In my fantasy world Yos, all metal is present as a magical crystal called a glowmetal. These glowmetals are a naturally occurring blend of light and metal that cannot be created or destroyed. So in the development of weapons, swords and metal armour were out. Instead I developed ceramic weapons.
A fantasy world without swords! Neat.
These composite ceramics come in various classes. Here are the main ones:
Lanedd – which can be used for blades. This holds a razor-sharp edge, yet avoids the brittleness of pure ceramics.
Mought – incredibly tough material that can be cast into shape as armour or used for the haft of various weapons.
The longest practical lanedd blade that can be cast using the techniques available to Glassmiths in Yos is the ‘calv’ or long-knife. This is where the world ‘calvanni’ or knife-fighter derives from (The Calvanni is the title of the first book in the Jakirian Cycle).
On Yos the dualist’s weapon of choice is the greatscythe. This is a staff-like weapon with twin concealed blades, one at either end. The blades shoot out and lock into place. It is operated by a mechanism central to the haft . It is also the weapon of the Suul nobility.
I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how the greatscythe worked. After all – with no forged metal – I could not very well have conventional coiled springs.
Here’s what I came up with:
The greatscythe has a central fighting grip and a release grip slightly wider than this which is operated by twisting two rings. These have a thread on the inside that operates a rod moving parallel with the axis of the greatscythe. This movement switches what is known in knife-talk as an Out-The-Front or OTF mechanism.
Here is link that shows a graphic of the clever knife mechanism.
To make this work I needed two separate types of springs in the internal mechanism, both which had to be some sort of natural material. The first I solved with small bone ‘leaf’ springs for the catches that lock the blade into position. For the main spring that drives the blade back and forward I used a rubber strap-spring.
The greatscythe itself tapers to the ends. Two cover plates attach to a hollow cast core and cover the dual mechanisms – sealed in place with a special mought (ceramic) that melts at a much lower temperature than the mought of the haft. So if the mechanism needs to be fixed the sealing mought can be melted away to free the plate.
Have you had any fun with unique weapons?