THE DRASKOVAER BLADE ("BLADEAXE")

DESCRIPTION - USAGE - FIGHTING STYLE - ORIGIN/HISTORY

The Draskovaer, more commonly referred to in Santharia as a "Bladeaxe" or by educated people known as the "Nybelmarian" or "Murmillion Bladeaxe", is the highly reputed and idolized weapon of the Murmillions and their famous elite warriors, the Drakkar. It is a weapon with little comparison as it is finely adjusted to the Murmillion preference for individual combat in battle and their cultural heritage.

The most simple description of it would be that it blends the shape of a sickle and an axe into a sharp blade esspecially suited for bashing through armour and the grappeling techniques of Murmillion armoured combat. As Murmillion warfare evolves around using heavily armed and armoured individual fighters split up based on the sects and clans they belong to this weapon has become the defining weapon for this tribe as they always preferred the axe and mace over the sword since the beginning of recorded history.

Description. Each weapon is finely atuned to the preferences of its bearer which explains its rarity outside the lands of the Murmillions as only a warrior trained in their ways of martial arts and a master blacksmith can devise this kind of weapon and turn it into wellbalanced tool of destruction, death and agony.

The basic property of the Draskovaer is a blade similar to a broad sabre, curved reverse like a sickle. Instead to a tip the blade widens to a countercurved blade which can be shaped in various ways but most commonly looks like an axe head from which its Santharian name derives. Depending on the era this head blade can however vary, e.g. to a more triangular shape to better penetrate thick armour or more to a tip to allow for limited thrusting.

It thus combines the shape of a sickle, of an axe and a sabre which makes it seem like an awkward and bulky
weapon too difficult to handle. However in the hands of a trained warrior these features, which look like design flaws, can be used for weapon techniques no other melee weapon can accomplish to such effect.

Aside of this basic setup the details of these
weapons can vary heavily between different eras and individual models. This begins with which blades are actually sharpened to deliver the lethal impact wounds for which the Draskovaer is feared. The most important area is here the axe blade as it is positioned on the last third of the weapon where a slash would develop the highest power. Sometimes the outer curve is kept intentionally dull to parry blows and giving the metal greater stability. In other instances this part of the blade is sharpened as well as specifically balanced Bladeaxes allow for devastating backhand slashes this way. The inner, sicklelike blade equally can be kept dull, if the bearer of the weapon prefers to parry an opponent's attack here and eventually catch his weapon and disarm him. At other times this part is sharp as one can trap a limb in the curvature of the sickle and a pulling motion can equally deliver grim cutting wounds.

The upper and lower tip of the axeblade of the
weapon can equally play vital roles in how this weapon is used by its bearer. The upper tip can be elongated and merged with the outer blade to form a six to eight long spike that enables one to inflict thrusting wounds. The lower tip however is where the most ancient reported special property of this weapon derives: forming a hook with the inner blade one can grab the shield or weapon of the enemy and pull him off balance and open him up for a followup attack.

The best balanced forms of the Draskovaer combine all these features in an elegant design that allows a welltrained
Murmillion warrior to fight a wide range of enemies with a wide range of techniques. There all parts of the blade are sharpened and the outer edge follows a slightly serpentshaped form first bending backwards and then forward thinning out to a sharp tip. The inner shape resembles that of a sickle but bends inward after two thirds of the length where it turns into the axeshaped portion of the blade which is sometimes interrupted by a thorn to enable puncturing heavy armour.

The hilt of the original Bladeaxes are usually for singlehanded use only as the Murmillions always fought with a round shield in their off-hand. Sometimes a simple circular metal protects the
weapon hand.

Often the side of the blade is heavily ornamented with scriptures or symbols from their religious texts or supposedly magical runes. Aside from the mythical and artistic effect this also serves a practical purpose: The Murmillions are not above using poison in war and a rough surface makes it stick better to the blade. For this purpose they use various gelee like mixtures among the most common are contact poisons that have as the most prominent side effect to inflict heavy pain on the victim to distract it. The reasoning being to win the melee or have the enemy die if one loses. While stories about this habit are widespread however the limiting factor about it is that those poisons are expensive and thus not accessible by everyone.
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Usage. While the blows with their slashing and bashing mostly resemble that of any other axe or sabre the special shape enables multiple different ways to approach an enemy. with the hook-like part of the weapon one can grab a shield, a weapon or even a person by digging it into his armour or body to manhandle the opponent to one's content, ridding him off his weapon, his shield or his balance. - This is especially important to break up the dense formations of tightly packed soldiers that try to avoid the kind of individual combat the Murmillions thrive on.

