This picture depicts the sword, Gram, which was owned by the Norse hero Sigurd. The concept for the picture was inspired by a short story which I've written base on the Norse mythology. The story is aptly titled 'Gram' . Here's the story :
Sigurd the son of Sigmund grew up in a rapid pace both in physique and strength, he had reached manhood and is ready to take on any challenges in his life. His tutor and foster-father Regin was a dwarf and famous blacksmith. Regin had invested many years in training Sigurd in the hope that he'll assist him in obtaining his famous family treasure, the Rhinegold. This treasure was guarded by the dragon known as Fafnir, which in fact was the brother of Regin. Fafnir was a sorcerer who worshipped the Norse God , Loki. He had joined forces with the evil Lyngi, King of the Hundings to kill his own father Hreidmar and drove off his brother Regin to possessed the Rhinegold. On the other hand he agreed to obtained the magic spear known as Gungnir for Lyngi. This magic spear belonged to the God, Odin. Both Gods were angered by their trust in Fafnir, who had stolen Odin's priced sprear and at his cruelty in slaughtering his own father ; they transformed him into a great dragon and punished him to guard this treasure for eternity. The Gods also had him transported to a place known as Glittering Heath to live in seclusion and loneliness.
Sigurd on hearing the story readily agreed to help Regin and requested him to forge a mighty sword for battling Fafnir. But none of the swords forged were able to withstand the powerful blows when wielded by Sigurd; it broke into two when it hit the anvil. It was then that Hjordis, the mother of Sigurd appeared and revealed the feud between his father, Sigmund and Lyngi. Hjordis told Sigurd of how his father was murdered :
It all began with the sword Gram, it was said that this sword was forged by the God and was drove into the trunk of the thousand years old oak tree Branstock. The sword had the power to grant its owner victorious in all the battles and he who wields it is practically invincible. No one was able to extract it from Branstock except the mighty hero, Sigmund. Lyngi who had tried unsuccessful was both envious and jealous. Lyngi then had to compete with Sigmund again for the love of the beautiful maiden Hjordis; again he lost out to Sigmund and jealousy turned to hatred. He was determined to bring about the downfall and death of Sigmund. When they got married, war broke out between the Sigmund and the Hundings, because Lyngi refused to give up Hjordis.
With the magical sword Gram before him; Sigmund was practically indestructable in battle. Lyngi then was forced to seek help from the sorcerer Fafnir. Fafnir who had the patronage of the God, Loki tricked him into revealing the means of defeating Sigmund. This would also be one of the eventual punishment inflicted on Fafnir by the Gods. Lyngi obtained the invincible spear, Gungnir and as the two most powerful weapons clashed ; the impact resulted in a blinding light and Gram was shattered into two pieces. He was thus able to mortally wound and defeat Sigmund in the battlefield. He then captured Sigmund and had him crucified on the Branstock. He wanted Sigmund to give up his love for Hjordis, but he refused and Lyngi thrusted the remains of the sword Gram into the back of Sigmund, killing him.
That night Hjordis who was then pregnant with Sigmund's child, discovered her husband whom had held his last breath to the moment they met. He told her to go to the battlefield to retrieve the broken shard of Gram and give it to his child when he had reached adulthood; then tell him to come before the great oak tree alone. With that the broken sword Gram which was still at the back of Sigmund turned to dust and he and Branstock fused into one, amid thunderstorm and heavy downpour. Hjordis who was then being persued by Lyngi found the shard and fled to King Alf of Denmark; whom she eventually remarried. Hjordis gave birth to a son, she name him Sigurd and King Alf brought him up as if his own.
Sigurd on hearing the story about the death of his father decided to seek revenge from Lyngi first before helping Regin. He brought the shard from Gram and appeared before Branstock. Right before him was a strange sight, he saw what seems to be a human image protruding from the trunk of the tree and his spine seems to form the shape of a great sword. ( what the picture is trying to depict, though my attempt is rather unsatisfactory ) The sword was broken off from the tip and he immediately realised that that was the remains of Gram. He placed the shard over the broken sword and it matches perfectly. Suddenly the trunk of Branstock seems to have rippled into liquid as the mighty sword Gram resurfaced from the liquidated bark, Sigurd quickly grabs the handle and retrieve Gram. He paid his last respect to his father and sets out to seek revenge.
With Gram in his hand, he sought out Lyngi and fought a brave battle with him; killing him eventually. He then returned the magical spear, Gungnir to the Temple of Odin and moved on to Glittering Heath.
See Gram II at for the continuing story of Sigurd and how he slays Fafnir.