Sir Differel's Favorite Weapons

Defending Sovereign, Church, and Country from the Forces of Darkness

As Director of the Caerleon Order, Sir Differel Van Helsing was trained in weapons and hand-to-hand combat. Because of her unique situation, however, she was probably taught more extensively than any previous director. Though she understood the necessity of the training—as the last of the Van Helsings her life had to be preserved at all costs to retain control of Vlad Drakulya—she found she enjoyed it, especially the swordwork. Over time she has collected a group of weapons which are her favorites. These are the ones she uses in preference to all others, though she is trained in a wide variety of different types of weapons.

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Sir Differel is an accomplished pistol marksman, able to shoot the spade out of an ace playing card at over a hundred feet. Her skill came from hours of dedicated practice over a ten year period, which also helped her learn self-control and discipline. Though able to summon Caliburn at will, her primary means of self-defense and attack is a pistol.

British Army L117A2
Compact Service Pistol
Barrel Length: 3.9 in   Weight: 2 lb
Muzzle Velocity: 1,247 ft/s   Effective Range: 164 ft
Mechanically locked, recoil operated, DA/SA trigger
9x19 mm Parabellum
13-round box magazine

This firearm is based on the SIG Sauer model P229. It is designed for concealed carry. It is one of two weapons that Sir Differel keeps on her person or within reach at all times, the other being the Fairbairn-Sykes Knife. She uses it purely for self-defense.

British Army L106A1
Full-sized Service Pistol
Barrel Length: 4.4 in   Weight: 2 lb 2 oz
Muzzle Velocity: 1,247 ft/s   Effective Range: 164 ft
Mechanically locked, recoil operated, DA/SA trigger
9x19 mm Parabellum
15, 30-round box magazines; 90-round drum magazine

This firearm is based on the SIG Sauer model P226. Sir Differel carries it whenever she goes into a situation where she may need more firepower than the L117 can provide, such as a potential combat situation. She uses it for both defense and offense.

Beretta Model 93R
Machine Pistol
Semi-automatic/Full Automatic selective-fire
Barrel Length: 6.1 in   Weight: 2 lb 9 oz
Muzzle Velocity: 1,247 ft/s   Effective Range: 164 ft
Rate of Fire: 1100 rounds/min (3-round bursts)
Mechanically locked, recoil operated, SA trigger
9x19 mm Parabellum
30-round box magazine; 90, 120-round drum magazines

Despite the fact that her Aunt Mandy tried to kill her with this gun, Sir Differel has a special fondness for it. She particularly likes the fact that she can switch from semi- to full automatic as needed, and that it fires three-round bursts. She carries it whenever she goes into a situation where she knows she will have to fight, but which is still not a combat situation, such as a reconnaissance in force, in which she needs extensive firepower in a compact form. Though technically a defensive weapon, she primarily uses it for offense.

Parker Hale Personal Defense Weapon
Submachine Gun
Full Automatic
Barrel Length: 4 in   Weight: 5.7 lb
Muzzle Velocity: 1,247 ft/s   Effective Range: 492 ft
Rate of Fire: 400 rounds/min
Recoil operated, open bolt, hydraulic rate control
9x19 mm Parabellum
90, 120, 180-round drum magazines

This is Sir Differel's preferred combat weapon. She carries it whenever she needs massive firepower short of an assault rifle or a machine gun. The fully automatic rate of fire impairs her sharpshooting skills, but most times that isn't a problem being as she only uses it when facing down hordes of monsters.


Sir Differel believes she is a swashbuckler at heart, which she blames on her Pendragon heritage. As such, she has an inordinate fondness for bladed weapons, especially swords, and while she uses a pistol as her primary means of defense, she will use a sword whenever practical. However, while she can call upon Caliburn whenever she wants, it isn't always the most practical weapon to choose. Therefore, she learned different forms of dueling so that she could make use of whatever sword might be available.

Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife
Combat Dagger
Overall Length: 11.5 in   Blade Length: 7.5 in
Weight: 8 oz

This is the premier British fighting knife used by commandoes in World War II, and it is still used by the Royal Marines and the Special Air Service (SAS). This is one of two weapons that Sir Differel keeps on her person or within reach at all times, the other being the British Army L117A2 pistol. Giles Holt and Aelfraed Walters were both her teachers, and they made this training a priority from the age of 12 on, believing that she needed an alternative to a gun or sword if the latter two were not practical. It would not be her first choice in a fight, but she is proficient enough to have won awards in SAS-sponsored tournaments.

