One of the hidden, underlying themes in Book 1 of the Aetherstorm chronicles is addiction. It may be an addiction to power or to a substance but the effects that it has on the characters and how it determines an outcome has always fascinated me. Although it is mostly visible in the character of Shylocke and his need for whiskey to maintain his sanity, it also manifests as an object in the weapon called Erebus. The concept came from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign long ago where the DM gave a character a weapon of enormous power. However, to use it could possibly cost the character his life. Such is the cost of wielding the ultimate weapon.
I added to this by making the weapon a part of its host, thus it could simply not be discarded away. The temptation to use it is always there and it torments its possessor, reminding them that it is always present, always ready to take control. It also leaves a physical mark, one that is obvious and hard to hide. Addiction in its most visible sense if one thinks about it. In Tesla’s case it formed a glowing tattoo like mark across her left arm. Luther Von Voss talks about it in chapter 26.
“Artifact number 676. It is full of anecdotes as there is not much known about it. But…according to the notes, it is the most dangerous of the seven witch blades. Once it is bound to its host, it can never be removed. It is believed to be a living fragment from an entity called Erebus. When its name is spoken by the host, it manifests as a flaming sword that has an unbreakable blade that is engulfed in aetheric and tartarustic fire. The combination of these two elements of fire steals the life force from anything struck by the blade, which it then consumes. Afterward, the soul of the being is burned into nonexistence. Essentially, it is hellfire.”
“Sounds like quite the formidable weapon,” Captain Laveau said, listening intently.
“Wait, there is more,” Von Voss replied, adjusting his monocle to a comfortable position before reading again. “What makes this artifact especially dangerous is that it gives the host a small amount of the stolen life force. A scholarly study on this medium suggested that it has an addictive quality that creates a sense of euphoria in the host. The artifact uses this to its advantage by making the host an addict, thus eventually manipulating the will of the host,” he paused, turning several pages before continuing. “There is a handwritten note on the bottom of the last page. It says that every person who has become a host to this artifact has died after the blood lust turned them upon their friends, allies, or subjects. There is also a brief list of the known former hosts, Ramesses III, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.”