The Art of Bladesong
Dedicated elf warriors take their craft seriously enough to have created a uniquely elven
fighting style. unlike the martial arts of other races, the elven fighting
style, also known as the bladesong, emphasizes beauty and economy of movement
over sheer destructive power. However, the elven bladesong is deceptively dangerous,
for all its seeming gentleness and apparent grace.
There are two types of bladesingers; those who learn it as an additional skill, and those who have made it their lives. Those in the second category are known as Bladesingers. Those elves who learn it as an additional skill are not considered bladesingers by any means, they have only complimented their own fighting styles with the art of bladesong.
Bladesong is so named for several reasons. The first and most obvious is because of the whistling of the blade as it slices through the air while this style of fighting is used. The second is for the haunting, wordless tune many of its practitioners sing as they fight.
Those who practice the bladesong appear as if they are dancing when they fight. their movements seem misleadingly slow and elegant, deflecting opponents' blades while lazily drifting back to score hits themselves. the technique requires, above all, misdirection and subtly. The bladesingers do not believe in smashing blows or strong and crushing offense, but rather in guiding their opponents to anticipate a different attack entirely, thus overbalancing the foe and making him seem clumsy.
Bladesinging can be done with and Small or medium sized melee weapon, although the majority of practitioners practice their art with the sword. Due the the awkwardness of polearms and two handed weapons, there are no known students of bladesinging proficient in these weapons.
Elves never teach this style to non-elves, including half-elves and drow (the latter of whom have their own teachers and their own style anyway). Elves make no exceptions to this rule, even for those who have proven themselves eternal friends to the elves or even those who have married into elven life. Elves have several reasons for not doing so:
The first is that this style could be a terrible weapon against the elves should any non-elf students choose to use it that way. Though they may trust someone with their lives, the teaching of the bladesong is most definitely a racial secret - a secret that will not be revealed even under the pain of death. The only conceivable way for a non-elf to gain such knowledge is by using powerful magicks to force it from a praticioner. In such a case, elves would swear the blood oath and doggedly hunt the thief until he or she is destroyed. They would not hesitate to use every trick at their command.
The second is that there are so few teachers of bladesinging that they have no desire to devote the time required to any other than elves. Although this is biased against non-elves, bladesinging masters are adamant about not teaching any other than elves. While a few other creatures might have the grace necessary for the intricacies of the bladesong, they certainly do not have the judgement and discernment most elves possess.
Finally, and most compellingly, few other beings have the time necessary to properly learn bladesinging. In the years it takes to master even the rudiments of the bladesong, a human could raise a family, build a successful business and retire a wealthy man. There are numerous other ways to become a fierce fighter, all of which demand less time than learning the bladesong. Even most elves are not willing to take the time necessary to learn this technique. Only the most feircely devoted will spend the decades required for this fighting style.
Although the cost is rather steep to learn bladesinging, its praticioners swear by it. Its wide versatility often astounds those who are not familiar with its intricacies. The things even an amateur bladesinger can do with one blade echo tricks that accomplished warriors can do with two, or with a weapon and shield. The most obvious disadvantage to acquiring the bladesinging weapon style is that a character cannot carry a shield and practice the style at the same time. This technique requires far too much concentration on movement and flow, and the shield gets in the way of the grace and balance necessary to successfully use the style.
The poised steps of the bladesong not only reveals the Bladesinger to be a creature of beauty even during battle, but the steps also carry him into advantageous positions for either offense of defense. He can instinctively grasp the flow of battle around him, and his feet will carry him through the intricate maneuvers necessary to optimize his attack.
The Bladesinger is always identifiable by his weapon of choice. Such an item is always ornate and beautiful, enhancing the Bladesinger's appearance in battle. not only are they easily identifiable by their weapon of choice and catlike grace, Bladesingers are decorated with their weapon guild's distinctive tattoo. each guild has a separate and unique tattoo depicting its style of weapon through an animal representation. Long swords are often represented by great cats such as lions or panthers, a whip would be shown as a striking snake, and so forth.
A Bladesinger must attempt to advance the cause of elevendom somehow at all times, they must also lend aid to any elf in need. Unless the elf is proven to be an enemy of the elven way of life, the Bladesinger must sacrifice life and limb to save that elf's life.
Of course, the Bladeisnger is free to determine whether there is, in fact, an elf in danger. Too many times other races have tried to eliminate the Bladesinger menace through trickery and illusion. The Bladesingers have grown wary and have, unfortunately, allowed fellow elves to perish while trying to determine the truth of the threat.
Below is the Bladesinger Oath. Remember it and heed it. Once you become a bladesinger in Tel'Mithrim, you will gain a book with the oath scribed inside, and the 'badge' of office.
I walk in the light but darkness surrounds me;
Mighty are the foes of my people;
I am their shield;
My blood for their blood,
My life for their life;
My sword and I are one;
We will serve our people and The Elven Way.
I have sworn this Oath upon my life;
This day and forever, I name myself Bladesinger.