With Path of Bones releasing in just under two weeks, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss some behind-the-scenes stuff that doesn’t involve the so-called “writing process”. In this case I’m talking about all of the sharp and pointy things the characters in the novel use to cut each other to bits. Fun, huh?
Most of the weapons and armor used in The Skullborn Trilogy are what you’d call “typical fantasy fare”: longswords, battle-axes, daggers, and bigger contraptions like scorpions, mangonels and ballistae. But what’s the point of writing fantasy if you’re not going to throw a few “fantastic” weapons into the fray? I’ve dropped many an italicized instrument of doom in both City of Scars and Path of Bones, and while I do my best to describe these items in great detail in the books I thought some visual aid might be in order.
Which doesn’t explain the pathetic drawings you see below. Hint: they look better if you squint. Then you can’t really tell what a horrible artist I am.
Shek’taar (sheck-tar): The preferred weapon of the dreaded Gorgoloth, a shek’taar is a lance with one long edge capped with a razor-like sword. Unbalanced and extremely heavy, only the supernaturally strong brutes of the wastelands train in the use of this weapon, which they can wield from the backs of their monstrous mounts. Despite their versatility, shek’taar are shoddily made and often disregarded by others.
Design Note: This drawing is ugly, but then the weapon is ugly, too, so I’m okay with that.
Raak’ma (rawk-mah): The famed weapon of the Den’nari Scorpion Legions, the sleek raak’ma is essentially a pair of scimitars joined at the hilt. Lighter, swifter and sharper than most conventional weapons, many Den’nari have seriously injured themselves attempted to attain the great dexterity needed to fight with a raak’ma, but those that master the blades are greatly respected and feared.
Design Note: this is my favorite of the drawings, because it doesn’t totally suck.
Ka’naar (can-arr): A Galladorian weapon created by the dreaded Drage Kings, a ka’naar is a long haft of sturdy wood capped on either end with a double-headed axe-blade. Ka’naar are heavy and extremely difficult to use, but in the hands of an expert the weapon is terrifying to behold. Though Gallador and the Drage Kings are gone the Blood Knights of the Phage still make regular use of this weapon.
Design Note: D&D 3E players will likely recognize this weapon. No, it’s not terribly original on my part, but I thought it was cool.
Ring’tai (ring-tie): Another Galladorian weapon, ring’tai are small, razor-sharp discs with small finger-holes that allow the wielder to cast the projectiles through the air. Though limited in range a ring’tai is sharp enough to sever a man’s hand from twenty paces away, and when cast at the proper angle can penetrate even the most resilient armor.
Design Note: Yes, I know, it looks like a bowling ball. It’s supposed to look more like a really evil silver disc.
Vra’taar (vrah-tar): Once the signature weapon of the Jlantrian Dawn Knights, the vra’taar is a finely crafted broadsword with a second, shorter blade which protrudes from the bottom of the hilt. No two vra’taars are exactly alike – on some the hilt blade is tilted outwards, while others have longer or shorter secondary blades. Vra’taars are extremely rare and expensive due to the special meteoric steel used to craft them.
Design Note: The original design looked much more sinister, with the hilt-blade protruding forward like a raptor’s talon, but when I tried to recreate that image it just looked…silly. Which is why the current version looks more like a fancy longsword, but that’s probably ok.