The Swan Collapsible Blade
Correspondence between Her Ladyship, Captain S. Sabre, and Owen Swan, of Angus Swan and Sons, Ltd, dated 1-7-93 continuing through 3-14-94 (IV.E.993-94)
Dear Lady Sabre, Captain of Pegasus, Marchioness of Cascadia,
Allow me, please, to introduce myself. I am Owen Swan, eldest of Angus Swan’s sons and fortunate to be employed by my father in his business, along with my brother Douglas and my sister Shona. My father bids me write to you and, in the first, to thank you for your continued patronage. He remembers well and most fondly his time with your father of honored memory, and speaks most favorably of him to this day. He has received your letter describing the blade you require, and sees in your request a challenge he most-eagerly seeks to pursue. To that end, he bids me request your indulgence with the following inquiries, which, I assure your Ladyship, are necessary to forge a blade most-suited to your person.
Having been denied the pleasure of meeting your Ladyship in person, I am compelled to turn to popular press descriptions of yourself, and now hazard the following estimations. I beg you, please, to correct any errors that follow.
- Her Ladyship stands six feet four inches tall, weighing some twelve stone.
- Her Ladyship favors her right hand when using the blade.
- Her Ladyship has demonstrated skill at bladework with her off-hand.
- Her Ladyship most-often duels in a variation of the family school, as set down by your illustrious ancestor, Morgan Sabre, first Marquess of Cascadia, with appropriate modifications for rapier and small sword.
- Her Ladyship is known to, on occasion, utilize the Fueille school of rapier-and-dagger created by Auguste Lambert, most commonly referred to as Auguste’s Footing.
- Her Ladyship has been observed using blade technique from the Fueille small sword school of Diana DuBois, sometimes referred to as – I beg forgiveness for any offense – the Harlot’s Dance.
- Her Ladyship has been observed using a somewhat archaic off-hand defense, similar to the style of Negieren, of Hollern creation. Confusion exists as to whether this is truly a variation of the Negieren school, or perhaps an adaptation of the current Nehmen school, created by the late Dominic von Kater.
- Her Ladyship has no fear of fisticuffs.
As to the matter of the blade itself, my father asks me to acquaint you with the following issues:
- Weight will fall towards the pommel, laying mostly within the hilt.
- Point of balance will thusly shift towards the ricasso, but will offset at the point, the foremost segment of the blade, locked, being solid.
- He has grave concerns as to the locking mechanism both of the blade segments and the actuation mechanism, fearing the catastrophic results should either – or the Rose forbid – both fail whilst dueling.
These are of most pressing import, and he asks your Ladyship to share her thoughts at your earliest convenience, and also to consider the cost of such an undertaking, which he deems to be most dear.
I thank your Ladyship for her time, attention, and patronage, and await with eagerness the pleasure of her reply.
Owen Swan, Esq.
My Dear Mister Swan,
I thank you for your letter of the 7th of this year, and have instructed my bankers in Shera to render the amount of 40 whole to your father as deposit for this undertaking. You do your father credit, and I am most eager to see the work undertaken.
In answer to your questions, I offer the following:
Reports of my stature are exaggerated, I fear, for I stand two inches lacking of six foot, my weight nearer nine and a half stone than the twelve proposed. Indeed, I do favor the right with the blade, but as taught by my father and those before him, am acquainted with the sinister should need arise or necessity demand. From this you may conclude, correctly, that Auguste’s Footing has been of great use to me, though at Aether I find the Harlot’s Dance more certain in strike and balance. As to the schools of Hollern, I can confirm for you my experience with Nehmen, but must decline any skill with, or even knowledge of, Negieran.
The concerns of the blade are more pressing, and come as little surprise, in truth. Clearly, the mechanism must, under no account, be allowed to abandon its duty should it be called upon, and alas, I fear I have nothing to offer to address this matter. Thus I trust to your family’s wit, ingenuity, skill, and science to win the day.
In the matter of weight and balance, however, I offer the enclosed for use in construction of the hilt. The featherwood has been Aether-proofed, and should offer some respite from those concerns of weight.
I anticipate news of this venture, and wish you bid your father and siblings well, and give to them my compliments.
Wishing you Grace of the Rose,
Dear Lady Sabre,
My father has rarely been in such an animated state in the face of his work! Forgive my bluntness, but your gift of featherwood has allowed him to resolve the issue of weight and balance most admirably. Thus liberated, Shona has addressed the engaging mechanism, and just yesterday presented the first working model of the same. I am pleased to say that deployment and return of the blade have been mastered.
Sadly, I must report that the blade itself still vexes us, for the fuller most grievously compromises the integrity of the steel. Again, the matter of balance presents itself, and thus far all means to provide your Ladyship with the most pleasing and natural hold have met with failure. Worse, the blade leans itself to the point, dropping the guard, and this clearly cannot be permitted to continue.
I am bid by my father to inquire as to your Ladyship’s affection for the quillons. He suggests that, should the knuckle guard suffice, weight-and-balance both might be served to your pleasure. He would, of course, remain constant in his devotion to the rear quillon.
I thank your Ladyship for your continued patience and attention in this matter, and remain,
Owen Swann, Esq.
Quillons be damned. One shall suffice.
It is my pleasure and that of my family to present you with the first Swan Collapsible Blade. I beg your Ladyship indulge me as I elaborate upon the weapon.
In the first instance, you will find the mechanism to be somewhat recalcitrant. Use will ease this somewhat, but should you find the blade’s extension to be too eager, I should esteem it greatly that you take it as a sign of slippage and cease use of the weapon at once to return it for repair. This is, my father assures me, a most-unlikely occurrence, but he feels we would remiss in not cautioning you.
You will find the hilt itself appears of steel-wrap, but close examination should reveal to your eyes your gift of featherwood. Not being acquainted with the open Aether ourselves, we cannot speculate on how it may interact with the environment. The blade may, in truth, feel lighter when you are at Aether. My father cautions that, should this be the case, you will find the handling to be subtly different between Land and Aether.
A small amount of Swann’s Blade Oil has been enclosed. Treating the blade with this twice weekly will ensure resistance to rust, as well as the smooth continuance of the works.
We thank you for the opportunity to apply our talents in service of both the Sabres and the Rose, and beg that, should you ever have need of our skills again, to call upon us without hesitation. I have rarely seen my father more animated or engaged than while working upon this sword, and, for my part, cannot thank you enough for this commission.
In the matter of your bill, your deposit of 40 whole leaves 73 whole, fifteen quarter outstanding.
Wishing you joy.
Owen Swann, Esq.