An ornate dagger originating from the Zarathian tribe of Aeruillin, this weapon's popularity has spread around the continent, along the numerous trading routes of the Zarathians. While it shares the same cultural significance as the Cholian sparth, this weapon is adapted to fit the Zarathian lifestyle. The weapon, recognized for its perfection, is also bought for use by those outside the tribe, primarily for thieves and assassins as it is of the highest quality, slow to dull and contains elaborate inlays.
|Image description. An exemplar of beautiful ornate weapon known throughout the world simply as a "Zarathian", based on the tribe it originates from. Picture drawn by Seeker.|
This dagger is
awarded to a child on its fourteenth birthday, marking its passing to a full
member of the tribe with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of an
adult. No matter the affluence of the wielder, it is always extravagant, though
not to the point of being gaudy or unusable. The blade resembles that of the
person's last dagger, however it is engraved, usually with pictures describing
the person or a family crest.
The handle of the dagger is as extravagant as the blade. Though it is usually made of an expensive metal, common features such as the addition of precious stones are not used as they make the weapon unwieldy. The handle is commonly engraved with a family crest at its center, surrounded by intricate designs.
A Zarathian Dagger is almost always worn in an equally as extravagant sheath seated on the wielder's hip allowing for easy access because they are often kept very sharp and are used quite frequently.
The size of the dagger varies, however on average, they are kept pretty small. The weight of the dagger varies slightly in each gender, however men's daggers are considerably heavier than those of women.
Basically there are two kinds of daggers to distinguish:
This dagger is the first received by a Zarathian at approximately 8 years of age. This weapon is a minute dagger, meant to fit the hand of a child, though it is used very rarely by adults. The weapon, unlike an adult's dagger, has no designs and consists solely of a tiny blade and a handle. The blade is straight and blunted to prevent injuries while training. The hilt, like the blade, is also very bland. This dagger is usually worn proudly by the child who owns it in a small sheath at the child's hip and is the ONLY weapon that the child will have until he or she reaches maturity.
The Zarathian Specialized
Seeing as a Zarathian is allowed to choose the manner in which the blade of his weapon is shaped, this training dagger varies based upon the child. Usually awarded at the age of 12, the blade of this weapon is the only section that differs from a young child's dagger. Each owner is allowed to choose, within certain limits, the shape of the blade. These shapes range from straight blades, as found commonly on regular daggers, or an abrupt curve, forming a moonblade-like dagger, though serations are quite common due to their practicality. The dagger is also slightly larger than a regular training dagger, marking the child’s elevated status. The type of blade in which the child chooses, forces him or her to undergo additional training in the use of the new weapon. Smaller classes are derived based on each section. After completing this training, the child is allowed to receive the adults' dagger at the age of 14.
Usage. Zarathian Daggers are used in a traditional way by the Zarathians themselves of course, but it is also a weapon other tribes of Aeruillin utilize:
When the Zarathian Dagger was created, it served the dual purpose as a mark of adulthood as well as serving as protection. In the Zarathian culture, when a child completes its training and is old enough to be considered an adult, they are awarded with an extravagant dagger by the elder members of their family. The dagger is then engraved to show areas of interest of the owner as well as with a family crest and other identifying markings. Seeing as the dagger is the sign of a child's maturity, rarely will you find anyone without their dagger.
The dagger's appearance also fits very well into the Zarathian lifestyle. As traders, the Zarathians need an effective way to protect themselves without scaring off any customers because of intimidating guards or weapons. The dagger can easily be hidden in a saddle bag, or on a mule if necessary, allowing the Zarathian to feel protected, yet prevent others from knowing, though the tribe's pride often prevents them from doing so.
at other Aeruillin Tribes
As the Zarathians are a trading people, it is only natural for the use of their dagger to have spread as people traveled to their city. The weapon naturally became used by cutthroats to liquidate targets as it is known for its perfection and plethora of shapes. However, despite its exploitation by theses assassins, the dagger also seduced merchants, farmers and women into its usage as it offered efficient protection, while allowing the proprietor to appear innocent and unprotected, which in turn led to prosperity for the people in theses various lifestyles.
