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For other uses of 'Need,' see the disambiguation page.


Woman's Need calls me; As Woman's Need made me; Her Need I must answer; As my maker bade me. -- Inscription on the hilt of Need, the enchanted sword.

Need is a sword forged by a Mage-Smith many years before the war between Urtho and Ma'ar. The smith who forged her, Lashan, bound her soul into it after the mage-lord Heshain attacked her community, an enclave of the Sisterhood of Spell and Sword. Due partly to this, Need's wielder always had a geas: to defend women in need of protection, hence the inscription on the sword's hilt.

She survived the Cataclysm in a sealed casket in a consecrated temple of two unknown twin gods. The Cataclysm, however, necessitated that her spirit sleep within the sword, which vastly reduced the discretion allotted to the wielder as far as the inborn geas was concerned.

Kethry, a mage, used her and was pulled around by her geas for years. When her granddaugher, Kerowyn , came asking for help, Kethry passed the enchanted sword down.

Kerowyn was better able to communicate with Need's spirit, arguing against the geas, although Need did not "wake up". After Kerowyn became a Herald, she passed Need to Elspeth .

In Elspeth's presence, Need woke fully after they left Valdemar's borders; Need explained that her long slumber had been due to the length of time between Kethry and any wielder she could talk with. She had remained mostly asleep, during her time in Valdemar, due to the guardian-spirits Vanyel had summoned and tasked to watch the country. She later went to Nyara and helped the ChangeChild undo a large portion of the havok Nyara's father had deliberately wrought upon her body, making her appear more human at the same time; during this time, Need also trained Nyara to cope with the world outside her father's tower, and to fend for herself.

Need was destroyed during the recurrence of the Cataclysm, while working to stop it. Her flaming debris badly scarred Firesong's face.

Need was known to sometimes get confused in the presence of shay'a'chern males, defending them as though they were women and fell under her protection. It was hypothesized by either Kethry or Tarma that this was due to Need preferring not to risk being wrong.

Powers and Abilities Edit

Need was an enchanted sword that conferred varying benefits upon her wielder. If her wielder was a swordswoman, Need rendered her virtually immune to magic, as best demonstrated on the rare occasions Kethry's partner, Tarma, took Need up. If, however, Need's wielder were a mage, Need would magically grant enhanced sword-skill to the wielder, enabling her to hold off multiple competent swordsmen. In the rare instance that Need's current wielder was neither a mage or a swordswoman, Need would confer both abilities to her, as demonstrated on the occasion of Kerowyn's Ride, before Kerowyn had gained any skill in swordplay.

Tarma informed Kerowyn that, once Kerowyn gained any level of competence in swordplay, Need would no longer aid her in that area; during the Ride, Kerowyn noticed that Need would only provide magical aid if her own innate abilities were not up to the task at hand (ex.: highlighting tracks, and then stopping once Kerowyn had noticed them).

Need was also a mage of considerable abilities.

In the series Edit

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