sword_of_bone-mysarchbsword_of_bone-secdef16covSWORD of BONE

Classification: Magic item (Swords of Sorcerous Might);
    (active in Hyborian era, 11th century BC, and modern era, at least)

Creator: Oshtur

User/Possessors: Agamotto, Ammut, Ashake, Cadaver (Cody Fleischer), Ian McNee, Joshua Pryce, other incarnations of the Pale Horsemen;
    its inert rib-form was at minimum entombed with a presumably Set-worshipping female Egyptian (or Stygian), it was also briefly held by Heka-Nut;
    Dr. Anthony Ludgate Druid was at least able to manipulate the Sword via psychokinesis;
    Shadowoman and Strange (a mystic creation acting as an agent of Dr. Strange) tried to utilize the Sword of Bones but were repelled by it;
Sword of Bone may be an incarnation of the Sword of Strength if that is the case, it would mean that it was also wielded by Conan of Cimmeria;

Location: The Sword of Bones typically resides within the body of the Pale Horseman, but for a time preceding and following the 11th century BC, it was contained within the Throne of Bones within Egypt's Valley of Kings

First Appearance: Secret Defenders#16 (June, 1994)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Sword of Bones is a powerful mystical weapon covered with blue flame that can disrupt and/or resist great magical forces.
    For unexplained reasons, the mystic construct known as Strange proved resistant to being struck by the Sword of Bone.

    It can also be used as a physical weapon, shattering stone walls, carving large tunnels through great distances, and even harming superhumans as powerful as the Hulk.

    The Sword may be able to release energies that heal wounds to the body of the Pale Horseman, and possibly other wielders.

    The Sword of Bones exists in inert form as one of the ribs within one of the incarnations of the Pale Horseman.

    The Pale Horseman can tear this rib out of his chest, at which point it is transformed into the powerful Sword of Bones.

    Separated from the Pale Horseman, the Sword of Bones can continue to exist and be utilized by others. However, only the pure of soul can call forth the Sword's power and true nature.

    For the tainted, the Sword of Bones remains just a bone.

    Further, placed in the hands of one unworthy, the Sword of Bones reverts back to rib.

    Along with the Darkhold, Ebon Rose, and the Serpent Crown, the Sword of Bone is one of the Cornerstones of Creation.

    Collectively, the Cornerstones grant even greater power, allegedly enough to control all reality.


(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS / Avengers: Roll Call#1: Agamotto entry) <Approximately 10,000 BC (see comments)> - Seeking to balance Chthon's corruption of the Asura, Oshtur coaxed Agamotto back to Earth so he could help her convert  four of the most malevolent demons into the service of justice. sword_of_bones-crypt-front

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS / Avengers: Roll Call#1: Agamotto entry) - Creating the mystic Sword of Bone, which would become one of the powerful Cornerstones of Creation, Oshtur and Agamotto fused one of these demons with the sword, turning that demon into the Pale Horseman/Rider, aka the Fist of Agamotto.

sword_of_bone-mysarc1-tomb(Mystic Arcana#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Sword of Bone, reverted to its inert rib form, held in the grasp of a serpent headdress-decorated female skeleton, was placed within a chamber deep within the Valley of Kings, the Throne of Bones, protected by numerous traps and spells.

(Mystic Arcana#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Seduced and instructed by an agent of the Elder God Chthon, Egyptian sorcerer Heka-Nut sought to gather the Cornerstones of Creation. First targeting the Sword of Bone, Heka-Nut spent 500 years searching for it.  Finding the Sword hidden by an enchantment in the Valley of Kings; for centuries more, Heka-Nut fought through traps and spells but still failed to recover the Sword of Bone.

(Mystic Arcana#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - <11th century BC> - Sensing the arrival of time-traveling modern era mutant Magik (Illyana Rasputin), who was traveling with her teammate Mirage (Danielle Moonstar), Heka-Nut tried to mystically ensnare them.

(New Mutants I#32 - BTS / Mystic Arcana#1/2 - BTS) - Via the power of her newly created First Tarot, Heka-Nut's former ally Ashake sensed Heka-Nut's efforts to ensnare Rasputin (and Moonstar), Ashake mystically intercepted them and brought them to her home. sword_of_bone-mysarc1-tomb-rib.jpg

(Mystic Arcana#1/2 - BTS) - After Ashake invoked Shu to conceal Moonstar (whom she'd given a sleeping draught), Heka-Nut's minions captured Magik and Ashake. Stealing Ashake's soul, Heka-Nut coerced Magik to accompany Ashake into the Valley of Kings.

