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Sacred Bow and Arrows

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"A bow that shines with sacred light. Blessed by the gods of the hunt."
— Description of the Artemis Bow, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
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When the time comes to smite the powers of darkness, there is often little better way in the realm of fiction than to use the Sacred Bow and Arrows. A set of bow and arrows blessed by the gods is employed, weaponizing their holy power in the projectiles. Symbolic of this, the arrow will likely be fired in a streak of light, or the bow may fire an arrow of light. The medium may also depict bows as holy weapons in general, associating them with the gods and divinity.

Historically, bows are one of the oldest projectile weapons in history, going back thousands of years, and there are numerous gods associated with hunting and archery. The most prominent examples are the Greek gods Apollo and Artemis; Apollo is directly the god of archery while Artemis is the goddess of hunting, and both are commonly depicted wielding bows. In China, the invention of the bow is credited to the Yellow Emperor, one of the most important Chinese deities.

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Compare Energy Bow, Arrows on Fire. May overlap with Light 'em Up and Holy Hand Grenade. See also Heroes Prefer Swords, Archer Archetype.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Literature 
  • In Mahabharata, Arjuna's exceptionally powerful bow Gandiva was given to him by the gods. Several characters, including Arjuna, wield celestial weapons, highly powerful Finishing Moves granted to them by the gods as a reward for their piety or devotion.
  • In Ramayana, King Janaka of Mithila used an exceptionally heavy bow, given to him by Shiva, as an Engagement Challenge for his daughter Sita’s suitors to prove themselves worthy. Prince Rama of Ayodhya was the only one who manages to wield it, and he breaks it in half when he tries to fire it.

    Live-Action TV 
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    Music 
  • "Jerusalem" is a British hymn the ponders the possibility that the lost years of Jesus were spent in England. It's third verse begins "bring me my bow, of burning gold; bring me my arrows of desire".

