A little different than my normal stuff. For one, it's longer, which is awesome. For another, it's a double post on a Monday?! What is this madness! Well, today is my birthday so as a special gift from me to you, here is this one-shot. It mainly involves everyone's favourite ice queen. No, it's not Winter. It also features an OC character acting as her tutor, but it's a Weiss-centric story entirely. It takes place pre-Beacon. Hope you guys like it.
That's what she wanted her new blade to look like when she spun it in her hand. To gleam and twinkle in the natural rays of both the sun and moon. Something dainty to fit her own physique and class, but sharp and powerful to fit her personality. A blade, as much a girl, more beautiful and deadly than any other.
It was a dream, really. Nothing more than a fantasy which kept her from falling asleep during her long days and nights of studying. Her tutors droning on and on about dust formation and crystallization. Useful information for one who would go on to lead the Schnee Dust Company into the future. Not so much a huntress. At least dust utilization and management seemed useful.
But those were her studies. Things she was forced to take. Schoolwork. Possibly the only thing where Weiss considered herself a part of the common people in their dislike of. As the Schnee heiress, she would of course study longer and harder than any other; achieving the best grades and ranking possible. It did not mean she took great pleasure in it though.
What truly fascinated her were weapons. The mythical weapons of huntsman and huntresses. Able to perform feats of magic with the substances her family mined and manufactured. Ever since Winter joined the army, Weiss wanted to follow in her footsteps. Maybe not as a soldier, but as a warrior. A huntress strong enough to go toe to toe with anyone and anything in her way. To use her family's powerful semblance to become the best of the best.
Her specially designed single-person class continued on. Something about how increasing pressure on un-extracted blast dust will decrease the likelihood of causing fatal system errors in mining equipment by half a percent for each mega pascal of pressure added, up to two-point-seven gigapixels. Dutifully, Weiss scribbled down the measurements and simple mathematical equation, being careful to note that this applied solely to blast dust. In the corner of her page was a four-digit number. 1570; the page in her notebook in which she had completed her most recent doodle of her future weapon.
As her tutor turned to face the blackboard, scribbling with chalk to write up the next set of important equations for one dust type or another, Weiss flipped to that very important page number.
The sword she had drawn was by no means an exact drawing. By most accounts, it would be labelled as amateur at best. Weiss was not an artist. But, it did include dimensions she thought were accurate enough based on her readings and research. A tang the length of her fist, plus three fingers. A grip the length of half a fist. A short guard, without a quillon, where she scribbled in a quick note which read 'detailed'. Weiss did not wish to even consider trying to pencil in an intricate design. The blade's length would be perfect for her height. It was slightly curved. Wide as well. Almost like that of a classical age pirate. Her lengthy studies of huntsman informed her that this was the most common design for a sword used against the creatures of grimm and for good reason. The blade would allow for slashing attacks, as well as precise stabbing.
She sighed at the drawing, imagining it within her grasp. The perfect feel of cold metal on her palm. Light in her nimble hands, but strong enough to withstand an attack by a weapon much larger.
"Ahem!" A wrap of a meter stick on her desk lifted her from her stupor. With only a silent glare at her pupil, the tutor continued to speak and write on the board. Sighing, Weiss flipped her notebook back to the appropriate page.
The sword did not leave her mind as she packed up her books into her shoulder-bag and left the room designated as her 'studies room'. With each step out of that most horrid of classrooms, Weiss perked up. Each step away from her classroom studies meant she was one step closer to her practical studies. That is; her combat training.
Dropping her shoulder-bag on her swivel chair in her bedroom, she walked to her secondary desk. Father had told her it was a perfect size for carrying documents and legal files, but Weiss tended to use it as more of a stand. A table to hold the case for her very own rapier. Lifting the case by the handle, she left her room, locking it upon departure. Sword in hand, she ventured into the courtyard, where a bronzed man with short black hair and a carefully trimmed beard lay in wait for his student.
"You are late," he informed his apprentice. His accent was thick. Some foreign sound from a backwater village in Vacuo. The village had long since been overrun by grimm, but the sword master had found a way to escape to Atlas and come into the employ of the Schnees. "Swordsmanship waits for no man. Or girl."
"And yet you are there. Waiting for me." Weiss managed in her most obnoxiously prissy voice.
