History of the Elanthian Katana and the Order of the Watchful Eye
History of the Elanthian Katana and the Order of the Watchful Eye is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
Compiled by an unknown Erithian historian.
The History of the Elanthian Katana
Legends written in ancient journals bespeak of the katana within Erithian civilization. A powerful weapon forged by the Elojun Iritin, a name that means "the wise or the seeing," that was used solely as a tool to swiftly bring peace in times of great strife. The Erithi were a peaceful race, striving to avoid conflict with those they encountered, but when conflict could not be avoided, the Elojun Iritin were dispatched to bring calm to the fields of battle.
Some revered the Elojun Iritin as powerful entities, though they were mortal like any man. Their use of the katana was graceful, yet deadly, a combination that often caused their enemies to underestimate them. The katana was said to be an extension of the Elojun Iritin's body and soul, and it took centuries before the two were bonded to form a perfect wholeness.
Yet those who were on the opposite end of the katana would swear to the heavens that the weapon was more than just metal. They say it held a sentience that gave mystical abilities to the Elojun Iritin, allowing them to perform impossible feats of physical prowess and unstoppable katas. A gentle force, when combined with the extensive training of the wielders, could bring a halt to any battle with but a few motions of their blades.
When the Erithi found themselves in Atan Irith, it became quickly apparent that none of the Elojun Iritin came with them. An outcry of fear quickly spread among the people as they no longer had their protectors, and a growing concern rose that the knowledge of the katana was lost to the Erithi. However, a single elder by the name of Dalathi, a master blacksmith, calmed the masses as he spoke of what he knew of the katana and of the ancient journals he preserved. The Erithi placed their faith in Dalathi, who confidently accepted his people's charge to restore the katana and their protectors.
Dalathi's talent exceeded even that of the most capable master blacksmith, and for this knowledge of the ancestral weapon he was honored. Dalathi's time was short, however, for he was old and had spent decades already trying to replicate the ancestral weapon.
The ancient journals detail a specific process through which the metal of the weapon must be forged; the flattening of the metal, the great folding, and the honing of the edge. It also spoke of an additional process that brought the katana its great strength, a secret only known to the Elojun Iritin. However, Dalathi made many attempts using various components and different ways to finish his katana but they all ended the same. Some claim the weapons were exceedingly fragile, and broke when they struck anything – even something as delicate as a leaf.
The years continued on and in the year 3724, Dalathi resigned to the fate that had befallen him. He knew the answer to the puzzle would not be found in his lifetime, and in order to preserve the knowledge of the ancestral weapon he would have to take on a protégé to take his place in the quest. Dalathi searched most of Eloth-Ra for a young blacksmith who was capable of learning the knowledge. It was in this search that Dalathi found Elatho, and took him up as his Shioni-Ro, meaning "disciple" or "student."
Dalathi spent twenty years teaching Elatho the forging process of the katana, and he also spent any extra time teaching Elatho the way of using a katana, should he ever succeed in forging one. The studies the master put the disciple through were both physical and spiritual, as in order for a katana to be wielded properly, one must hone their spiritual prowess as well as their physical knowledge of weaponry. Dalathi spent many nights telling stories of the Elojun Iritin to Elatho, entertaining the young student with tales about how they were revered in ancient times as protectors and peacekeepers of the cities.
Dalathi passed away in the year 3744, and he never saw a forged katana. Elatho continued his master's teaching and spent forty more years trying to find the correct formula by which a katana could be crafted. Through trials and study of arcane lore, Elatho determined that the secret process the Elojun Iritin kept had to do with the element of earth, the giver of life. But he, too, knew his time was limited.
