The Aparousia Schiavona

∴ An Unexpected Honour ∴

Saltwater, milky with moonlight, laps at the marble steps where even now ladies in their finery descend into sleek black boats. You watch with a faint smile as each craft slips from its bounds and circles silently. It is all part of the dance, you muse. All part of the ritual.

As the last gondolier pushes away from the dock with a ripple, the heady haze of gold and noise that held the palace in its sway falls away. You are alone, but for your blade and the winged lion that guards the door.

“Just you and me then, old friend,” you murmur, casting your eye upward to where the stone beast grimaces above the portico. The lion says nothing.

You turn your attention instead to the sword. It was the sword, after all, that brought you here. Hard won, but worth it. The artefact alone speaks of a world you once failed to dream of. A complex web of dark bars, and a tasteful glimmer of copper. Three graceful ladders sweep around your fist – like Jacob’s ladder, you ponder. A stairway from the profane to the glorious. From the docks of Zara to the palace steps.

∴ Specs ∴

Chris describes this project as one he was “honour bound” to create after a client’s schiavona hilt was lost in the mail. Knowing that it would likely be the only Balefire schiavona ever made, he was determined to pull out all the stops. Every bar of the hilt is hand-forged from spring steel, creating something lightweight and reactive, yet truly durable.

He knew from the beginning that this wasn’t going to be a standard Type 2B, and based it on an amalgam of different extant swords. Most notably, he added a closed port ring, based on an original schiavona brought to his attention by Heiko Grosse last year. This led to him lengthening the ricasso area so that the client could use different rapier grips under the closed port. As a result, the basket is slightly taller.

In all other respects, the size of the basket is dictated by the 8.75cm grip (to match that of the lost sword), which should allow for greater control and swift action. The ladders to the front of the blade are hot-punched then hand-chamfered according to an historical technique, rather than each bar being individually welded.

While the sword is weighted to work well as a rapier, it boasts a slightly thicker blade than typical rapiers, which felt appropriate to the build of the piece as a whole.

We will not be making any further schiavonas in the foreseeable future.


    • Weight: 1210g
    • Total length: 121cm
    • Blade length: 42″
    • Blade width at base: 2.5cm
    • Ricasso length: 5cm
    • Grip length: 8.7cm
    • Grip and pommel length: 14.5cm
    • Quillon span: 17cm
    • Point of Balance: 11cm
    • Sparring-safe edges, flex and rounded tip



∴ Notes ∴

The hand-forged spring steel hilt and the cats head pommel are oil blackened to a matte finish. The pommel features hand-carved detailing with a copper stud to the centre. The oak grip is bound in three strands of braided steel and copper wire. The spring steel closed port features historical star-shaped filework.

∴ Gallery ∴

Looking for a stunning custom sword of your own? We won’t be making any more schiavonas, but get in touch to discuss your ideas for a bespoke rapier or sidesword.

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