"Ah, ah, ah." The sword master tutted, shaking a finger at the young heiress. "You have arrived precisely six minutes and twenty-three seconds late. As such, this lesson will be exactly six minutes and twenty-three seconds shorter. Time which could have been spent on perfectly your form. Now." He clapped along with the final word.
"Retrieve your rapier and let us begin with your fencing lesson. You still must work on your riposte. Your parry yesterday was perfectly executed, but your follow-up is much too slow."
Clicking open the metal case holding her practice blade, Weiss carefully lifted it from its silk cushion. It was a beautiful sword. Made from the highest-grade materials money could buy. Shined to perfection with a light coat of anti-corrosion paint to keep its gleam. For most people, this would be their ornamental weapon. Too valuable to be used as a competition blade, let alone a practice one. To Weiss, it was a sword she had little attachment to and one which did not even deserve to be polished and sharpened after heavy use.
Weiss's blade, while still immaculately beautiful, possessed the tell-tale signs of wear and use. Holding it up in her left hand, she took the proper stance, preparing for the strike she knew was coming from her teacher.
"Mr. Allrrayie, I am ready."
Almaealim Alrrayie lifted his own sword. It was dented in places, but as sharp as it had been the day he crafted it. With a quick thrust, he begun the assault.
Weiss quickly stepped back parrying, but moving too slowly to transition into a riposte.
"Pick up speed, Weiss Schnee," Alrrayie cautioned, advancing forward a pace, followed by a lunge. Sidestepping, she feinted a cut across his head, only to transition to a low thrust. A move which was easily swatted away by the talented teacher.
"I can see you thinking before each strike, Little Myrtle. Each action and reaction should be swift and natural. Every step a dance and every attack a song. Attack and counter-attack. Thought and action. Each are one with the other. Never forget this."
Weiss nodded, a challenging ferocity in her eyes. Taking a step back to give her opponent room to strike, she took a deep breath. Alrrayie lunged. Weiss parried, transitioning into her own lung. The attack struck true. A near perfect riposte.
"Yes!" Weiss cheered. Almost as quick as her outburst, she coughed delicately into her free hand. "Yes, well, thank you for this bout."
Alrrayie smirked at his student's less than posh outburst. "Little Myrtle. My young flower. What do I tell you about such joyous occasions?"
"That it is beneficial to those learning, to revel in little victories over their masters." Weiss dutifully replied. Her master nodded in agreement.
"Exactly. Do not refuse yourself such occasions. No matter what your family might think. I assure you that your sister reveled in victory over me just as much as you do. Now, back to practice. Be careful with your finger placement. Your thumb moves to a cross-hold whenever you are preparing a parry. Your back foot as well, lifts onto their front. You must not show such actions, especially in your feet and hands. Your weapon is but an extension of your body. A helping hand to achieve victory. In my people's language, it is called a nasir. Repeat."
"Nasir," Weiss put the word to memory.
"Not Adat. Not a tool to do the work for you. But Nasir, to help you do the work yourself. Never forget this."
"Good, let us continue." Alrrayie smiled as he drew his weapon once more. For the first time that day, Weiss returned his smile with her own.
Cool night air surrounded Weiss as she leaned against the upper balcony overlooking the Schnee Manor gardens. There was a slight breeze, but wrapped up in a thick blanket, she was nice and warm. Weiss enjoyed this time. When most of the manor staff left for the evening and those that remained attended to their duties inside. It was just her and the garden and moon and stars. The garden was once a prized possession of her mother. While her father would attend to meetings and business pursuits, her mother would tend to this garden.
Atlas lilies and pink or white heather dotted the carefully rowed flowerbeds, lined up perfectly with the house, so that they looked to be stretching off into the horizon. Pansies and winter aconites filled up much of the remaining space. There were some larger trees and shrubs, but those bloomed mostly during the winter months. In a place like Atlas, it was better to choose flowering plants which bloomed during the harshest weather, than the few months of pleasant heat. Not that Weiss minded the cold much.
Wind ruffled through the garden, the long branches and thin leaves gently rattling along with it. It was a pleasant sound. One which was true and natural. Something that her family could not claim to have created themselves, nor patented and kept secret from the world. The wind and flowers were things all could take pleasure from. Something that allowed Weiss to be Weiss, rather than Weiss Schnee. At least for a time.
