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Items
Ranged Weapons
Magical

3.57
7 Votes

28xp


Hits: 1887
Comments: 14
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.5714
Condition: Normal
ID: 4699

Submitted:

Updated:
December 30, 2007, 2:58 pm

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Winter's Talons

By:

The wicked claw of the Hollow Woods, you would be wise to avoid their feared archers…

I hate this work.

The cycle of nature is no stranger to me, the often brutal necessities survival demands. I have hunted down and killed animals, avoiding cruelty. I have eaten their flesh. These are not animals, not even whole plants. Just parts. They are not even alive to begin with.

And yet, this bothers me more than killing beasts or intelligent creatures. Some days, it feels like I can hear them screaming.

Creation
When finished, the arrows don’t look very different, perhaps a little paler than your generic wooden sort, as if a little frost was left on them from the early morning. Skilled archers know the difference, but they are rarely marked with different feathers or paint: this variety is cold to the touch.

The Elves make them only in deep winter. The wood is left to freeze outside, over and over. As the bark is slowly stripped away, the piece is drenched in water, and left to freeze again, day after day. Mystical phrases are uttered, words meant to heal and restore, they vary as those who make use of them. The wood is allowed to rest, then cruel winter bites into it. And the process continues - parting into shafts, all the adjusting, adding the vanes, and so on.

Meanwhile, the wood has been frozen to cold death and restored many times; less than a third will come out of the process in a usable form. For the makers, it is a long, tiring work. But the result seems worth it, just be sure to employ them before next winter… they will not bear another.

Magic/Cursed Properties

In shooting, it is a weak magical missile (it can be your generic +1 arrow). But if it hits living matter, it becomes more. The suffering of winter cannot be born anymore, the wood warps and splits like it should at its birth, likely increasing the damage caused, and making the removal a horrible mess. Besides the pain caused by the wound itself, the biting cold it absorbed is discharged, potentially shocking the victim to its core.

The arrow is sometimes called Rank-Breaker, and if used correctly it can shake even massive war beasts, normally impervious to little wooden sticks.



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Comments ( 14 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
December 29, 2007, 17:07
0xp
I feel sorry for the arrows.
Voted Murometz
December 29, 2007, 17:41
0xp
I'm cheating, because manfred mentioned in chat that he got the idea, during a brisk, winter morning stroll, but I can see it clearly!


Love it! Last sentence rocks.
Voted valadaar
December 29, 2007, 18:11
0xp
An interesting idea, though I think the idea of freezing and healing the plant being somehow cruel is odd to me. Doesn't every winter do this? (at least in Eastern Canada it does. )

Though having been through at least one major ice storm, I can see how magical frost could turn wood into shrapnel.
manfred
December 30, 2007, 12:56
0xp
In winter, the wood actually 'sleeps', and the changes are mostly gradual. The idea here is to 'wake up' the piece of wood to life, then expose it to the most brutal treatment a winter can offer, over and over, until the pieces that survive store this natural force in them.

Now that you mentioned it, I think these arrows would equally quickly warp and split, were they to be touched by fire... handle with care.
Voted Scrasamax
December 29, 2007, 18:49
0xp
I'm not sure, this sub is missing something. I have a minor issue with the name since a claw will generally be a slashing weapon, and an arrow is a piercing weapon, I was first given the impression of this being a melee weapon of sorts. Also, it is good as a normal sub, but other than the process of alternating natural cold and healing magics, it is still 'made by a magic user'.
manfred
December 30, 2007, 13:08
0xp
Might be there is still something to add, as this was a quickie. ;)

Now, that a name has to exactly correspond to the weapon type of an item is kind of silly, but hang on, there is an image behind it: while a single arrow is dangerous, they show their effect best in a volley, in a pivotal moment of the battle, where any additional shock may be enough to break the morale of the opposition...

...and that is, when the winter puts its Claws deep into the enemy, and the Rank-Breakers fulfill their mission.

(Maybe, I should add to them a little special effect: thin white lines left in their flight - then the claws would be actually visible.)


Lastly, yes they are made by users of magic, but let's face it - most magical items are supposed to be. Hopefully the process is distinctive enough to make them stand out.
Scrasamax
December 30, 2007, 13:40
0xp
The Art behind Naming
While the name of an item need not be a direct representation of the item, it should be an extension of it, to quote one of my old writing handouts from school; A two fisted brawler named Lester Smalls doesnt work. The conflict i had is that a claw is a melee weapon, such as a sword, a dagger, or even Bang-ak (or whatever they are called) rather than an arrow which is a ranged, flying weapon. It is a minor point and though I pointed it out, it didnt impact the score.

In Reference to the Quest
Made by a wizard/magic user is the default mode of magic item/weapon creation and it was my impression that the purpose of the quest was to branch out away from this standard. While this is a good submission, I do not feel that it expressed the spirit of the quest. Cheka's sigil swords are enchanted by familial love, CP's Fatal swords by insane repetition and cosmic alignment, etc.
Kassil
December 30, 2007, 14:14
1xp
By stripping away the single line about needing a nature-oriented spellcaster, it loses that qualm - the arrows become a thing made by the nightmare of repeatedly thawing and freezing the wood, instead.
Voted Kassil
December 30, 2007, 14:17
1xp
I have to agree about the naming feeling a little off - Winter's Talons might have been better, suggesting a raptor's claws, or something to that effect. I don't hold the same issue with the effect, though, as some of the others - while branching out from traditional magic items seemed the goal, there is an element of an old, tiring ritual to it, as opposed to something being labored over in a wizard's workshop. Indeed, by pulling out the line referencing spellcasters, it could easily be an ancient rite that gives birth to them.

That said, I do love the imagery it conjurs - shafts of wood that glisten faintly with the bitter frost they contain, exploding as they strike to rend flesh and drive the spike of winter's deepest misery into their victim, and the descriptive text is a compelling thing, bringing to mind the grizzled old woodsman crouched in a cleared patch in the midwinter snow, looking down at handfuls of wood - some straight and true, others bent and splintered beyond recognition.
manfred
December 30, 2007, 15:05
0xp
This I call helpful criticism! Most magical items should be really made by spellcasters of whatever shape or color they come in - the point is to make it anything but the casting of a simple spell. But rightly, these arrows can possibly come out of the hands of an unskilled person, from the mere power of the ritual, the forces of nature, and the will to shape them.

The submission has been Updated, I've taken even the name. It sounds better. :)


Thanks, Kassil, for the ideas, and the imagery! You really helped this along!
Murometz
January 10, 2008, 22:34
0xp
BUMP. Quest sub!
Voted MoonHunter
April 10, 2008, 17:17
0xp
Voting on quest sub
manfred
April 11, 2008, 17:00
0xp
(Actually this one belongs to the Quest before, but it fits into the last one, too. The winter had me under its spell it seems. :) )
Voted Moonlake
June 19, 2012, 20:58
0xp
A solid sub, with good imagery.

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