Seeing as Zarathians usually display their dagger proudly, many began to wonder what purpose the extravagant weapon served. After many speculations by the general populace, it was believed that the daggers were a symbol of wealth in the tribe. Affluent people, not wishing to be bested by their Zarathian neighbors, began to imitate the dagger, dressing their own with precious stones and wearing it as proudly as any Zarathian to flaunt their wealth to any passer-by. Soon, the weapon became as much of a marker for economical and social status as a crown or a large estate.
Wanting to appear as if they belonged within the tribe, outsiders began proudly showing their own replicas of the weapon, strutting through the streets with the ornate weapon boldy displayed at their side. Feeling no special connection to the weapon, it was not uncommon for the misinformed outsiders to attempt to sell their replicas, earning the distaste of the Zarathians. The proud tribe, completely unimpressed by their neighbors' displays, openly ridiculed the merchants, creating an abrupt ending to the short-lived fashion.
Fighting techniques with the Zarathian Dagger are usually taught to children
starting at the age of eight. The method taught encompasses all the uses of the
dagger, showing children how to use both the element of surprise along with
agility and strength. Seeing the misleading weapon
"magically" appear in the hand of a
Zarathian often startles the
opponent, providing ample time for the wielder to dart in with the blade before
the enemy has time to protect himself.
If this should fail, the Zarathian is then forced to square off with the enemy and fight in a normal duel. Seeing as the weapon is so small, dealing as much damage as possible per blow is evident as it takes much more effort to reach the enemy. Children are taught the locations of vital organs and weak spots along the chest, back, shoulders and legs. However, despite the deadly effect of each blow, the children are taught to treat combat as a dance, twirling and leaping past blows while darting in and out with the dagger, a feat that requires lots of practice. Also, along with this dexterity, the Zarathian is forced to provide considerable force behind each blow to make it more powerful, adding to the complexity of the dagger's use. Despite the main focus on combat, these classes also encompass the practicality of the tribe. Between breaks in combat training the children are taught more basic uses of the dagger, such as how to effectively use it to cut rope or butcher meat.
Origin/History. After the dagger made its way into the hands of the Zarathian men, it began to evolve to fit their lifestyle. Seeing as the Zarathians are a trading people, they needed a way to protect themselves and their wares without adopting an intimidating appearance which would lower their sales. This led to the daggers found among the Zarathian tribe to become more efficient as time progressed and its popularity grew until eventually, almost everyone had a version of the customized dagger.
After many generations of popularity, the weapon began to integrate itself into Zarathian culture. Schools were opened to teach children how to use the weapon effectively. It also came to represent adulthood in the tribe. Once a child had completed their training, they would be awarded a dagger by their parents, showing that they could efficiently protect themselves and no longer needed to depend upon their parents for survival. The daggers that marked a child’s right of passage were extravagant, usually taking weeks to complete. The daggers were engraved and personalized, based upon the child’s interests and its heritage. Zarathians could tell many personal things, such as hobbies and beliefs just by reading the symbols engraved along the blade’s surface. These adult daggers became so important that they became used as a compliment. For example, during business transactions, compliments of the opposing party’s dagger were used as flattery in order to achieve a more favourable bargain.
Seeing as the dagger played a significant role in the Zarathian culture, outsiders soon became curious as to what the beautiful daggers represented. After much debate, the general populace came to the conclusion that the daggers represented wealth. Seeking to show their own wealth, the popularity of the dagger drastically increased as nobles and peasants alike bought their own to flaunt their wealth to the general populace. This caused a boom in the expansion rate of the daggers, causing their popularity to fan out from primary trade routes by word of mouth until it encompassed most of the continent, sending many wealthy families journeying to Shan'Zarathan.