Don Hornby sits in his truck on July 19, holding a longsword similar to the two that were taken from the backseat July 14. Hornby said he spent about $600 on the two missing longswords, which are each about four feet long, have black or brown leather wrapped around the hilts and weigh just under two kilograms. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse knight seeks return of swords stolen from truck

‘To anybody who’s not doing medieval martial arts, they’re basically just two big metal sticks’

A modern-day Yukon knight has been left reeling after two of his longswords were snatched from his truck in an apparent overnight break-in.

Whitehorse resident Don Hornby is a member of medieval combat group, the Company of the White Wolf. He owns his own suit of armour and three longswords, specifically made for medieval martial arts that he uses in fighting competitions, and he sometimes keeps his gear in the backseat of his pickup truck in between practices and competitions.

The truck’s windows are tinted and Hornby said he always keeps the doors locked, so keeping his equipment in his vehicle has never been an issue — until last weekend.

Hornby said he was going out for groceries the morning of July 14 when he noticed that two of his longswords had “absconded” from his back seat, along with some change from his cup holder.

“I mostly just (felt) disappointment,” Hornby said in an interview July 18.

“One of them was actually the first piece of gear I ever bought for the sport about three years ago…. It’s really unfortunate because I was kind of attached to that sword in particular, I’ve had it for a long time. And the other one, (it was) basically brand new, I think I’ve had it for maybe a month. It was supposed to be my new competition sword and the only time I used it was at our tournament we just held on the Canada Day weekend. (That was) the first and last time I ever got to do anything with it.”

Hornby said he spent about $600 on the two missing longswords, which are each about four feet long, have black or brown leather wrapped around the hilts and weigh just under two kilograms. However, he said they’re “basically worthless” to anyone who’s not involved in the world of medieval combat.

“They’re (purposely) made as medieval martial arts swords,” he said. ”Like, they’re not attractive enough that you’d want to hang them on your wall as decoration. Unless you’re an experienced bladesmith or something like that, you can never put an edge on them, you’d never sharpen them to use them as actual swords.… To anybody who’s not doing medieval martial arts, they’re basically just two big metal sticks and that’s really about it. I think they look good, but they’re not the kind of swords that you would hang on your wall as decoration pieces.”

Further decreasing their value in any other market, Hornby said that the swords are also “easily identifiable” as his because he’s put special markings on them so he’s able to pick them out of the piles of swords that form at competitions or at practices, and that he’s ruled out any of his teammates having taken them.

“I would have noticed pretty quick and you know, the group would definitely not look fondly upon someone showing up and going, ‘Hey, I just found these swords!’” he said. “No one else who’s not in the community would ever give you any money for them because for what everyone else knows, they’re just two crappy sword-looking things.”

Hornby said that while he’s considered filing a police report about the theft, he hasn’t yet because he’s been “waffling on basically whether it’s worth their time and whether it’s worth the effort.” In the meantime, he still has a third sword to practice and fight with (it was also in the truck at the time of the break-in but was, mysteriously, left behind by the thief or thieves), and he added that, at this point, he’s accepted he’ll probably never see his missing blades again.

“In my wildest dreams, they’ll show up on my doorstep one day, but honestly, I don’t expect to see them again,” he said. “It’s just like everyone else in town who’s had a bike stolen or has their iPod or their phone stolen out of their car, it’s pretty rare that that stuff ever comes back up again. Honestly, I think my best chance is next year’s police auction, but other than that, I’m not optimistic.”

Anyone who comes across two dulled longswords in the Whitehorse area is asked to bring them in to a Company of the White Wolf practice space at 6209 6th Ave. in Whitehorse, where Hornby said someone will ensure they’ll be returned to the right hands.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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