    Myths & Religion 
  • Greek Mythology has Apollo, god of archery, and Artemis, goddess of the hunt.
  • In Chinese Mythology, the Yellow Emperor is credited as inventing the bow.
  • In Hindu Mythology, the rainbow is referred to as ‘Indra’s bow’Sanskrit . He later gives this bow to Prince Rāma, an avatar of Viṣnu. This bow is now used as a symbol of the far-right Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena in India.
  • Japanese Mythology:
    • A god-sent golden kite (sometimes identified with the Yatagarasu) landed on the bow of Emperor Jimmu, granting it the power to drive away evil spirits just by plucking its string. Since then, bows made from azusa (the wood of the catalpa or cherry birch) have been an important implement in Shinto-Buddhist exorcism and divination rituals.
    • Minamoto no Yorimasa is said to have slain a nue with a single shot from his "evil-destroying bow", using an arrow inherited from his famous ancestor "Raiko" Minamoto no Yorimitsu. Children are traditionally gifted with replicas of this bow as toys, and decorative "evil-destroying arrows" are a common good luck charm.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Fairy-types have the Silver Bow and Arrow weapon to power up. The Fairy-types Skelengel and Number 102: Star Seraph Sentry wield bows in their artwork, and in some video games other Fairies are depicted as fighting with bows.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia has game stats for various deities' bow weapons.
    • The Native American deity Heng has a bow that shoots lightning bolts that do 6-60 Hit Points of damage and have a range of 30 miles.
    • Chinese Mythos
      • The deity Chih-Chiang Fyu-Ya has a magical bow that can hit any target within sight and causes any weapon thrown at him to return and hit its user. If anyone else attempts to use his bow, the arrows from it will hit the user.
      • The deity Tou Mu has a magic bow that never misses a target within 100 yards.
    • Greek Mythology
      • The god Apollo has a bow with a range up to his line of sight.
      • The goddess Artemis’ bow has a range of 1,000 yards.
      • The bow of the demigod Heracles can only be wielded by him. It can hit targets up to a mile away and cannot miss at a range of 1/2 mile or less.
    • Hindu Mythology
      • The god Indra has a bow made of rainbows that can fire 2 lightning bolts per minute up to 1,000 yards away that each do 3-30 Hit Points of damage.
      • The deity Rudra has a magical black bow that can fire arrows that inflict a rotting disease in any creature hit.
      • Vishnu's avatar Rama is identified by the bow he wields.
    • Elven deities
      • Correlon Larethian's bow fires arrows that never miss.
      • Arrows fired from Rillifane Rallathil's bow always kill their target.
    • Norse Mythology deities
      • Odin has a +3 bow that can fire 10 arrows per minute. note 
      • Uller's bow is plus 5. Arrows from it can hit any target he can see with no penalties for range and he automatically hits at a range of 200 yards or less.
    • Greyhawk campaign setting
      • The goddess Ehlonna has a bow that never misses its target, even when fired at maximum range. Half of her arrows have a plus 3 bonus, and the rest are Arrows of Slaying for various Evil woodland creatures.
    • In Eberron the Church of the Silver Flame's preferred weapon is the longbow.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, on the Ancient Egyptian-themed plane of Amonkhet, the white-aligned deity Oketra's weapon of choice is a bow and arrows. They pack quite a punch.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Light Arrows are special holy arrows that can dispel evil magic, and are often employed or created by Zelda. They’re commonly used to aid in fighting Ganon. Notably, Twilight Princess is the one of the few games in the franchise where the player does not get access to them at all, and are only used by Zelda in the final battle.
    • In earlier Zelda games, particularly the original game and A Link to the Past, Silver Arrows were the only thing capable of defeating Ganon.
    • Hyrule Warriors:
      • Zelda uses and abuses the Light Arrows all over her moveset and will lend them to the player character for the final battle. (Though if Zelda is the player character, Ruto gives her them for some odd reason). This final battle upgrade can be gained temporally during any battle if the player finds a Bow Upgrade on the field. The amount of time it lasts depends on the character's badges.
      • The 3DS Version includes Tetra, who also has access to the Light Arrows in her move set. Fitting as she's another incarnation of Zelda.
  • In Clock Tower 3, when Alyssa is ready to face a boss, she manifests a bow and arrows of light. They are the only things able to permanently banish the evil spirits she encounters.
  • In Disgaea, the angel Flonne is able to use an attack called Holy Arrows. However in practice it’s more a case of Feather Flechettes, as she fires angel feathers as projectiles without actually using a bow.
  • Final Fantasy
    • The strongest Bow-type weapon in most games that include them is usually the Artemis Bow, and less commonly the Perseus Bow. There are sometimes accompanying arrows bearing the same names.
    • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the goddess of the Lifestream, Minerva, combines her armor pieces into a giant bow and fires her staff like an arrow for her ultimate attack, Judgment Arrow.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Serah’s Limit Break is Artemis Arrow, mistranslated as Ultima Arrow in the English localization. (Though the association was unintended, there's a summon in Ivalace known as Ultima the High Seraph.)
    • The Seventh Heaven, the weakest greatbow in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and the strongest in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, is holy-elemental and teaches Ultima Shot. Thanks to Ultima abilities in these games having the same element as the user's weapon, you'll be invoking this trope at least until a character masters the ability and can move on to another weapon. The archer technique Burial is also holy-elemental and has a chance of banishing undead that increases as the targets health goes down.
  • Fire Emblem Fates references the tale of a golden kite (kinshi) empowering Emperor Jimmu's bow with the Kinshi Knight - a Hoshido-exclusive class that wields bows while mounted on giant birds, and has a capstone skill named Amaterasu.
  • In Kid Icarus, Pit is able to use the holy Light Arrows, once wielded by the goddess Palutena.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Auriel's Bow, an artifact weapon said to have been wielded by Auriel (sometimes spelled Auri-El), the Golden Eagle God and Aldmeri (Elven) aspect of Akatosh, the draconic Top God of Time. Aldmeri legend holds that Auriel wielded it during the Dawn Era during the wars of the Ehlnofey against the forces of Lorkhan. When Trinimac, Auriel's champion, slew Lorkhan, it is said that Auriel tied Lorkhan's Heart to an arrow and fired it with the bow across the mortal world, landing in modern day Morrowind and forming Red Mountain around it. The details of Auriel's Bow vary in each game where it appears. To note:
    • In Arena, Auriel's Bow is a massively powerful bow enchanted with fire damage. However, it only has a finite supply of energy. Once exhausted of this energy, the bow will vanish and reappear where ever chance puts it.
    • In Daggerfall, Auriel's Bow is one of three possible rewards for completing the knightly order quest, "The Artifact". On top of its powerful base damage, it deals lightning damage and absorbs Magicka of the targets it strikes. (It is also a possible to acquire a version of the bow during Nocturnal's Daedric quest. It functions exactly the same as the real bow, however, it will crumble to dust after several in-game days.)
    • In Morrowind, Auriel's Bow is tied for the most damaging bow in the game in terms of base damage, however, it no longer comes with an enchantment. You can enchant it yourself, but it's relatively low enchantment rating (7) prevents it from being particularly useful. (A standard Daedric Longbow deals the same damage and has an enchantment rating of 10.5, but, on the downside, is 33% heavier.) You can exchange it during a particular quest for a Daedric Cuirass and Greaves, both enchanted with the Feather effect to make them lighter. You can also sell it to the Museum of Artifacts in Mournhold with the Tribunal expansion for a cool 15,000 gold.
    • Auriel's Bow appears again in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC as a major plot item. It has a relatively mediocre base damage, but a high "critical" value. It is also enchanted to deal "Sun" damage, and deals triple damage to undead. Over the course of Dawnguard's main quest, it gains the ability to fire "Sunhallowed" or "Bloodcursed" arrows. Sunhallowed arrows, when fired from the bow at the sun during the day, will cause the sun to deal damage to any nearby enemies for a time. Bloodcursed arrows, fired similarly, block out the sun for the rest of the day and prevent vampires from taking sun damage.
  • In Kirby, some games have the copy ability Angel that comes with a pair of wings, a Holy Halo, and a bow and arrow.
  • The Atalanta summon in Golden Sun is a wind-element Rain of Arrows. In order to progress through the Jupiter lighthouse, several statues that shoot arrows of light need to be turned on.

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