Royal Blue was Ax's one true love - this was the name of her weapon of choice in its unfinished state. Now complete, Electra Heart (as it has since been renamed) is a hybrid of an electric guitar, a high-powered electric generator with multiple lightning dust powered cores, and a heavy two-handed battleaxe that can be magnetically linked to her gauntlets or anklets. In its inactive state it's little more than a two-handed melee weapon. When it is activated, however, the blade visibly sparks to life, beginning to light up with blue light, generating harmless sparks and electricity that ripples over the surface of the blade.
While outwardly simple in appearance, the inside of the weapon features a miniaturized dust-processing system that allows it to replenish its main electric cores with intake of small lightning dust cartridges. In its active state semi-solid "strings" composed of suspended metal and energy dust are formed that can be manipulated with the sharp tips of Ax's gauntlets or with her fingers in a pinch, though this is unpleasant as the metal dust suspension can cause light cuts against bare flesh that even dedicated guitar callouses will struggle to protect from. As the guitar is played a variable current is generated controlled primarily with aura - rapid or more intense playing tends to generate more electricity, as does a higher volume setting. Electra Heart is like a generator that stores and expels electricity to suit the wielder's whims.
The electricity Electra Heart generates is extremely dangerous. In order to wield Electra Heart without risk of self injury, special protective gear is required to handle the powerful and generally uncontrolled electric current when it is handled and strummed. Ax alone possesses the necessary gear, but theoretically someone else using the same gear could also use the weapon, though it is unlikely anyone other than Ax can control the lightning precisely. By default, Ax can use her aura to shape the electricity generated by her weapon into ball-lightning in small, unstable containment fields. On contact with an object the field collapses and electricity is explosively discharged.
When wielded as a blade its weight grants it considerable force but poses some challenges for Ax in controlling its motions. The magnetic properties of the metal used to construct the blade allows her limited ability to alter the weight of the blade in her hands, granting her improved control and ability to make quick and strong swings. If electricity is stored, the energy can be expended on contact with an object. Ax has specialized dust infusions ready to augment the destructive power of her attacks, but doing so is as dangerous and imprecise as it is costly to her dust stores.
Electra Heart sounds markedly comparable to an electric guitar, but the unusual strings and generally unconventional setup relative to a normal guitar result in a vaguely more 'synthetic' and metallic sound to the way it plays. To an untrained ear it will make very little difference, but astute listeners will quickly realize its sound is unique and not exactly the same as other guitars. The string configurations can be altered to allow Electra Heart to 'imitate' different settings such as acoustic or bass, but it is not a perfect imitation and will always sound slightly 'off' to a trained ear. For this reason, Ax still owns a plethora of normal guitars besides her weapon that require far less protective gear for playing music as a hobby.
Since Electra Heart would be impossible to use for someone without very specialized defense from electricity, Ax created a set of matching gauntlets and anklets to be worn under her boots (lovingly dubbed 'The Batteries') composed of a specialized superconductive alloy with a modified molecular structure. They are designed primarily to attract and absorb electric currents and serve as capacitors and insulators that help direct the flow of Electra Heart's electricity, though they have some other functions as well. They contain stores of a metal/gravity dust infusion inside that augments and allows active manipulation of their magnetic properties via Ax's aura. This is necessary for directing lightning from the gauntlets or anklets, allowing electricity to be directed harmlessly throughout Ax's body until she wishes to unleash the lightning stored in a destructive manner. In short, Ax is invulnerable to her own lightning stores as well as lightning she absorbs with her gauntlets assuming they are functioning appropriately. She has a total of 4 batteries (one for each extremity). Each one has a finite capacity, so the more of them she's wielding, the more electricity she can store. She needs to be wearing at least one to use Electra Heart at all without hurting herself. In addition having multiple Batteries provides operational redundancy, allowing for Ax to use her weapon even if she loses one, or if one fails to operate as intended for some reason.
