Brothersword and Sisterbow

The Rgye Vô Shchang have a strange custom. Sometimes, when a woman is in an interesting position, she goes into the bush and finds a fine stave of myrrh, or sandalwood, or the horn of a hkh'on antelope, and she fashions a bow from it. Meanwhile, her husband makes a sword of watered silver, or Eastern damask bronze, or perhaps of jade or tiger bone. They only have nine months to do so, for the blade must be quenched for the last time and the bow strung for the first time on the day of the baby's birth.

The three are named together: the child, his brother the sword, and his sister the bow. The three grow up together and learn to know one another inside and out; with the passing of years the swordgod and bowgoddess become more alert and awake, and before his nineteenth year, the child has become a warrior and shaman, experienced in combat and skilled at taming gods.

These children become dangerous. They have lives of leisure and ease; there is little that can thwart the will of such a trinity. By the same token, they do not become heroes.

But sometimes the brothersword breaks.

Sometimes the sisterbow snaps.

Sometimes someone kills them.

This invariably drives the child insane. A bond forms between the child and his battle gods, and when this is cut, the child's mind shatters like a dropped egg. These are the heroes of the Shchang: men and women who have had pieces of their heart formed into instruments of war and then cracked. Some of them are thirsty for vengeance. Others are hungry for completion. Still others lust after their own deaths. It makes no difference. A leg of the tripod has come out, and thus, it collapses, and crushes whatever ends up beneath it.


Anonymous Josh said...

when a woman is an interesting position

is a euphemism for what, exactly?

12:04 am  
Blogger Shreyas said...


10:10 am  

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