Sword of Martin

Sword of Martin

The Sword of Martin, also called Ratdeath (although it is only called that once or twice), is a fictional weapon from the Redwall series of novels by Brian Jacques. It is the weapon wielded by the warrior of Redwall Abbey, and is thought by many to be magic.

Origins and History

Originally, the sword belonged to the family of Luke the Warrior, passed down from Luke's grandfather Martin. The sword had a black hilt with a red pommelstone, and was given to the son of each bearer when they became old enough. When Luke set out on a quest to destroy Vilu Daskar, he left the sword to his son, also named Martin.

Soon after Luke left, Martin was captured by Badrang the Tyrant, who stole the sword and had him enslaved. Martin, escaping, eventually took back the sword and slew Badrang. He then traveled south into Mossflower country, where he encountered Tsarmina, Queen of the Thousand Eyes. Angered at a judgment passed by her father regarding Martin, she took his sword and snapped the blade from the hilt. Wearing the sword about his neck, Martin journeyed to Salamandastron, where Boar the Fighter took it and crafted a new blade from a piece of a fallen star. As Boar shaped the weapon, he spoke the name of every great warrior he could think of, saying Martin's as the last hammer blow fell.

The weapon, forged anew, had a blade that would never break, and could cut through any material. Martin used it to slay the wildcat Tsarmina , by forcing her into the water, and later carried it on his quest to learn his father's fate. The blade was later placed with him in his tomb, but taken out for use by Dandin the Sword Carrier. After using it to battle the forces of Gabool the Wild, Dandin allowed Rufe Brush to take it to the top of the Abbey and attach it to the weather vane.

Many seasons later, the sword was dislodged from its place when a lightning bolt struck the weather vane. It was stolen by a pair of stoats and recovered by Samkim, a young squirrel from Redwall, who carried it to the aid of Urthstripe the Strong against Ferahgo the Assassin. The sword was returned to the weather vane, but was stolen by the Sparra kingdom of birds in the Abbey roof spaces several years later. It remained in their possession for many seasons, until it was stolen by Asmodeus the adder. The sword was eventually recovered by Matthias, who used it to slay Asmodeus. It was after this event that Abbot Mortimer declared that the sword would be named Ratdeath. Despite the renaming, it still referred to as "the Sword of Martin," and the name Ratdeath seems to have been long forgotten in the present-day Redwall timeline. Matthias bore the blade in battle against Slagar, and it later passed to his son Mattimeo, and then Mattimeo's son Martin the second. Martin carried it in battle against Ublaz Mad-Eyes, using it to slay him.

The sword was later passed to Arven, a squirrel warrior who wielded it in battle against the forces of Damug Warfang. It was then entrusted to Badger Mother Cregga Rose Eyes, who kept it in her room at Redwall. The sword was later used by Dannflor Reguba against the Marlfoxes, and later by the otter Deyna against the forces of the Juska. The sword was displayed above the tapestry of Martin in Redwall's Great Hall, only to be taken down and given to Trisscar Swordmaid for use against the Pure Ferrets.

The legendary weapon was next given to the companions Bragoon and Saro as they went questing to find Loamhedge Abbey. The sword was later taken by Sisters Armel and Brookflow to Rakkety Tam MacBurl, who wielded it against Gulo the Savage.

Since time in Redwall is only vaguely measured in seasons, not years, it is very difficult to determine just how old the Sword of Martin is. Nonetheless, the sword is ancient; even without counting the time before the blade was reforged, the sword is older than Redwall itself.

Magical power

In several books, many knowledgeable beasts (Sire Julian Gingivere the cat, for instance) have claimed that there is truly nothing magical about the Sword of Martin. Although the Sword of Martin is extremely well-crafted, they claim that it is still only a sword, and could easily be used to commit murder if it fell into the wrong hands.

While it may not be magical, the Sword of Martin has several unique properties. For instance, the material that the blade is made of can cut through all but the thickest of steel. Most noticeable, however, is its age; despite the fact that it is countless seasons old, the Sword of Martin has never warped, rusted, or experienced metal fatigue, and its blade remains as sharp as the day it was forged, although this may be because it was forged of meteorite metal.


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