    Via scrying from Otherplace/"limbo," Magik bypassed the remaining traps and traveled directly to the chamber containing the Sword of Bone. They were then confronted by an immense serpent guardian protected by a doubling spell as explained by Ashake, causing their number to double when their magic was disrupted.

    Ashake called on Oshtur (known to her as Ma'at) to aid them, and Oshtur sent the immense Ammut to restrain the serpent guardians long enough for the Magik and Ashake to approach the skeleton laying in the center of the chamber.

(Mystic Arcana#1/2) - Magik failed to recognize the sword in its inert rib form (clutched in the skeleton's hands), but Ashake explained its nature. As she already had her Soulsword, Magik let Ashake grasp the rib, which swiftly transformed into the Sword of Bone. Via transporting through Otherplace again, Magik brought herself and Ashake back to Heka-Nut.

    As Heka-Nut refused to honor the agreement, he took the Sword from Ashake, but it reverted to its inert bone form in his unworthy hands. Magik then struck the distracted Heka-Nut with her Soulsword, disrupting his power and leaving him dazed.

    Ashake reclaimed the rib, which was restored as the Sword of Bones, after which Ashake placed Heka-Nut's lost power within a jackal-headed canopic jar sent by Oshtur with plans to hide the jar.

    Sensing that keeping and using the Sword of Bones would shift Earth's balance of power, Ashake had Magik transport them back to the Throne of Bones and replace the Sword of Bones within the skeleton's hands, at which point it reverted to its inert rib form again. Ashake had Ammut release the serpent guardians and leave them to watch over the chamber. sword_of_bone-secdef16-bonedrawn

(Secret Defenders#16 / Secret Defenders#18 (fb) - BTS) - After the young Cody Fleischer's life force was drained by the sorceress Malachi via the Moebius Stone, a spell from Agamotto sent the spirit of Agamotto's mystic guardian (aka the Pale Horseman, who had formerly watched over the Moebius Stone) to inhabit Fleischer's form. sword_of_bone-secdef16-swordform

    This seemingly restored Fleischer to existence to serve as the latest incarnation of the Pale Horseman, guardian of (the last fragment of) the Moebius Stone. Proclaiming, "As one almighty fashioned woman from man's rib...so shall the instrument of vengeance be forged from the stuff of my body," the Pale Horseman (who was subsequently referred to as Cadaver) tore out one of his own ribs, which converted into the mystically powerful Sword of Bone.

    The Pale Horseman used the Sword of Bone to shatter the wall to a nearby mausoleum to confront Malachi; however, as he confronted her, Cody's memories and personality reasserted themselves, causing him to lose focus and the advantage of surprise. As a result, Malachi reunited the final fragment with the Moebius Stone.

(Secret Defenders#17) - Dominated by Cody's memories and personality, the Pale Horseman remained conflicted (and, at least visually, lacking the Sword of Bone), and he fell before the forces unleashed by Malachi via the Moebius Stone. After Malachi struck down Shadowoman, the Pale Horseman's persona reasserted itself and, again wielding the Sword of Bone, he charged Malachi, intending to set the Moebius Stone set asunder; nonetheless, he was again blasted away by the Moebius Stone's power. Ultimately, Deadpool slew Malachi.

    Strange, a mystical construct embodying Dr. Stephen Strange's mystic power, then appeared and prepared to claim the Moebius Stone. Though the Pale Horseman sliced through Strange with the Sword of Bone, Strange was minimally affected and instead blasted the Horseman back and considered claiming the Sword of Bone as well.

    However, the Sword rebelled at Strange's touch, releasing mystic flames that drove Strange back. The Pale Horseman attacked again, battering and distracting Strange long enough for Cage to throw the Moebius Stone to Druid, who used its own power to destroy it; unable to claim either mystic item, Strange departed.

(Secret Defenders#18) - Traveling alongside Druid and Shadowoman to the Rand-Meachum supercollider in Houston, Texas to oppose the threat of Swarm, the Pale Horseman again reached into his chest and tore out a rib, which transformed into the Sword of Bone.

    The Horseman then used the sword to rend a massive hole in the ground below which Druid had sensed a disturbance. The Horseman continued to tunnel through the ground with the sword until they encountered millions of bees, against which the Sword of Bone was ill-equipped. When the cavern crumbled in, the Horseman was separated from the Sword before being bound to a wall and confronted by Swarm.

