, as any who has held it will attest.

The King's Champion will usually carry Oathbinder into court behind the King, though some Kings have had other champions carry the sword.

History

This from Duke Syr Laurelen himself: I made the sword for presentation to the Crown at my first Coronation. She was presented on May 5, 1979 at Our Coronation in the Barony of the Cleftlands. The way of it was this:

After the Coronation and before any other business in the first court, King Laurelen stood and addressed his court and said something very much like: "It is known well that a King must needs have those symbols which hold the soul of the Realm and its continuation and that in these symbols rests the belief and trust and heart of the people and heritage and history of this Realm. There are the Crowns, of course, and the Thrones as well; but the King takes oaths of Fealty and Homage, The Crown rides forth to War sword in hand, and creates Knights to keep the flame of Chivalry new with each new accolade. All of this is true yet the Kings have, since our ancient days, used their own noble and personal swords to do all these things.

Because We believe so strongly that We are set to serve this Realm We feel it is only fitting that We ourselves, as King sworn to serve, bestow gifts rather than only receive them.

At this point the King turned to his Herald and said, "Call forth the most Noble Dukes of the Middle Kingdom." This was done and all four of the Great Dukes then in the Realm in those days came forward, not knowing the reason for their being summoned. Duke Andrew of SeldomRest, Duke Dagan du Darregonne, Duke Fionvaar de Taahe, and Duke Merowald de Sylveastan came forward onto that court and then the King called his squire, Grod Gondiris, before him. The young squire came forth bearing a Knightly Sword of War, glittering in the sunlight, watery-silver steel and gleaming polished brass shining like Welsh red-gold. The King took the Sword from the squire and said: "This is Our gift to the Crown and to all who follow Us. This shall be the King's Sword to pass from King to King from now on. She has a name which is her legacy for she will bind oaths and lead in war and be borne in state. This is Oathbinder. It is only fitting that she come to the Crown from the hands of those most noble men who have served the Realm by wearing that Crown twice and thus We ask that she pass from each of these Noble Dukes', hand to hand, and then to the Crown through Us."

The King handed the sword back to his Squire and he in turn to the Dukes who passed it each to the other and then back to the King, and then he back to his squire who then took his place behind the Thrones with Oathbinder held visibly in bearing between King and Queen. The Dukes were released and thanked and the court proceeded with all manner of business.

Thus it was that day, for thus did I do (and mostly say). Though the quotes are as near as I can remember, the events are exactly as they happened, for I planned it and considered all that would be said and done.

Subsequently -- Oathbinder was later badly mistreated by those who should have been more responsible and in spring 1988 King Corwyn Dragonstar returned Oathbinder to me to be remade, for she was dismally damaged. The recounting of this is written on a short missive attached to the inside cover of the heavy wooden box that I made to store her in at that time, along with her new scabbard. I refinished and polished her blade to like new, and refit her handle and leather wrapping, and fitted and made a new scabbard. On her original blade, below the hilt in very small engraved letters were seen: "Laurelen me fecit" and "Laurelen me refecit A.S. XXIII". She was also accompanied by a short statement written on the wood itself inside the cover of the case in an ancient Elven language understood by few in these days. The translation is: This sword was made by a cranky old Elf. Abuse her again and he'll keep her himself!

Oathbinder is no wallhanger -- ask any who have held her. She (I have called her by the feminine from her presentation date onwards) is alive with the hearts and souls of nearly two hundred MidRealm Knights and many others who have touched her in Fealty or in bearing. She whispers, "Use me", and was meant to have been worn in her simple, grey, soldiers' scabbard, double girdled.

This is the true story of Oathbinder, as she was originally presented and as she was through 56 Reigns until she was reforged from the steel of her original blade mixed with new steel, folded, welded, and forged into her remade blade in 2006.

As in many things, legends and tales about Oathbinder grew. Some were true and others entirely apocryphal. One such apocryphal "legend" said that, "Laurelen himself was unsure of the metal used to create the sword which he dubbed "Mithril" for lack of a more accurate account and as a nod to the Society's roots in Tolkein fandom. Reportedly there are words in Tolkein elvish inscribed upon the sword." The foregoing was not true, however. Laurelen actually made the blade from good Carbon steel and the only engraving on the blade was near the hilt as stated above.

Later, as Oathbinder's blade had become increasingly ductile, from repeated flexing over the decades, returning this important heirloom weapon's full physical integrity was addressed at the Northern Oaken War Maneuvers event hosted by the Shire of Falcon's Quarry and the Barony of the Cleftlands on June 10th, 2006 where King Felix announced that he met with the Order of the Chivalry at Crown Tournament to discuss the future of this very important blade and that it was decided that Oathbinder would be re-forged by master Gwillim the Smith. This announcement was repeated at Baronial Border Wars in the Barony of Andelcrag on June 17th, 2006. Oathbinder was indeed reforged by the said Master Gwillim of great renown, and presented to the King all within the time of one reign. Some of the metal from Oathbinder was used in the creation of a new sword, Humilitas the Prince's sword.

Scabbards

New scabbard for 2016

The original scabbard (Pictured above) served for many years. In 2004, a new ceremonial scabbard was constructed for Oathbinder. The new scabbard was made by ? presented at? Photo?

In 2016 this new scabbard was showing wear from use and a replacement was commissioned. The new scabbard was made by a team headed by Sir Krizten von Atzinger. Oliver Stillman did the decorative leatherwork and Duke Eikbrandr created metal bits.

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