Callandor, the Sword That Is Not a Sword is a male sa'angreal in the form of a sword which seemed to be made of glass, or perhaps crystal, blade and hilt and crossguard sparkling in the light. It was called the Sword That Cannot Be Touched due to the fact that it was sealed behind powerful wards of the One Power in order to ensure only the Dragon Reborn could touch it and take it. Despite being a sa'angreal it also functioned as a sword. It could cleave balefire.
Lack of buffer
Angreal and sa'angreal are usually made with a buffer which protects the channeler to draw too much of the One Power and burn out as a consequence. Callandor has no such buffer, but it is safe to use if a man is linked with women and one of the women leads the circle. It is said that the most wonderful things in the Age of Legends were made by women and men working together, thus it is safe to assume that the lack of buffer may not necessary be a flaw but could be a purposeful design.
Amplification of the taint on saidin
Callandor also amplifies the effect of the taint on saidin, risking madness for the channeler.
When Callandor is used without a circle, the man who wields it can be forced to link with women and to be placed in their control. The man cannot break out of this circle.
It was constructed during the War of Power and is the only known artifact in the Third Age being able to amplify not only the One Power but the True Power as well. When is was used to amplify the True Power its glow turned violent crimson. There were only two known more powerful sa'angreal that a man can use: the male half of the Choedan Kal, and Sakarnen, a scepter.
After learning of the Foretellings of the Prophecies of the Dragon, the Aes Sedai of the time built the Stone of Tear to safeguard Callandor. 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 the sword 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. The Defenders of the Stone are the elite military group used specifically to guard the Stone. Only Tairens are accepted into the Defenders and officers are usually of noble birth.
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. He did this both so that Tear would remain loyal to him, and because the amount of the Power that he could access through Callandor frightened 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" seems probable. Narishma always remains 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. Rand forewent using it in the future, and preferred after that battle to use the male Choedan Kal, as it was far, far more powerful than Callandor and had none of its flaws.
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 Melaidhrin gave Callandor to an Aes Sedai friend of hers to study further, as she had long been aware of a verse from the Prophecies of the Dragon that indicated to her that Callandor specifically would be needed at Tarmon Gai'don.
In researching scholarly works to aid Rand, Min Farshaw independently reached two of the same conclusions as Cadsuane. First, that a line from the Karaethon Cycle, "He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one," referred to Callandor, rather than to Rand uniting three nations or cities. The latter interpretation was the consensus of commentators, but Cadsuane told Min that the same passage led her to research Callandor and discover its flaws. Cadsuane and Min also agreed that there was something important about Callandor that they had not yet discovered. Later, taking this text along with a phrase from the Jendai Prophecy, "and the Blade will bind him by twain," Min expressed concern that Callandor would in some way make Rand vulnerable to an attack while using it. Ultimately, Min explained the key facet of Callandor's nature to Rand; a man using Callandor could be forced into a circle controlled by women.
During a meeting with the Borderland rulers, Rand drew it from a sheath on his back as proof that he was not a false Dragon.
The Last Battle
Afterwards, Callandor's ability to amplify the True Power was discovered, an ability upon which Rand formulated his plan to repair the Dark One's prison. When Tarmon Gai'don began, Rand took Callandor with him to Shayol Ghul, and there he engaged Moridin in an ordinary sword fight. Near the end of their duel, Moridin cut his own hand, causing Rand pain through their link and forcing him to drop Callandor.
Taking up the crystal sword, Moridin discovered its ability to act as a sa'angreal for the True Power, something he evidently had not thought possible. But when he attempted to use it to destroy Rand and himself, Moiraine and Nynaeve used Callandor's flaw to entrap Moridin in a link. Linking with Moridin and the two women, Rand was able to use the True Power from Moridin, saidin from himself, and saidar from the two women to repair the Dark One's prison. Coating his weaves of the One Power with the True Power in order to keep the Dark One from touching either half of the One Power and tainting it as he had with saidin, Rand permanently sealed the Bore.
Callandor is listed in the Old Tongue section of The Wheel of Time Companion as "The Sword That Cannot be Touched" and "The Sword That is Not a Sword". These translations are not only mutually exclusive, but don't contain any of the known words for sword or blade or other known parts. If it is indeed a word in the Old Tongue, we have no translation for the word.
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 4
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 55
- A Memory of Light, Chapter 47
- The Wheel of Time Companion, Callandor
- A Memory of Light, Chapter 16
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 29
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 6
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 13
- The Aiel infiltrate Tear and sneak into the Stone prior to Rand's third fight with Ishamael.
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 54
- Rand thrusts Callandor into the Heart of the Stone within the Stone of Tear, telling the Tairens that he will come back for the sword.
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 21
- Rand admits to Moiraine that he left Callandor in Tear in order to bind the Tairens to him because they will fear his return.
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 2
- Jahar Narishma draws the sword out for Rand prior to his Altaran Campaign against the Seanchan.
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 21
- The Gathering Storm, Chapter 48
- Towers of Midnight, Chapter 32