For the longest time, I really only had an idea that this weapon was going to be a magical orb. I needed it to be something that didn’t look like a weapon and could operate at range because Clyde has the advantage when an enemy is within reach. Funny thing is that it took writing the second to last outline for me to put pieces together.
Orb was originally a place marker for when I thought up the real weapon, but I eventually kept it as such. Nobody would look twice at someone carrying an orb because it doesn’t look dangerous until fully activated. Even then, it glows brightly and does nothing else until it’s fired. There’s no telling what the beam, blast, or whatever is emitted will do as well since they all have the same coloration. I found that having the Fist of Durag be an orb gave it more versatility, which is how the variation came about. You can fire over your shoulder without having to aim as long as you do a wide blast. It isn’t like this thing has a front to it. This was marked down with odd words like beam, blast, wave, ball, and whatever else I could do to note a different type of attack. Rarely did I write down what it did outside of ‘kill’ or ‘depower’.
Not really sure how I got the idea of making it depower Dawn Fangs either. It was going to be only killing, but I needed a survivor at one point. They needed to be badly injured, which doesn’t happen with a god-blessed weapon that only kills. So, I gave it levels of effect on Dawn Fangs where Leo Kandrel could revert them back to old-world vampires to make them suffer. They would be infused with sun magic here, so they would lose all of their strength and gradually die if he didn’t slaughter them first. This helped to create more fear among the previously unfazed Dawn Fangs, including making Clyde fairly nervous. You know it’s bad when a character who dominates fights and goes to anger before fear gets nervous. That actually helped me with the origin.
Honestly, it took me far too long to find an answer to why this orb could have the power to hurt Clyde. With Durag not 100% behind the eradication of the Dawn Fangs, it had to come from somewhere older or mortal. That’s when I remembered what Clyde was stealing when he was buried alive during the Great Cataclysm. It was a holy orb of Durag that the main temple had heavily protected and booby-trapped. Nobody knew where it went, but it had to be somewhere. This led to the confusion within the story about what happened while Clyde was buried, which was a part of the story that I never expected to tell. Until I began writing War of Nytefall: Eradication, I assumed he was biding his time and starting to go mad down there. Now, I had more activity between him and the surviving Duragians. It gives us a look into what he was doing and how he may have been transformed into a Dawn Fang.
I would say more, but the origin and abilities of the Fist of Durag is a major point of the story. The overall mystery and evolution is what prevents Clyde from charging in with his fangs out. Much of its abilities were made on the fly because my notes weren’t helping as much as they could. Heck, I didn’t even have Fist of Durag written on it for a while and switched it in after writing a few chapters. Why? Because I kept jumping between ‘Fist of Durag’ and ‘Heart of Durag’. This is what happens when you write a novel with large breaks between sessions and a chaotic life. This experience and weapon helped me figure out what my new limitations were, so I guess it wasn’t a bad thing to leave it up in the air for a while.
One last thing I would say is about using orbs as weapons. You have to remember that they don’t have handles and tend to be smooth. This increases the chance of the character dropping it, especially if it can’t be gripped completely in a fist. I solved this by having it return to Leo’s hand on its own (I think I kept that) and being able to fly to where it is needed. Fusing it to the body is another why to make sure this slippery weapon doesn’t take a tumble during a high action scene. People might not consider this when reading, but you never know when it might click that the orb is never in danger of being dropped regardless of the action’s intensity.