One of the Marvel’s Eternals post-credits scenes that blew everyone’s minds was the one that revealed a mysterious blade whose box is inscribed with “Death is my reward”; but what did the ominous text even mean?
Despite the decidedly critical reception it received, Eternals still introduces a rich trove of new characters that look to set integrate into wider MCU as Phase 4 is starting to develop, Eternals also treated fans to mid and end credits scenes that introduced two Marvel characters aka Starfox and Black Knight.
The Eternals’ end credits scene sees Dane Whitman reveal his “complicated” family history he alludes to in his last conversation with Sersi before she is kidnaped by the Celestial Arishem. Whiteman is hesitating as he stares at that thin and rectangular box before he lifts the lid and it reveals a “whispering” Ebony Blade whose alloy seems keen to merge itself with Dane’s skin.
The lid of the box is inscribed with the motto “Death is my reward” before an off-screen Blade asks: “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”
Ebony Blade’s “Death is my reward” inscription is an allusion to the potency and the danger that comes with wielding the legendary sword. The Ebony Blade is afflicted with a blood curse due to its chequered history which brings out the darkest urges in all of its wielders. Even Dane Whitman had to overcome in Marvel Comics canon by the desire to kill or maim with the blade said to imbue its’ holder with an unquenchable bloodlust passed down from the generations of the Black Knights.
The history of the Ebony Blade is a bit of an illustrious one, and the weapon itself was first forged by Arthurian legend Merlin from the remains of a fallen meteorite. The magic sword has several abilities in Marvel comics and the most potent ones being indestructibility and the ability to cut through ANY obstacle whether physical or magical.
The original Black Knight had first wielded the mightiest of weapons alongside King Arthur as he had protected England from multiple Saxon invasions in the early 6th century.
The power of the Black Knight’s Ebony Blade comes at a high cost, with the original Black Knight spilling so much blood that the sword became imbued with a curse from the thousands that died by the blade. This curse takes the form of an insatiable bloodlust and it turns each of its’ owners mad as they are driven to kill endless many enemies by the sword’s whispers. Thus, “Death is my reward” is an explanation of the sword’s true nature with Ebony Blade’s owner who is tasked with providing endless death in an attempt to sate this most cursed of weapons.
In Marvel Comics, Dane Whitman is the most resistant to the blade’s curse in the long line of Black Knights and considering that the hero was able to join the Avengers and add the weapon’s powers to their ranks. But the internal struggle will probably characterize Kit Harrington’s Black Knight in the next MCU outing and with Dane looking really scared drawing the blade to save Sersi.