Bowyer and Fletcher

Author: Hoary Durotzel
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By Hoary Durotzel, the Wood Butcher of Ska'vyn

Now listen here, younglings, and I'll tell ye a thing or three about making bows and arrows, because you're going to need them if the Goblins come back. So pay attention, and put away those blasted cup-and-ball toys.

Now a bow what's made of one piece of springy wood is called a "self" bow, because it's only itself, d'ye see? Them Bretons with their longbows prefers it that way, and say a bow ain't no bow unless it's as tall as its archer before stringing. They like to use bow staves of yew, elm, or ash, 'cause those are woods that are dense and strong, yet flexible if tillered right.

Elven bows are usually shorter and more complicated. They're called "composite" bows because they're composed of several different pieces—are you listening, you jackanapes?—and even different materials. The central stave is usually wood, curved as in a self bow, but then pieces curved in the opposite direction are attached to the ends for added power. These "recurved" end-pieces are often made of horn or carapace.

Them Wood Elves down in Valenwood, now, they've got a problem, because they love their bows more even than me and you, but they can't cut no wood for staves 'cause of their loony Green Pact. So they make composite bows built entirely from horn, bug-shell, antlers, and even bone—though how they get that bone to flex is way beyond me. Treat it somehow, they do, boiling it in vinegars or suchlike, or so I hear tell.

Next is arrows. We'll start with the feathers what go on the back end to make them fly straight. Here, look how this arrow is fletched—are the vanes in a straight line parallel to the shaft? No, they ain't. Come back tomorrow, and I'll tell you why.

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