Long ago, Kira Grasdon was a one-scene character who complained about an injured hand and then had a run-in with Kellia. That was it for her until an editing run placed her in a sparring match with Luke Callindor, Kellia, and Roland Gauntlier. I kept adding her into scenes until she rose up the ranks to a supporting character. Of course, this came with a slight problem . . . she needed a weapon.
Back in those days, I’d slap a sword on a character and leave it that. Yet, I knew I had to do something else as Kira popped up more often in outlines. I stalled a lot on this because nothing felt right for her. She was an heiress who wasn’t a good student at the warrior academy, but showed blips of promise. In truth, she held herself back and showed a discomfort towards being seen as capable until she met Luke. This really stood out to me and I felt she needed a unique weapon, which is also what led to Kira coming from a different region. I designed Bor’daruk as a desert city and gave her . . . a scimitar that lasted for an hour. Yeah, I was hitting a lot of dead ends here until I relaxed and saw this:
One of the less obvious highlights in Quest of the Brokenhearted might by the trusty weapon of our heroine.
I was already into anime and suddenly got the idea to start implementing Asian weaponry into Windemere. Since it wasn’t Earth, I had no reason to avoid putting these things alongside the typical European weaponry. Thankfully, I didn’t try any other weapons for Kira besides the kusari-gama because that one worked out perfectly. It allowed her to do a few tricks that I needed from her during the assault on Hamilton Academy and it helped her stand out. The rationale for her people designing the chain/sickle/club combo was to handle the giant scorpions that were common in the desert. Ranged weapons are best, but getting jumped meant needing to handle that tail. The kusari-gama had a decent distance and some level of binding, especially the enchanted models. It really helped Kira stand out like I wanted her to.
Unlike swords, I was never really sure how a kusari-gama works and looked up a bunch of videos. It’s not an easy weapon, so I decided to be a little more fictional with its use than other weapons. The style had a lot of flicking out with the club and precision slashing with the sickle, which required a lot of agility on Kira’s part. Defensive moves were more complicated since it’s hard to block with a chain and the two ends aren’t at the best at parrying. I came up with one version where the user wraps the chain around their arm and holds one of the ends to create a semi-armor sleeve. This requires time though, which again went back to putting Kira into a style that is built around speed, agility, and reflexes. This wasn’t really her forte at the start, so I mentioned a few times that she really buckled down and trained. Making her a quick study and fairly cunning definitely helped out in this area.
In regards to Quest of the Brokenhearted, the kusari-gama influenced a lot of Kira’s ‘upgrades’ that she gains, which is obvious. It also is a big reason why I continued on with this idea and put Kira specifically into it. Now, it does get a little difficult since the timeline on how I created this story is all over the place. I knew I wanted to do a story that gave her closure. I also wanted to do a story that was inspired by Castlevania. It took a little while for me to get a mental connection, which ended up being that Kira and Simon Belmont use similar weapons. He has a whip and she has the kusari-gama, which might sound like a silly thing to work off of. Yet, I really enjoyed having characters enter the fights with more common fantasy weapons and then there’s Kira leaping and swinging around in an entirely different style.
I think it’s important in fantasy to give your main characters something that can identify them. Weapons are obviously one way to go. I tend to gravitate towards this because I focus on action. Luke Callindor had his sabers, Timoran Wrath had his axe, and Kira Grasdon had her kusari-gama. There’s no way for me to picture her without that weapon either in her hand, on her belt, or hidden in her dress. This is also the weapon that opened up a lot of possibilities for me in Windemere. No reason to stick solely with European weapons once someone is running around with a chain-and-sickle.