Not every battle has to be fought through combat, as we’ve learned in Romina Russell’s Zodiac series. The Zodiacs teach us other tactics that can be helpful in taking down enemies–you’ll be surprised to learn what some of them are!
HOUSE ARIES: Military
Majors in the Ariean army go to battle wearing their Helm: a warrior’s helmet that, in addition to protecting one’s head, also provides a polarized, panoramic view of the battlefield and alerts the wearer of any incoming attacks or problematic vitals. The Helm’s advanced optics also allow Arieans to zoom in on the horizon and identify threats as well as friendlies. It can also tap into the visual feeds of other soldiers in the wearer’s regiment, and take control of larger weapons like tanks, airships, and homing missiles. Advanced technology aside, there are still plenty of stories about Arieans in combat using their Helm as a blunt object to batter their enemies.
HOUSE TAURUS: Industry
The Promisaries of House Taurus have a special war machine called The Tremble: a stout, horn-shaped device that can be plunged into the earth to trigger a small, targeted earthquake. The Tremble is most effective when used in triplicate: Three Promisaries take strategic positions on the battlefield and create a devastating and contained quake within a triangulated area. This can be enormously effective in taking down entire units on the field of battle.
HOUSE GEMINI: Imagination
Dreamcasters defend themselves with the Sumber: a twin-barreled gun that injects enemies with a concentrated dose of a serum, similar to that used in Imaginariums, that incapacitates them and traps them within their subconscious. One barrel releases a pellet that unlocks the target’s innermost dreams, and the other releases a pellet that unleashes their deepest nightmares. Depending on the intensity level of the dose, hallucinations can be temporary, or in extreme cases, permanent. To kill an enemy, a Dreamcaster shoots him twice, with a pellet from each barrel—the double dose causes a brain aneurism that is instantly fatal.
HOUSE CANCER: Nurture
In times of war, Lodestars carry the Ripple: A crossbow-like device made of tightly woven strands of Sea-Spider silk that propel up to a dozen slender darts that are whittled from nar-clam shells and dipped in the paralyzing poison of a Maw. If not immediately sucked out, the poison spreads to the brain and shuts down all its functions, leaving the target in a comatose state. The weapon works both above and underwater, and as Cancrians abhor violence and value every life, they only use it when they absolutely must.
HOUSE LEO: Passion
Lionhearts fight with the Swath: a sword with an ornate handle covered in microscopic mirrors that traps rays from the sun. The Swath harvests and stores the sunlight so that, when activated, it produces a steady, focused beam of solar energy that burns so hot it consumes whatever it passes through—or anything unfortunate enough to try and pass through it. A skilled Lionheart never wastes the energy stored in the Swath, and instead uses its burning blade for just the few seconds it takes to strike down an enemy or object. It’s said that on a dark night, and in the right hands, a Swath blade in motion resembles a firefly’s furious dance.
HOUSE VIRGO: Sustenance
When under attack, Virgo’s Ministers vanish and turn deadly with the Veil and Thorn. First, they activate the Veil collar, which turns the wearer invisible. Next, Virgos use their training in the art of stealth to sneak up on their targets with an elegant and small-but-deadly dagger called a Thorn. Some Ministers carry several vials of poison to dip their Thorns in, sometimes to paralyze and sometimes to kill.
HOUSE LIBRA: Justice
The Knights of House Libra believe justice cannot be found without a proper trial, and so they defuse violent situations with Bind: a wispy white powder made from ground-up minerals found deep within Kythera’s core. As soon as targets inhale the fine white mist, it seeps quickly into their muscular system, putting the body into a deep sleep. Each Knight has her own preferred method of dispersing Bind, but often it’s as simple as blowing a fistful into someone’s face. Librans are immune to small doses of the powder from breathing in trace amounts of it every day.
HOUSE SCORPIO: Innovation
Stridents fight with the Scarab: a black bangle that clamps onto the wrist that, when triggered, will fire tiny darts toward its intended target. A long-held Scorp secret, the paralyzing poison in the darts is so effective that it can render any electronic devices on the target’s person completely useless. The poison is fatal unless its antidote is administered within 24 hours; this gives Stridents a window of time to evaluate a violent situation before determining their enemy’s fate. Due to the small, elegant nature of the weapon, most targets don’t even know they’ve been stung until it’s too late. If anyone attempts to wear another Strident’s Scarab, it will not work; instead, it will turn against the impostor and inject its poison into him instead.
HOUSE SAGITTARIUS: Curiosity
Stargazers’ signature weapon is an Arclight: a portable metallic device that attaches to soldiers’ Trackers, that shoots bullets that burst into flames on contact. For easier targeting, greener Sagittarians can set their weapon to emit a red beam of light that lines up with their line of sight.
HOUSE CAPRICORN: Wisdom
Chroniclers neutralize their enemies with the Shrill, a weapon made from Sea-goat horns, the insides of which are carved with a series of ridges using a centuries old technique. When sounded, the Chronicler’s breath passes through thousands of intricate airways to emit a sound at a frequency that shuts down the nervous system of anyone who hears it, eventually causing bodies to fall over and seize. With time and talent, Chroniclers can learn to sound the device delicately enough to target a single individual, or with enough force to level an army.
HOUSE AQUARIUS: Philosophy
The Elders of House Aquarius are always unassumingly armed with their Barer: a devastating multi-weapon made of a series of connected rings fitted perfectly to the wearer’s dominant hand, making it a very quick draw. When an Elder makes a fist, metals in the rings convert energy from the atmosphere, emitting brilliant aqua arcs of electricity. The wearer can then either use the Barer as a sword, or mold the energy into the form of a bow that will fire off devastating electric blasts. For hand-to-hand combat situations, the Barer grows a blazing row of electric spikes, turning into a terrifying set of “brass knuckles” that delivers electric jolts every time it connects with an opponent.
HOUSE PISCES: Spirituality
The Piscene people are pacifists, and their Disciples don’t believe in violence. Though they carry no weapons, they go to war clad in a Gowen: a special silver suit of fluid fabric that gives its wearer a degree of protection from most elements and identifies them on the battlefield. Most Houses recognize the watery-like garment and allow its wearer to move about to collect the injured and provide spiritual guidance to the lost.
Watch author Romina Russell share 12 things you need to know about the Zodiac series here!