I don't have much else I want to talk about about today--I can, because there is stuff I could be talking about and how it's not going well. Venting them, though, in this case I feel won't make me feel better. I kinda have a sort-of sense for this type of thing. Sometimes, letting it all out helps, other times, it can just make you feel worse, just as talking about something good can sometimes make things worse but can also significantly improve the situation.
And right now, I just kinda feel that I should talk about the good stuff. So on that note, I spent a significant amount of time brainstorming how the swords I mentioned yesterday would be created. Some like the vine sword and water blade (and to lesser extents, fire blade and energy blade) I already knew, but the others, not so much.
I'll start with a small clarification on what I mean by hairpin: I mean one of these, if that link works (I don't use hyperlinks that often in this blog for a good reason), and you can see variety here, the most generic type I frequently use here, and more of the same here. So not universal in their design. In my vast collection, I'm fairly certain I have at least one which looks exactly like this, fancy and all. Some are longer than others. Some (be it always, or by decay) don't have the bulbs at the end. Heck, some lack the wavy side entirely, though in my collection I don't think I have any which have the wavy be on both sides.
Butyeah, assuming that the links actually work, that should tell you what they look like. When I said hairpin, I didn't mean 'a needle you put in your hair'. (Both share the same word.) Which it wouldn't surprise me to learn I have some of, too, 'cause needles make great weapons for the imagination (even the small pins), but they weren't what I was talking about.
Now, onto what I wanted to do, build weapons! (Because building weapons is just kinda my thing.)
The ice blade I made yesterday would begin by forming an ice crystal in your hand--the basis of what will be the guard. The crystal continues to expand, and by pulling the bottom of the crystal, the crystal that becomes the pommel detaches and the hilt of the sword can then be sculpted (think like an ice sculpt, even: starts as a solid block, but has bits slowly melted off to form the curves allowing for a nice, comfy, yet firm, grip).
This done, you use the melted water from the hilt, refreeze it, and starting from the now-crystalizing guard, wave your hand outward, as much as possible forming the shape of the leaf blade. This is one of the hardest elemental swords to craft, especially given that you have to give it the capacity for it to shift modes, but the payoff is worth it, as it's also one of the most lucrative and durable weapons of the bunch. (Actually, it is the most durable. It can be shattered, but that doesn't break the blade entirely [think like Aragorn's sword: the pieces are there and need to be reforged, but the reforging process is ridiculously easy], and it CAN be entirely destroyed, but it's the hardest blade to destroy completely because doing so takes a ton of time.)
In contrast, the fire sword is the easiest blade to form. Just make a fireball, then with a flick of the wrist, close your hand into a fist with the fireball in hand. The fireball will be condensed into the hilt of the sword, and small flames will appear from the top of the hand, spreading to form the crossguard and eventually, the blade. There's a tradeoff, though: while being a vibrochainblade means it can cut through almost anything, a fire sword is still considered one of the weakest swords because if it encounters any material that it can't cut through, then it's virtually worthless, and there are plenty of things that can counter it. So it's fast and easy to make, offering a ton of power, but once that power is countered, the blade itself is more frail than most elemental blades.
...Still not exactly fragile, mind you. It still has the toughness of a normal sword, approximately. It's just that without the vibrochainblade advantage, the fire sword becomes just a sword.
This is pretty similar to the water blade, also easy to make: just form a ball of water hovering above your hand, spin it, elongate it, and create a test tube, which will have a cap included. The moment the tube is uncapped, the water comes jetting out into its deadly cutting form. This makes it ridiculously easy to make, and offers the same advantage of the fire sword, in that it can cut through just about anything, even moreso than the fire blade. (The water blade will, in fact, cut through a fire sword.) The problem comes when the sword runs into things that it can't cut through. (Of which, there are fewer, but still plenty.) At best, you're left with water that will push someone back. At worst, you're left with water that does nothing but get someone wet. So it's a weapon that relies on the principle of 'best defense is a good offense'.
The energy blade was tough to do, though. Hairpin blades have always just...well, existed. The people wielding them in my stories never created them "on-screen" so to speak. (Or if they did, it was in the "entire weapon emerging from body" sort of way.) They were just there. I finally settled on having an energy ball formed in your hand, with four fingers together and the thumb opposite of it, and to have your other hand wrap around your hand (covering the energy in the process), and then extending both hands out simultaneously, which brings the now-forming blade along in the process.
And then, with a flick of the wrist, closing the hand that was in the claw-shape before, condensing the energy into material form. The fingers, not being uniform, create the serrated waves in the blade, whereas the thumb, being on its own, creates a streamlined blade, and the two have now formed the split blade, effectively two swords sharing the same hilt.
The vine sword I decided was the strongest of the blades, but also the hardest to make: five fingers would create a seed each, with each seed sprouting into a vine: two smaller ones for the hilt (thumb+pinkie), and three larger ones to create the blade. It's a complex, time-consuming process, involving a lot of fine control and thought, and is basically as if the blade is being sewn together. This is also why it's the strongest of the blades:
Because that precise process involved in the creation of the blade makes a blade that is capable of doing some incredible things. It holds the second-highest durability (ice beating it out, albeit only barely; the two swords if clashing would basically never break against one another), but offers so much more to the user, being incredibly lightweight, agile, strong, and basically, being able to bludgeon a foe just as easily as cut/stab.
The cyclone blade I decided would be the second-strongest, using the same basic wind design, because it would be the second-hardest to make: creating an inverted tornado in your hands, expand it outward, and condense it with nothing but sheer willpower (okay, there's some bringing the fingers closer together, but that's it) until it solidifies. The result of this, though, is a blade that is incredibly difficult to counter. It has a deceptively-long reach, because the blade is at its default "coiled", and can spring an attack out. The angle of the blade is not that of a standard sword, and it's hollow, so like the hairpin sword can catch, trap, and attack enemies from the inside just as much as the outside.
The downside? Being hollow, the blade is fairly frail for its apparent thickness. (I really need to get a visual on it, 'cause there's absolutely no way you have a clue what the sword actually looks like.) It's the second-strongest overall, because it's basically the most unpredictable blade and the blade that offers the third-best attack strength, but it's at the cost of blade durability.
Now, light is somewhere in the middle strength-wise, but the process is fairly simple: whatever rod/pillar/hand of light you have, just morph its shape into the shape of the light blade, and you're finished. It's simple. What makes it hard, though, is that it must be done entirely in the mind (no guiding hand motions), and must be entirely calculated, turning light into matter. The result of this, though, is that the light blade is no slouch in any of the areas, but doesn't excel in any, either.
The process for the darkness katana is similarly simple: grab your shadow, make a copy of it, and swerve your hand to the right. The shadow's copy will have morphed into a black blade, with where your head was being approximately the hilt/guard and what you're holding now the blade...and then, simply invert it by flipping it over. The darkness on the blade becomes silver, and darkness now trails the katana's movements. It's also similar to light strength-wise. It's slightly more complex a process, so slightly stronger a blade overall as a result, but there you have it.
...Should be noted, though, that while I give rankings to the elemental blades, none of them are weak, none of them are truly directly comparable, and all of them are fearsome.