Rain fell from the sky. Its constant pitter-patter meshed with the war cries echoing through the air. A two-sided battle with warriors numbering in the thousands fought desperately - relentlessly - down to the last man.
As bodies piled up, Essence lingered in the air and lifeblood dyed the muddy earth. One blade in particular claimed several hundreds of lives, the warrior that wielded it dancing through the enemy's lines, stabbing and slashing through droves of enemies like Death’s Chosen reaper.
The weapon absorbed this Essence, drinking in the lifeblood of the fallen. As it claimed more lives, it gained sentience - a new and strange understanding of its being.
With this understanding came the ability to perceive the world outside of itself.
Its wielder struck down the final enemy warrior, but he would succumb to his wounds in a matter of time. The soft ground embraced his steel tip as it stabbed through the earth. The warrior knelt, breathing heavily as the lifeblood leaked from dozens of wounds. With one last dying breath, the mighty warrior slumped forward.
And then the blade was alone amongst the thousands of bodies, abandoned in the same manner the rest of the weapons had been. It felt sadness as its mighty wielder succumbed to his wounds. It felt lonely, but it couldn’t comprehend why. The sword wished to continue fighting, wished to further bathe in the blood of his warrior’s enemies, but it wouldn’t be so.
It patiently observed the surroundings, pondering its newfound sentience. It couldn’t understand why it had come to be or how it now experienced its surroundings. It only knew that it did, and it still didn’t know what that would mean for it.
The earth below and air above were thick with the precious lifeblood and energy that gave it life. It pulled, absorbing the energy as fast as it could. As it absorbed the lingering Essence, a higher level of cognitive function slowly came over it.
What am I? it pondered, an indiscernible amount of time passing as it greedily finished absorbing the last traces of lifeblood and Essence. I am a sword, but I am more. It observed the fallen warrior, I am a warrior’s weapon.
Pride filled its being as it gloriously watched over the eerily calm fields of death. After all the energy was absorbed, an unbridled restlessness overcame it.
More! But no relief came, and it could only wait impatiently.
Eventually, more people approached, but it did not want these people. Their flags waved from the top of massive wheeled carts, humming filling the air as they steadily moved forward.
These people are not warriors.
Bodies were thrown into the back of the massive carts, and it wondered why. Should the dead not be allowed to return back to the earth? Weapons were collected, some being distributed to new owners on the spot, but the blade watched in disdain.
Those blades will never see proper use. I pity them.
When a stern-faced man approached, the weapon silently howled in fury, a billowing aura of crimson radiating from its blade. Despite its efforts, the man’s hand caressed its hilt then drew the blade from the earth. It felt a connection to the one that touched it.
You are no warrior!
Observing the bloodred weapon, the man hesitantly looked around. “You’ll make a fine weapon.”
You’re not worthy.
The startled man dropped the bloodred sword. “Halla’s Maw,” he whispered in awe. “A weapon spirit.”
Looking around, he reached down to retrieve the fallen blade, but another lavishly dressed man walked over barking at the man, “What do you have there? Why haven’t you added it to the stockpile?”
The first man looked at the sword forlornly, “It’s a weapon spirit, sir.”
“And you were trying to claim it for yourself, soldier?” The lavishly dressed man took away the sword, glaring at the soldier. “You know, I could have you executed on the spot for treason and theft. Count yourself lucky, for you’ll live to see another day.”
The soldier nodded, staring down at his feet, muttering back, “Sir, I wasn’t -”
“Hold out your hand,” the officer commanded, cutting the soldier off. The soldier looked up at the officer with terror, eyes furrowing as his face scrunched into a scowl. Looking away, the soldier held out his off-hand. The officer tightly grabbed the soldier's middle finger with one hand, the weapon spirit in the other, and deftly cut the finger down to its base. “Remember my mercy.”
The soldier screamed, tears streaming down his face as blood gushed from the wound. Another nearby soldier rushed over, opening a pack that rested on their hips. The second soldier - a female - glared back at the officer, pulling an ointment from the pack and applying it rapidly. Within seconds, the wound cauterized and healed over, a nasty scar replacing what was a gushing wound only moments before.
The blade absorbed the rivulets of lifeblood, internally preening with delight. The man’s suffering mattered little since he would’ve failed as a wielder, but as it felt the connection to its new owner, it was left further disappointed. This man was different.
Different in a way that made it feel uneasy. A slight hint of bloodlust wafted off the man, but it didn’t assuage the blade of its frustrations.
Just like the man before - this man was no warrior.
“You will do well as a gift to the Emperor’s Heir,” the officer said, his eyes flashing with greed as a slimy smile plastered itself on the man’s face.
