One of the most powerful weapons ever imagined up is the sword called Callandor. Despite its appearance it is not actually a sword. This flashy crystal-like sword is a conduit for the male channelers of saidin (The One Power). Channeling this power and weaving it into the elements in the Wheel of Time series is how magicians cast spells. They don’t use wands and some are powerful enough to sink entire cities.
Callandor is one of the most powerful tools ever designed in this world and was molded into the shape of a sword for the man who wielded it into battle at the head of his huge armies against the Dark One's forces. It was made to allow a man to greatly increase the amount of power that he can normally channel.
This is not the same as the wands and staffs of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Although those items increases a sorcerer’s power and allows the caster to cast spells at greater speeds without instant fatigue, the casters in the Wheel of Time don’t require hand movements or words to cast spells. All they have to do is learn to mentally manipulate the elements they can draw on to do what they want. Each “spell” is actually a weave of elements that is controlled through channeling the One Power.
This mental control of magic makes the casters of the Wheel of Time some of the most powerful people ever written in a book. So what is a channeler to do when there are so many other channelers who can manipulate weaves almost instantaneous? They make charms and tools to increase their own power. That’s where Callandor comes in.
“The sword that is not a sword” was first used by Lews Therin thousands of years ago. He was unable to use it to seal the Dark One in a prison for reasons explained in the books, but he did wield Callandor during the battles he had fought before that event. Lews was known as the Dragon and he eventually succeeded in his task to seal the Dark One. Afterwards, the world was in chaos and Lews was on the verge of madness. He left the sword in a fortress called the Stone of Tear in a way that only a prophesied version of his replacement would ever be able to obtain it again.
Callandor is a beautiful sword-like tool. Its blade appears sharp, but the entire sword is made of one single solid piece of transparent crystal. In all appearances it looks like a glass replica of a longsword. When a man channels through it the entire thing glows brightly. The sword is magically enhanced and may be sturdy enough to survive a sword fight, but most swordsmen would prefer their trusty steel blades over something that isn't really balanced for melee.
Not unlike the King Arthur story, years went by and a young farm boy found his way into the Stone of Tear while wrestling with his inner demons and minions of the Dark One. He found Callandor floating above and reached his hand out to it. Channeling had been outlawed within the land of Tear, and the sword had been floating out of reach and near the ceiling of the domed roof for centuries. That farm boy, Rand al’Thor, pulled it down by channeling and immediately felt its power. This single act of holding the sword that no man was supposed to reach announced to the world that he was the prophesied Dragon Reborn. The same prophesy said he would usher in the end of the world as the Dark One breaks free of his prison once again.
Depsite the immense power a channeling man can possess when he holds Callandor in his hands, there is a very important rule to using it properly. Callandor does not have a safety trigger built in to protect the man channeling through it. Although the sword has shown no limits to the amount of power that it can magnify, there is a limit to how much the human body can withstand. If a channeler pushes himself beyond his physical limits he could literally burn himself out. A burn out could cost him his ability to channel or even kill him.
The sword almost has a mind of its own and the sensation of channeling is addictive. The lack of a safety can overwhelm the wielder by bombarding him with the addictive saidin until he loses control and cannot release the power. This will eventually cause that burn out I just mentioned. The key to controlling Callandor is the female side of the channeling power, saidar.
Callandor requires the touch of a male channeler to draw in and enhance the One Power to godlike proportions, but that man must link to two women so that their powers are combined to stabilize it. The sword draws in massive amounts of power through the male who also becomes a conduit once he is linked to the women. There isn’t much certainty yet as to why two women are required, but some speculation is that one woman is used to create a safety against burn out and stabilize the power, while the other woman is the orchestrator of the weaves. In short, a man must hold the sword, but a woman will actually command the power and guide it to her own bidding.
I’m willing to bet that little rule to stabilize this overpowered crystal sword shaped wand was purposely designed to keep any one person from using it to take over the world. In the hands of a woman or a man incapable of channeling, Callandor is just a pretty trinket in the shape of a full sized longsword. It won't awaken without a man's channeling.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of Fantasy Weapons Weekly. Click here to view the catalog of all the fantasy weapons I’ve written about.