Weiss barely moved when she heard the faint click of the balcony door opening and closing.
"The view is truly remarkable, Little Myrtle."
Weiss hummed in agreement.
"I like these views. Where one can see both nature's bounty as well as the marvels of man. It takes a certain eye to tell the similarities between the two, rather than their differences."
"I'm not entirely sure I understand your meaning." Weiss said. Her eyes never leaving the garden.
"Look at the flowers. Each is unique in its own way. One has three leaves sprouting from its stem, the other two. One lily is as white as snow, another matches your family's hair. Nature's creation is different, but simple. Look at the garden as a whole. Each flower has its place. Each vine its spot. Perfectly ordered to please the human eye. Humanity's creation is the structured, but complex."
"But each is the same as the other too. Right?" Weiss turned to look at her sword tutor.
"Indeed. Look to all the flowers of one kind. All the lilies. Where each individually is unique and different. Each change is so simple between each flower of a kind. But look to all the flowers in this garden alone. One is white, another pink. Another yellow and red. Such complexities can only be found in nature. We as people only try to replicate the complexities found around us that we enjoy. Humanity is simple in this way. Nature is structured. A flower of one kind and only beget a flower of its own kind. Humanity is different. Each of us can look nothing like our predecessors. Nature is complex. It is filed with variety unseen in anything else. Humanity is simple. We take pleasure in joy and joy in pleasure."
The two continued to gaze silently at the view in front of them. Weiss thought carefully on the man's words. It was a quiet moment, but a peaceful one. Where neither wished to disturb the other's comfort, but both comforted by the other's presence.
"Thank you for the lesson. I think I understand. I might be like my parents in some ways, but I am still my own person. Still different from mother or father or Winter."
Alrrayie grinned, "I was talking about the view of the garden. Humanity pulls complexity from the most simple of thoughts. Sometimes it is alright to just look at the simple, without hoping to discover the complex."
The tutor stood up and brushed off his shoulders. "Good night, Ms. Schnee. Pleasant dreams. I will see you tomorrow."
As her master turned to leave, closing the balcony doors behind him, Weiss continued to think about what the man had said.
Simplicity and complexity. Two sides of the same coin. Nature and humanity shared a coin as well. Though Weiss understood this a little less. But, with new thoughts in her head from such a conversation, one idea emerged above all others.
Weiss went to sleep that night in a pleasant mood. Her dreams filled with strikes and ripostes. Lunges and thrusts. In her hand, a beautiful rapier which shined like starlight.
"Sir, I would like you to build me a new blade." Weiss said, walking into the courtyard five minutes early for her lessons.
"Why would you like me to build you a new weapon? Does your own rapier not bring you joy any longer?"
"It does. But, if I'm to become a huntress, I need a blade worthy of the Schnee name." Weiss's voice was filled with confidence. As much as being a huntress was something she dreamed about, last night had told her not to wait. She would be different than her parents and her elder sibling. She would not choose between the company and ambitions. She was Weiss Schnee and she would accomplish both. To do that, she would wield a sword worthy of her lineage.
Weiss's grin dropped. She felt flustered, gasping for any possible response.
"But-but, how could you say no? As my master aren't you required by contract to build me a blade?"
"I refuse to build a blade worthy of the Schnee." He held up a single finger, breaking Weiss from her prepared rant. "But, I will help you to build a blade worthy of Weiss. Go, you must have ideas already. I shall await your return right here."
He sat down on a marble bench, slapping both his knees. As quickly as she arrived, the heiress departed. She had a notebook to collect.
"Daughter, I have heard from the staff that you have been designing a new sword? A… cutlass?" Jacques Schnee mused, cutting through a piece of medium-rare, cherry wood smoked steak. Placing a small bite into his mouth, he dotted his lips with his napkin. His eyes never leaving his daughter's.
"I have been, father. A cutlass was my first suggestion, as it is the most commonly used by huntsman. But upon further review as well as discussions with Mr. Alrrayie, I have come to the conclusion a rapier, similar to my practice one, would be more beneficial to my own strengths."
"Good, good. A rapier is a weapon befitting those of class and standing. Cutlasses are… generally common for those ill-equipped to handle their finances. A petty-thief's weapon."
