A heron-mark is the mark of a blademaster, both in the Westlands (TEotW, Ch. 2) and in Seanchan (TGH, Ch. 45). During the Age of Legends, it is likely it was the mark of a general (TGH, Ch. 2). It is Rand's heron-mark sword that brands his palms (TGH, Ch. 15, Ch. 49) according to Prophecy (TGH, Ch. 26). Even after Rand's heron-mark sword is destroyed (TGH, Ch. 49), the swords he makes with the Power are heron-marked (TDR, Ch. 36; Ch. 55). He eventually gains Laman's sword, which was also heron-marked (TFoH, Ch. 21). Rand later loses this (This passage needs a reference) and replaces it with another heron marked sword (TGS, Ch. 1).
A number of Heron-marked swords are seen or mentioned in the books
- Rand's father's sword - Destroyed fighting Ba'alzamon, despite being power wrought
- Turak Aladon's sword
- Laman Damodred's sword
- Rodel Ituralde's sword
- Turan's sword
- Eamon Valda's sword
The blade, very slightly curved and sharp on only one edge, bore another heron etched into the steel. Short quillons, worked to look like braid, flanked the hilt. It seemed almost fragile compared with the swords of the merchants' guards; most of those were double-edged, and thick enough to chop down a tree (The Eye of the World, Chapter 5).
There are places where the heron is a symbol of the master swordsman. That blade must have traveled a strange road to end up with a sheepherder in the Two Rivers (Lan, The Eye of the World, Chapter 8)
Swords were common enough, but the heron-mark attracted attention and speculation. Not from everybody, but any notice at all made him uncomfortable (Rand, The Eye of the World, Chapter 32).
With the One Power, Aes Sedai drew iron and other metals from the earth, smelted them, formed and wrought them. All with the Power. Swords, and other weapons, too. Many that survived the Breaking of the World were destroyed by men who feared and hated Aes Sedai work, and others have vanished with the years. Few remain, and few men truly know what they are.....One of those swords, a plain soldier's sword became something more. On the other hand, those made for lord-generals, with blades so hard no bladesmith could mark them, yet marked already with a heron, those blades became sought after. Not all heron-mark blades are Aes Sedai work. Few men handle a sword with the skill to be named blademaster and be awarded a heron-mark blade, but even so, not enough Aes Sedai blades remain for more than a handful to have one. Most come from master bladesmiths; the finest steel men can make, yet still wrought by a man's hands. But that one, sheepherder . . . that one could tell a tale of three thousand years and more (The Great Hunt, Chapter 1).
"Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live, and twice to die.
Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true.
The long-hilted sword, like those most Warders used, had a heron engraved on its slightly curved blade, symbol of a blademaster, and Min could not say whether it belonged to Gawyn or threatened him (The Shadow Rising, Chapter 1).