Can be found randomly in loot containers, and is randomly sold by general goods and books vendors.
|The Book of Circles
The Tale of the Dragon's Toe
Translation by Destri Melarg
As told to me around the campfires of Dendle Fragar, I faithfully give you the story titled "The Dragon's Toe". It may be noted that this is really the story of Derik Hallin and the quest for the Five swords of Divad. In fairness to the modern history of Hammerfell, the events of this story appear to have actually happened. A thousand years have passed since this story took place, so it too may contain "extras" like the last six phrases in The Song of Divad.
The evidence for the destruction of the Great Goblin Lord and the Army of Fear however, may be found in the huge field of bones on the Plane of Tear. To this day, campers and visitors will visit the site, and on occasion find a gold coin or bit of strangely shaped metal. History recounts a great destruction, but has no details, so we must turn to a campfire tale to learn of Hallin.
On hearing the title "The Dragon's Toe" one's mind turns to flying monsters and the romance of rescuing maidens, but alas the story is one of a man. The Dragon's Toe is a terrain feature of the Wrothgarian mountains that separate High Rock and Hammerfell. This apparently was the region of the Caves of Divad, where he hid the five swords.
I located this story last in my anthology of Heroes, since you need to have learned of Divad, Makela, and Frandar Hunding to understand Derik Hallin's quest. Derek's story takes place two hundred years after the times on Makela Leki. In another time of strife and stress in Hammerfell.
In Hallin's time, sword-singing had fallen from prominence in the families of Hammerfell, and only a vigilant few came to The Hall of the Virtues of War. Most of the Brothers and Maidens in the local Halls saw their learnings of the Way as a social event or perhaps as a quaint club. Few indeed, actually read the Book of Circles, and fewer yet attempted the learnings of the Way. Derik, was one of these precious few.
It was fortunate that Derik was raised in the back country, and was able to avoid the sophisticism of the cities. His Hall of the Virtues of War had stuck closely to the old ways, and the Brothers and Maidens could actually teach the forms of the Way. The once-a-week sitting at the feat of the master in that Hall contained real wisdom, and discussion of the Book of Circles. On festival and feast days they sang the old Bard songs of Divad.
Derek was small of stature, but agile of mind and body. His skills in all things sat him apart from the would-be Signers of his time. Had his Hall been located in one of the large cities, jealousy and envy of him prowess would certainly have limited his progress - it is uncertain if he could have risen to the Ansei level there.
Like Makelia, he too could form the Shehai as a child, and on assention in the Hall to his manhood, he alone in the entire province of Hammerfell possessed the virtue and skill to become an Ansei. It is at this point that we pick up his story, in the campfire tale, The Dragon's Toe.
Dendle the story teller, chants this story after dinner, to both children and adults. She is a story teller of some renowned, and will stand and act out some of the portions of the tale, as well as pitch her voice appropriately for the speaking of each character. I especially like the voice she used for the Ansei Master of the Shem Pit, the last cave of the quest.
The Dragon's Toe
It was a dark and stormy night. Derik Hallin later to become known as Lord Hallin, had left the Hall of Virtue beginning his Walk-About when he spied the campfire and shelter of a grove of trees.
"Welcome to my fire, young man" called the hooded stranger in a thin and cracking voice. "I would welcome company on a night like this."
Editors, this is the outline of my final chapter for this book on Hammerfell heroes. I condensed Dendle's story telling. I have my notes, but the story gets long with all the quotes. She puts a lot of dialog in her story telling. I am amazed that the old stories about the 5 swords keeps cropping up. It's been a thousand years since Hellion's time, yet people continue to believe in the stories.
The wagon master sat with me after listening to her story and smoked a pipe with me. In discussing the story, he says that his story teller used to say that one of the five swords survived the closing of the Goblin gate, and is yet hidden here in Hammerfell. It was the least of the five, but the story has it that it exceeds and modern blade magical or ebony by several orders of magnitude.
Of course I take this with a grain of salt, since a ebony weapon is unparalleled in it's keen cutting ability and personally I can't imagine a weapon doing more damage than a Claymore of Firestorm or a saber of life steal. Dendle even believes that out in the country side in one of the Halls of the Virtues of War there are still people who follow the old ways, and can from a Shehai or spirit sword.
In collecting these stories I once through I was seeing a Shehai being formed, by an old Hall master, but the thing if it was a spirit sword was so faint, that even the sword shape was questionable. I didn't want to insult the old man so I claimed I saw it too, but if that was a Shehai, I can't imagine it possible to be used as a real weapon.
Here's my outline of this story:
At the time of this story, Hammerfell is fully occupied by Redguards. All the old cities of the Dwarves (but one - the Ghost City of Dwarfhome) are now the cities of today's modern Hammerfell. A second invasion of the giant goblins comes. Hammerfell is unprepared, except for a few faithful followers, all youths in the rural Halls of virtue.
Hallin being the only Ansei rallies the army of Hammerfell, after a defeat, He brings back the old ways by leading each warrior to read the Book of Circles that is in each home. The army fights the Goblins to a standstill, but things look bleak, just as in Divad's song. Somehow the goblins keep being re-supplied both with arms and troops. Eventually the Army of Hammerfell will lose.
The old master of Hallin's Hall of the Virtues of War has an ancient copy of Divad's will and testament, and reads it to Hallin - it tells him that the 5 swords aren't lost, just hidden and well guarded in 5 caves. Each cave is home to a master guardian, one of the old blind Ansei - and also a maze.
According to the will, Derik must, along with a virtuous companion of pure heart enter the cave, defeat each Ansei Master and retrieve their sword. Dendle goes into great detail here. It seems that each Master had an outstanding trait - one Katrice, possessed feline grace, and had become very cat like, another, who had icy calm was something much like an Ice Golem.
On each blade is inscribed part of an intricate message on how to use the power of the swords combined. Derik scours the rural Halls for Brothers of the Blade and Maidens of the Spirit Sword to accompany him in the quests. He finally one by one searches out his companions, and wins each sword.
They learn from the blades how to use them and together wield the force of the 5 swords in sealing the rent in space time that the Goblins have made and from which springs their invasion. Hallin's companions avoided being blinded by the magic swords by hurling the swords together into the void, and sealing forever the giant Goblins in the void between their world and ours.
The land is saved and Hallin and his companions (3 women and 2 men) become Ansei and restore the teachings of Frandar Hunding to Hammerfell.