"I agree, father." Weiss looked down as she cut into her own food.
"And who will build this weapon of yours? As well as ensure that it is fitted correctly for you?"
"Mr. Alrrayie will be checking the measurements. He knows how I fight, so is best suited to gauge lengths and widths of each component."
"And building, daughter? As fine a swordsman as Alrrayie may be, he is still a Vacuan outlander. Not worthy or even talented enough to construct a Schnee blade. Might I suggest Viktor Schnonheit? He was the one who constructed Winter's own rapier. An Atlesian weapon maker of the highest caliber, for a family of the highest caliber. I do believe it fits."
"I agree, father. I will inform him of my designs as soon as they are completed."
"Good, daughter. Now, you must finish you meal without me. I have pressing matters to discuss with our holdings in Northern Mantle. Please stay seated."
A final dab of his napkin on his chin, and Weiss's father was off. Off to do whatever it was he did at all hours of the day. Meetings and business proposals and cutting back of labour restrictions with the government's help. Anything to squeeze an extra lien out of his operations.
Weiss continued with her meal, sitting alone at the table made for fifty. The massive crystal chandelier which hung down from the painted ceiling brought light to the dining hall. The windows were drawn shut with curtains to keep pesky outsiders from looking in at a Schnee meal. A dozen attendees were waiting patiently along the wall for Weiss to call on them, or to help clean up as soon as she departed.
She remembered once, as a child she asked them to sit with her so that their legs would no longer so tired from standing around all day. Her father had yelled and reprimanded her for that. No servant could sit alongside one of them. They were the filth. The commoners. There only to serve her family and accept the measly paycheck they were given.
Now alone, she dabbed her own lips with her napkin and placed it gently on her plate. Sliding her chair back gracefully, she stood and departed the dreary room. She had no appetite. She rarely did. Food was but sustenance and not something that could really bring her any joy. Not while alone in such a massive room surrounded by only employees. It was why she preferred to eat in her room. She was alone still, but at least it felt more cozy.
Informing the servants that she would be heading to her room, she left the hall. Instead of turning right to her bedroom quarters, she turned left. Down a long hall towards the far courtyard. An area on the opposite side of Schnee manor and away from her father's ears and eyes. Stepping out into the afternoon sun, she spotted a certain sword master waiting for her.
He was leaning on a large metal and ceramic box, a tube of metal and other various components lay around him.
"Is the Little Myrtle finished with her noon meal with her father?"
"She is. Let's get back to work."
"At once," came his steady reply. Lifting off of the box, he picked up the metal tube and placed it into Weiss's awaiting arms. "Your rapier, my lady. The metal you have chosen and procured from Schonheit. Let us continue with its heating and assembly. Please, place the metal within the furnace here. We shall allow it to heat while we work on something far more important."
"More important than the sword?"
"Indeed. A sword is but a…"
"Nasir." Weiss said, filling in the silence Alrrayie was leaving for her. He nodded, pleased with her answer.
"As such, you must now work on the mechanism. While a sword is an extension of you, dust and the mechanisms huntsmen use to release it, are but tools. To complete yourself, you must put in time. It is hard to get right, but it is through patience that one works on themselves. Nasir require such patience. Tools, do not. They require only a sharp mind and an imagination."
"I thought you said that the helper was more important than the tool?"
Alrrayie smiled. "It is good to know that my student pays attention to my lessons. Very good. As we wait for the important nasir to finish heating, let us work on the huntsman tool. Let us turn your idea of your sword into one befitting a true huntress. And like any true huntress, you must be a part of the process of construction. No true huntsman or huntress allows others to forge their weapons. To build is to bond. As such, you shall bond with your weapon. Just as your sister Winter bonded with hers."
Weiss fell silent for a moment, collecting her thoughts. "I always assumed that Winter had Schonheit build her weapon, just like father and her always say?"
Alrrayie grinned, pulling a lever to add more air to the furnace. "Why do you think Mr. Schonheit agreed so readily to your request to falsify documents and use his name on your weapon? You are not the first Schnee huntress to build your own weapon alongside me. Do not be alarmed that you are so alike your sister."