Fencing Sabre
One-handed Sport Sword
Overall Length: 41 in   Blade Length: 35 in
Weight: 5 oz

Sir Differel was taught fencing at the same time as dagger fighting, so that she could learn to wield Caliburn effectively. There was no other choice, being as the only person who could have trained her properly, her mother, was dead. She concentrated on the sabre so that she would get used to striking with the edge as well as the point. She became good enough that she considered competing in the Olympics, but she wasn't allowed due to security concerns. However, she was allowed to compete in local tournaments, and she won numerous medals. Though sport fencing is a different form from dueling, it taught her quick thinking, precision, and balance, as well as the basics of footwork, attack, and defense, all necessary for successful swordplay.

Kendo Shinai
Two-handed Sport Sword
Overall Length: 47 in   Blade Length: 35 in
Weight: 16 oz

Aelfraed Walters and Giles Holt realized that, while fencing would provide Sir Differel with the basics of sword fighting, she needed additional training in more traditional long sword fighting to use Caliburn effectively. The only such training they knew of was Kendo, so starting when she was 13 they hired an instructor to come to the manor and give her private lessons. The "weapon" used in that training is a bamboo practice sword called a shinai. She has continued practicing on her own, achieving a high rank and receiving an award in a Kendo tournament. Nowadays she gives lessons to the house staff who wish to learn. However, the degree to which this training helped her ability to wield Caliburn is debatable.

Great Sword
Two-Handed Combat Sword (Custom)
Overall Length: 57 in   Blade Length: 44 in
Weight: 3 lb 12 oz

Sir Differel's ability to wield Caliburn as easily as a fencing sabre handicapped her somewhat, in that she had no idea how to use its length and weight to best effect except by applying her Kendo training, but unfortunately she didn't know any better. However, when she spent her first week at her retreat at Loch Moriah in the Northwest Highlands at the age of 16, she was visited by a friend of her mother, Medb hErenn, who offered to teach her the Pendragon style of great sword fighting. She then put her through a series of intense, hours-long drills with a wooden waster practice sword twice as heavy as a normal great sword to force-train her in the footwork, guards, attacks, defenses, and ripostes she needed to know. She found it grueling at first, but Medb taunted her to keep her going, and by the end of the week she was able to hold her own against the massive woman in a duel. When she returned to the manor, she had a functional great sword custom made to match Caliburn in length and continued to practice with it. She also hired Medieval dueling re-enactors to train her in new techniques. In later years she even won a couple of awards at tournaments, but her skills with Caliburn improved immensely.

17th century English Rapier
One-handed Dueling Sword (Replica)
Overall Length: 45 in   Blade Length: 36 in
Weight: 2 lb 5 oz

When Sir Differel first learned great sword dueling, she realized that the sports fencing and Kendo training she was also receiving were inadequate for monster hunting. While her safety was paramount, they emphasized choreographed attack and defense combined with winning points, giving little thought to survivability. She knew that she had to be able to walk away from any paranormal encounter relatively unscathed. She also wanted to take advantage of the fact that she could wield Caliburn as easily as a fencing sabre. So when she returned from her personal retreat she ordered a battle-ready replica of a 17th century English rapier and sought out an expert in Renaissance dueling to teach her how to fight and kill with it. He taught her the Italian method from Ridolpho Capo Ferro's Grain Simulacro, as well as "The Mysterious Circle" technique from Gérard Thibault d'Anvers's Academie de l'Espée. She also acquired a copy of Joseph Swetnam's The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence and taught herself the Jacobean English style. She became good enough that she won a number of awards in various tournaments, however, the training benefited her sword fighting skills across the broad with numerous weapons. When, after she turned 18, she went on monster-hunting expeditions with Vlad Drakulya, she carried a rapier as one of her weapons.

15th century German Longsword
Two-handed Dueling Sword (Replica)
Overall Length: 45 in   Blade Length: 36 in
Weight: 3 lb

Six months after she began rapier dueling training, Sir Differel decided that it wouldn't be sufficient. Though she could wield Caliburn one-handed, she had learned two-handed techniques for great sword dueling that did not mesh well with rapier dueling. In her study of the history of swords, she discovered there were two historical trends: one towards longer and heavier swords like claymores, the other towards shorter and thinner blades like rapiers. And standing at the junction of both was the longsword. It could be wielded both one- and two-handed, which meant she could integrate both rapier and great sword styles together in one weapon, allowing her to transfer them to Caliburn. She had a battle-ready replica of a 15th century German longsword made and acquired a copy of the 14 century manuscript Kunst des Fechtens by Johannes Liechtenauer, to teach herself longsword dueling. Her plan paid off as she was able to combine all the previous styles she learned, including Kendo, into one amalgamated martial art.

