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A Charnabal Sabre is an elegant and deadly melee weapon that relies on speed and dexterity rather than brute force for its lethality. These specially-forged blades were favoured by certain Space Marine Legion officers, most notably the elite Palatine Blades of the Emperor's Children Legion, who preferred these superbly crafted swords over the more "clumsy" Power Weapons. These finely-wrought blades were primarily used during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras of the late 30th and early 31st Millennia.
The Charnabal Sabre's origins can be traced back to the ancient duelling societies, assassin cults and bloody vendettas of the Terran Court during the Age of Strife. The pure metal of these blades was press-folded and stamped scores of times over before being micro-serrated with a fractal-sharp edge. The master swordsmiths of Terra were each said to have their own rituals of forging, impressing a distinct pattern in each bespoke blade as legible as a signature to those with the wit to read them. As well as the nobles of the Terran Court, certain Space Marine Legion officers favoured the Charnabal Sabre over more "clumsy" Power Weapons as they saw it as being more responsive to true martial skill, while others amongst the Legions thought them effete and decadent weapons.
The most famous example of the Astartes who made use of the Charnabal Sabre were the elite Emperor's Children specialist troops known as the Brotherhoods of the Palatine Blades, whose renown had spread outside their own Legion. These units were not permanent formations, but were formed for particular battles against foes deemed worthy, and whose membership existed outside of the usual rigid rank structure that characterised the IIIrd Legion. When such an enemy was encountered, the senior commanders would draw together the finest swordsmen from amongst the forces present, a selection made easier by the relentless sparring and duelling that took place between battles to hone the skills of the IIIrd Legion. Armed with duelling blades, sabres and trophy weapons, the Brotherhoods would then seek out the finest warriors amongst the enemy on the field of battle.
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, by Alan Bligh, pp. 107-109, 234