Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: They and Their Weapons

I operate in worlds that do take the time to think about the relationship between a person and her favored weapon, but even with the characters for whom it’s significant, I operate more on character instinct than on understanding how it works. Tonight was as good a night as any to look for specifics.

Tuyet never really thought of her weapon as much more than another tool, same as any other inanimate object. Then again, everything that couldn’t talk back was a potential tool, and she could base her calculations on including those things that could talk as well, so paying special respect to a sharp-edged thing that simply magnified her own skills was not a priority. Particularly not a sharp-edged thing that never actually needed to come in contact with the opponent and thus took a lot longer to even consider losing its edge.

Juniper, on the other hand, was trained in a tradition in which the quality and condition of one’s weapon was as much open for judgment and prone to affect one’s reputation as her actual skill in using it. More, she’d gotten the sword from one of the few people to whom she was unswervingly loyal, and the maker was a compulsive tender of the items of those she cared about. Even she doesn’t realize that the back of her mind is weighing her companions, asking “If I die, to whom do I entrust my blade?”

Austrenk’s trainer thought of swords as things that required names and the establishment of a personal dynamic between owner and weapon. Austrenk is still attempting to reconcile this with the idea of the sword as an extension of her body and intent. The girl she’s taken it on herself to train, philosophy and all, is likely to end up even more confused than she is.

Lamora is sufficiently accustomed to trading weapons around based on who needs to do what and getting new ones through looting the corpses of the dead that the question of a special relationship between owner and weapon wouldn’t occur to her.

Most of Kiara’s throwing knives are interchangeable. There are one or two with sentimental value, that she only uses in specific situations and always has a way to recover. She takes good care of her other weapon, in large part because it is on loan from her organization, and while it is not quite worth her life, it’s getting there.

Blazing Heavens knows the name of her staff—it’s cultural, you really don’t want to insult a master by beating him up with a weapon that has no name—but does not share it unless her opponent asks. Her opponent, on the other hand, seems generally to be more concerned with the fact that she is wielding what looks like a very polished tree trunk with some degree of finesse than what name it might go by. As her creator… I still don’t know what she calls it. It hasn’t come up yet.

Liang, like Blazing Heavens, treats the name of his weapon as he does any other part of his fighting style—to be revealed in bits and pieces over the course of a confrontation, so that he can exploit every wrong conclusion his opponent jumps to in the process. It is not something that defeats his enemies, though. Defeating is the job of his teammates. It simply protects him.

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