As promised, another installment from the Vein Omnibus has arrived! This one tells the details of the scythe, the weapon of the Sect members. Enjoy!
Scythe-The Scythe is the primary weapon of the Sect members, and is incorporated into both religious and combat-related activities. The scythe’s overall design consists of a handle attached to a two-edged blade that extends upward and forms a C-shape and generally carries a dull, grey hue, although the range in color and sheen ranges from a highly polished silver to an obsidian-like black. Lengths and weights of each scythe also vary, as the weapons are customized for each Sect member by metalsmiths trained for and dedicated to the sole purpose of scythe-forging.
Scythe blades are composed of an alloy containing seventy eight percent qeridium, a common metal ore found in all of the Seven Worlds as well as the Meridian. Beyond this, the details of scythe-forging are known by none other than the Sect’s metalsmiths, and the tight-knit group of weapon makers refuse to divulge the details of the process, as this prevents Orders and other rivals from learning how to fashion their own versions.
As a weapon, the scythe can be wielded in primarily two ways. The first is in hand-weapon combat, as the scythe’s effective and durable double edged blade can cleave through the flesh and bone of any being with ease, and can also cut through some of the various types of wood used in the fashioning of Order weapons. When combined with the hours of intense combat training undertaken by Sect members, this makes the scythe a formidable weapon, as Sect members are trained to not only cut with the scythe but also block and disarm opponents.
The second use of the scythe comes in the ability of the scythe wielder to deploy surges of energy by use of a small thumb stud located on the scythe’s handle. Depressing the stud causes a buildup of energy stored in the handle’s hidden power cell, which manifests itself in the form of a swirling, turbulent mass of bluish-white light contained within the inside area of the scythe’s C-shaped blade. When the wielder strikes the outer edge of the scythe’s curved blade against a solid surface such as a wall, a floor, or natural earth, the surge is released and rolls across the surface in a straight line, releasing occasional bolts of straying energy in random directions. When a surge has rolled between six to fifteen paces away, it explodes into a haphazard cascade of energy bolts, rendering any being within reach of the bolts unconscious.
An adjustable dial occupies the bottom end of the handle, permitting the wielder to raise or lower the strength and range of the surges. Low dial settings permit surges to be generated faster, but with a more limited range and less effectual results against enemies (At the lowest setting, a surge energy bolt will do little more than afflict a being with a nasty shock) Turning the dial higher yields stronger surges capable of inflicting more damage and rolling further away before generating larger and stronger explosions, but the drawbacks to such high settings include a longer period of time required for the surge to reach full power as well as the danger of overloading the scythe if the surge is not soon deployed, which carries the risk of knocking out (or even killing) the wielder. This same risk applies to one who is struck with a charged scythe blade, and even a scythe charged at half power delivered in the form of a blow can have deadly results for both the opponent and the wielder.
In addition to these two primary uses in combat, scythes have been utilized in other combat-related ways. The boat used by the Sect of Sarphyx contains a slot in its side, intended for a scythe blade to be inserted. This essentially turns the boat’s underside into a conductor for the scythe’s surge, which repels attacking water-based creatures. Scythes on occasion have also been thrown in order to impale enemies or creatures, often with success, but this is generally viewed as a last resort tactic and is discouraged by most Sect members.
If the blades of two scythes possessing unreleased charges come in contact with each other, the result is a Nullwave, a “thread” of energy bonded to both blades. Any being coming into contact with a Nullwave is killed, as the Nullwave draws power from both scythe cells and in effect begins an overload process. While Nullwaves have been used effectively in fights, they are considered very dangerous, so much so that most Sect elders entirely forbid their usage, as Nullwaves eventually cause overloaded power cells to explode, which in turn cause serious injury and even death, even when the scythes are dialed to low power settings. In the early days of the Sect, Nullwaves were used by members to settle serious disputes, essentially through a game of chicken, in which a Nullwave was created and the first one to break the Nullwave (via striking the scythe against the earth in a manner similar to releasing a surge) was considered the loser. These contests, however, were short-lived, as the early Sect leaders forbid any such use of the Nullwave among the brethren.
The scythes also function for the Sect members in a religious capacity. For meditation and communion times, two or three Scythes are leaned against each other and dialed to a low energy setting. When the Sect members begin their chants, the energy cells form a sort of “window” in midair, which permits the Sect members to see and commune with Balys-Crahly during their meditation, albeit in an occluded and imperfect manner. The exact workings of the scythes in relation to this are unknown, and opinions even among the older and wiser Sect members vary as to why and how the scythes, without any external manipulation by the wielders, automatically respond with the window. While it is recommended that three scythes be used for meditation and communion time, it is possible for Sect members to perform their religious ritual with only two scythes, and even one scythe used by a solitary Sect member can be utilized, although the windows and open communication are far weaker for any number fewer than three. Conversely, the use of more than three is discouraged, as the interactions between four or more power cells actually serves to “overpower” the window, thus distorting communion and even shorting out the cells if anything more than the most minimum of power settings is used.
Each Sect member carries a customized scythe; as such, Sect members are ordered to guard their weapons with jealous care. Loss of a weapon often incurs the displeasure of elder Sect members, and metalsmiths often consider it a personal affront, replacing the scythe with a great sense of bitter reluctance. Spare scythes are rare, and usually do not carry power cells, as they are fashioned for newcomers to the Sect lodge in order to train them with the basics of the bladed weapon without the added danger of an energy surge. Occasionally, a Bearer who arrives unarmed will be offered one of these as a weapon for personal defense.