Swordcouncil of Fodlym
The Swordcouncil of Fodlym are a guild of expert swordsmen from around the Eight Kingdoms. Their main purpose is to judge would-be swordsmen and reward those they deem worthy with the title of “Swordmaster”. The organization has existed for hundreds of years, dating back to the Kingdom of Fodlym when they were founded by Ahum Five-Body. The swordcouncil retains a permanent headquarters in a building known as Ahum’s Rest in Deepmoss, but the members come from all across the lands and typically maintain their primary residences elsewhere.
There are always eleven members of the Swordcouncil, known as swordcouncilors. It is a position of great prestige and the names of the swordcouncilors are revered by aspiring students of the martial arts. To become a swordcouncilor is dangerous in both claiming and holding the position as the only way a current swordcouncilor can be replaced is upon their death. Usually, this comes as the result of a duel with an aspiring swordmaster. After which, the winner of the duel claims their membership within the council. In the event that a council member’s death is not the result of a duel, the remaining members will vote to invite a new member from among those previously granted the Swordmaster title.
The current members of the Swordcouncil of Fodlym are:
- Madimigan Keel
- Donnam of the Frosthaven Lastguard
- Decaptitator Amamon
- Pum “Step” Shen
- Ibbon, Grandmaster of the Sona Sword-School
- Motoyo Mashone
- Baron Jorrond of Fain
- Blue Thunder
- Sir Ranass, the Knight of Ashes
- Lerrinith Rainblade
- Yond Mashone
Once every three years, the members of the Swordcouncil convene to judge applicants to the swordmaster title. The event usually lasts for two weeks and anyone may apply, provided they pay an application fee. The fee exists to provide funding to maintain the buildings and infrastructure of the council as well as deter those who are not truly serious about applying. Typically, there are several hundred applicants. The judging process begins with a series of short one-on-one duels between applicants under the scrutinizing gaze of the Swordcouncil. While this first round of duels use wooden weapons, there are injuries and rare deaths. Win or lose, those who show promise are noted by swordcouncilors and invited to remain. Those who do not impress are immediately asked to leave. For those who remain, more tests await. Among them are further duels with live blades, individual sword-form display, and an oral examination. The latter is a subject of some controversy within the Swordcouncil. Some members argue that the applicants should be judged on technique alone while others insist that the mental aspect of sword mastery is just as important as the physical.
Following each round of testing, more applicants are dismissed. After all testing is completed, the Swordcouncil convenes for a lengthy meeting regarding of each of the remaining applicants. The merits of each are discussed and a final vote is taken on whether the applicant should be granted the title of “Swordmaster”. An applicant must receive at least six votes in their favor to pass. Typically, there are three or four who pass, but there are times when no one has passed and one recorded instance of nine applicants passing at once.
The names of those who have passed are entered into the “Tome of Ahum”, a great book that lists the names of all swordmasters. They receive a parchment certificate naming them “Swordmaster” and are given the right to call themselves such. Perhaps the most highly anticipated reward, however, is that of the Falbhore or “Autumn Dreamer”. A finely crafted replica of the sword used by Ahum Five-Body. More than anything, this weapon is the symbol of the Swordmasters and how they are typically recognized.
After the awards are given to new swordmasters, there is time set aside for duel challenges to be made to the swordcouncilors. The challenge must be made by one who has already attained the swordmaster title. Officially, these challenges can be made at any time, but for the swordcouncilor position to be claimed, at least three other members of the council must be present to witness the duel. The judging is one of the few times when the swordcouncilors gather and therefore duels outside of this time are unusual.