The weapon spirit was taken far from its birthing grounds. A velvet sheath became its home, the soft cloth tough enough to resist the sharpness of its blade.
Much to its chagrin, the officer mounted it on a wall to act as an ornament. It felt slighted, enraged in a way it had never been before. I am no decoration, fool!
Despite the internal rantings of the spirit, it could only focus on assimilating the energy accumulated. The longer it absorbed the stored energy, the sharper and more durable it became. It wanted to test itself against other blades, other weapons. It wanted to feel the rending of flesh as it drank in the lifeblood of its enemies.
But it could not. What made things worse was that the more it integrated the stored energy in its blade, the more it could understand. The more indignation it could feel at not being used appropriately.
Its internal ravings halted when the officer’s demure daughter entered the study, approaching her father as he sat at a fireplace with his fingers interlaced. She raised a brow, watching as her father obsessively stared at the weapon spirit with greed-filled eyes.
She cleared her throat, speaking softly, “The Royal Heir received your message, Father. He sends word that he’ll arrive in a week’s time to receive your gift and my hand in marriage.”
“You’ve done well, Valerie.” The officer waved the youth away with a smile, turning back to look at the sword. The sword glared back, a bloody intent focusing over the officer’s heart. “Bloodthirsty, I see. I think you’ll make a great pairing for the Heir.”
Standing, the officer gave one final look and then left the study. The spirit watched the departing officer’s back, I’ll kill you.
Assimilation of the Essence and lifeblood continued without pause, the deep bloodred of its blade shined with an unreal sharpness, almost all of the stored energy being absorbed. Every time it saw the officer, it allowed the man to feel its pent-up aggression in full. It would not let the man forget that the spirit was not an ornament to hang from a wall!
I am a warrior’s weapon. Release me if this is to be my fate! It raged, filling the room with its wrath, but it hung there for the entirety of the week.
This Heir didn’t sound any better. Valerie and her father both gushed about his royal heritage, but they mentioned nothing of his achievement in battle. All the spirit gathered was that the Heir was some showboat royal that allowed others to fend for him, but that was its gods' forsaken fate.
In a week’s time, it was pulled from the wall by the officer under his scornful gaze. “Behave yourself, spirit,” he hissed. “I’ll melt you into scrap if you don’t.”
It didn’t wish to become scrap, despite its indignation, so it calmed and pulled its bloody aura into itself. The officer took the sheathed sword into another room - an extravagant dining hall with several crystalline chandeliers, a massive dining table that spanned nearly the length of the hall with centered vases, and silver and gold filigree lining the walls.
A youthful man sat next to the young raven-haired girl, Valerie. Adorned in flashy treasures with skin softer than a baby’s bottom, the blonde Heir stared at the proffered weapon with little interest.
He waved his hand dismissively. An old servant, a man with grey hair and green eyes, took the sword and strapped it to the Heir’s hip. The blade could barely constrain its fury, dismissed so casually by a pompous brat.
But the spirit remembered the officer’s words and forced itself to remain calm. It watched on, disgusted by the Heir’s blatant salivation over the body of the young maiden. Their ages were similar, though the Heir looked a year or two older than the girl.
“Thank you for your gift,” the servant said, bowing toward the officer in the Heir’s stead.
Indignation colored the officer’s face, but the spirit rejoiced at its tormentor’s frustration. Despite its amusement, the spirit refused to be a prop once more. An innate understanding of its slowly growing capabilities allowed it to do something it had yet to do.
It transformed, billowing out to fill the room in a font of red smoke.
The room darkened and shook, the chandelier above threatening to crush Valerie and the Heir as the cloud took shape. The cloud formed a vaguely humanoid outline. It guided the transformation toward a powerful physique with a male form. Instantly, it began to solidify bit by bit next to the Heir.
Two golden orbs briefly observed Valerie, then turned toward the officer, emitting a focused bloodlust that made him start sweating nervously. Red spiky locks of short hair with two long strands that grew past his eyes took shape, his features sharp and defined. A lean, muscular frame appeared next. Looking around the room again, he realized that clothing would be necessary to interact with the people. Finally, as the transformation neared its end, he focused on the Heir.
A white v-neck manifested first, quickly being covered by a black leather jacket and fur coat. A star-shaped necklace rested on its chiseled chest, and a silver ring adorned each forefinger. Its pants were black, and a silver chain dangled from the belt of its back pocket. Black leather combat boots completed his transformation.
Valerie leaned away from the manifestation of the weapon spirit; the officer’s face warped in shock and awe, looking pale as parchment. The weapon spirit gripped the Heir’s shoulder.
