The darkswords, also called Melegaunt's darkblades, were a collection of twenty enchanted longswords given by Melegaunt Tanthul to Bodvar the Black of Vaasa. They were wielded by Bodvar's descendants in defense of the Granite Tower.
Each darksword became bonded to the lineage of a certain family within the Granite Tower. While all twenty of the darkswords were physically identical, they could develop individual personalty quirks and powers based on their family. While the darkswords were not sentient, these personality quirks could range from encouraging lustful behavior to mumbling to themselves at night, humming tunes during battle, craving to be dipped in alcohol, or releasing wispy shadows when swung.
The darkswords had been given to these families as part of a pact between Bodvar the Black and Melegaunt Tanthul of the Shade Enclave. As each new generation took up their darksword, it was understood that they too were bound by this pact to the Netherese wizard.
The darkswords were designed to be supernaturally precise, and could cut through any Weave-based defenses that an enemy might be using. Magical armor and shields offered no special protection against a darksword, and the blades passed straight through protective spells and wards. The darkswords were also devastating against creatures of shadow.
A darksword could only be held by a member of the family to which it was bonded (or by Melegaunt Tanthul). To anyone else, the swords were excruciatingly cold to the touch, and in some cases this was true for those on the receiving end of the blade. Members of the family could also call their darksword to their hands, which would fly to them from anywhere on the same plane.
In addition, each darksword had the capacity to develop unique powers suited to the quirks of the family to which it was bonded. For example, the darksword of the Thorsdotter family allowed for limited clairvoyance within the living quarters of the Granite Tower. Some darkswords also bestowed "shadow vision" to their wielders, while others would turn their wielders' skin and hair white and their eyes black.
The darkswords were created in the Year of the Moat, 1269 DR, by Melegaunt Tanthul, a Prince of Shade, using blood magic and the Shadow Weave. He crafted the blades in order to tempt Bodvar the Black, the chieftain of the Moor Eagle tribe of Vaasa, into making an oath to serve him. Melegaunt recognized that life in Vaasa was hard and dangerous, and so offered Bodvar a deal: in exchange for the twenty magical darkswords and a fortress to call their own, his clan would send their twenty best warriors to aid Melegaunt at some unspecified time in the future. Bodvar was wary of the evil wizard, but when an attack on his people necessitated that his warriors take up the darkswords to defend themselves, the pact was sealed. Bodvar himself only took up the final sword in anger to avenge the death of his pregnant wife.
The original nineteen wielders of the blades, aside from Bodvar who had claimed Melegaunt's own darksword as his, underwent a rapid transformation upon first grasping the swords in which their hair turned white and their eyes turned black. This transformation completed the darkswords' enchantments and bonded each sword to that warrior's lineage. Melegaunt then fulfilled his promise of a fortress by erecting the Granite Tower before the end of the year, and ultimately left the tribe to head west.
A century later, in the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, Melegaunt called on the clan to fulfill their pact and assist him at Evereska. They dispatched twenty warriors, led by Vala Thorsdotter wielding her family's darksword. While Melegaunt did not survive the expedition, Vala returned home with her darksword in tow.
Over the course of the next century, the descendants of these families and bearers of the darkswords came to be known as the Scions of the Granite Tower, and saw it as their duty to use the blades to defend their home and clan. They trained from a young age to wield their darkswords, and rarely were seen without them when they ventured out on patrol.
- Bodvar the Black was the original recipient of the darkswords and the first member of the Moor Eagle clan to wield one.
- Melegaunt Tanthul was the original creator of the twenty darkswords. He weilded the first of the darkswords, but gifted it to Bodvar. Later, he wielded a dagger with the same properties.
- Vala Thorsdotter was a great-granddaughter of Bodvar whose darksword facilitated her more lascivious urges by allowing her to spy on people within the Granite Tower.
- Dexon was the wielder of a darksword which talked in its sleep in the mid-to-late 14th century DR. He journeyed to Evereska with Vala and Melegaunt, but declined to return to the Granite Tower once the quest was over.
- Kuhl was the wielder of a cursed darksword which made its user vulnerable to the influence of the Shadow Weave. It would also lose its luster if not immersed in mead at least once a day. After Kuhl's death in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, his sword came into the possession of the elf Takari Moonsnow and was presumably passed on to their half-elf child.
- Short stores
- Realms of Shadow: Darksword
- Troy Denning (March 2001). “Rogues Gallery: Heroes of the Summoning”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #281 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81.
- Brian R. James (April 2010). “Realmslore: Vaasa”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dungeon #177 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 80.
- Troy Denning (March 2001). “Rogues Gallery: Heroes of the Summoning”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #281 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83.
- Troy Denning (Mar 2001). The Summoning. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 07-8691-801-2.
- Troy Denning (March 2002). Realms of Shadow ("Darksword"). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2716-X.
- Troy Denning (Nov 2002). The Sorcerer. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2795-X.