Weiss shook her head. "I'm not alarmed. Or, I don't believe I am. It is… nice to know that Winter and I share similarities, which go beyond looks."
"A rebellious spirit!" The master smiled and grabbed a small cylinder and metal file. "These are for you. The cylinder we built last week is complete, but it is up to you to add the details. Remember, there are no mistakes in this endeavor. Only the bestowing of life and personality to your weapon."
Weiss grinned and grabbed the items she was given.
"You may sing while you work. I do insist. It has been too long since I last witnessed one of your performances."
"I would be honoured." Weiss let her voice carry around the courtyard while she worked. With no piano or violin as accompaniment, it was just her. Her tempo varied and her key changed to her heart's content. Free from the strict rules of staged orchestrations. Free from the crowds of fans and her father's glare. Her voice cracked as she tried to hit notes higher than she was accustomed with and yet she smiled at each mistake.
This was not a performance for the public, but a show for a friend.
As she sang, her tune merged with the light click of her tool pressing into the metal cylinder, etching in careful spirals and straight lines, while Alrrayie worked to assemble other components. Crafting a weapon was not something that one had to do alone. A master and apprentice working together could accomplish marvels.
With the cylinder completed, Weiss fit in small glass tubes which would eventually hold dust. Adding in a revolving bearing and locking it with a nut, she spun the revolving component in her hand. It's center was hollow, but it was perfectly sized to fit around the blade she would use.
"It's time, Little Myrtle. Let us form your nasir." With massive metal tongs and thick gloves, the white-hot metal tube was removed from the furnace. Placing it on a metal table, he handed Weiss a large hammer.
With precise and hard strikes, she hit the metal, watching it bend with each assault. After a few minutes, the metal was placed back into the furnace to reheat, pulled out again and struck more. An hour passed, leaving Weiss with sweat pouring over her face and her long white hair sticking to her skin.
"That is enough for now. The metal must be given time to rest, along with you. We shall continue tomorrow. You have the designs finished, the hilt and guard formed. All that is left is your blade. I am proud of your accomplishment. But remember, crafting your blade is only the first step. You must train with it and clean it. It is only as powerful as the person who wields it. Your mind and soul must be strong, just like this blade. Work hard and never forget that lessons are abundant in victory as well as defeat."
"Thank you. I will see you tomorrow after my studies." Weiss turned to leave, a small skip in her step that was very much un-Schnee-like.
"Weiss?" Weiss turned her head. "Remember that every Nasir deserves a name."
Wiess lurched, hearing the sound of glass shatter. Her eyes opened to a vision of blackness. It was still night. Her blinds had been drawn shut and the double doors to her room were locked tight, keeping out any hallway light.
The eerie silence lifted the heiress from her stupor. Rubbing her eyes with the back of her hand, she lifted the covers with the other and felt her way to the floor.
Weiss's gaze darted quickly in the direction of her door. Someone was out there. Possibly someones. Feeling her way to her desk, she quietly unclasped the locks holding together her rapier case. It would do well to keep her awoken presence secret.
"It might be nothing, Weiss." She informed herself, to no avail. "It could be a servant dropping a dish or two. Nothing to worry about."
A third crash. This time, followed by the loud thump of a body hitting the floor. That settled it. Her sword now drawn; she slowly turned the handle of her door. The handle refused to budge after a moment. A final breath to clear her thoughts of any qualms, she opened the door wide, giving her a full view to anything in front of her.
Quiet and dark. That was the sight she witnessed. The hallway lights were off; a rare occurrence. Stepping into the hall, she lifted the tip of her blade into a defensive position. Small steps along the long rug which stretched the entire length of the hall muffled her feet. Her shallow breathing kept her own lungs from adding internal sound to the situation.
Another thump, this time further away. But she had a direction to venture. Peeking over her shoulder and spotting nothing out of the ordinary, she pressed onward.
Checking around the corner, she spotted the first signs of intrusion. Broken glass.
Broken glass littered the hall, shattered inwards from the outside. She was on the second floor, but it was easy to guess that somebody had climbed in from this window. The moonlight shining in from the normally closed curtains gave enough of a hint. As did the rope.
