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The Deathsword is an ancient artefact of Eldar design that had been created during the time of the Fall of the Eldar.


In ancient times, the Harbinger of Slaanesh, the Daemon Shaha Gaathon arrived on Belial IV when the Eldar became enraptured by pleasure. Seeking to bring about the emergence of Slaanesh, the Daemon preached in disguise and enthralled many of the decadent and corrupt Eldar. Some managed to turn their faces from the dark where they cast themselves away in great arks. A number of them, however, decided to remain and consisted of a priesthood that built as well as resided at the Temple-Palace of Asuryan. Inside, they forged a great sword from the engines of awesome power beneath the temple that culminated in the creation of the Deathsword – a captured echo of the death of the universe given form. After emerging from their shrine, they took the Deathsword and struck down the dark prophet Shaha Gaathon who was wounded and forced to flee from its corporeal form. In the aftermath, the priests turned their attention to the developing newly forming Chaos God Slaanesh and struck it with the sword. However, Slaanesh was too strong by this point and survived, though was partly wounded, whereupon it struck at the priests. The surviving priests managed to retrieve the blade and retreat into the sanctuary of the Temple of Asuryan with the relic whilst the ancient Eldar empire collapsed as a result of the Fall.[1b]

This relic remained trapped on the Crone World of Belial IV at the Temple-Palace of Asuryan in the southern continent of Astayan and in the city of Zytheraa.[1a] The dead priest that held the great sword remained trapped deep within the temple where he held the relic in his hands for ten millennia.[1c]

By the 41st Millennium, the Farseer Auric Stormcloud along with his companion Athenys journeyed alongside the Rogue Trader Janus Drake after compelling the Navigator Simon Belisarius of House Belisarius to act for him under the Pact of Anwyn. Passing through the Eye of Terror, they arrived on Belial IV in order to retrieve the Deathsword from the temple. Despite failing in its original purpose, Stormcloud intended it to serve his own in order to defeat the Harbinger of Slaanesh who had also arrived to claim the blade.[1c] Shaha Gaathon intended to possess the body of Janus Drake and lay claim to the Deathsword in order to bring a campaign of ruin against the Eldar race.[1c] The Farseer, Auric, would wield the blade and battle the forces of Chaos that had entered into the temple as they served their master Gaathon, though the Harbinger of Pleasure claimed that the blade could no longer kill him as he was now a Daemon Prince. During the battle, Gaathon's daemon blades gradually grew dimmer as if their energies were being consumed by the lightning entwined crystal of the Deathsword.[1f] Stormcloud's Eldar body would be killed in the skirmish but his soul took up residence in a spirit stone planted on the forehead of Janus Drake, whereupon he used the Deathsword to destroy Gaathon's mortal form, though the greater might of the daemon escaped. He later took the sword as he had future uses of it and departed from Ulthwé for some unfinished business whilst within his human body.[Needs Citation]


In form, it resembled a sword that was the height of a Man and made entirely of black crystal with the power to cut through duralloy, along with being strong enough to endure the destruction of a world.[1a] This very long narrow blade was etched with complex runes and held three glowing gems set down its length with another set in the hilt. The Deathsword is considered to be an echo of Kaela Mensha Khaine's mighty blade and was set in crystal with the purpose of being the bane of daemons.[1c] Being attributed to Khaine, it was said that the blade was death made manifest in the form of a weapon.[1c] With a simple gesture, the wielder could direct energy mightier than the sun at opponents.[1d] Strikes from the sword split the skin of their target, which blackened and the flesh seemed to curdle as well as lose all moisture until it flaked away where upon it left nothing but bone beneath. Victims of the Deathsword barely had time to scream as their entire bodies became mummified and drained of all life. It was not believed that even mortal armour was capable of resisting the effects of this Eldar relic.[1e]

In truth, the sword actually fed on the soul of its victims and its wielder drunk on their tainted life essence. As such, the Eldar viewed it with revulsion and that any wielder had lost their purity by making use of it.[1f] Those that wielded it held it as if they were holding a venomous serpent with some arguing that it should never have been made.[1c]


The novel does not give an official name to this weapon and simply refers to it as the "deathsword" or as the "deathblade".