The magnetic properties of these gauntlets can additionally be used to link the kinetic motions of her hands and feet to her axe for controlled durations by expending some of her gravity dust, allowing her to control the blade's motions within a short distance without having to have physical contact with the weapon. It must be stressed that this isn't telekinetic control - she still has to move her body to direct attacks with her axe even if she's not touching it, and she still feels the weight of the weapon - dust in this case is not creating force, but 'transporting' it. The material used is also strong enough to deflect or stop most conventional attacks, especially in tandem with Ax's aura.
The rare metallic compounds used in the construction of these accessories are very heavy and as a result they weigh quite a bit more than a set of gauntlets/anklets made of conventional steel. When they have stored a minimum current they 'activate', and are able to passively negate their own weight. Ax's body generates enough of a current alone to negate this weight if she wears the gauntlets for several minutes - in short, this means that Ax is not actively ever encumbered by her gauntlets unless they are for some reason completely deprived of electricity, which is a rarity. The gauntlets build noticeable heat relative to the electricity they are storing, and release additional heat when they discharge lightning. They are padded internally with a material that helps keep her hands cool, somewhat mitigating the unpleasantness of the heat they generate during prolonged use. The somewhat sharp ends of her fingers aren't sharp enough to puncture or cut generally, and are instead designed the way they are with the intention of being used to manipulate the unusual strings that Electra Heart generates.
As a bonus, not only do they make fantastic melee weapons, but in Ax's forays into studies in her Advanced Dust Classes, she has been practicing using metal-forming dust to create solid, bullet-like projectiles that can be magnetically accelerated at foes at a distance. The Batteries are crucial to this process, as they contain most of Ax's metal-forming dust supply and Electra Heart is not designed to direct or control conventional solid projectiles.
Ax uses finely-tuned, high-grade refined lightning dust to ionize stores of gravity dust in her anklets
. As her anklets glow and spark, the current employed reverses the mass-altering properties of her gravity dust, causing it to create 'anti-gravity'. Ax's training and skill allows her to use this 'anti-gravity' dust trick to 'dash' a few inches off the ground, gracefully and seemingly weightlessly for short distances. Theoretically, this could someday grant Ax the eventual ability to fly or hover for short durations if she masters this skill.
The Muses - AC & DC
Ax's most recent addition to her arsenal is the unusual constructs that serve as her portable speakers and amps for her music when active. They are referred to as her "Muses" and are composed of lightweight and durable materials, granting them a flexible, 'bouncy' quality rather than a firm or metallic one. They are two in number (affectionately named AC & DC), and are each able to shrink to the size of a marble and be worn as accessories on her belt when she is not using them as speakers. They were originally designed as performance pieces to play instrumental accompaniment in lieu of a band to back her guitar and singing. They can synchronize to a scroll to play music stored in data form, and can also serve to increase the sound output of Electra Heart.
The Muses expand to a larger size when they are used as speakers, but this exact size changes depending on the demand of output - for playing music in her dorm, they might expand to the size of a baseball. For playing in a bar, she would expand them to the size roughly of a volleyball. They could grow even larger if they needed to project at a louder volume, but they aren't quite able to substitute the audio enhancement needed for a full-blown concert on their own. When active the Muses use the same dust infusion that Ax uses for enhancing her mobility or floating - ionized gravity dust that creates an 'anti-gravity' effect. The massive white 'wings' they seem to have are purely cosmetic holograms and don't actually serve any purpose other than adding flair to their look - their wingspan can max out to roughly Ax's height in size, but they provide no meaningful defense, can be easily destroyed, and basically don't do anything important.
In addition to functioning as speakers, they control lights and minor holograms that provide glowing red 'warning signs' to discourage others from approaching when she is generating an excess of lightning. They also can store supplementary dust to serve secondary roles in battle and serve to grant Ax more creative methods of using her dust in battle. They are able to move quickly and project fields to defend themselves, but they are not completely immune to damage.
