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Dark Rocks

The Griobhan Arming Sword



An elegant Type XIV arming sword with a strong Celtic connection, this sword follows in the tradition of our Warding Sword collection with a nod to the country of its destination.


A good all-rounder, this beauty would pair particularly well with a buckler, with a rotation just forward of centre making it ideal for cutting around the shield. The pommel is canted 10 degrees for comfortable, controlled use in the right hand. Paired with a short handle, this lends itself to a range of grip styles, allowing the brass disc pommel to snuggle comfortably into the palm.


The pommel is certainly this sword's crowning glory, from its mirror-polished brass to the distinctive design chiselled into it. The latter was taken from the Hollywood Stone, on display in Glendalough in County Wicklow. Chris ran pitch into the grooves of the carving to make it leap out from the gleaming brass.


The symbol of the labyrinth was a common motif for Christian pilgrims in Ireland during the Middle Ages, symbolising the twists and turns of life around a central cross. Of course, strikingly similar designs dating far earlier can be found in Pagan traditions around the world. I was charmed to learn that the Irish word for a labyrinth is "cathair ghríobháin", literally meaning "city of griffins". It is from this transliteration that the sword takes its name.


Please see our pricing structure for an idea of what a similar sword would cost.



 

∴ Specs ∴



  • Total length: 96cm

  • Blade length: 80cm

  • Blade width at shoulder: 5.5cm

  • Blade stock: 6mm

  • Quillon span: 19.5cm

  • Grip length: 9cm

  • Grip and pommel: 14cm

  • Point of balance: 10cm

  • Weight: 1095g

  • Right-handed

  • Rounded tip

  • 2mm edges


 




∴ Notes ∴



The hand-forged and heat-treated guard is polished to a satin finish. The downturned crossguard features flared, flattened and rounded quillons and a subtle ecusson.


The brass disc pommel is polished to a high shine, and hand chiselled with an image of the labyrinth from the Hollywood Stone. It is finished with a faceted steel peening block.


The oak grip is wrapped first in linen thread, then in dark green kidskin. The broad, triangular blade features a single wide fuller to the centre.


 

∴ Gallery ∴




 

∴ A Perilous Pilgrimage∴



The chalk path is soft beneath your bare feet, and bright beneath the moon. A warm breeze lifts your robes, as if to gently urge you on, yet there is no hurry. You know this place, every curve and meander of the way before you. And you know there is no stopping. No turning back. No rushing on. Only the steady, mindful progress of time, and the faith to see it through. 


This is the place that you go to when you trace your teacher’s labyrinth. She gave this path to you when she left, carved not into an amulet or a smooth river pebble, but into the bright brass pommel of her sword. As your fingers work the lines they know by heart, tracing the deep grooves over warm brass, your mind sojourns a familiar moonlit moor of your own creation. You are calm when you come here. You know you are safe. All you have to do is have faith. 


A distant sound piques your attention. For a moment you think it is an interruption to your meditation, and you clasp the sword closer to you, but then you furrow your brow. No. The sound did not belong to the moss-deep churchyard where you sit cross-legged, but the moonlit labyrinth in your mind. It resonates again, and this time you focus in on it. An unearthly screech - not an eagle or a raven, but something different. And it is closer.


Much closer. 


Your finger falters on the lines of the labyrinth. But there is no pausing. No turning back. You must have faith. With a deep breath you round the corner of the maze, and nearly scream as something launches itself into the air before you, blotting out the moon for a moment with a gleaming mass of feathers. 


Then it is gone. Were you imagining it, you wonder? You shake your head at the absurdity of the question. You are imagining all of this. It is nothing but a meditation. The question you should be asking is why: why have you populated your pilgrimage place with monsters? 


Heart in your mouth, you press on, knowing from your oft-repeated round of the pommel’s map that you are close to the end of your journey. Then another noise in the darkness: this time a scratching, like great talons scraping through grit. A panting, like a mighty beast of the hunt. And this time it’s behind you. 


Your finger stops dead at the labyrinth’s heart as you turn slowly on your heel. Your watering eyes widen as they meet two mighty amber ones, framing a great, tearing beak. The griffin opens its maw to let out a shriek, and you are screaming with it. Your eyes fly open. 


You are sitting cross-legged on the cushioning moss, with your back against a weathered tombstone. The linen of your robes is drenched with cold sweat. Your right hand, white and shaking, is clenched around the green leather hilt of your sword. The pommel gleams up at you, and behind the graven labyrinth you see the hardened lines of your face. 

You are ready.  


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