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The Trembling Sword of Tybalt Stone

The Lords of Stone were an ancient family with distant royal ties who held vast lands in Staffordshire. Lord Tybalt Stone married Matilda of Scone, from a wealthy Scottish family of Perth, and for a while owned several castles in the Highlands.

He joined the Second Crusade to help defend Jerusalem, and although the campaign failed, the deeds of Tybalt Stone were recorded as heroic. The legend of the sword Lord Stone took into battle says that during one particularly ferocious skirmish, the blade began to shake violently and dance around as if of its own accord - it became known as the Trembling Sword of Tybalt Stone.

Tybalt was eventually captured by Saladin and held a prisoner for eleven years. During this time he became friends with the Emporer and even married a Muslim girl (Matilda having died years before). He was released and brought many treasures home. He also spoke out against the Third Crusade.

The lands and the sword were passed down through the descendants of Tybalt and Matilda (it is thought he also had children in Turkey, but this line has been lost to history). Hugo Stone was the last Lord Stone, and in the mid 1400s, dying and without issue, he bequeathed the blade to Carminus Lawrence. Both knights were members of a secret order, and in a traditional ceremony, the Trembling Sword of Tybalt Stone became the symbol and key to the Stone lands and heritage. Carminus Lawrence dedicated his descendants for the protection and care of the sword and the estates of Stone.

The sword was hardly used except for certain ceremonies, and when the order died out it was largely kept as an ornament at Pitscally House, manor to the Earls of Baggall on the Stone Estate.

Sometime in the late seventeenth century the sword was stolen and the then ninth Earl of Baggall - Sir Thomas Lawrence - was about ready to give up the Stone Estate in shame. The blade was mysteriously returned a week later without any clue as to what had happened, but the old scabbard was missing. In 1762 a new scabbard was commissioned by the tenth Earl, Albert.

Major James Lawrence, the thirteenth Earl, took the sword to Afghanistan in the late 1870s - though it was used more as a talisman rather than being used in actual combat.

Julius Chancer, The Rainbow Orchid, story, artwork, characters and website © 1997 and 2014 Garen Ewing & inkytales