SKILL THEMATICS & FLUFF
Ax's skills follow the theme of being named after particular selections of rock music, the titles or themes of which often inspire the way she applies her dust and her semblance. Song links are included - some may contain mature language in the lyrics. Ax is mechanically inspired by the concepts of swordmages, magi, and other 'arcane warrior' concepts that blend magic and martial prowess together, and takes a few notes from the Bard in pen and paper games as well as a charismatic 'party face' able to fill a variety of supportive roles at the cost of heavy specialization in a specific area.
"Stars of Orion"
- Ax's 'Stars of Orion' are small bullet-like spherical projectiles formed into small contained fields that are subsequently manipulated with aura (much like Ax's standard lightning attacks, but smaller) that are formed with Ax's gauntlet Batteries instead of with Electra Heart. They can also take solid form instead by using metal-forming dust, which grants them shape outside of the radius of Ax's normal field of dust control and extends her range - she is able to use magnetic propulsion to fire these 'Stars' at high velocities. Ax began incorporating these smaller projectiles as a result of her studies in Advanced Dust Class with the intention of allowing her ways to overcome limitations of her normal combat style. Alternative dust types are used not only to extend Ax's range but also overcome resistances to lightning and generally increase the efficiency of her dust manipulation by using smaller, precise blasts of elemental output. One of the biggest perks - Ax is able to manipulate dust effectively even without Electra Heart on hand without frivolous or dangerous use of raw elemental output, granting her combat options as a 'backup' if she is deprived of her primary weapon.
can grant these 'Stars' conductivity that ensures they will deal damage as long as they hit their target or an object the target is carrying or wearing (like armor), making many conventional defenses useless.
extends the 'Stars' range in exchange for sheer destructive force, but this shortcoming can be made up for with precision use.
is blended with other dust types to create more volatile combinations, and is seldom used by itself. Ax's Burn/Shock dust combination unleashes what is essentially a volatile explosive, while Ax's Burn/Metal combination fires what it essentially a superheated jet of molten metal at a target.
While this attack does not require Electra Heart, Ax does require at least one if not both of her gauntlets to use this skill effectively. ♫
- Ax amps up her performance, burning up high-concentration dust stores in her guitar to greatly boost the voltage and amplitude of her electric attacks, allowing her to unleash blasts as instant-firing bolts of lightning directly from her guitar or her gauntlets as opposed to the normally slower-moving, easier to dodge ball-lightning blasts she directs when using standard attacks. If deprived of Electra Heart, Ax can crush electric dust charges from her belt in her fists to charge her gauntlets instead in a much more crude but nevertheless effective display of dust control. ♫
- One of Ax's most dangerous tools at her disposal are her custom-crafted dust infusion cartridges loving dubbed her 'Black Betties' - they are named for their black-colored casing and tendency to be primarily composed of gravity dust, along with several other dust types. Black Betties were designed originally at the behest of Jinhai, Ax's combat tutor, to serve as a dedicated response if Ax was forced to fight in close quarters with larger Grimm that she'd struggle to take on with her battleaxe alone in melee range if deprived of range or room to maneuver. Black Betties are explosive and deadly - they 'charge' the weapon they're applied to for a moment before activating. Upon completion of the charge, subsequent impact with a target will unleash a massive amount of force in the form of a caustic, electrified 'dark energy'. Black Betties are imprecise and likely to cause collateral damage or self-injury if used recklessly. For these reasons, Ax is very selective about when she uses them and considers them a 'trump card'. As Ax's semblance lacks a significant amount of combat utility, she has devoted extra time and energy into ensuring that these dust infusions are versatile; there is technically nothing preventing any properly-designed melee weapon from using these charges - they are fully self-sufficient with integrated catalysts. Ax cannot guarantee that all weapons will be able to handle the stress, however, as only Electra Heart is designed with using these infusions in mind on a regular basis. Ax cannot benefit from using this skill without an appropriate melee weapon; Electra Heart. She cannot use Black Betties on her gauntlets. ♫