In order to assure that the knowledge would stay alive to the Erithi, in 3784 Elatho turned his path to preserving the lore. Elatho searched for master blacksmiths who wished to help him in the quest of forging the katana. Acquiring a fair number of willing adherents, Elatho and the initial members spent many years building a structure of teaching, as well as foundation in which to share their knowledge. It was then that the Order of the Watchful Eye was formed in 3814; thirty years after Elatho started his path of preservation. The blacksmiths who joined the Order of the Watchful Eye swore an oath to give up forging common tools of war. They would focus, instead, on honing their spiritual and physical prowess and dedicate their lives to studying the way of the katana.
Elatho never did live to see the creation of a katana. In the year 3864 he, too, passed away like his master, sad that he never found the end of the quest, but comforted in knowing that the quest would carry on. The Order of the Watchful Eye survived Elatho, the master blacksmiths striving for their goal of forging the ancestral weapon, but also focusing on the forging of their bodies and spirits for the day when it would be made. Time continued to pass and decades became centuries. New master blacksmiths were invited to join the Order, and older members passed on.
On a seemingly uneventful day in the year 4000, a man by the name of Dachitai, a middle-ranking member of the Order who joined in 3964, returned from his recent travels to remote caves. There, he saw various rock formations striated with numerous fascinating crystals that brought inspiration and intriguing concepts to his mind, and he was eager to begin a new attempt at forging the ancestral weapon. Dachitai spent most of the day in meditation while holding the fine steel bar that he chose for the project, and that evening he began his task. The forging process started like many others before. He heated the bar and worked rigorously at flattening it, then continued by folding the metal down. But instead of stopping there, he continued these steps throughout the night and into the following three days.
Dachitai continued working the glowing hot steel of the blade against his anvil. His meditation and discipline strengthened his resolve, and he fought off the need for sleep or nourishment as he continued to work, though the fatigue was beginning to set in. When the last of the metal had been folded a dozen times, creating thousands of layers within the blade, he returned the sword to the fires of the forge. After a waiting for some time, he withdrew the blade and strived to carry on.
As the sword swiftly cooled, Dachitai crafted a sharp edge into the softened metal, making a distinctive slope along the length of the blade. It was now ready for the final stages of work. Dachitai took the blade to the fires of the forge once more, and then a moment later quenched it in a trough of oil. However, the exhaustion of the past several days caught up with him that night, and the sword slipped from his tongs as he carried it from the trough. Dachitai vainly tried to catch the blade in the darkness, but it tumbled away and fell into the soft clay on the stream bank alongside the trough.
Frustration welled up inside Dachitai as he grabbed the unfinished clay-covered sword and stared at it. Soft earth coated his creation before its completion, a clear sign of an omen overshadowing the forging process. Dachitai turned towards the flames and hurled his creation into the forge. The momentary frustration passed and sadness began to creep over him as he gazed at the blade, most of it covered in clay as it tempered in the flames. Dachitai sighed to himself, his patience having snapped and caused him to react violently against his teaching, and now the forge baked the clay around the metal. Believing his hard work now ruined and worn out from the trials, he moved into a meditative pose and succumbed to its restful arms.
The Order of the Watchful Eye
The Order of the Watchful Eye has a basic structure like any monastic Order. There is a tiered hierarchy in which the members rise in rank, starting with Shioni-Ro (disciples) up to Elojun Iritin (master forgers/katana wielders). Above the Elojun Iritin is the Headmaster, or Eloun Irin, who oversees the daily welfare of the members.
The Order teaches its members the way of using the katana to its full potential, as well as providing a balance of spiritual necessity to their physical prowess. Often times, meditation is performed multiple times a day, if not for extensive periods of time, to find one's inner tranquility. There are also styles of Erithi kata the members perform, both with a katana and without.
The katana is a sacred status symbol among the Elojun Iritin. Once a member has forged their first katana, they no longer forge for a period of time while they bond and learn how to use the weapon effectively. The first katana always belongs to the Elojun Iritin, any katanas they forge afterwards can be given away as gifts, or sold.
The symbol of the Order of the Watchful Eye is a slit-pupiled eye overlaying five conjoined circles, each colored to represent a different aspect of knowledge.
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