Ask your average Ghyllian the meaning of the term horreld blade, and they will invariably consider it to be synonymous with the Avazian legend of Busco. The saga tells of a great heroine who wielded a sword known as the Horreld Blade. This sword was reputedly immune to the magnetic effects of the Justice Device but, as with many fabled Avazian artifacts, its construction is never described. Artwork featuring Busco depicts the blade variously as a crudely worked tree branch (in Alarius' “Defender”), a glowing yellow weapon (generally in pieces from the Dreamy period), or as a long, curved, metal sword typical of Harandraffian times.
In fact, the archetypal swords of the Harandraffian period (circa -400 EC) were also known as horreld blades. This became the principal meaning of the term in the lexicon of the time, and the original significance was all but forgotten.
The single-edged Harandraffian swords were of triangular cross-section. They were very long (between 6.5 and 7.5 nanits including the hilt), and curved with a radius of approximately 4 nanits. Horreld blades were designed to be wielded in two hands, and used primarily to make slashing attacks. They were popularized by Eixis Anos and her authoritative publication Quarters of Horreld Fencing. This Encyclopedant recommends Anos' works as a further reference to the interested reader. They form a comprehensive guide to duelling technique, replete with excellent, if rather graphic, diagrams.
The horreld endured as a mainstay in Ghyllian armies for two centuries, until around -200 EC. With the increasing prevalence of metal armour, the horreld blade's effectiveness on the battlefield diminished. Ghyllian swords morphed into shorter, straight, double-edged weapons, more suited to thrusting attacks. The blades carried by Swordwielders in the Tarkherk Corps are a definitive example. *
The horreld blade is the traditional duelling weapon of Ghyll. Many a Zymenadang has ended with one famous Ghyllian or another being dismembered in a horreld fight like toes in a tuckarando burrow. One such contest occurred in -93 EC, when Daffid Grommie fought Thoedore Aspic. Aspic had publically insinuated that Grommie had impregnated his own sister, Izzimae. Aspic lost an arm in the duel.
One of the original events in the tri-annual Dagger games, horreld fencing was dropped from the competition in -66 EC. The organizers claimed that there were "a lack of competitors" owing to the "high fatality rate". The credulous public swallowed this like so much cheap fefferberry wine. The real motive, of course, was to make way for more profitable “sports” like hoopkah and Bindlet Ball. The horreld blade and the noble art of horreld fencing evaporated from popular culture and drifted away in a cloud of apathy.
* On the topic of the Corps, after Commandant Elder's embarrassing incident at the Battle of Umbo Moor, he went on record to say that his “White Lady” had carried "a great big ol' [sic] shiny golden sword”, rather reminiscent of the Dreamy portrayal of Busco's Horreld Blade. This prompted widespread speculation, encouraged in no small way by the tabloid press, that Elder's vision was of Busco herself.
--Larj Zyquon 12:39, 4 Jul 2005 (EDT)