Hola, survivors of U.S. Thanksgiving. I made it through the day yesterday, heading down to Maryland to relax with friends, then back up to The Burg for a late-night brow waxing before heading home to call family. Yes, busy day all around.
And you know what that means: no writing. Not yet, at least. I did it yesterday morning, and you saw that, but I didn’t write before going to bed because I was just too tired. Now, since I had a two hours drive down yesterday, and two hours back, I had plenty of time to figure out things with my kids, and even lay down a couple of scenes, one of which will get played out in the next book. Wait, am I really talking next book? Yeah, I am. I’m strange that way.
I also started thinking about Motre spells and how they could be looked at in the same way martial arts is examined. Why is this and what am I talking about? First, they why, and it came from a comment from my friend and fellow blogger renxkyoko, who made this statement the other day:
Just a lame observation……
Annie’s is more feminine…. I mean, ribbons ? He he
And Kerry’s is manly…. I mean, a sword ?
I guess it’s natural instinct. They gravitate towards what they prefer, deadly shadow ribbons for a girl, and a sword for the guy.
Now, I don’t see those as either feminine or masculine traits, because a lot of women in fiction where fighting is involved use swords–several animes would tell you so, I’m sure–whereas there are certain martial arts films where you see guys doing a lot of deflecting and misdirection. And this is where I start looking at Morte spells where they are seen as hard and soft disciplines.
To lay it out quick and dirty, a hard martial arts style is often defined as power coming from the outside the individual, using fast, strong, direct attacks against your opponent, while a soft martial arts style is usually defined as power coming from within, using relaxed, slow, indirect defense against your opponent. In terms of martial arts, Shaolin Kung Fu, Eskrima, and Karate would be considered hard styles, while Tai Chi, Aikido, and Hsing-I are considered soft styles.
The different spells are used different ways, just as in martial arts you have different ways of pretty much doing the same thing. When Annie did her Morte demonstration she used ribbons to bind–soft restraint there–and then used magic to turn one’s body against itself: in short, she bleed out her opponent. She could be seen as a practitioner of a soft style that didn’t require any outside attacks, and given that her signature Morte spell is Exsanguination, the way she goes about killing someone isn’t going to be all that flashy or noticeable: just look at how she took out the female Deconstructor during the Link Bridge battle.
Kerry went full-on external using Electrify as his signature spell, and even went a step further by showing he could craft an electrical sword. We can guess why he started learning Electrify: because he’d seen it used within various entertainments in geek culture, and if you haven’t figured it out, that’s also one of the reasons he was initially drawn to transformation as a magical form as well. At this point in his schooling Kerry is going with what he’s seen, knows, and loves, but he’s still young–I mean, he’s not even a teenager yet, right.
At the same time the kids known how to change up their styles. First, look at how Annie fought her Judgement Trial. Everything was external, full of deadly Air Hammers and an Electrify kill shot. She had to because there wasn’t room for subtlety: it was go or blow, and Annie doesn’t not blow when it comes time to show her stuff. She also had a point to prove: mess with me and I’ll put you down hard. It was a bit different from the point she made in her Morte demonstration, which was, “If I want to take you out, you won’t see me coming.”
Kerry is still learning his styles, but now that he’s learning Exsanguination he’ll change up when the need arises. Remember, Annie’s had a few years to develop her signature Morte spell: Kerry’s only been working on this stuff for about a year. When he took out the homunculi during his Exsanguination training it became an “Ah, ha!” moment for him, when he learned that for some spells overthinking–or over attacking–isn’t what’s needed; sometimes you just kick back, flick your finger at someone, and let the magic do the rest. Now, Helena mentioned that Kerry knows the same stuff as Annie, but you can bet all his fellow B Levels remembered from that class is how he lobbed a zombie head in their direction.
And one last thing that I find interesting. Helena has been played up as a major bad ass, and rightfully so. And yet, we know Kerry has killed someone, Annie has as well, so has Erywin, and it’s been implied that Maddie and Jessica killed people during the Day of the Dead attack. Now, we’ve heard that Helena has killed people, but have you seen her throw a Morte spell? No. One day I’ll have to write up the time she killed a student . . .
So, there are my musings for the day. Tomorrow I’ll have more for you to read–