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The Sword of Khaine, known more famously as the Widowmaker or the Godslayer is a cursed magical sword that was said to be forged from a fragment of the war god's original sword. It is sometimes considered the most powerful weapon in the Warhammer World, even more than Ghal Maraz or the Axes of the Dwarf Ancestor God Grimnir, capable of even killing the gods. The weapon is considered so powerful that if it were wielded again it could change the course of the history of the Elves and of the whole world.
The Sword of Khaine is the physical manifestation of murder and violence. It seems to possess a malign intelligence, and constantly lusts for blood. The blade calls to Elven warriors, whispering in their minds and urging them to draw it, promising endless power in exchange for bloodshed. To draw the Godslayer is to invite Khaine into your heart and soul.[1a] The blade has a corrupting influence not just on its wielder, but on all who are in close proximity to it. The malign forces emanating from the Widowmaker change personalities, replacing empathy with callousness, reason with hatred, and mercy with ruthlessness.[2a]
The Widowmaker appears to take on different forms to suit the personal preferences of the viewer. To Aenarion the Defender it appeared as a sword. For Malekith, it was a sceptre, and for Caledor the Conqueror the Godslayer was a lance. In all cases, the sword perpetually drips blood.[1a] The Sword of Khaine was forged by Vaul, the smith god of the Elven Pantheon. During its forging, it was heated using the fiery breath of Draugnir, father of Dragons. However, the bloodthirsty blade took more from Draugnir than was given, and as a result the fate of the Dragons and Draugnir's descendants was forever bound to that of the elves.[1b] The Widowmaker is embedded within the Altar of Khaine, in the Shrine of Khaine which is located on the Blighted Isle (off the coast of northern Ulthuan). The Blighted Isle is currently under control of the High Elves, who generally seek to prevent anyone from drawing the blade again. However, this does not stop the Dark Elves from attempting to capture the island, and many battles have been fought there.[1a]
During the Coming of Chaos, when the elven race was on the verge of annihilation, the wife of the first Phoenix King Aenarion, Astarielle, was killed by N'Kari. In his grief, Aenarion travelled to The Blighted Isle and drew the Sword of Khaine, which cursed his line forever. The blade exerted its influence and Aenarion's mood darkened, bloodsports became common in Nagarythe where Aenarion ruled. Aenarion even contemplated attacking his friend and ally Caledor Dragontamer, who took issue with this, but the Daemons returned before it could be done. Aenarion was already the anointed of Asuryan, but the Sword of Khaine made him nigh unstoppable. He used the sword to kill four Greater Daemons of Chaos at once, although he was mortally wounded in the process. Before dying he thrust the Widowmaker back into the Altar of Khaine, where it remains.[1a] His descendants, the twins Tyrion and Teclis, are tainted by the blade's curse[1d] and the blade is known to have called to Tyrion, tempting him to draw it.[1a] The Sword is known to have called to Caledor the Conqueror, a later Phoenix King, although he resisted the urge to draw it.[1c] There is speculation that the Phoenix King Tethlis may have attempted to draw the blade and been slain by his own bodyguard, but others say Tethlis fell to a dark elf assassin, so his fate remains unclear.[1a]
At the beginning of the second age Khaine had locked in the deepest abysses of his dungeons Kurnous and Isha, where he made them endless torments to feed their anger with their pain. Of all the gods, not even Asuryan, who at first allowed the torture and then did not know how to stop it, dared to challenge Khaine to free his brothers. That was when Vaul, the blacksmith, discovered the way to save them without having to fight against the mighty god. He agreed with Khaine to forge a hundred divine swords before the next Moon of Khaine.
At the end of the term Vaul had only prepared ninety-nine swords, so he mixed among them a mortal sword so as not to break his commitment and free the gods. Khaine was satisfied and Kurnous and Isha came out of the fire and pain. Freshly fed and strengthened in their respective celestial kingdoms, Khaine realized the deception and mounted in anger, swearing vengeance. The whole pantheon was wracked by the wrath of Khaine. None dared again to face him as the Bloody God shattered everything in his wake with the ninety-nine Vaul swords. While searching for the solution the world reached the brink of destruction.
