Winning Entry 4: Castir Jul 14, 2017 5:38:05 GMT
Post by admin on Jul 14, 2017 5:38:05 GMT
ORIGINAL SPECS AND DESCRIPTION (Designers initial notes and description):
The desert regions further to the west of the Aleutian Empire and beyond the Aru Sea were the homelands of the Escian People. Unusual for a desert, these lands were fertile and rich with minerals, ripe for mining. By all rights, the Escians should have become a prosperous country, but that dream was long shattered by the Agrabinta Empire. The Agrabintas ruled over the Escians for over 300 years, imposing heavy tax and unreasonable laws upon its people, all in the name of mercantilism. Rebellions broke out frequently, sometimes decades apart. However, there was one common element shared in each rebellion; The Castir.
The first Castir blades were invented before Escia had a name, when the deserts were still young and smaller than it is today. These early Castir blades were most often used on horseback, making full use of its long blade, curvature, and twin edges. These blades were worn on the waist with the outer curve facing downward. The edge facing the inner curvature is only sharpened around ¾ of the blade’s length (designer’s note: unokubi-zukuri katana style. Though similar to a real-life katana, the Castir was never meant for quick-drawing).
This extra edge, which would not normally be sharpened in any other curved swords, is used to execute enemies of the Escians by slitting their throats while the edge facing outwards is used to behead. The Castir quickly became known as a brutal executioner’s weapon, thus earning its moniker, the Beheader.
Early Castirs were made from folded steel and although examples of differentially hardened Castirs exist, they are rare and have only been in the ownership of wealthy or important individuals. One such individual is Akira Kosakami, who owns one of the earliest Castirs ever forged, made of folded steel using techniques both mundane and magical that is now lost to time. This blade is enhanced by some of the most powerful archmages in the world for a single purpose; to kill Akira. Suffice to say, that attempt had failed and the blade became a part of her collection. Modern day Castirs are forged using modern methods and materials without regard for tradition. So long as it looks and functions like a Castir, it’s a Castir.
The Castir didn’t evolve much in its centuries of combat life. It is a perfect blade for use by the Escians thanks to their relatively level terrain and to make full use of their expertise in horseback warfare. The Castir also finds itself amongst foot soldiers just as often as cavalrymen, though the Castirs made for footsoldiers are often slightly shorter and thicker to make them easier to wield and tougher. An effective slashing and chopping weapon, Castirs reigned supreme in a time when iron and chainmail armor were relatively rare. Even when iron armor were more common Castirs simply became thicker and wider. Its wielders would slice at an armored opponent’s joints between the plates, where chainmail offers limited defense.
A Castir was used by the Colamandalan blademaster Akassir during the Siege of Avolire. Akassir wielded his Castir against the legendary Swordsage Mura in their famous duel. Though Akassir lost, the defeat was not attributed to the blade, rather to the skill and stamina of their wielders. Mura’s victory was the result of his experience, not the quality of the blades. The presence of Castirs amongst the Colamandalan ranks suggest that Escia is actively involved in their rebellion against the Aleutians.
The Castir pictured above is one of many swords owned by Akassir. He had requested the sword and fittings built according to his skills and preferences. It is 40 inches long. While sheathed, its length is 44 inches. The handle’s length is 12 inches while the blade from tip to base is 28 inches long. The blade weighs just over 1kg, fully fitted. The handle is wooden and wrapped in cord, sometimes also with rayskin. This particular blade had no rayskin on its handle nor was it differentially hardened. A Castir’s sheath is most often made of leather or wood, though leather sheaths are more common because it is cheaper to produce.
Total length: around 44 inches variable (with sheath) 40 inches without sheath
Blade length: 28 inches
Handle length: 12 inches
Basic style is reminiscent of a Kogarasu Zukuri Katana/Naginata blade hybrid. Has many Katana like elements, so the Katana should be the basis for this swords construction.
TECHNICAL QUESTIONS UNANSWERED:
Not entirely sure what is happening in the middle of the sword between the blade and the handle, so will need a picture from another angle on this component.
What kind of scabbard should this have? I don't think a wooden one suits it - simple and close fitting leather might be best.
The 'ito' wrap - should this be leather in a 'battle wrap' style?
Should the blade be differentially hardened? Assuming the false edge is sharpened, would make for a versatile cutter.
BACKGROUND STORY EXPANSION:
It is pretty much perfect as is, but the story is heading in the direction that the Escians who wield this sword are strongly influenced by oriental culture, though ethically they are probably the same or closer to the Imperials (a good analogy might be the Romans compared to the Greeks). They follow the meditative religion of Lhasa (think Zen Buddhism) and have strong trade ties to Lhasa and the distant eastern island chain that is not on the map yet but is based roughly on Japan.