Giving a half-grin, a bloodthirsty aura billowing outward, he tilted his head down toward the Heir. “You’re no warrior.”
The Heir rolled his eyes and the officer gasped. Seamlessly taking the events in stride, the Heir scoffed, his bored tone carrying a depth of iron, “Get your hands off me.”
“Who -” the girl paused, looking at the missing sword that came from the sheath. “What are you?”
The spirit raised a brow, looking at the girl. A name? With his off-hand, he gently flicked a strand of red hair out of his eyes, giving the girl a breathtaking smile. “Call me Red.”
The spirit took a male appearance. I am a he, not an it.
“What kind of joke is this, Levi?” the Heir asked, ignoring Red.
Gripping the Heir’s shoulder tighter, Red redoubled his focus on the arrogant youth. He spoke with absolute conviction, “I will not serve you.”
Crystal clear blue eyes stared back at Red, but it wasn’t haughty confidence that Red saw within. No, it was an unadulterated bloodlust that nearly matched his own. Red’s blood sang as he reappraised the youth, searching past the outward pomp.
Feeling the turbulent seas raging within the heart of the Heir, Red tilted his head to the side, showing his sharp teeth as he grinned. “Fight me, Heir.”
“My name is Roland,” the Heir stated, brushing off Red’s hand, “and why should I?”
Crossing one leg over the other while leaning his head into the palm of his hand that rested against the armchair, he stared back with intrigue. Curiosity sparkled within the youth’s eyes.
They both ignored Levi and Valerie’s sputtering protests, allowing their auras of bloodlust to ooze freely, turbulent waves crashing and slamming violently. Red could barely force the youth’s aura back, but it made him grin. “I may have misjudged you, Roland.”
“You’re surprisingly developed for a weapon spirit,” Roland said. “From what Levi said, you shouldn’t have been capable of manifesting your form for some time, yet here you are. I wonder what great battles you’ve experienced to hone you to such a degree.”
“Let us spar, and then we can share tales?” Red asked, raising a brow. “It seems only fitting for us to show our capabilities to one another.”
“Now’s not an appropriate time, but you’ve gained my attention, Red.” The Heir slammed a palm forward, disrupting the transformation with a burst of Essence. The energy that kept Red stable in his humanoid form faltered, and his body returned to a bloodred cloud of mist.
With a casual wave of his hand, the Heir returned Red to his bladed form, returning the spirit to its sheath. Excitement overwhelmed the small annoyance the weapon spirit felt. Reaching out with his mind, he touched at the edge of his new wielder’s mind.
For the first time, he felt resistance.
Knock it off, Roland’s mental voice reprimanded him. You will have your time.
Red acquiesced. By focusing on the two other abilities he gained from his assimilation of Essence, he managed to ignore the vomit-inducing processions that ended late in the evening many hours later. Roland - with Red still strapped to his waist - left in an armored carriage that spit out fumes as it puttered along, Valerie accompanying the youth back to his home.
Patiently waiting for his chance to fight the prince, he looked inward. An entire world waited within, his humanoid form waiting on a palatial throne with a world of stars above him. His consciousness entered the form, observing the surroundings.
In the sky above, three bronze cosmic balls shone brightly. When he focused further on them, he could instinctively understand the meaning behind them.
Power - Bronze | Durability - Bronze | Attunement - Bronze
The trifecta of attributes that determine the rank of every weapon spirit. Through the accumulation of Essence in battle, the weapon spirit may enhance itself. Through a combined effort with its wielder, a weapon spirit can absorb further resources to expedite growth.
“Wow, that’s -” he started, shaking his head to clear his mind. Turning around, a fountain of lifeblood awaited him. In its depths, protruding out of the pool, was a star-shaped dais with inscriptions.
Red | Weapon Spirit | E
Once a simple sword, this blade has soaked up the lifeblood and Essence of countless soldiers. Tempered in great battlefields, blade stained with blood, this spirit seeks a wielder to match its bloodlust and desire for further tempering. It’s still young, but its potential is boundless.
To drink the blood of my enemies, this is my only desire.
Innate: Two Forms
After reading through the plaque, he felt as though it really captured who and what he was. After he admired it for some time, he focused on the skills. Two Forms was fairly clear, walking around his inner realm in his humanoid form.
Reinforced functioned two-fold, both making his blade more durable and increasing his lethality. Grinning at the passive, he looked toward the third skill - the second he’d gained from his assimilation of energy.
Heartseeker, yes. This will do. A wild grin plastered itself onto his face as felt the ability once more, it’ll do just fine.
Staring up into the sky, he couldn’t stop himself from laughing raucously. The bronze coloration of the cosmic orbs meant one thing. The road ahead is a long one.