Weiss stepped towards the glass, moving her way around it to keep more from breaking or piercing her unclothed feet. As she left that room and entered another, a gasp erupted from her. A hand clamped over her mouth as she tried to silence the sound before it grew in alarm. By her feet was a young woman. A servant, judging by the clothes she was wearing. Judging by the wound in her abdomen, there was no hope for her.
She had been carrying a tray of dishes. Now they surrounded her in ceramic fragments.
It must have been the second crash that Weiss had heard.
No time to mourn. A killer was loose in the Schnee manor and it was becoming clearer as to who the threat was.
More servants had fallen along the path, each only doing their duty and job. Weiss was heading in the direction of her father's room. Her pace quickened at the thought.
A crash from behind her. Weiss spun on her toes, lifting her blade up to meet the grimm masked man in front of her. He held up his own weapon, a sadistic smile emblazoned on his lips.
"I've never killed a Schnee before."
"And you will continue with that track record," Weiss said, falling back into her fencer's stance.
The white fang man took a step forward, only to collapse in place, groaning unconsciously from the attack from behind.
"Alrrayie!" Weiss cheered. Alrrayie beckoned Weiss forward.
"Come, come. You are in danger. Stay by my side. I fear there will be more than just him."
Weiss followed her sword instructor, watching his feet glide over the marbled floor with little noise and the grace of a trained warrior.
"Hush, there are more." He held up a finger, stopping the smaller girl in her tracks. He took a quick lok around the corner, holding up four fingers.
Four White Fang men were there. Weiss held up her rapier. She was ready. Alrrayie's gaze turned to meet the girl's own. "If you feel like you are scared, or are tiring. Even in the slightest, you run and do not look back. Understood?"
Weiss nodded. Alrrayie struck first, his own rapier cleaving through the shoulder of a combatant. Weiss followed suit, lunging towards another, only to be blocked. The attack was countered with one of their own.
Focusing on her own fight, she could not see the situation her teacher was in. That the man was facing down two healthy fighters at once and one injured man who clung to his shoulder, but continued to slash with his weapon.
If Weiss had been paying attention, she would have noticed how the three were pushing her teacher back, while she managed to push forward. If Weiss had been paying attention, she would have noticed the growing fear in her tutor's eyes as he realized the plan of the White Fang. She would have noticed the growing smile on her own combatant's face and not just his sword-work. She would have noticed her tutor running through his opponents towards her.
She did feel her being pushed down to the ground as a body fell on top of her, arms gripping her tightly. She did feel the faint poke of metal on her back, where a sword had plunged through her protector. She heard his gasp of air escaping his lungs.
Weiss had lost.
She had lost her sword instructor and one of the few people whom she could consider a friend. Her house guards had chosen the time to strike against their attackers, ripping through them with dust and bullets.
It made sense that they took so long. They had to check on the patron of the manor first to ensure his safety. The heiress was only a secondary concern. They had come from the direction Weiss and Alrrayie were heading. Where the White Fang soldiers were heading. The attack had of course been all about Jacques Schnee.
That a few servants or tutors had fallen, was of little concern. Not to the White Fang. Not to the Schnee.
It did concern Weiss. Bedridden as she was, forced to stay seated in her room as instructors continued their teachings, as though nothing had happened those few days ago.
Dust management. Dust procurement. Literacy. Mathematics. History of Atlas. Atlesian politics and customs. Dust utilization. Aura management and restrictions.
Hours upon hours of classes. Little to nothing filtering into her mind as it focused on one thing. He had given his life for her. He had trained her as best as he could and still, she was unaware of her surroundings. He had wanted her to be better. So, she knew she must be better. Better for both him and herself.
As a tutor droned on about the intricacies of courting in Atlesian society, Weiss whipped the blanket off her body and took her first steps in days. Stumbling, she barely heard her name being called by the instructor. Nor the shouting that followed her as she left the room.
She had a sword to finish.
The rapier glimmered in the sunlight, reflecting its rays around the courtyard. Little Myrtle he had called her. A flower of many uses. It requires heat and focus to grow, but is able to survive the harshest of winters when finished.
She gazed at her rapier. The last work of her tutor and friend Alrrayie. It was her Nasir. Her helper.
"Myrtle's Nasir." She spoke to the blade, small tears forming in her eyes, which she quickly wiped away. "Myrtenaster."
Big thanks and shoutout to those finding any mistakes in my work: