(About): A Fearsome Sword, Swift like a Wolf
The Wolfsbane Sword’s blade is a wicked thorn, straight from the darkest Norse sagas. Darksword Armory’s fiendishly talented designers have chosen to diverge from the strictures of historical Viking swords, which are almost all parallel-edged with wide fullers and spatulate (rounded) points – instead, they have opted to forge the Wolfsbane with a spectacular sharply tapering spike of a blade. It conforms to Oakeshott Type XIIa, being a broad lenticular blade of greatsword size that tapers evenly to a long, sharp point, bearing a foreshortened fuller ending well below the point. This form of blade became widespread in European history as armor manufacture improved toward the end of the High Medieval period, and whilst swords were still designed to be wielded primarily as a cutting weapon, blades became slenderer and sharper to improve the usefulness of the point. Although their design seems to indicate sword-makers grappling with the problems presented by the introduction of ‘transitional’ splint and compound armors in the 13th-century, due to the difficulty in dating this style of sword accurately it’s not impossible that such blades might have been used by elite jarls and huskarls in wealthy late-Viking successor states.
Battle-Ready Spring Steel
The foreshortened fuller plays a vital part in the feel of this weapon: an effective cutting sword requires a degree of weight towards the point of the blade, creating enough angular momentum behind a blow to cleave. Too long a fuller would reduce the weight of the blade too much – and Darksword’s master smiths have gotten this balance just right: it has the perfect balance between presence and agility in the hand. The blade has been hand-forged from 5160 carbon steel. This is a stainless spring steel that creates magnificent blades which Darksword have stress-tested by bending through 90º – only to have them spring straight back to true. The Wolfsbane Sword has been heat-treated with their signature dual-temper, resulting in a blade with a hardness of 60 HRC at the edge, and 48-50 HRC at the core: this means it is both extremely rugged and resistance to chips and nicks, whilst retaining enough flex to absorb the force of heavy blows. It is truly a masterwork.
The Hilt of the Double-Wolf
The hilt of our Wolfsbane belies its name: an awesome and fearful work of art, stalked by the spirit of Fenrir. The cross-guard is a broad double-curve, evoking high fantasy melted with Celtic medieval artworks, and the pommel is a terrifying double-wolf, which is always looking at you no matter which way you hold the sword! These magnificent decorations are cast in solid bronze using the lost-wax method. The Vikings used lost-wax casting for fine jewellery, belt buckles, clothes pins, all manner of small fine objects – it involved making a model from beeswax, which would then be covered with clay. The clay was fired, and the wax would melt and be ‘lost’, leaving a hard clay mould for the bronze. Bronze is renowned as an unrivalled casting material, as its relatively low melting point and low viscosity when liquid means that it can pick out the most delicate detail if cast by an experienced artisan. The talent of Darksword Armory’s metallurgists is on full display with the Wolfsbane Sword – the intricate lost-wax carvings of the crossguard are cast in meticulous detail, and the fur of the double-wolf pommel appears almost as if you could reach out and stroke it! All of it is unified with gorgeous authentic Nordic broken knotwork. This design theme extends to every part of the hilt: the generous two-handed ebony hardwood grip is carved in relief with an abstract knotwork figure, featuring Wolfsbane’s iconic double-wolf motif again. The hilt is constructed with a full tang, which is hot-peened. This means the guard, grip and pommel are all threaded onto the tang of the blade whilst it is still hot, the end of which is then hammered flat to lock the entire hilt securely in place. The result is that the Wolfsbane Sword is fully battle-ready and capable of being used in re-enactment, stage, roleplay and even light combat with similarly-hard blades.
From tip to pommel, this sword is the personification of the majestic and terrible beasts of Norse legend. It is the perfect way to bring an added level of menace and mysticism to your Viking-inspired roleplay outfit or stage costume: the dramatic blade and glinting hilt could not be a finer addition to a berserker or Viking-inspired warrior. Just make sure you keep an eye on Fenrir…
(Curiosity): Wolves in Viking Mythology
To us today, wolves are not something that impinges on our everyday lives. Even in North America, where wolves have been enjoying a resurgence, they are rarely encountered by people outside of captivity. However, in Viking Scandinavia, humans lived in close proximity to nature in all sense, and wolves posed an immediate and very real threat to livestock and to human lives. A wolf getting amongst stock could potentially ruin the livelihoods of a village, and even lead to starvation. Thus, it is perhaps unsurprising that Viking mythology’s most famous wolves are harbingers of doom. Fenrir is an enormous wolf, son of the trickster god Loki, and heralds the doom of the world. As recounted in the Gylfaginning, Fenrir is too dangerous to be allowed to roam free, and the Aesir trick Fenrir into being bound by a magical band. The god Tyr places his hand in Fenrir’s mouth as a gesture of good faith, but as the other Aesir betray the great wolf, Tyr’s hand is bitten clean off. An ill portent. Some Viking sagas have an eerie dreamlike quality of timelessness, presenting predictions of the end of the world as events in the tale – and the Gylfaginning is one of these. Eventually, Fenrir grows so large as that when his great jaw was wide his snout touched the sky whilst his jaw dug into the earth, and at the end of the world, he breaks from his bonds and swallows Odinn himself, killing him. Fenrir’s sons Sköll, and Hati Hróðvitnisson devour the moon and the stars. Fade to black….
If that isn’t enough to give you chills, nothing will. The immense world-ending destructive power of Fenrir courses through the Wolfsbane blade – will you use it to stave off the dark, or to herald Ragnarök?
- Total length: 47 inches
- Blade length: 38 inches
- Blade width: 2 inches
- Blade material: 5160 spring steel
- Guard and pommel materials: Solid bronze
- Grip material: Ebony
Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.