- “It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield.”
- ―Glyphs engraved upon the wall of an old church.
Mʔ, “ʔ” being the symbol for a glottal stop, was an ancient weapon designed for the Slayer, embodying their mystical essence. It was often referred to as the Scythe. Despite the Slayer of any time having the right over it, Buffy Summers and Melaka Fray were the only known owners of the weapon.
In prehistoric Africa, a group of powerful mystic women, who called themselves the Guardians, secretly forged the Scythe for the First Slayer, Sineya, to kill the last of the Old Ones that walked the Earth. The weapon was kept hidden from the Shadow Men, as well as their later formation into the Watchers Council. The Guardians put the Scythe in a rock, for when the time came and it was needed again, the Slayer would find and use it.
- “It’s old… It’s strong and it feels like… Like it’s mine.”
- ―Faith Lehane[src]
In 2003, the Scooby Gang were researching ways to defeat the threat of the First Evil, and discovered its servant Caleb had been in a mission in Gilroy. Spike went there to investigate, and a monk showed him an inscription carved in the stone of a secret room, words that angered Caleb once he read them. Originally in Latin, they translated to “It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield.”
At the time, the Slayer Buffy Summers reasoned that Caleb was protecting something crucial at the Shadow Valley Vineyards, his base of operations. She found the Scythe and pulled it out of the rock. With this weapon in her hands, Buffy managed to kill Caleb — who had merged with the First Evil and was extremely powerful.
Later, Willow Rosenberg, using the power of the Scythe, performed a spell that activated all Potential Slayers around the world, making them full-fledged Slayers. Buffy and the Slayers then shared the Scythe among them to defeat the numerous Turok-Han in the depths of the Hellmouth.
Several months later, Buffy was still in possession of the Scythe, and used it to rescue her friend Willow from the U.S. military, injuring many soldiers in the process. It was then stolen by the vampire, Toru, who wanted to reverse the spell Willow did to activate the potential Slayers of the world. After Buffy recovered the Scythe, it crossed its own timeline as Buffy was summoned to the future of Haddyn.
After moving to San Francisco, Buffy kept the ruined Scythe in a chest. However, the Scythe was soon taken by Willow, who believed it to be the key to restoring magic; using the residual magic in the Scythe as a “battery”, she carved various sigils on Connor with the Scythe, performing a ritual that allowed her to access Quor'toth. After succeeding in restoring her magic within Quor’toth, due to Giles holding the Scythe during his death, Willow allowed Angel to absorb the fragments of Giles’ soul that still latched onto it so that he could continue his quest to resurrect him via a Tooth of Ammuk.
In Willow’s journey, the Scythe was restored by the witch Vulcana, an associate of Aluwyn, who referred to it as a counterpart of Excalibur. With the Scythe now at full power, Willow could easily cut rifts between any two worlds with magic.
When Willow returned to the Earth dimension, she returned the Scythe to Buffy. During her battle with the newly-slaypire Simone Doffler, Simone easily outmatched Buffy and impaled her through the shoulder with the Scythe. Despite her wounds and Simone’s superior abilities, Buffy eventually gained the upper hand and used the Scythe to stake Simone, openly admitting her regret that she ever used the Scythe to make Simone a Slayer in the first place.
Buffy then had the opportunity to use the weapon in less apocalyptic circumstances — such as destroying flesh golems in a cemetery, and wrestling a vampire for VampCon —, constantly carrying the Scythe for various battles and patrols, but otherwise keeping it on her own bedroom. In Oakland, the Sculptor proposed Andrew to rob the weapon from Buffy in exchange for a body for the holographic Jonathan, replacing it with a copy. At the time of the exchange, Andrew had made his choice and arrived with the Scooby Gang, who attacked the Sculptor, successfully killing the demon lord.
Under the Supernatural Crisis Act, Buffy was taken to the Safe Zone in solidarity with the vampire Spike and the witch Willow. She was allowed to maintain her Scythe with her under the second amendment, and used it during her patrols as a trustee peacekeeper. In investigation on the Pandora Project, the Scooby Gang planned invading the Safe Zone headquarters, but Buffy had gave up her powers for her freedom, so she lent the Scythe once again to Faith. Buffy received the weapon back as soon as she recuperated her powers.
Later, they were able to fight the Pandora Project’s leader, Joanna Wise, who had turned herself into a magic-infused cyborg, and much stronger than Buffy. To protect the Earth against Wise’s destructive plans, Buffy performed with Willow a Slayer power spell, in reverse to the activation of the Potential Slayers they had done years later. Willow explained that Buffy had shared what made her special with all Potentials, and the power had grown in each of them. Using the Scythe, Willow was able to put the grown powers of thousands of Slayers back in Buffy, giving her the ability to even cut magic with its blade. After defeating Wise and eventually healing herself, Buffy and Willow used the Scythe to return all the power back.