17th century Claymore
Two-handed Combat Sword (Reconstruction)
Overall Length: 55 in   Blade Length: 41 in
Weight: 5 lb 3 oz

This is a reconstruction that was presented to Sir Differel by Her Majesty when she formally took over the Directorship of the Caerleon Order in 1997. It consists of a refurbished 17th century Andrew Ferrara blade attached to a modern hilt. She keeps it on display in the entry hall of her ancestral manor. Though technically a showpiece, it is sufficiently well constructed that she was able to use it twice in emergency situations to kill paranormal creatures that had invaded the mansion.

Kenjutsu Bokken
Two-handed Practice Sword
Overall Length: 40 in   Blade Length: 30 in
Weight: 1 lb 4 oz

Shortly after the Grendel Invasion of 1997-98, Sir Differel was in Japan coordinating with her counterparts there, when she rescued a geisha from assault. She turned out to be a nine-tailed Kitsune, who in gratitude returned with her to Britain to teach her Japanese, proper etiquette and deportment, and Kenjutsu. However, for that training she used wooden practice swords called bokken. After the Kitsune returned to Japan, Sir Differel continued practicing and has achieved a good rank. Unlike Kendo, however, she only teaches Kenjutsu to a select few. She continues to use a bokken, except when integrating her Kenjutsu skills into her great sword training, because she has no interest in using a Katana, but the wooden practice sword is heavy enough to hurt or even kill. This training has had a greater impact on her ability to wield Caliburn than her Kendo training.

18th century Basket-hilted Broadsword
One-handed Dueling/Combat Sword (Heirloom)
Overall Length: 40 in   Blade Length: 33 in
Weight: 3 lb

This is an 18th century heirloom presented to Sir Differel by the Scottish government after her successful interdiction of a Zombie incursion in the Outer Hebrides. The clansman who had held it before her claimed it was used at the Battle of Culloden by Bonnie Prince Charlie himself. While she was unable to confirm that and doubted it was true, she has continued the fiction because she can claim Charles Edward Stuart as a cousin several times removed on her mother's side. It is in fine condition, and while she would never use it for combat, having it prompted her to learn Scottish fencing based on the manual Expert Swords-man's Companion by Donald McBane, and she used her heirloom for practice.

1897 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword
One-handed Combat Sword
Overall Length: 38 in   Blade Length: 32 in
Weight: 2 lb 2 oz

This is the regulation sword for officers of the infantry of the British Army. Though not a member of the Armed Forces, as Director of the Caerleon Order Sir Differel holds the honorary rank of Brigadier, and so is entitled to wear this sword as part of her duty uniform. In fact, she carries it whenever she expects to have to do any fighting. After World War I, the sword became ceremonial, however, Sir Differel had a battle-ready version made for her use. Primarily a thrusting weapon, it has a spear point and a double edge for the final 17 inches of its length, but it has a single sharpened edge back to the hilt, giving it an effective cutting capacity as well. Sir Differel wields it as she would a fencing sabre or a rapier, but her extensive training with other swords has enhanced her skill with this weapon to the point where she has become a deadly opponent.


Sir Differel has used other weapons besides these. Some are regular military or hunting guns, others are swords and knives of varying types. The rest are special or unusual weapons she was forced to adopt because of her circumstances.

Wheellock Pistols
Muzzle-loading Pistol
Barrel Length: 13.5 in   Weight: 1.9 lb
Muzzle Velocity: 1,300 ft/s   Effective Range: 25 ft
.56 caliber

This is the firearm Sir Differel uses in the Dreamlands. Despite its inaccuracy and low rate of fire, her marksmanship makes up the difference, and she usually carries at least eight. She also uses paper cartridges, which makes reloading faster. However, the firing mechanism is so complicated that it requires a great deal of care and maintenance to keep it in good working order.

Draculesti Sword
One-handed Combat Sword
Overall Length: 45 in   Blade Length: 34 in
Weight: 2 lb 12 oz

When Sir Differel tested a new invention by Dr. Elizabeth Mabuse that would transfer the living aura into a another body, she found herself teleported to a distant earth-like world and inhabiting the body of an Amazonian barbarian. In the course of her adventures, she found and claimed the semi-mythical Draculesti Sword, reputed to be forged from draculenium, a metal lighter than titanium but stronger than high-strength steel and harder than tungsten. Incorporating the hide, bone, teeth, and scales of a dracul and tempered in its blood, the weapon was said to harness the power of this legendary beast, even being able to spit flame or call up the shade of the dracul it was made from. This sword made it possible for her to survive a world where monsters were as common as cockroaches, and as hard to kill. See the Differel the Barbarian webcomic.

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