27 days until Cloak of War releases, and I can’t wait! Today I’ve got something special for you: an excerpt from Cloak of War! And not just from the beginning, either.
Today, Kayla answers something you may have been wondering about for a long time. (Or not!)
Here it is, in her own words, when she’s asked that very question by IDC Agent Hekkar Tial, Second in Command of Malkor’s Octet:
“Why kris daggers?” Hekkar finally asked, as if the question had been bugging him since they met. He gestured to the pointed tip. “I mean, they’re sufficient for stabbing, and the curves give it a wider blade track without the weight of a wider weapon, but. . . .”
Kayla chuckled. “Believe me, I know. Kris are rarely sharpened and hardly hold an edge. When it comes to cutting and slicing, a straight-edged dagger beats them for sheer utility.”
“Why would you use a blade that is less than perfectly efficient?”
“Credits. It’s all about the credits.” At least it had been when she was on Altair Tri and desperate for a way home. “This isn’t a ro’haar ceremonial weapon or anything. It’s an affectation, pure and simple. Showmanship.” Kayla looked at the wavy edges of the weapons that had surprisingly become her dearest possessions. “On Ordoch I trained with every type of weapon conceivable—and even things that you’d never think of as a weapon.” She smiled at the memories of fighting with a rolling-pin, a shoe, and musty piece of fabric. “You never know what you’ll have at hand when your il’haar needs protecting.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Sure, I went around armed with a plasma blaster, but my people had long ago figured out how to disable advanced weapons electronically. I couldn’t count on that. So I also wore two knives. Armed with low-tech and high, like a true ro’haar.
“When I landed on Altair Tri and realized the only way to get Corinth home was to earn an obscene amount of credits and purchase a ride back to Wyrd Space, I adopted the Shadow Panthe persona.”
“And fought in the pits,” Hekkar said.
“Exactly. Fighting in the pits isn’t about skill. I could have beaten most of my opponents armed with a pickle.” Kayla set her kris aside, its edge perfectly sharp. “Fighting in the pits—and drawing the biggest purse per fight—is all about showmanship. I learned that early on.”
“And so the kris?”
She nodded. “No one fought with kris daggers. They were unique. Exotic. They played into my mysterious Shadow Panthe persona. I made them work. And in the end, I could demand more credits per fight based on my ‘alluring mystique.’”
Hekkar seemed to take that in. It was refreshing to discuss weapons with a person who understood the balance between form and function, who valued lethality above all. Just as she’d been taught. One did not plan to detain your il’haar’s attacker. A ro’haar killed first, and investigated the attack after your il’haar’s safety was assured.
Wait until you see what Kayla and the octet are up to in Cloak of War, Book 2 of the Empress Game!