Names matter. Lets take a lesson on this from Sir Thomas Malory.
We enter towards the end of the Grail Quest. Sirs Galahad, Percival and Bors have come upon a strange ship..
And mmyddis the shippe was a fayre bedde; and anone Sir Galahad wente thereto and founde thereon a crowne os sylke. And at the feet was a swerde, rych and fayre, and hit was drawn out of the sheeth halft a foote and more.
And the swerde was of dyverse fassions: and the pomell was of stoone, and there was in hym all manner of coloures that ony man might fynde, and every of the colours had diverse vertues; and teh scalis of the hauffte were of two rybbis of two dyverse bestis: that one was a serpente whych ys coversaunte in Calydone and ys called there the serpent of the fynde - and the boone of hym ys of such vertu that there no hand that handelith hym shall never be werey nother hurte; and the other boone ys of a fyssh whych ys nat ryght grete, and hauntith the floode of Eufrate, and that fyssh ys called Eternax - and the bonys be of such maner of kynde that who that handelyth hym shall have so much wyll that he shall ever be werey, and he shall nat thynke on joy nother sorow that he hath had, but only on the thing that he beholdith before hym. (And as for thys swerde, there whall never be man begrype hym - that ys to sey, the handils - but one; and he shall pass all othir.)
Than Sir Galahad behylde the swerde, and saw lettirs lyke bloode that seyde:
And than they behylde they the scawberte: hit besemyd to be of a serpentis skynne, and thereon were lettire of golde and sylver (and the gurdyll was but porely to com to, and nat able to susteyne such a ryche swerde) and the lettirs seyde:
"Sir, seyde Sir Percivale, "turne thys swerde that we may se what ys on the other syde." And hit was rede os bloode, with blacke lettirs as ony cole that seyde:
Later, we learn where the sword came from, it was made by King Solomon, at the urging of his wife, in response to divine prophecy.
'.... the lady said to Salamon, 'Sir, syn hit ys so that thys knyght oughte to passe all knyghtes of chevalry whych hath bene tofore hym and shall com afftir hym, moreover I shall lerne you' sede she: 'ye shall go into Oure Lordis temple, where ys Kyng Davith his swerde, youre fadire, whych ys the mervayloustre and the sherpyste that ever was takyn in ony knyghtes hondys. Therefore take ye that, and take off the pomellle, and thereto make ye a pomell of precious stonys; late hit be so suttelly made that no manperceyve hit but that they beth all one.'
And aftir make there a hylte so mervaylously that no mand may know hit; and aftir that make a mervaylous sheethe. And whan ye have made all thys, I shall lette make a gurdyll thereto, such one as shall please me.'
"Now," seyde Sir galahad. "where shall we fynde the jantillwoman that shall make new gurdyls to the swerde?"
"Fayre sirres," seyde Percivals syster, "dismay you nat, for by the leve of God I shall lette make a gurdyll to the swerde, such one as sholde longethereto."
And than opynde she a boxe and toke oute gurdils which were semely wrought with goldyn threadys, and uppon that weresette full precius stonys, and a ryche buckyll of golde.
"Lo, lordys," she seyde, "here ys a gurdill that ought to be sette aboute the swerde - and wete you well, the grettist parte of thys gurdyll was made of my hayre, whychy somme tyme I loved well, whyle that I was woman of the worlde:
"But as soon as I syste that thys adventure was ordayned me, I clipped off my heyre and made thys gurdyll."
"In the name of God, ye be well-i-founde!" seyde Sir Bors, "for sereyse ye have put us oute off grete payne wherin we sholde have entirde, ne had your tydyngs ben."
Than went the jantillwoman and sette hit on the gurdyll of the swerde.
"Now," seyde the felyship, "what ys the name of the swerde and what shall we call hit?"
Ok, now this (depending on how you feel about it, is when it gets interesting. Lets count back elements about this sword shall we?
- Girdle made of gold thread and hair cut from a pure maid who is also the daughter of a king.
- Pommel and hilt made of precious stones by King Solomon himself.
- Each colour of each individual stone of the pommel has its own virtue.
- Blade is that of biblical King David, the most marvelous and sharp ever taken from any knights hands.
- THREE separate commands and prophecies on the blade and scabbard regarding usage and repair of the sword and its accoutrements. Some in letters like blood, others in letters like coal.
- Scabbard of a serpents skin.
- 'teh scalis of the hauffte', I am not sure what that means but I think its the handle. Ok, the handle made from the bones of TWO magical beasts
- One, bone of the fish Eternax who 'haunteth the flood of Euphrate' means no weariness and no thinking of joy, or sorrow, but only of the thing before you. In D&D terms, immune to tiredness, charm, fear, etc. And lets not forget that in a book where only the names of nobles are bolded (except when a tired scribe makes a mistake), the name of the goddamm _fish_ is bolded like that of a king.
- Two, bone of the Serpent of Calydone, also called the Serpent of the Fiend. Whoever holds it is never weary or hurt.
- Oh I forgot to mention it comes on a fucking magic ship sent by god with its own set of warnings and is shown next to some spindles made from the wood of the apple tree that damned mankind, but that's extraneous.
Imagine you are in a meeting and tasked with deciding the name of this sword. Its the third really big sword to show up in the Arthur story. The first one was the Sword in the Stone, but maybe you forgot to name that one.
The second was Excalibur, that one is widely regarded as a classic. Great name, vaguely suggestive, bit of latin in there, suggests cutting and hardness, but also great powers, the blade cuts anything andthe scabbard means you can't die of bloodloss. So its a nice counterpoint.
So what do you call this third sword, the one recovered by Galahad. The R&D team came up with a load of great stuff for the background. Now you just need a name....
"Truly," seyde she, "the name of the swerde ys the 'Swerde with the Straunge Gurdyls:'
And that is why you have never heard of this fucking sword.