Honorbound Sword
Sword cannot be sheathed until it's drawn blood.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-06-25 05:15:40 sponsor: peccantis edited by: jormis29 (last reply: 2014-05-23 16:16:51)

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There was a Japanese bushido honor code to never draw their sword at others unless they intended to draw blood, but media has taken this story and eloped with it. In media it might be a honor code, or a genuine Hungry Sword. In media and rumour the code usually is interpreted the other way around: if you draw your blade, you must bloody it before you can sheathe it.

There are games where the player cannot switch weapons until the sword has been used to damage or kill an enemy. This would be Enforced Trope by game mechanics.


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  • Kin-Slayer in Chronicles of the Kencyrath is portrayed as a weapon which doesn't want to be put in the scabbard without having killed someone first.
  • Dune: The Fremen consider it a very grave offense to re-sheathe a crysknife without drawing blood.
  • In the Ethshar novel The Misenchanted Sword, the eponymous sword literally could not be resheathed until it had been used to kill somebody.

    Live Action TV 
  • Babylon 5. The Narn have a special warrior's sword, K'tok, which tradition mandates cannot be re-sheathed until it has tasted blood. In one episode this trope was lampshaded, and later the proud warrior from the agrarian culture drew the sword for effect. He discreetly cut his palm before putting the sword away.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (Classic), there was a race called the Borellian Nomen. They had a warrior's code that said that if they drew their long knife, they would prefer suicide to seeing the knife resheathed unbloodied.

  • Norse Mythology
    • King Högni's dwarf-made sword Dáinsleif. It could not be sheathed until it had drawn blood or taken life.
    • Tyrfing. Another dwarf-forged sword, it was cursed so that it would kill a man every time it was drawn.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In 3.5e at least, there was a Dungeons & Dragons mechanic that was a quality of an intelligent weapon, that was almost word for word the laconic version of this trope.
  • In Nomine supplement Superiors I: War and Honor. One of the oaths that can be sworn by a Malakite angel of Laurence is "I will not draw my sword unless I intend to kill someone".

    Video Games 
  • In Gaia Online, the Muramasa sword cannot be sheathed until it has drawn blood.
  • The cursed swords in Muramasa The Demon Blade cannot be sheathed until they have tasted blood. It there's no one around to kill, the swords will turn on their wielders.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Half-Zatoichi, a katana used by the Soldier and Demoman classes which can only be switched for another weapon if the user has gotten a kill or has gone to a resupply cabinet and heals the player to full health on a successful kill.

    Web Comics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance Torg's magic sword does not have any magical properties unless it first tastes the blood of an innocent.

    Real Life 
  • Although a popular legend states that a Gurkha "never sheathes his blade without first drawing blood" this is in fact untrue, and the kukri is most commonly employed as a multi-use utility tool rather like a machete. There is no requirement to prick yourself or anyone else before sheathing the blade. However there have been instances of Gurkhas slicing their fingers with it as a practical joke to impress outsiders with their ferocity. It's also been theorized that the "must taste blood" was something that annoyed Gurkhas started telling tourists, to make them stop asking to see the kukris.
  • Many Sikhs carry a small steel knife known as a kirpan, as a reminder and a means to protect the innocent from harm. Periodically this has to be taken out and sharpened, but as the blade cannot be unsheathed unless it is to draw blood, the sharpener has to nick a thumb or finger with it before putting it away. A lot of Sikhs have rows of small straight scars running down their digits because of this. <— source? Or is this too just a story?

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