    Recovering from the cave-in and finding the Sword of Bone in the tunnel, Shadowoman tried to pick it up so she could return it to "Cody," but it flared up with blue flames when she approached, preventing her from grabbing it. She departed instead to find the Pale Horseman so she could bring him back to the Sword.

(Secret Defenders#19) - Druid mentally located the Sword of Bones in the heart of Swarm's catacombs, and he used psychokinesis to restore it to the hands of "Cadaver," who then used it to attack Swarm and his hive, destroying the latter and carving a tunnel through the ground via which he, Druid, and Shadowoman escaped to the surface. sword_of_bone-secdef17-backlash

(Secret Defenders#21) - Summoned back from Seattle, Washington to San Francisco, California to assist against Slaymaker, Cody stole a motorcycle, and he summoned the Sword of Bones as he broke through a toll booth (since he had no money on him).

    Using the Sword of Bones to break into Slaymaker's lair in the sewers, the Pale Horseman clashed with Slaymaker's creations, which threatened to overwhelm him. Ultimately, Druid's efforts subdued Slaymaker.

(Secret Defenders#24) - Having accompanied Druid, Shadowoman, Deathlok (Michael Collins), Dagger (Tandy Bown), and Drax the Destroyer to Stakesboro and then accessing the Gates of Perdition, and having been confronted by the Defenders (Hulk, Namor, Silver Surfer), Cody summoned the Sword of Bone. Pressured by Druid to act, Cody reluctantly engaged the Hulk, and the Pale Horseman slashed his back, paining him, but the Hulk then punched through the Horseman's side, incapacitating him.

    Healed via blue flames like those surrounding and empowering the Sword of Bones, the Pale Horseman slashed Namor's back with his sword, paining but not incapacitating him. sword_of_bone-secdef25-cody

(Secret Defenders#25) - With Slorioth having emerged from the ground below them, the Pale Horseman used the Sword of Bone to slash at the behemoth, but found for each tentacle he severed, fifty more erupted.

    Sepulcre and Cadaver were taken aside by Joshua Pryce to face the real threat: Dr. Druid, corrupted by his dark side. As the Horseman drew the Sword of Bone and charged Dr. Druid, however, Druid assaulted Cadaver through the weak spot from which he had drawn the Sword, destroying him.

    Joshua took up the Sword of Bone -- which most beings, including Druid, could not bear to touch -- and stabbed Druid, but the Slorioth-empowered Druid easily withstood this.

    Ultimately, the Vishanti and the Living Tribunal were drawn into the conflict, banishing Druid and Slorioth, and Agamotto restored Cadaver's form, noting that he would have need of him until the end of the War of the Seven Spheres-- which would take another five thousand years. 

(Mystic Arcana#1 - BTS) - Posing as Oshtur, Chthon rescued sorcerer Ian McNee from a dream (roughly at dusk) that he was drowning in the Serpent's Sea (the realm of Set) in exchange for helping "her" by restoring the sorcerer Heka-Nut to save the mystic realms; he could do this by using the First Tarot and gathering its four aces, the Cornerstones of Creation (the Sword of Bones was pictured on the Tarot cards).

(Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1 (fb) - BTS) - McNee discovered the location of the Sword of Bones in a cartouche carved in ancient Egypt by the sorceress Ashake.

(Mystic Arcana#1/3) - Via Oshtur/Ma'at's guidance, Ammut confronted Ian McNee, who offered her a perfect ostrich feather in exchange for safe passage into Ma'at's halls. Ammut challenged Ian to a pair of riddles, and granted him the Sword of Bones (the Cornerstone of Air, Oshtur's Cornerstone) when he solved the riddles. sword_of_bone-mysarc4

(Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1/3) - Pressured by Chthon (still posing as Oshtur), McNee summoned the four Cornerstones of Creation (a page of the Darkhold, Ebon Rose, Serpent Crown, Sword of Bones) and began the spell to restore Heka-Nut, aided by Ashake, Llyra, and Morgan Le Fay.

    With Heka-Nut restored, Chthon revealed his true nature and prepared to use Heka-Nut to control McNee and through him use the Cornerstones to control all creation.

    However, McNee called on his allies, and Ashake traveled forward in time both to help McNee resist Heka-Nut and to help Heka-Nut remember whom he once was.

    The Sword of Bone helped pierce Heka-Nut's clouded mind, and then Ashake used the Sword to sever the connection between McNee and Heka-Nut. McNee then used the Cornerstones' power to banish Chthon.

(Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1/3 - BTS) - The true Oshtur then appeared and provided guidance for Ashake, now trapped in the modern era, and McNee to use the Cornerstones to repair the structure of magic.

Comments: Created by Tom Brevoort, Mike Kanterovich, Bill Wylie and Tony Dezuniga.

Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation

Some insight courtesy of creator David Sexton:

     I discovered the original Cornerstones of Creation on your Appendix website as I was investigating magic in Marvel and the idea of the number 4 as a repeated theme in Marvel. And, of course, the way that Tarot fits into all that.

     When I saw the C of C on your site I connected it to Tarot and then the 4 Elder Gods. I knew that Gaea was Earth and Rose fit with her, that the crown was the Serpent Crown, and that the Sword which signifies intellect and the mind was Oshtur.

     So then I was like how would a mirror work with Cthon and I realized that the Darkhold was the mirror of Chthon. A reflection of his twisted vision for the world.

     In Marvel Tarot, it appears as the Ace of Wands (see image on right--Snood; the Ace of Swords is the Sword of Bone, the Ace of Cups is the Serpent Crown, and the Ace of Pentacles is the Ebon Rose)

     In the image of Ian McNee using the Cornerstones of Creation, the Black Mirror is just a magical construct to symbolize the Mirror.

     In my mind, the Darkhold itself is the Cornerstone. Possessing the Last Chronicle of Chthon / Darkhold page allowed Ian to access the Darkhold's power (as far as the Cornerstones of Creation is concerned).

The Serpent Crown. The Ebon Rose. The Sword of Bone. and the Darkhold. Those are the four Cornerstones

The Cornerstones of Creation received a mini-profile in the Talismans of Mystic Power of the Mystic Arcana handbook. It stated:

The Cornerstones of Creation refers to a set of four unique artifacts of the ancient world. The Sword, the Rose, the Crown, and the Mirror are related to air, earth, water, and fire, respectively, and some ancient texts have connected them with four entities known as "Elder Gods." Individually possessed of vast power, some have theorized that if the four Cornerstones were gathered together and used correctly, the very fabric of reality could be altered. This is why the true names of the items have been obscurred throughout history...

    After re-re-re-re-reviewing all the stories and speaking to the creator, it seems clear that the Handbook entry offers the best solution...the Cornerstones' reality-altering power changed their nature...or their natures were altered.

    In the Magik story in Mystic Arcana#1, Ashake says that Heka-Nut spent 1000 years searching for the Sword of Bone, but three pages later Heka-Nut says he spent 500 years searching for it. The OHotMU profile on Doctor Glitternight supports the latter.
    Re-reviewing, I think he spent 500 years searching for it, and centuries more trying to overcome the traps/spells in the Valley of Kings

    Big thanks to MarvelousLuke for cleaning up the main image.

Profile by Snood.

The Sword of Bone may or may be an incarnation of:

but should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads):
Secret Defenders#16, cover
Secret Defenders#16, page 19, panel 2-3 (tearing out rib, transformed into Sword of Bone);
    #17, (backlash against Strange);
    #25, pg. 23, panel 1 (Cody using sword against Slorioth-empowered Druid);
Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic: Swords of Sorcerous Might profile
Mystic Arcana#1 (Magik), 2nd/main story, pg. 16, panel 2 (bone in skeleton's hands);
          pg. 21, panel 3 (replacing sword in skeleton's hands);
       3rd story, pg. 10, panel 2 (full form);
Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1/3, pg. 8, panel 2 (Ashake severing Heka-Nut from McNee)

Secret Defenders#16 (June, 1994) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Lynaire Brust (assistant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#17 (July, 1994) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Jerry DeCaire (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Lynaire Brust (assistant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#18-25 (August, 1994) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga & Donald C. Hudson (inkers), Lynaire Brust (assistant editor),Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#19-25 (September, 1994 - March, 1995) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Lynaire Brust (assistant editor),Craig Anderson (editor)
Marvel Tarot#1 (2007) - David Sexton (writer, pencils, inks) Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic (2007)
Mystic Arcana#1 (Magik) (August, 2007) - first and third story (McNee) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor)
    second story (Magik) - Louise Simonson (writer), Steve Scott (penciler), Kris Justice (inker), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1 (January, 2008) -
third story (McNee) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First posted: 08/05/2019
Last updated: 04/10/2020

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