by Max Barry

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The Aquatic Librarian Knights of
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2

Weapons

Tethysi weapons are separated into five categories - Wing-Weapons, Quill-Weapons, Candleblades, Eraser-Weapons and Special Weapons. All of the weapons of Tethysi origin utilise shed Feathered Eel materials, heavy conductors of symbolism.

Wing-Weapons are the standard armament of the Tethysi. They are forged using the quills of Feathered Eels, which have the effect of reducing water resistance and hold great symbolic power. The weapons themselves are keen as scalpels and stronger than steel, able to carve through even the Power Armour of some advanced civilisations with enough strength behind them. They do not blunt often, and them breaking is almost unheard of. They come in many forms, with Wingbows and Wingspears being the most common, and Wingkhopeshes and Wingcannons being less so. The quills they bear can be plucked to transform into other tools.

Quill-Weapons are the most relevant of those tools. Through an invocation of symbolism, the quills of the Feathered Eel can be refashioned into weapon and pen both. This offers the Tethysi a vast and varied arsenal available at a moment's notice. The quills need not be attached to a Wing-Weapon - some Tethysi adorn them on their armour or as hair-pieces. As a rule, Quill-Weapons are of a similar strength to high-quality steel, though that is most true of the standard Quillsword - larger weapons tend to be slightly less resilient, and smaller weapons such as the Quillarrow stronger. The Quillarrow is the most common transformation choice, the quill forming a 'fletching' in a spiral down the length of the arrow, and there are numerous variations of the shallowness of the fletching or the head. Indeed, when fired by a Wingbow underwater, there is little armour that can withstand an armour-piercing Quillarrow. If destroyed or expended, they are reduced to faded and fragile feathers.

Candleblades are a relatively recent invention, inspired by the weapons of an order of spiritualist police. The candles and candlesticks are specially created, and through an invocation of symbolism, they can be lit and the flame extended to a blade of plasma capable of cutting through almost anything. They are often carried as backup weapons, as they are not particularly viable for use underwater. A Candleblade usually lasts five minutes before needing reloading.

Eraser-Weapons use symbolism-rich Star Pumice as a base and rubber created from Feathered Eel slime to tap into the power of the end of the universe itself. Star Pumice can only be found in the last dregs of a dying universe, and the weapons created have two very divergent purposes. The most common is the Erashield, which comes in various sizes and shapes, but has the effect of cancelling out - 'erasing' - any vectors that strike its Star Pumice boss, unless its symbolic power outstrips that of the shield - something only the mightiest of weapons could hope to achieve. This creates a nigh impenetrable defence on that relatively small area, and can be used in many useful ways, though attempting to strike someone with it is as pointless as striking it. The other, far less common but far more infamous creation is the Full Eraser, a massive hammer with the potential to erase those slain by it - or, in the case of the Tethysi, those whose Autobiographies are struck by it - from history. The Full Eraser is only wielded by the secretive knights of the Order of Pumice, who are feared especially by their fellow Tethysi. Something of an outlier is the Erasure Rifle, which fires a white beam that can erase matter it strikes (though without the effect of the Full Erasers), being a weapon only used by the Order of Pumice, and then rarely.

Special Weapons refer to any weapon not covered by the above rules. These are weapons claimed in conquest or given in gift to the nation, or those crafted by legendary Tethysian smiths. The two swords known as Future Feather, the dread Endscythe, the Stormaul, Sunruler, etcetera. They are the marks of the long and glorious history of the Tethysi people.

A subset of Special Weapons is the Weapons of Mass Destruction. The exact number and nature of these is unknown, but there are three notable examples:
The Erasure Cannons are similar to Erasure Rifles, but on a far larger scale. They fire massive white beams of antireality, capable of erasing matter they strike unless it has a very strong narrative presence. The cannons come in various sizes, and are by far the most common Weapon of Mass Destruction the Tethysi have, small examples being equipped onto their shuttles while larger calibre pieces are deployed on the outer spirals of the Grand Libraries.
The Frozen Moment is a picture book that can freeze time over a target area, which is captured on one of its pages. To enact this ritual requires the Tethysi to deploy to a location from which they can clearly see the target area, which can be anything from a metre square to a gigantic metropolis, and perform a ritual that takes thirteen minutes. If successful, that area is frozen in time until the image is destroyed.
The Culture Assimilator is by far the most feared weapon the Tethysi possess. It is a colossal book, contained in a special fortress within the water of each Grand Library. When a Grand Library is stationed above a world, the Culture Assimilator can be activated. It will begin to write the entire history of a chosen culture from that world, in a ritual that takes 13 hours. Alone this would not be a terrifying prospect, but if a filled Culture Assimilator is struck by a Full Eraser, it will erase the entire culture from history. There have been a few times over the centuries where a culture has successfully prevented this weapon from being used. Only the Order of Pumice know how many times it has been used successfully, and they are silent. Some think it a bluff, but that is not a chance any culture would be willing to take.

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