A sword is forged of the strongest metals, tempered in the flames and sweetened with the caress of the hammer. But a sword need not be of metal – it may also be of flesh, and bone, and blood. So it was that I sought out a warrior and armorer named Dakkon of exceptional skill, and retained his services. In exchange for his creation of the finest sword ever made, I offered him the power of a planeswalker. I gave him ten years to accomplish this feat.
Dakkon was not just a man of exceptional skill. He was also a man of tremendous hunger – hunger for power, and for glory. He was vain, full of himself and overconfident in his talents. This was, in fact, the very reason that led me to him: I had some inkling of what the creation of such a weapon would take. No ordinary man would do; the man who would make this sword had to possess such a surpassing hunger for power that he would do anything to obtain that power.
Though Dakkon did not see me until ten years later, I saw him. I observed him magically, from a distance, and saw that I had chosen wisely. Upon receiving my commission, Dakkon set to work at once and put all other concerns aside. He spent months working on designs for the sword by day, and seeking out forbidden knowledge by night. He knew that his craft alone would not suffice; he would need magical power, the power of sacrifice, to make the sword I had requested.
So it was that time passed, and Dakkon's soul turned blacker. At first, he was content to spill his own blood in sacrifice to the forging of the sword, working his body's precious fluid into the metal. The blood was seared by the flames, and grafted the power of Dakkon himself into the making of the weapon. But that was not enough. It needed more than a few paltry drops – it needed life itself. After two years, the work was not going well and Dakkon knew what needed to be done. He called to his side his young son, Daron, and as he pulled the sword from the forge he told his son to close his eyes. The obedient lad did so, and Dakkon plunged the white-hot metal into his own son's chest. I saw from afar, and reveled in the act. The boy's blood, soul, and energy were drawn from his quivering flesh and pulled into the sword. Removing the weapon from the husk of the dead child, Dakkon held it before him and saw that this callous act was only the beginning. The work would require many, many more lives to succeed.
Any other man would have stopped short of even contemplating the terrible deeds required by the effort. But Dakkon was hungry, and willing to do anything to get the power he so badly wanted.
As the years passed, Dakkon slew countless slaves, purchased by the score from the worst villains in Corondor. Each one fed the sword with his or her blood, soul, and energy. Ever the sword grew stronger; and ever Dakkon grew more desperate. The end of the proscribed decade was close at hand.
Finally, I returned. I was pleased with the result. I don't mean the sword – oh, it was truly the most excellent weapon ever wrought by human hands – but rather Dakkon himself. For it was he I wanted. It was the weapon of Dakkon himself that I truly desired. He was, of course, blind to my true ambition: the creation of the ultimate warrior, one who would serve me forever better than any army. In forging the sword, Dakkon had forged himself into a tool perfect for my needs.
He handed me the sword that day in the swamps, proud of his labor. I was proud, too, to see that my plan had succeeded so well. In truth, he still had far to go – but he had taken the first and longest step of the journey.
As agreed, I gave him tremendous power. As he felt the magic surge into his body, Dakkon roared with pride. He was no longer human – almost. Though a creature of blood, fury, and magic, he still possessed a human soul. This was one affectation he could do without for a time.
Dakkon's shadow grew long in the evening sun as he roared his power to the heavens, lost in the revelry of might. I stepped forward and drove the sword into the ground, piercing his shadow. Dakkon screamed, and his shadow leeched up and into the sword until it was gone. With it went the soul of Dakkon.
He cried again, and bellowed his rage at me as he collapsed to the ground. Smiling, I hefted the sword. I congratulated him on his hard work, encouraged him to revel in the power he had earned, and left him to his fate.
Now Dakkon has roamed the planes for years, as have I. He is still working in the forge, though he knows it not, for now the forge is his life and the sword is his heart. When the time is right, when he is at the peak of his power, I shall bring him to me and reunite him with his mighty sword. He will have his soul again, to be sure, but it shall do him no good – he shall then be bound to me forever and ever. He will answer my call and do as I command. I shall rule among the stars, and divide the heavens with the force of the fiercest warrior the multiverse has ever known. When that day comes, Dakkon Blackblade will stand – unwilling, but helpless – at my side. He and I shall spill the blood of worlds, and sup on the ashes of time itself.
I have only to ask.
LET THE SPIRITS OF LIGHT HEAR MY WORDS. DAKKON THE SHADOW SLAYER, I SUMMON YOU. THE FIRE OF MY LIFE BURNS IN THE AMULET OF TIFU. WITH THE AMULET OF SHADOW, I UNLOCK THE DOOR OF SHADOW AND BIND TO MY SERVICE ALL THOSE WHO ENTER. COME THROUGH THE DOOR, SPIRIT OF DARKNESS... AND STEP INTO THE WORLD OF LIGHT.
This scroll is, perhaps, the pivotal document of the Carthalion line. Not so much for what is contained within, but for the part it played in a long-forgotten battle between two great powers and the boy who sparked it – the nameless orphan dubbed by the name of his lost town of Carth, earliest known forebear of the Carthalions. The battle was between the legendary Dakkon Blackblade and the notorious planeswalker Geyadrone Dihada. The boy was a pawn, used by Dihada to summon Blackblade so that Dihada could take control of the cursed warrior. In the end, Dihada succeeded, but Blackblade and the boy – whom Blackblade dubbed Carth the Lion – survived and eventually became fast friends. Thus it is to Dakkon Blackblade that the Carthalions owe their name. Thus it is this book, which contains the power to summon Dakkon Blackblade himself, that defines our family's origins for all time.
—Ezer, Spellsquire of Lord Carthalion of Ephren, 1248 by the reckoning of the Sages of Minorad