Stormbringer, also called the Black Blade, the Black Sword, and the Stealer of Souls, is a legendary soul-devouring runesword carried by Elric of Melniboné. Stormbringer is fully sentient and has a malicious will of its own. It is one of two Black Swords in Elric's World, the other being Mournblade.
Stormbringer is a huge, finely-wrought zweihänder runesword, with a blade at least five feet long from the hilt. The hilt itself is embedded with a large spherical ruby that often looks like an eye in official artwork. The blade is made entirely from an unearthly, vaguely flesh-like black metal, and is etched with mysterious runes so ancient that even Elric lacks the knowledge to decipher them. The runes can sometimes be seen to glow and change colour, cycling from red and purple to blue. The blade is often wreathed in black light and dark fire, and it screams in battle. Any being slain with Stormbringer will have his or her soul leeched out of them.
Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of Stormbringer is the fact that it is alive and self-aware. The sword can be quite vocal, screaming, grumbling, howling, murmuring, moaning, and even singing at times. It is capable of slaying even gods, though it has an uncanny taste for the souls of Elric's loved ones.
The Black Sword
Stormbringer is a manifestation of the Black Sword, a cosmic archetype that can exist in any world of the Multiverse. In some universes, it manifests in other ways. It has been seen as a black jewel, and even a large humanoid demon. It is even suggested that Stormbringer and perhaps any Black Sword's true form is that of the humanoid demon.
Stormbringer displays an array of supernatural abilities, many of which are useful to Elric.
- Levitation- Stormbringer is able to levitate by itself, and can be called from afar to fly into its wielder's hands.
- Free Will- Stormbringer has a will of its own and will not always follow the wishes of its wielder.
- Moonbeam Portal- Stormbringer, under certain circumstances, is capable of cleaving the fabric of space, opening a portal to the Moonbeam Roads.
- Soul Devour- Stormbringer will feed on the soul of any being it slays, passing some of the energy on to its wielder.
- Grant Super Strength- If Stormbringer's wielder manages to slay enough foes, the soul-energy they receive from the blade will boost their strength to superhuman levels.
- Absorb Law- Stormbringer, though naturally an artifact of Chaos, can absorb Lawful energy, turning the blade bright silver and altering its effects.
- Godslaying- Stormbringer is fully capable of killing gods, even Chaos Lords and Lords of Law, and is greatly feared because of this. Though it is said that this does not truly destroy the Lords of the Higher Worlds, it just consumes their current manifestations in that world and ensures they cannot return there.
Before the Melnibonéans' ancestors, the Mernii, arrived on Elric's World, the Nihrain were a prosperous society who served the Cosmic Balance. To combat the Dead Gods and other powers of Law and Chaos that threatened to tip the scales of the Balance, the Nihrain forged the pieces of the Dragon Sword into the twin Black Swords, Stormbringer and Mournblade, and perhaps their many brothers as well. Out of fear for the blades' power to slay them, the Dead Gods killed themselves (removed their physical forms and joined Eternity). But while both blades had the power to absorb vitality as did all Black Swords, Stormbringer was different from the others, because a mysterious power entered the blade at the time it was forged.
Various books refer to this malicious entity as a demon, the anti-balance, and Sword. It is a treacherous being, chaotic evil to the core, that hungers for blood and souls and wishes to defy and destroy humanity and the Cosmic Balance. As a consequence of its influence, Stormbringer caused every Nihrain who handled it to become mass murderers. A court was assembled in the Nihrainian stables to put Stormbringer and its handlers on trial. But Stormbringer caused the judges to go mad and sentence both court and defendants to a terrible death. In the end, only ten Nihrain remained, including Sepiriz.
Stormbringer and Elric
"Stay well away from that sword," Smiorgan warned. "It has the habit of killing more than its master chooses." ~ The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
Stormbringer was wielded by Elric's ancestors, the Sorcerer Kings of ancient Melniboné. It was sealed away from the world for eons, until it was discovered in the Pulsing Cavern, along with its sister-sword Mournblade, by Elric's cousin Yyrkoon. Stormbringer chose Elric and Mournblade chose Yyrkoon, and the two battled desperately. Elric became aware that Stormbringer was guiding his actions, and with an effort of will, he mastered the blade.
Working with the blade and applying his superb swordsmanship skills, Elric disarmed Yyrkoon, defeating him. Stormbringer yearned to take Yyrkoon's soul, but Elric denied it its meal. Elric would go on to carry Stormbringer as his standard weapon, though he learned to hate it. Stormbringer gave Elric something he never had in life; the ability to live free of his potions and drugs. However, this came at a price. Stormbringer would supply Elric with the energy and strength he needed to survive, but only by leeching the souls of its victims. To Elric's horror, he soon realized Stormbringer had a particular taste for the souls of those he loved most. This led to the tragic death of Cymoril, Elric's beloved.
Elric would bear the sword he hated throughout the Multiverse, even to the End of Time and the very ending of his world. Eventually, as Elric always knew would happen, Stormbringer turned on Elric and devoured his soul. It transformed into a massive demon, and proclaimed "Farewell, friend. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!" before flying off into the sky, the last being of Chaos left in the world, laughing its defiance in the face of the Cosmic Balance.