In one move ,which is known as the "Drakkar's Embrace" a
Murmillion would trap an opponent in such a way that he has the inner blade against his foe's throat. But it is not just the cutting that would kill the enemy, because of its form the hook of the Bladeaxe would brutally rip his whole throat out drenching the Drakkar and all his surrounding in blood. This and other terror tactics are meant to turn the battlefield into a nightmare for their opponent and thus demoralize them.

While not the best weapon for thrusting when having opened up or trapped the enemy for a moment often enough a vulnerable spot can be found to drive the tip of the weapon into it.

Similarily while the forward part of the blade excels at piercing armour the backside edge is enough to deliver brutal backhand slashes against unarmoured or only lightly armoured spots.
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Fighting Style. This weapon was invented by the
Murmillions for a reason. They are legendary and feared as the best individual fighters of Nybelmar (at least by the accounts of the most eastern realms) and their name is even known in Santharia to some degree. Their martial arts mainly consist of armoured combat that combines wrestling with holds and grabs using their weapon to bring their foe into a position where he can be ruthlessly killed with one lethal blow. Their style is open and demands space which is in contrast to the closed, mutual supporting formations that pride the Santerrans and Korweynites who - though grudgingly - would admit that outside the assuring protection of comrades anyone would be more prey than hunter to fully trained and motivated Murmillion Drakkar.

While the described fanatism of
Murmillions often portrays them as berserks on the battlefield - and their behaviour and the habit to wear intimidating masks resembling demons and monsters - in truth their fighting style is extremely methodical, calculating and coldblooded using brutal force and cunning tricks in perfect conjunction. In this regard the Bladeaxe esspecially enables them to take on and defeat armoured foes. In many ways the Murmillions are as much masters in psychological warfare as in actual combat. Thus they like to support and occasionally live up to rumours that are spread among the enemy for the simple sake of frightening him. Similarily the occasional usage of poison has a great effect even beyond its actual use as anyone is afraid of being even lightly wounded by a Drakkar. Return to the top

Origin/History. The Draskovaer is as old as are reports of
Murmillion warfare which places its existence well into the time of the Second Shadow War where the Murmillions and the Korweynites were entrapped in a brutal struggle of supremacy in Eastern Nybelmar. Given the sectlike nature of the Murmillion society and pointing out that their clerics use sickles in some of their rituals or as status symbols scholars believe that this special weapon developed out of a combination of this traditon and the formerly common usage of axes in battle when the tribal based Murmillion developed the professional warrior caste of the Drakkar and blended their political and spiritual leadership.

Knowledge about the
Murmillions and their weapon arrived in Santharia when in the wars of the Age of Havoc the city of Thalambath managed to hire a band of mercenaries from beyond the Crimson Islands who turnt out to be exiled Drakkar warriors. These mercenaries called themselves the "Hands of Mari". The meaning of the name was unknown to the Santharians of the time but after a few encounters they were quick to realize that Mari must be either Queprur in her less socialable moods or the bad stepsister of the Goddess of Death. These Drakkar mercenaries did not only bring much bloodshed to Santharia but also the knowledge of the fearsome reputation of the Murmillion warriors, their complete disregard of chilvaric rules and their marvelous expertise in the handling of this exotic weapon. It was told that the dissolution of these mercenaries was even an explicit condition of the peace treaties that were to restore order.

In Nybelmar new variations were derived from the original Draskovaer. Among them a short slashing sword, which is mainly used by Santerran sailors in contrast to the cutlass-like weapons preferred by Santharian seamen, as well as versions with elongated hilts which allows it to be handled like a polearm.
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 Date of last edit 18th Singning Bird 1667 a.S.

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