It is often argued
that the pen is mightier than the sword; So old is this remark that
it is believed without question to be a piece of supreme elder wisdom.
The Star, however, has decided to reveal to you the truth behind this
We ran the two through several tests -- We used
various pens and quills and stacked them against various short swords,
long swords, broad swords, and sabers in various duels.
So, then -- How does the pen stack up to the sword?
TEST #1: The 10-foot toss
GOAL: Throw an object at least 10 feet by hand.
When it comes to throwing, quills suck. This reporter
had difficulties overcoming wind resistance more than one to two inches
away with his personal peacock quill, a far cry from the seemingly trivial
The swords, on the other hand, maintained their
momentum surprisingly well -- And while the long swords proved next
to impossible to supply with enough force to go further than two feet
through the normal spin-toss applied to the shorter swords, the spin-and-hurl
technique proved shockingly effective.
The pens offered a brief gleam of hope for writers,
and despite their amazing performance when used in crossbows, failed
to be useful in throwing.
TEST #2: The death warrant
GOAL: Write a death warrant for a fake criminal in under 90 seconds.
The swords, having validated the questions raised
about the truth of the cliché in the last test, began to lose
their luster in this test. The blades tended to tear the parchments,
and tended to be extremely clumsy.
The frequent ink-dry times on the tips of the blades
were extremely annoying, and left me spending more time dipping the
blade in the ink than writing. I found that finger-painting the death
warrant was quicker and more accurate than writing it with the sword.
It did occur to me that I could cut my finger and manufacture my own
'ink', but I decided that the risk of infection has never, and probably
should never be a part of the writing trade.
The quills and pens, however, shone with glory.
Most easily met the 90 second mark that each blade failed to come close
to, and did so with a finesse that could never possibly be attained
by the crude swords.
Test #3: Debate
GOAL: Settle an argument quickly.
My debaters in this case were summoned creatures
manipulated by a ventriloquist priest.
I found that the swords won me quick debates through
intimidation -- Death proved to be an important bargaining chip. However,
in simulated debates of high importance -- The subject of rights and
whatnot -- The usefulness began to decline.
However, the swords fell dreadfully short in terms
of actual debate. There was very little to be done with the sword itself,
unless the debate concerned actual swords, in which case I was able
to use the sword as a visual aid.
The pens, on the other hand, excelled at this. I
was able to write speeches, diagrams, quotations, anything that suited
my arguments -- And, to my surprise, intimidation proved to be possible.
It was, naturally, not quite as superb as the sword
-- But much as a rapier, the pen was to be wielded with finesse in both
it's natural usage as a writing instrument and in terms of intimidation.
Spider: You're wrong.
Me: Don't make me jam this pen in your eye.
Spider: You'll still be wrong.
Me: And you'll still be out your depth perception. What's your point?
Test #4: The art
GOAL: Sketch a work that I would not be ashamed to submit for mundane
This proved to be a very difficult experience indeed.
What was to be made with either when I had ideas for neither? I searched
inside my aisling spark and soul until I found answers.
I took a Black Death and set off to Astrid. I slew
various kobolds and arranged their bodies in a Chadulian symbol and
affixed a fake mustache and wig to my head, and tossed liberal amounts
of black earth on my face. Slicing open a kobold with a Templar Sword,
I smeared the blood about my face in streaks and wrote "AGUADAR
-- INNKEEPER OF CHADUL" on the ground.
I was about to make a painting of the entire scene,
when I realized that this would involve the brush, a relative of the
pen. Sighing, I removed my disguise, washed the black earth and blood
off my face, and walked home.
With the pen, I sat to work on a story which I think
I'll keep to myself for the time being.
OVERALL WINNER: Pen
Wuhao Iosef Mythrin