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Firebrand is the name of a large, long sword.  It is forged of Damascus steel and has a pommel shaped like a dragon’s head.  It is a straight-bladed, hand-and-a-half sword, quite heavy, and designed for both knocking a man out of the saddle and nailing him to the ground.  Unlike most of the heavier swords, it is quite sharp.  It is also magical in that it contains a sizable fraction of a dragon’s essence.

The origins of Firebrand are unknown.  When Eric first encountered the blade at Sasha’s house, it was already magical and contained a hibernating dragon-spirit.  After the incident at Crag Keep, it became much more responsive, due either the dragon-spirit in the sword or the freshly-infused spirit Eric dumped into it.  It is capable of not only psychic communication, but of manipulating fire.  It is also somewhat sarcastic, enjoys killing things, and sometimes confuses mammalian references with reptilian ones.  It is still the spirit of a dragon, albeit somewhat altered and transformed.

The present theory regarding the consciousness inside the weapon is that when Eric attempted to swallow a dragon’s soul and found it was too much for him to contain, much less digest, he dumped not only the dragon but a portion of his own essence into the weapon.  Unlike the creation of Bronze, this was accidental, not premeditated, and so resulted in a less intimate spiritual connection.

Firebrand does possess a limited telepathic ability.  It is most effective when attempting to communicate with Eric, but it is capable of communicating with any sentient creature, at least at close range.  It can also read minds to a limited extent; it can “hear” what someone is actively thinking.  It cannot probe memories or control another’s thoughts, but it may be able to occasionally influence another’s actions if they are unaware of psychic communication.  It may “speak” into an unsuspecting target’s mind, attempting to deceive the target into believing the thought is his or her own thought.

Firebrand’s power over fire seems to extend to all forms of normal combustion.  The ability is somewhat more limited with magical and especially with divine fire, but it does appear to have at least some ability in these areas.  Unfortunately, this control typically is most effective at enhancing and spreading fire, rather than extinguishing it.  For example, a burning building can be burned to ashes in a matter of several seconds, perhaps a minute, by expending all the available fuel.  This is, typically, the only way Firebrand can “extinguish” a blaze.  It can direct flames away from an area to slow the spread of a fire, if it so desires.  If one wall of a hallway is burning, it could direct the fire away from the center to allow someone to pass down the burning hallway without being scorched.  It can also shroud itself in flames, ranging from a mild pyrotechnic effect to a blast of fire like a rocket takeoff.  It has been known, with effort, to focus flames along its edge to enhance its cutting power, reaching temperatures of such magnitude as to rival the finest cutting lasers and plasma torches.

Exertions such as these can, over time, be quite draining.  Firebrand sometimes needs to feed on thermal energy, preferring to be bathed in fire.  In the example of the building, the flames are drawn toward and into the blade, giving it some sort of nourishment or vitality.  The exact mechanism is unknown, but Firebrand does enjoy quiet time in any flaming environment, whether it be a campfire, roaring fireplace, coal-fired forge, or rocket stove.