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Post 100! A Sword of Kings Exclusive

This past spring, I had the privilege of working with graphic artist/classmate Connor Oding on this epic illustration of the Sword of Kings—the most significant item in Ariadi history. Not only was it fascinating to watch the art come together, but bringing this Sword to life revealed new layers of intricacy that even I hadn't imagined!

While working with Connor, we referenced the descriptions found in The Heir of Ariad itself, but we also had a lot of fun building new details into the Sword. This post is just a little glimpse into our creative process and its significance to Ariadi history.

1. The Creation/Nature Theme

When choosing the Sword's overall aesthetic effect, it seemed natural to go with a creation theme. Aradin the Creator being the bearer of this blade, it's fitting that the Sword should reflect his role as the life-giver of Ariad.

  • Gold filigree on the hilt mimics vines, ivy, and lichen

  • Rose pommel ties nature to the beauty and glory of Aradin

  • Silver, bronze, and gold colour scheme unites the valiance of the Skyads, the ruggedness of the Greenfolk, and the majesty of Aradin the King

It's possible that the flora-inspired details on the hilt are a tribute to the Dryads, one of the three Noble Races.

2. The Runes

This was one of Connor's first additions to the blade, and I absolutely loved his vision! There's a certain mystery in the indecipherable symbols, written in various Ariadi tongues both known and unknown. Connor and I played around with some translations, but though we have some theories, we've yet to crack the code.

(This is just my suspicion, but I wouldn't be surprised if the runes record the words with which Aradin spoke Ariad into existence.)

3. The Celestialis Stones

When Kyrian first comes upon the Sword of Kings, he notes the three celestialis stones embedded in the pommel—grey, white, and silver. The stones are rare and precious gems found only in the Skies, and each is a tribute to one of the Skyad realms.

  • Grey: the Storm Realm, governed by Lord Thunderfoot

  • White: the Snow Realm, governed by the Snow Lord

  • Silver: the Rain Realm, currently trapped in the self-declared reign of Tasnil the Usurper

4. The Jewelled Hilt

Aside from the celestialis stones studding the rose-shaped pommel, three larger gems adorn the hilt and cross-piece as tributes to the three moons of Ariad. The largest stone, symbolizing the largest of the moons, may also hold a second meaning.

Rosghel, Kyrian's birth city and the home of Aradin's throne, is known in most Ariadi records as the jewel of Aradin. This is symbolized as a gemstone on the Rosghel emblem, beaming rays of light from the top of the palace spire, and seems like an appropriate foresight for Aradin to have crafted into his blade even before Rosghel came to be.

There's no limit to the layers of detail and history forged into the Sword of Kings before the dawn of Ariad, but hopefully this post has been an interesting look into the many new discoveries that came from this project. Huge shout-out to Connor Oding for his tireless creativity, and for tolerating my input as a backseat artist!

Happy 100th post, everyone! Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusives just like this one!

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