Note: While I won’t be posting any spoilers for the World Spectrum books per se, those of you who have not read at least the first three chapters of Rage of the Old Gods may be slightly confused by the content of this post.
On with the show!
When I’m writing Leha’s fight scenes, there’s a whole mess of things I’m drawing inspiration from: large predatory cats, various action movie tropes, “wire fu” movies, parkour… It’s sort of like a potpourri of ass-kicking.
However, there are three specific sources I can point to as being the primary inspirations for how Leha fights.
Although there is a superficial similarity between how Wolverine and Leha fight (claws), I use Wolverine more as inspiration for Leha’s attitude while fighting than for the specifics of her combat style.
Wolverine is a beast, a force of nature. What he lacks in skill and strategy, he makes up for with raw fury and the desire to destroy his enemies at any cost. His fighting style is defined by reckless courage and feral savagery, and that’s the feel I wanted to embody with Leha. She’s not a soldier; she’s a rabid animal.
Do you remember that scene in X-Men 2 where Wolverine leaps off the balcony in the mansion, screaming like a madman, and proceeds to curbstomp Stryker’s soldiers? That scene is often playing in my mind when I write Leha’s battles.
2: Anderson “The Spider” Silva
Even after losing his championship, most would probably agree that Anderson Silva is the best mixed martial arts fighter alive.
While Silva has many impressive skills as a fighter, the thing that I most seized upon as inspiration for Leha is his ability to dodge. Simply put, Silva is a slippery bastard. His body just flows around punches. He hardly even seems to be dodging; he seems to have a supernatural ability to not be there when his opponent’s strikes arrive.
This superhuman ability to dodge is a crucial part of Leha’s fighting style. She’s a small woman with very light armor facing enemies of massive size and fantastic strength. If she were to receive even one direct hit, it would be the end of her. The only way she can survive battles is to be constantly fluid and evade any attacks sent her way.
3: Inu Yasha
I’ve never been much of an anime fan, but I did always have a soft spot for the series Inu Yasha, and the titular half-demon is probably the biggest inspiration for how Leha fights.
Inu Yasha is an agile fighter capable of running at incredible speed and leaping great distances. Where a human would have fingernails, he has claws that he can use to tear through flesh and armor alike.
The way Inu Yasha moves, and the way he leaps and dodges around the battlefield, are nearly identical to how I imagine Leha fighting. I can almost hear her screaming “IRON REAVER SOUL STEALER” as she strikes down one of her foes.
Come to think of it, there’s a power unleashed in Human Again that is vaguely reminiscent of the Windscar…
I’ve said too much.