Then Vaul forged the last sword, and made it more powerful than all the previous ones, and captured within it the essence of the same death, along with the hatred of all the demons and the power of the gods. The forged sword was so powerful that its greed for death could reach gods and worlds alike, destroying the essence of its enemies, but also of the one who wielded it. At such power the gods feared the sword even more than Khaine. Then, when all seemed lost, Eldanesh, the greatest of all the elven heroes who existed or will exist, knelt before the gods and offered to be the Bearer of the Sword. Isha wept for his death, and Asuryan tried to persuade him, confessing that the sword contained all the destruction and hatred in the world, and that his thirst was so great that he would not settle for the death of his enemies and corrupt his own soul; taking him down the paths of hatred to his own darkness. The darkness would invade him and the demons of the sword would devour his soul while he himself became a demon. In spite of everything and having to face Khaine, Eldanesh, to the astonishment and admiration of gods and men, drew the sword and advanced towards the Desolation of Khaine.
When he saw him, for the first time since he had wielded the ninety-nine swords, he came out of his state of savage fury and laughed at the mortal who was trying to face god. But at that moment he saw the black edge that Eldanesh held in his right hand, and saw his death reflected on the edge of that weapon, of a spirit so close to himself. The fight was titanic. Eldanesh, despite being a god among the elves, was a mortal among the gods, but his sword broke all the others, breaking the same reality with each of his blows. The destiny was written, and after feeling for the second time in his life fear, Khaine crossed with the last of the ninety-nine swords, the best of them, the Death that Cries, the heart of the hero, the demigods. Eldanesh's blood flowed through the wound as life escaped from his shattered body, merging with the souls of his ancestors in the lakes of Isha, beyond the knowledge of mortals where only the gods have vision and mandate.
Khaine, however, could not forget that elf who had the courage to fight him, and admired and honored him. And he did not want to use the Sword, giving it to the people of the mortal elves, as a throbbing curse and homage to a time. Remembrance of the greatest of his lineage and at the same time of the eternal and immortal power of his gods; Cursing the one who dared to take back the Sword of Khaine. By the will of Asuryan the shed blood of Eldanesh accompanied forever to Khaine, so that he saw the reflection of his courage and boldness in the blood of the Sons of the Gods, and he will never try again to destroy the world; therefore from then on he was called Khaela Mensha Khaine, the Bloody-Handed God.
The weapon is fused to the Altar of Khaine on the Blighted Island north of Ulthuan. According to the Elvish myths, the sword was forged by Vaul, expressly for the use of Khaine, the elven god of war and murder. This would mean that the sword was not designed to be used by mortals, as it has a power beyond its control. Although traditionally regarded as a sword, Khaine's sword appears as a weapon different from every individual who sees it, always dripping blood coming out of the blade of the weapon itself. To Aenarion, for example, it appeared like a sword, to his son Malekith it appeared like a jeweled scepter, although he did not wield it. For Tethlis it seemed like a spear, although also it was successful in the elaboration of the weapon.
It is said that the sword is hungry for the destruction and blood of others, exerting its influence and appearing in the dreams of all the elves (in particular the soldiers), calling them. Tyrion, for example, was tempted numerous times by the Sword, tempting him to take it, but he rejected it. The first Phoenix King, Aenarion, drew the sword from the altar because of the pain and rage he felt from the murder of his wife and (as he thought) his children Yvraine and Morelion, using it to defeat the forces of Chaos. Thinking that his offspring had died, when taking out the weapon, Aenarion not only cursed himself, but his descendants as well.
The sword exerted its insidious influence on the bloodthirsty Aenarion, turning him into a cruel and proud being after establishing his court in Nagarythe. Just after the final battle against Chaos, after the creation of the Vortex, Aenarion realized the corrupting influence of the sword and decided to return it to the altar, moments before his death. The Sixth Phoenix King, Tethlis, traveled to the Blighted Isle during his war against the Dark Elves and was assassinated under mysterious circumstances near the Altar of Khaine. Some claim that he rejected the call of the sword and was murdered by a Druchii assassin while others say he fell under its influence and when he tried to draw the sword, he was killed by his own White Lion bodyguards, fearing that he might unleash a new era of death.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
- 2: End Times: Khaine (Volume Three)
- 2a: pg. 88
1a: pg. 16 1b: pg. 12 1c: pg. 39 1d: pg. 54 1e: pg. 19 1f: pg. 21
- Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (4th Edition)
- pg. 7
- Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (7th Edition)
- pg. 8
- Warhammer Armies: High Elves (5th Edition)
- pg. 17
- pg. 18
- Warhammer Armies: High Elves (7th Edition)
- pg. 17
- pg. 18
- Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
- pg. 17
- The End Times III - Khaine