Crysknife

Crysknife
Name: Crysknife
Object Type: Weapon
Found: Arrakis
Function: Fighting Implement
Affiliation: Fremen

"May your knife chip and shatter!"
-Fremen Curse.

Object Information

Used almost exclusively by the Fremen of Arrakis, the Crysknife, at around twenty centimetres in length, was a ceremonial and practical weapon and tool, made from the tooth of a deceased sandworm. The crysknife existed in two forms, "fixed" and "unfixed". If unfixed, the knife required constant proximity to a human electrical field, or it would disintegrate, and as such, was carried on the person whom owned it at all times. If fixed (treated for storage) it would not require this. Though agile killing tools, the knives could be broken in battle, leaving their owners defenseless.

The Crysknife plays a pivotal role in Fremen life. Anyone outside of the Fremen, who is not accepted as a member of a sietch and who sees the knife must be "cleansed or slain". This imperative suggests a far deeper connection to the Fremen than a mere tool, perhaps the sense of the Crysknife being an essential element of Fremen Culture, their "soul" so to speak.

The ethics for the knife seem to parallel to some degree those of other warrior cultures, including the prohibition on drawing the knife without it then touching blood, a prohibition that prevents the weapon from being brandished in anger or as a bluff. This prohibition suggests that the Crysknife is a serious weapon, to be used until death. The metaphor of the Crysknife extends to the idea of life and death, that a "Crysknife dissolves at the death of its owner", in other words expressing the unity of leadership and each warrior.

Out of-Universe Information

In Malaysia there exist ceremonial daggers, refered to as Krys. This is most likely where the crysknife's name derived from, though this is uncertain. Frank Herbert spent considerable time in the Pacific during World War II. It is possible that he encountered rumors of the Krys and may have even spoken to Malaysians who practice with it or Indonesians or Flipinos who were exposed to it. The blade of the Krys can be as long as a small sword and has a characteristic "wave" in the blade. Sometimes the blades were poisoned.

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