The Wheel of Time - The Call of the Horn
Callandor is a male sa’angreal in the form of a crystal sword, powerful enough to destroy a city with one blow. It is sometimes called the Sword That Cannot Be Touched or Sword That Is Not a Sword, references to its protection by wards and true nature as a device of the One Power, though it is sturdy enough to be used as an edged weapon. It was one of the last sa’angreal created in the Age of Legends, yet it was made flawed: unlike others there is no “buffer” to prevent the user from drawing more of the One Power than he can safely handle, and it is theorized to magnify effect of the Dark One’s taint on saidin. The only way to use Callandor safely is within a circle of two women and one man, with a woman melding the flows. That is not to say that this circle is a requirement however; Callandor can be used very effectively by a single man, especially now that the taint has been removed. Sideways comments from a fair number of characters have left the strong possibility that Callandor must be used during Tarmon Gai’don to battle the Dark One, and that it must be used in a circle of three. This brings up the possibility that the lack of a Power buffer in Callandor may have been intentional, though it remains to be seen what effects that may have. It is also interesting to note that Rand has had a large number of experiences with Callandor of spontaneously wielding unfamiliar or often times brand new weaves of the Power. With the Power in it, it also has the distinction of being the only object or ability in the series that can cleave balefire (with the possible exception being Perrin’s ability to dismiss balefire’s effects in Tel’aran’rhiod). There are believed to be two more powerful sa’angreal that a man can use: the male half of the Choedan Kal, and possibly one other of which nothing else is known.
Callandor was made shortly before or during the Breaking of the World. After learning of the Foretellings of the Prophecies of the Dragon, the Aes Sedai of the time built the Stone of Tear to safeguard it. They placed it in the central Heart of the Stone, surrounded by powerful wards of saidin and saidar to prevent anyone other than the true Dragon Reborn from claiming it. These wards were so effective that not even the Forsaken could circumvent them. For three thousand years it floated in the Heart, guarded fiercely and seen only by High Lords of Tear, for according to Tairen lore any man who managed to take it would be their rightful ruler.
In 999 NE, the Dragon Reborn finally claimed and used it against Ishamael. During this battle, its ability to deflect balefire was showcased, as well as Rand somehow instinctively countering all of Ishamael’s reality bending in Tel’aran’rhiod while wielding it. During a later assault on the Stone, he used it to unleash a deadly weave upon the Trollocs and Myrddraal, destroying them utterly, though he had no idea how he did it and later could not replicate it. Before leaving for the Aiel Waste he thrust the sword into the floor of the Heart to make clear his intention to return, so that Tear would remain loyal to him. As part of Rand’s offensive against the Seanchan in 1000 NE, Jahar Narishma was dispatched to Tear to retrieve Callandor. Whether this fulfills the prophecy that “who draws it shall follow after” remains to be seen, but so far Narishma has been loyal to Rand. Rand used it to call a lightning storm down on the Seanchan army attacking Illian, but due to the design flaws, and the instability of the One Power around Ebou Dar after the use of the Bowl of the Winds, he killed some of his own men as well. Nevertheless, the Seanchan Ever Victorious Army was defeated. During the cleansing of saidin, Jahar Narishma used Callandor in a circle with Merise Haindehl and Elza Penfell, with Elza melding the flows. It was used to bombard the attacking Forsaken at long range, killing Osan’gar. After this, Cadsuane gives Callandor to an Aes Sedai friend of hers to study further, as she has long been aware of a verse of the Prophesies of the Dragon that indicates to her that Callandor will be needed at Tarmon Gai’don. During a meeting with the Borderland rulers, Rand draws it from a sheath on his back and threatens them. When they asked how he could channel while shielded by The Guardian, he said there are other ways, referencing the True Power used by Moridin and other Chosen.