A Magical Object of Caerleon
Excalibur is the sword of the High King or Queen of Ga’leah. A magical blade, it grants many advantages to the bearer and because of that is a formidable weapon. Created by The Lady of the Lake as a symbol of Arthur Pendragon’s true worthiness of the throne, he carries it with him almost constantly, and has done for the past twenty-one years, only ever losing track of it once, something it did not let him forget readily.
History and Powers
The sword was forged by the blacksmiths of Affolahn, and then enchanted further by the Lady of the Lake, Nimue. From the beginning, it was an unusual sword. Slightly longer than a typical arming sword, it matches the sword type in breadth, and was forged with fine steel. The grip is cherry wood with a steel core, and at the diamond shaped pommel is a fine emerald gemstone. The cross guard is also steel with a gold leaf poured into designs etched into the steel itself. The blade itself, while steel is covered in a silver leaf, silver being an effective weapon against several types of magic, and on the lower half of the blade is a similar etching to the cross guard, filled with gold. Yet most intriguing about the sword’s appearance is the gold writing just above the hilt. Nearly impossible to see, it is something only noticed by the one who forged it, and the bearer upon looking closely. On one side it reads “Take Me Up” while on the opposing side is written “Cast Me Away”. These words are not simply a message, but are significant to the sword’s magic.
Due to the nature of its forging, the sword has incredible strength while still remaining lightweight, and even without further enchantment, it was still extremely difficult to break. While it was made for Arthur, it was also made for the purpose of proving a candidate for the High Throne worthy. Therefore it was given magical properties that mirrored in some ways, the mind of a being. It can sense the emotions and intentions of the bearer, and as a side effect can even form a bond with them, and respond to them in ways unique to each bearer. If the person trying to wield it is not a worthy candidate for the throne, the blade responds by sending an electric shock which increases in power the longer it is held, that is impervious to how it is being handled; if somebody unworthy is handling it, the sword will make sure that it’s displeasure is known. That being said, due to the imperfections of the humans who are destined to wield it, Excalibur often appears to have opinions about its master’s choices; there was a brief period in time during the months of Arthur’s self imprisonment when the only person in all of Ga’leah able to wield Excalibur was in fact Arthur’s wife, Gwenhwyfar Pendragon. Had Arthur attempted to wield it himself, he would have been unable to.
On a more practical note, the swords electrical properties can be used offensively by the bearer, allowing them to fire electrical energy at an opponent. However, as the sword operates largely on an emotional level, it is not always an easy task to coax a bolt from the blade. The enchantment placed on it to make it unbreakable, and its ability to emit electricity means that on the flipside, it is quite good at absorbing energy without losing it. For every blow dealt to the sword, whether magical or physical, a large quantity of it is simply stored in the blade itself. Of course, there is still a portion of it that will be absorbed by the bearer, which is important to be noted as the sword does not make them invincible. Arthur has been faced with this unhappy reminder on several occasions, most notably when being electrocuted by a witch in the early days of his marriage (most of which the sword absorbed readily but some of it he felt the sting of), and the other occasion being struck a mighty blow by a horseman of the apocalypse, which forced him to drop the weapon. Regardless, Excalibur absorbs much of the energy it is presented with, and since Arthur does not use its power very often, it absorbs far more than it ever uses.
Excalibur does not have any inherent weaknesses, but there are drawbacks. It is only as strong as the bearer, in the sense that it takes a great deal of mental fortitude to wield it's powers. It also does not always play kindly, even to the bearer. The bearer can never wear metal gauntlets while using it because even steel has enough conductive properties to harm the bearer if enough electricity is running through the sword. That is why Arthur has only ever worn leather gloves and usually favors lightweight armor, though this is also a personal preference. The blade's properties are also heightened by extremely wet, or extremely dry environments. If Arthur were to use the blade's powers on a very rainy day or underwater, it is likely he could electrocute himself or anyone around him.
The extent of Excalibur’s power is difficult to know, but its limits have been reached twice, but not in the current timeline. First, when Arthur was defending his family from a monstrous dragon, and the beast killed Gwenhwyfar in the alternate timeline. Arthur responded with such a swell of emotion that electrical arc he created not only injured the dragon but also scarred and blinded Arthur on one side of his face.
However, the true extent of Excalibur's power is difficult to quantify, as the only way of realizing it is through breaking the sword, which is nearly impossible. The only way that it can be broken is by the bearer, and it is done through speaking a variation of the words “Cast Me Away” directed at the blade and then destroy it just as one would destroy a normal sword. This will break the enchantment. However, a fact known only by the few who created and wielded it, is that breaking the enchantment turns Excalibur into the ultimate destructive weapon. To end the enchantment is to release all the energy the sword has ever absorbed, including the magic used to create it down to every last strike and blow. When Arthur did this in the alternate timeline, it had forty years of use built up, and released enough destructive force to kill everything within a hundred yards, including Arthur himself.
With that in mind, even twenty years of use could be catastrophic, and Arthur has no intention of doing such a thing any time soon.