|Among the organisms inhabiting the waters near the equatorial
islands was a creature commonly known as the Shadow-fish by the tribal Klingons of the area.
Loosely translated, it would be QIbbIQDoch, in High Klingon. This beast was a bottom dweller,
and superficially resembles the Terran Manta Ray. The Shadow-fish's power of concealment, and
its flat silhouette gave it its name. Of the hundreds of thousands of fish on the Homeworld,
what makes this one special? The natural defenses it evolved as a result of intra-species
Beneath the pseudopodia on the front of the fish, below the mouth slit, the Shadow-fish
had a set of four flattened tusks. These tusks stemmed from a single bone attached to the skull.
The shape of the tusks, once removed from the skull, is what we are familiar with as the
bat'leth. The handgrips are very similar on the Shadow-fish to the open areas in our own skulls
and pelvis. The tusks also had the advantage of being slightly flexible, hence very strong and
almost preternaturally sharp.
Well enough to merely find a Shadow-fish carcass and despoil its weapons, you may think.
Fortunately, the creature is very long lived, and goes to the very deepest water it can find to
die. The Klingons of the time were happy to stage one-on-one hunts for the Shadow-fish,
involving the most worthy of the tribe's warriors. The warriors were carrying weapons of wood or
bone at the time, and winning a battle with a 5-6 meter Shadow-fish, armed as it was, is no mean
task underwater. Still many warriors succeeded, and were then known far and wide for their most
From that time on, the only warriors in possession of an "honor-sword" were those
warriors who had battled the Shadow-fish, his worthy offspring or a warrior who had won the
sword in combat. The owner of the bat'leth was not one to be taken lightly. Today the bone
bat'leth only serves as an ornament on the walls of the highest on the walls of the highest of
Klingon houses, or as a display in museums.
The steel and alloy bat'leths are unique to individuals, and are passed down in much the
same way as they were in the pre-metal age on the Homeworld.
Full-sized Shadow-fish skeletons and recreations of its habitat are currently on display
in the Museum of Natural History. The displays also have a number of original bat'leths with the
Shadow-fish skin wrappings on the grip. Three original bat'leths are on also on display in the
Mang House museum and archives, by appointment.
Artists rendering of the Shadow-fish and skeletal structure.
Note the camoflage pattern which resembles a school of fish
from above, the horns and the false eye at the base of the spine
Artists rendering of the Shadow-fish tusks and attaching bone.
The arrows indicate the points where the central gap is located
(Drawings courtesy of the Imperial Museum of Natural History)