One year later, to defeat an army of demons during the Reckoning, Willow and Buffy began to once again use the Scythe to combine the power of all the Slayers into Buffy. Although, this was interrupted when Harth Fray intercepted them with an original Shadow Men's staff and, interlocking it into the Scythe, channeled the power into himself. The Slayer connection, though, was too much for the vampire to handle, and he was killed in this moment of vulnerability. His death allowed the power to flow from him back to its owners, and this new Reckoning changed the future into the collective Slayer line continuing up to the 23rd century.
- “That Scythe is my only connection to the whole Slayer heritage thing. And it kills great.”
- ―Melaka Fray[src]
Sometime in the 23rd century, the demon Urkonn gave the Scythe to Melaka Fray, the Slayer of that time. She used it to defeat dozens of vampires led by her vampire brother Harth, as well as the Old One Neauth. She found out an abandoned apartment full of past Watchers Diaries with an illustration of the Scythe on its floor.
Some time later, during her battle with Fray, a time-displaced Buffy smashed the Scythe clean in half with a backhanded punch.
Appearance and qualities
Despite its name, the Scythe actually resembled a lochaber axe with a red, steel head, and a sliver edge on the border of the blade. A steel shaft hold the head with nails stamped along it, and, connected via an assembly of metal spikes, a brown haft with a simple wooden stake in its other extremity.
Its stake seemed apparently sharper and stronger than basic wood, as it could be jammed against a stone wall without any visible damage to it afterwards. Buffy could easily use it to stake several Turok-Han vampires despite their harder sternums, as well as use its blade to shield herself from D'Hoffryn’s energy blasts. The blade was also capable to simply rebound the rays from a ray gun.
Some demon carapaces exhibited resistance to its blade, such as the Morituri and Vermis mysteriis. D’Hoffryn, while having the Vampyr book and its magic rules under his control, was resistant to the Scythe’s attack, but was hurt and eventually decapitated with it under normal circumstances. The Scythe was capable of breaking the Seed of Wonder, although being destroyed in return. Notably, Buffy herself was capable to destroy Fray’s future counterpart Scythe with a single punch.
Willow displayed the capacity of the Scythe to be used in magic. She used its the power to activate every single Potential Slayer on Earth, as well as to retrieve and eventually give back the power of the Slayers. The weapon itself also contained magic even after the end of magic, which allowed the witch to use the Scythe’s power to tear open a rift in reality to gain access to Quor’toth. The Scythe could also be used to tear open portals to other dimensions, and could even be used as a means to cast very powerful spells, such as immense streams of magic power that can match the strength of an Old One.
The Scythe’s metal was initially red with silver blade. Since it was restored, it was changed to be completely red, and this aspect is preserved as well in 23rd century. For some reason, this differentiation didn’t happen during Buffy’s time travel, when both Buffy’s and Fray’s scythes had its original colors.
The following Slayers have wielded the Scythe:
- Buffy Summers
- Faith Lehane
- Simone Doffler
- Melaka Fray
- Rupert Giles
- Willow Rosenberg
- Last Guardian
- Kumiko Ishihara
Behind the scenes
- The Scythe appeared as a cameo among the objects owned by the character Rumpelstiltskin in the episode "Skin Deep" from Once Upon a Time television series, which was also written by Buffy writer Jane Espenson.
- There is only one known metal "Hero" Scythe that was used on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but multiple copies were made of it using plastic and rubber for stunt purposes.
- Joss Whedon has claimed in many interviews that he kept the "Hero" Metal Scythe.
- The original prop was fabricated by Tony Swatton who then sold the rights to it to a company named Factory X. Unfortunately, Factory X follows a little known copyright clause which states that any "replica" they create must be 10% smaller than the original prop. Factory X, which no longer produces the scythe, followed a business model of sending a model of the scythe to China where it was mass produced using the cheapest known materials. The Factory X "Slayer Scythe" was made using Zinc for the main blade, untempered steel for the main handle, cheap pine for the stake and a plastic vinyl wrap for the handle that has a printed pattern on it of Ostrich Leather. Finally, because of the contractual copyright clause, the Factory X "Slayer Scythe" is roughly 3 to 4 inches shorter than the screen used prop (even though it states on every box "The Slayer’s Scythe was made using Joss Whedon’s personal souvenir prop scythe as reference.")