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Throughout the Sword of Truth series, we see Richard Cypher/Rahl/Amnell draw his own blood from his forearm before using the Sword of Truth, typically followed by the phrase "Blade be true this day."

Did Richard actually gain something this?

Did it help activate the magic of the sword, or was it just part of the way he mentally focused himself?

I've read the series several times, but I can't recall if it were ever explained in any detail outside of it being one of Richard's idiosyncrasies.

Bonus: Is there any hint or evidence that other Seekers or War Wizards engaged in this practice with their swords?

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    @Richard, why do you do that? – Praxis Jul 26 '15 at 18:58
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    You'd think breaking skin and/or drawing blood would be frowned upon in a world without antibiotic ointment or band-aids. – Omegacron Jul 27 '15 at 19:21
  • @Omegacron Richard had antibiotic ointment made from herbs, and bandages. It just lacked the fancy packaging and brand names. – user31178 Jul 27 '15 at 19:23
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    @Praxis - A combination of poor judgement and boredom – Valorum Aug 24 '15 at 18:58
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He is mimicing the gesture he saw when he met the first D'Haran quad, back home in Westland: it allows the Sword to draw blood, thus "awakening" the rage from its magic.

I don't recall the books talking about this habit in regard of other War Wizards (Richard is the first one after 3000 years) or Seekers (which have been frauds for a long time until Richard came along) doing this, we only see the enslaved GollumSamuel.

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  • Not all the previous seekers have been frauds. Only Samuel is said to be – user46509 Feb 1 '17 at 13:35
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    @Po-ta-toe While yes, only Samuel is specifically called out, the books do mention that for quite a long time the Seekers were frauds. It's what caused Zedd to go take the Sword to begin with. A lot of the people where wary of Richard because of this. – PiousVenom Feb 1 '17 at 13:44
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While I can't remember the exact passages or wording, I do remember him saying something to the effect that doing this "awakens the swords need for blood." There's reference through the series that once the Sword has had a taste of blood, it longs for more, and this drives the lust of the user to want to kill more of the enemy.

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The books often describe how giving the sword a taste of blood increases the rage it feels. I always understood this to add a bit more of the righteous Seeker rage to what Richard was doing. This would act both as the shield for him against the wrath of the sword when used for killing and as a way of making the magic respond to his need. Also, it probably scares the hell out of whoever is watching him do this.

There are also references to how the sword feels a type of bloodlust when he cuts with it. I can only really think of the part in Faith of the Fallen where Richard cuts himself, sheathes the sword and gives it to Kahlan with a warning that when she draws the sword it will come out frothing and ready to kill.

I don't think it really did anything for Richard other than focusing him and making him pay attention although I do have a vague recollection of the sword needing a taste of blood to awaken the spirits. I'll post an update if I can find the reference to that.

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