- This ability is a representation of Ax's ability to fight defensively or take advantage of pauses in battle to take a 'second wind' (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.) and regain some of her aura's natural ability to assist in evading damage and mending minor injuries. Ax's relies on her aura to mend minor injuries and enhance her ability to avoid harm. This is not a unique ability - this is simply a reflective of Ax's clear understanding of conservative and defensive combat tactics, as without these tactical skills Ax's defensive use of her aura would be far less efficient. Ax does not require any specific gear to use this ability.♫
"Juke Box Hero"
- Ax has been known to be reckless and short-sighted in battle at times, which was a major flaw in her combat style. Ax's training with Cassandra Lavay has granted Ax a great deal of insight into ways to enhance her tactical approaches to fighting. A major part of this has been the exercise of focusing on using her aura defensively - given that Ax's semblance lacks obvious combat application she was often tempted to ignore developing it in favor of focusing on more practical skills such as her dust use. Now Ax is able to assume a stance that blends Ax's enhanced mindfulness and focus on her emotional stae with defensive aura application with the versatility and enhanced agility/reaction time that her ionized gravity dust affords her. While this style of defense is more proactive in its defense, it is not without cost, and has the potential to reduce Ax's long-term endurance in battle. Ax needs to be wearing all four of her Batteries to fight at her full defensive potential. ♫
- Ax has specialized electro-stim charges that can be fit into her gauntlets or Electra Heart
, and can be used in close range or launched at an ally at range. These charges can be used to jump-start a person's aura with electricity akin to using a defibrillator on a person's heart - the sensation is more startling and invigorating than painful, but not everyone will find the sensation pleasant. They can also be used to facilitate electrocauterization, granting the ability to mend injuries, albeit at the cost of causing a significant amount of pain. The cartridges are composed of a blend of metallic and shock dust and could pose tremendous danger if used improperly. They are arguably Ax's most precision-demanding dust charges. If Ax does not have at least one gauntlet on, she can't fire these charges without using Electra Heart. ♫
- Ax's 'wonderwall' is an emergency defensive measure projected by her Muses that generates a visible, bubble-shaped, transparent dome-shield around her person constructed with an electromagnetically charged dust infusion. The resulting field is able to protect Ax from most types of of kinetic attacks or energy based attacks. The size of the barrier makes it impossible to 'dodge' attacks as the barrier will protect Ax from near-misses and direct hits alike with no concern for precision movement. Regardless, the field will serve as a dedicated defense measure as long as the defensive dust charge being used lasts. Energy is steadily drained over time - kinetic forces or other attacks will accelerate the rate at which energy is drained. Physical contact with the barrier will unleash an electric shock upon contact, making it dangerous to touch. Ax cannot use Wonderwall without her Muses. ♫
- Ax detaches one of her metal-energy suspension composed guitar strings from Electra Heart and then uses her gauntlets to accelerate and launch the wire at a foe much like she would one of her 'Stars of Orion'. The wire will latch onto and coil around a target and continue to administer a high-voltage shock over time until it depletes. In close quarters Ax may opt not to launch the wire at all, instead forcefully attempting to use it much like a whip or a garrote. Strings that are disconnected from Electra Heart can be generated again with Electra Heart's internal dust stores, guaranteeing that there is no loss of combat effectiveness and that the show will keep on rocking. ♫
"Rock You Like A Hurricane"
- Normally Electra Heart is designed to build and store a current using its dust cores, and specific mechanisms and functions draw from the supply in a controlled manner. With this
attack, however, Ax can opt to simply unleash all her stored energy as a massive, imprecise blast that emanates in a dome-like formation from her position as an origin point. While it is not always efficient, it is destructive and covers a huge area and is able to damage a large number of foes at once. Ax's gauntlets do not have the ability to expel all of their energy at once in quite as massive of a blast, meaning that this ability requires Ax to have Electra Heart. ♫
Ax's combat style is essentially based around dust attacks. By playing her guitar, she builds electrical current in Electra Heart like a generator. By using her aura as a conduit, she can essentially function like a set of living cables that can direct the current built up by Electra Heart into her Batteries. In essence, electricity from her aura-attuned equipment flows harmlessly through her.
