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An excerpt from the Guidebook to the Order of the Red Clover
By Sister Incognita
Jen Green, Sean McNeil
Rachelle Abellar, Tammy Vince Cruz
Royal Archivist Publishing Inc.
Creative Director: Mike McArtor
Managing Editor: Sean McNeil
Technical Lead: Rommel Degracia
Story Lead: Ann K. McArtor
Art Director: Dora Wang
As an entire leaf of the Order devotes much of its efforts to study and research, it is hardly surprising that a number of scientific advances have been made by cloverites. While they have not developed the breadth or depth of technology expected of Roman think-tanks or research scientists employed by Tennyson Delinoix Associates, in the war against the Umbral most of the breakthrough advances have been performed by Red Clover clergy. For the most part, they share this weapon technology freely in an effort to increase humanity’s ability to fend off Umbral attacks. There are, however, certain things that only an ordained member of the Order may use, and some that seem literally powered by the strength of the cloverite’s faith….
Weapons: It is in the field of weaponry, though―primarily weaponry specialized for use against the Umbral―in which the technology developed by the Order shines. While only roughly half of the active missionaries are trained in the use of conventional firearms, each one who enters the field is presented a pistol-like weapon―officially referred to as a suppression gun, but nicknamed “the holy word” by its bearers―that is fitted with exactly two special bullets. Manufactured by the clergy especially for the suppression gun, these bullets are produced in the same fashion as other enchanted ammunition, but with added prayers and blessings (not to be confused with actual Divine Blessings) laid into the metal. Though the bullets are not usually enough to kill an Umbral―to date only two separate successful kills have been documented―they are enough to drive the weaker creatures off in order to buy the missionary time to escape, or at least provide a distraction should one be required.
Oya who travel with missionaries or work as bodyguards are outfitted with two mid-range firearms, to be kept holstered at shoulder and hip, as well as―when out in the actual field―a crossbow. One firearm is a mundane weapon of caliber and style that the oya in question prefers. The other is essentially a larger version of the suppression gun and fires six rounds of the same sort of specially-enchanted ammunition. These massive revolvers have a minimum of moving parts, which increases their reliability on high-mana worlds; field reports indicate they function with no noticeable loss of power or accuracy even if frozen, submerged, or, in one legendary case, “used to hammer in one thousand, eight hundred and fifty-seven ring-shank nails.” The crossbow is considered to be more practical on lower-mana worlds, as the simpler mechanism can maintain a higher number of spells or magical enhancements before malfunctioning due to a world’s low mana supply. Typically, no more than six bullets can be spared for each oya’s revolver, while the crossbow is provided with two blessed/enchanted bolts (the type of enchantment which varies depending on the world a particular oya is stationed on) and two normal bolts, to be used at the wielder’s discretion.
In addition, each oya is also expected, upon her graduation to the rank of valkyrie, erserker, or commander, to have created a bladed fighting weapon (with the guidance of the master-smiths) that becomes her personal weapon for life. Most prefer daggers or similar knifelike weapons, though some do create true swords of various styles. These blades, tempered with holy water sent from the First Sanctuary itself, are designed with enough inlaid prayers to give the wielder some advantage should she come into direct combat with an Umbral, as well as being able to sever the connections between an Umbral’s mask and its body, which is one of the few documented ways to kill the creatures without resorting to the complete destruction of its physical form. It is referred to as one’s blade of life, and an oya will not relinquish this weapon until the time of her death―at which point, traditionally, it is interred with her.
Holy Weapon: The Blade of Life
Just as certain individuals within the Order are gifted with Divine Blessings, so do some weapons forged by the Order’s members possess the ability to transcend the limitations of a mana-poor environment and continue working as originally intended. The personal weapons forged by the oya upon reaching the third rank all seem to fall within this category. Whether it is because of the holy water used or the prayers spoken over the metal, all of these blades seem to remain effective against Umbral―or other supernatural beings―without fail. Those oya with a blade of life report increased stamina and strength when in combat, as well as a nearly preternatural sense of the flow of battle. While this is not a guarantee of victory, it can grant the edge necessary to survive direct combat with the supernatural. It is worth noting these weapons will only grant their miraculous abilities when in the hands of the proper wielder―should a blade of life be stolen from its oya, it becomes merely an ordinary weapon, capable of being used in a fight, but lacking whatever blessings it originally provided. At the same time, some exceptions to this do exist; in cases where an oya-wielder was particularly close to another person, whether by blood or other bonds, and whether ordained within the Order or not, then in times of crisis that person may be able to take up the oya’s blade of life and use its powers successfully in battle.
The process of creating these weapons is both ritualistic and practical―the forger must recite prayers of battle during the entire process, from pouring the metal to dousing it in holy water, and her voice must be the only one that the metal “hears” as it is being created―the master forger will give instructions before the creation, and then allow the oya to perform as required. The hilts of the blades of life are often also outfitted with psionic circuitry that initiates a self-repairing mechanism that may only be initiated and maintained by the oya’s voice reciting prayers. While this work is daunting, most of the Umbral corpses retrieved for dissection and study were killed using one of the blades of life, and as such they are considered by their wielders―and the clergy who study the Umbral―more than worth the time and effort it takes to create one.
Rumor places the sword of Earth legend, Excalibur, as one of these weapons, left behind when its wielder was killed in battle and irretrievable until it was cast aside by the one who taken up the weapon after its previous wielder’s death.
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