Wrath of the Righteous
Rostland was originally settled by explorers from the Empire of Taldor led by Baron Sirian First, a young hotheaded nobleman who fancied himself a duelist. When his fledgling colony came under attack by bandits out of the River Kingdoms, Sirian challenged the Bandit chief to a duel, betting the bandit’s head against the rule of the colony. Sirian lost, badly. A man of honor, Sirian made good on his wager and then vanished, most assumed for good.
Years later, Sirian returned. Calling himself Sirian Aldori, he challenged the bandit to a rematch. The bandit accepted, happy to prove himself just as good a swordsman as he had been when he was younger. He was, but it was not enough. The duel lasted less than a minute. Reclaiming his barony and calling himself the ‘Sword Baron,’ Sirian Aldori put up a bounty of 100,000 gold pieces to the person who could best him in a duel. Over the years, hundreds came. Some fought only with their skill, some added in magic, and some cheated. It didn’t matter, Sirian defeated them all. Though he had at first refused to teach his methods, in his old age Sirian was convinced to take on a few apprentices, on the condition that they take the surname Aldori and first swear to be bound by the Swordpact – a code of honor devised by Sirian. The first tenant was to never share their secrets with anyone who had not also been sworn into the Swordpact. Sirian’s apprentices were the first Swordlords. When he died, Sirian passed the rule of Rostland to one of his apprentices, and so Rostland was ruled by the Swordlords until Choral the Conqueror decimated their numbers.
In the time since the birth of Brevoy, the swordlords have slowly rebuilt their numbers, but they are no longer a political faction of their own. There are swordlords among all the great Houses of Brevoy as well as scattered across the Inner Sea. Anyone willing to take the oath and who can convince a Swordlord to train him may now become a Swordlord.
Sirian’s style was entirely new. After leaving Brevoy, he appears to have traveled the world mastering swordplay of a score of cultures, from the Samurai of Tian Xia to the Horselords of Qadira to the Vikings of the North. He combined elements of them all into a novel style of fighting that required a novel type of weapon. So, consulting with the Dwarves of the Five Kings Mountain, Sirian developed what became the Aldori Dueling Blade. Each blade is fitted to the swordsman, but they share some common elements. They are three to three and a half feet long and single edged. The point of balance is kept back for speed and control and the hilts are long enough for two hands, though most swordlords wield the sword only in one. Swordlords train with their weapons constantly and take every opportunity to spar not only against other dueling blades, but against all types of weapons.
The Swordlords are famous around the Inner Sea and are credited with often superhuman feats of swordplay. Sirian was supposedly able to parry arrows away with his sword. Whatever the upper limits of a Swordlord’s skill, they typically keep it to themselves, and encourage speculation as they feel it gives them an edge in any potential duel.