Ax's aura is very closely associated with emotions - specific 'moods' of music influence the way she guides electric projectiles. From her guitar, electricity can be formed into ball lightning and then guided as concentrated energy projectiles that will explode into thunderous energy on impact with an object or enemy, dealing damage via kinetic force exploding from the center of the blast and with raw electricity that shocks enemies in contact.
If the electricity is directed to her anklets or her gauntlets, they can deliver electricity through physical contact as well, via a touch or a punch or a kick. Electricity can also be delivered from the gauntlets as streaks of lightning that dance forth in close range, as though from a Tesla Coil. Energy stored in the batteries can be redirected back into the guitar as well. All the energy stored has to GO SOMEWHERE, however. Energy is gradually released as heat if not discharged, so neither the batteries nor Electra Heart itself can hold a charge indefinitely unless dust is expended, usually by playing her guitar. Energy stored is hazardous if not vented or released - for this reason, Ax will sometimes 'vent' electricity from her gauntlets into the ground or through some other relatively harmless medium when she wants to avoid incidents. If she doesn't do this, a usual consequence is stray 'static' affecting people or objects she touches, though this is unlikely to be harmful on its own. Worst case scenario an excessive charge could result in sudden, uncontrolled and imprecise discharges of lightning. Ax is responsible for managing her electric charge appropriately to prevent this.
[Click here for a visual reference of what Ax's projectiles/dust attacks looks like.]
Ax is a competent fighter with a battleaxe, but brute force alone has limitations. For this reason, Ax prefers to avoid using her battleaxe as a melee weapon unless she is using dust to augment the destructive force of her attacks- even then she would usually rather just use dust-casting by itself. Ax's weapon has a deceptive amount of weight, and if used by someone untrained it can seem to be a weighty, slow, clumsy weapon. For this reason, Ax must be mindful of economy of motion while using her weapon to avoid vulnerabilities resulting from missed swings. This is challenging for her, as she isn't much of a planner and prefers to improvise. Fortunately she has a lot of practice to help her mitigate some of the challenge.
When using the magnetic link to guide her weapon, her style of combat takes a turn for far more elegant. Ax has skill in acrobatics and can use her hands and feet alike to guide the blows of her axe. Ax is agile and quick in combat - she has a well-trained sense of balance and has been practicing using anti-gravity dust fields to enhance her motion and improve her ability to make dodging maneuvers even in very confined quarters. When Ax is in a groove, her feet can seem to seldom touch the ground, as though she is in a zero-g environment with a substantial degree of ability to maneuver and keep oriented. Ax is able to use mass-altering dust interactions to enhance the weight, momentum, and inertia of her equipment as well, making sheer brute strength less of a factor in the way she fights. Unfortunately, Ax's style of combat is far
from the most efficient - her dependence on dust makes her an expensive and flashy fighter, and it is easy to imagine that in Ax's future as a huntress she may experience troubles 'breaking even', balancing the cost of her dust supplies with the rewards for her completed assignments.
[Click here for a visual reference of what Ax's style of melee combat with her axe looks like. Focus on the "Heavy Sword" moveset.]
Ax is competent in hand-to-hand, but is not a specialist and would likely be outperformed by a dedicated hand-to-hand specialist (like Yang or Mercury in the show). Her hand-to-hand combat style is based on Escrima-style kickboxing.
[Click here for a visual reference of what Ax's hand-to-hand combat style looks like.]
Ax is also able to detach the dust-form strings of her guitar and use them as weapons to ensnare or grapple foes - these strings can also cut soft materials (like a razer wire) or dispense an electric shock. Doing so obviously requires her to have Electra Heart on hand, as her other equipment does not dispense energy or metal dust to generate the 'strings' she uses.