The Tethinrhim Shortsword, or as it is better known among the elves the "Linén'scál" (lit. "small blade") has a length of about half a ped and is commonly used by the elven Tethinrhim tribe as a secondary weapon. It is of roughly rectangular shape, with a sharp taper to an almost blocky point at the end, but being of elven origin is also graceful and finely made. It's shape is similar to that of a full-length sword before the taper, and here opinion differs. Scholars believe it to have been the precursor to the modern blade, as the advancement of craftmanship and smithing techniques would mean that a sort of shortsword would have been the interim stage between daggers and full swords, but legends and tales say that the Shortsword was created by accident when a full-length blade snapped in battle.
The blade of the Tethinrhim
Shortsword is about half a
though as all the weapons of the
Kaierian warriors are made to the
specifications of the user it can vary a fair amount, sometimes even a full
palmspan, from this norm.
One can categorically state that it is too big to be a dagger or knife, as some
label it - though these tend to be people who have not seen a
Kaierian warrior in action - but
also too small to be a longsword or other normal blade. The hilt and the blade
are usually made separately, with a full-length tang and the guard curving
gently down towards the handle, allowing an enemy blade to flow off easily, and
there is a custom among the tribe of having the blade's owner fit the two
together to finish the making. It has been speculated that this is a corruption
of an old custom in which the warrior actually made his own blade - gradually,
the warrior himself became less and less important, until now the smith does the
whole job except for this one remnant. The theory behind this is that it allows
the wielder to become one with the blade.
It is usually a double-edged blade, but some opt to have theirs with a single cutting side, depending on personal preference. The blade in most cases is fairly untapered, at a width of about four nailsbreadths, and comes to a point very quickly in the last five nailsbreadths or so - often a few grains under, however, for a perfectly square point. Despite its usual lack of ornamentation, as an elven weapon it is always exceedingly graceful, slender and almost dancing through the air in the hands of a skilled user. The handle is usually a fairly simple leather grip over a hilt with a slightly curved crossguard, to direct strikes down and away from the body of the user.The guard curves down, in keeping with a very elven fighting philosophy of avoidance and suppleness rather than strength and crushing blows The blades are always individual and often quite beautiful, despite being a secondary weapon, perhaps on the principle that beauty in a weapon is not in jewels or engravings but elegance and grace of movement. It has been articulated in one treatise that the beauty of this blade is not the false beauty of a weapon intricately carved and inlaid with fantastic jewels, but the beauty of something that has been made the best it possibly can be made and does the job it was made to do as well as is mortally possible.
The Linén'scál is usually used as a secondary blade, or for close quarters
combat where a scourge, the iconic weapon of the
is useless. In most cases, it is too short for primary use, though it is very
useful against armoured opponents, as its lack of length allows it to be more
easily manipulated and so slipped into gaps in armour. This is also a product of
its blade, slightly narrower than most, although for combat proper a full-length
blade would be advisable. It has also been found by the elves that it is useful
among trees and undergrowth, where its suitability for stabbing attacks comes
into its own and the shorter length means it can be swung in tighter confines.
In short, it is rather too short to be used as a main weapon of first resort,
but is excellent at delivering the arneaém elythís (lit. "strike of
compassion"). Apart from this, it is often used as a parry blade to divert the
force of an enemy's attack, rather than a full-on block.
Fighting Style. The Tethinrhim would usually keep their Shortsword on the right hand side of their body, with their primary sword on their left. Despite its size, the Linén'scál can be used for a mixture of fighting styles. Against a relatively un-armoured opponent, it can be used with a shield or without with a cut-and-thrust technique that allows the elf to take full advantage of gaps in his opponent's defence. Against a more heavily armoured enemy, the blade does not have the weight or strength to be used in this way, but can be used in a more thrust-based manner - with its superior elven make and suppleness it is not hindered in the stab as much as many human Shortswords. Its incredibly honed tip has the ability to pierce armour, either through gaps in plate - which is, as stated, also a product of its narrower than most blade - or actually through mail, although only the finest warriors can accomplish such a feat. In fact, mail is one of the best defences against this sword that there is, as it gives way under the blade, which does not carry enough force to cut into the body through the mail in most cases. Another way in which the Linén'scál can be used is with a dagger or similar small blade, in which case an "X" shape can be formed for a block, providing the Tethinrhim Shortsword with the leverage that it normally lacks to block a full-on attack.
Origin/History. Scholars and storytellers are in disagreement about the origin of the Tethinrhim Shortsword. The legend heard by the Compendium when researching from the elves stated that a Kaierian warrior, by the name of Scálís'quarón, was fighting a group of humans. These are claimed by some to be Glandorians, ancestors of today's Avennorians, but others claim that they came from the more direct north rather than east, perhaps the ancestors of the Serphelorians or the Eyelians. The warrior was fighting desperately with his sword, a long slender sword of his tribe, when horror of horrors he dropped it. Scrabbling to pick it up, he stumbled on a rock, and came crashing down onto the flat of his blade, which being of fine and slender design snapped like a twig. As the bloodthirsty man bore down upon him, he pulled out his broken blade, sure all hope was at last lost, and tried desperately to parry the blow. To his immense surprise, the newly reduced length of the blade afforded him increased manoeuvrability and to the shock of his would-be killer, who had underestimated the speed with which the supposedly useless blade could be used, he deflected the plummeting death blow into the ground, where the sword was buried nearly to the hilt. His next stroke took the human in the throat, and he rejoined the fray, constantly discovering new things he could do with this sword that he could not with his full-size version. On his return, he asked if a smith could make a blade of similar dimensions to the one he had now - that is, the snapped one. Despite being sceptical, the smith agreed and this was how the first Linén'scál was made.
It must be said that this is considerably different to the opinion of most scholars, historians and weapons experts.
Valan Nonesuch, a well-known collector of lore at the Compendium, has been recorded as saying: "While the events of the legend are certainly heroic and suited to stories they are, at best, utter nonsense and fanciful tomfoolery at the worst. It is, as a rule, always easier to make a smaller blade than it is to make a larger, and it is thus that these things follow, from the small to the large to the utterly ridiculous. To do elsewise, excepting such situations as where the small is incredibly small and precise such as with time-pieces and similar devices, is simply counter-intuitive.". It has also been variously described as "ridiculous", "counter-intuitive" and "fanciful" by experts in the fields of history and weaponry that this order could possibly have come about.
The importance of this blade in the typical Kaierian arsenal cannot be overestimated. A Tethinrhim saying about the importance of a back-up plan and the ability to change to meet the circumstances is based on this blade's position, and goes as follows: "When you reach close quarters you must draw your Shortsword". From this the vital part this weapon plays can be seen.