Somebody once said that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. That is exactly how the “Sword of Neshyenyer” came about. Centuries before the events of “Shadow and Bone,” when the world was mired in equally irritating and fatal politics, the King of the Shu Han province ran out of soldiers due to the sheer number of wars they were fighting. But danger still loomed over their country, and that is when Saint, aka Sankt Kho, stepped up. He was a clockmaker in the palace, and he made an army of clockwork soldiers for his country. As expected, these soldiers could not get tired, did not need rations, and in case of any loss, they could just be remade or repaired.
Saint Kho was a Durast, as in, he had the power to bend metal to his will. When he made the clockwork soldiers, they were undoubtedly infused with Grisha’s small science. Presumably, despite their name, the soldiers must not have had clockwork motions if they were fighting in battle. That would make them predictable and useless in combat. They had to have the actual skills of a soldier, along with the ability to think like one. It is undoubtedly a great skill and achievement to be able to create something like that, and we would have assumed that Sankt Kho used Merzost if he were not called the Patron Saint of Good Intentions.
Sadly, the King of Shu Han did not share them. He used the clockwork soldiers not only to fight off threats to his kingdom but also for all of his conquests and further ambitions. It is only conjecture that such prolonged use of Grisha power over the clockwork soldiers either corrupted them or gave them free will, and that is why, even when the King asked them to stop, they did not, and marched towards Shu Han to destroy it. This was when Sankta Neyar came into the picture. A deeply patriotic woman, she is determined to save her country. A fellow Durast to Sankt Kho, only she can make an equally powerful weapon that could stop the soldiers. That is when she forged the Sword of Neshyenyer, something “so sharp, it could cut through shadow,” and she did it in the time it took the soldiers to march towards her city. She fought them off with it for three days and three nights and won. Sankt Neyar proved to be equally tireless and just as determined as the clockwork soldiers, and maybe that is why the sword was named “Neshyenyer,” meaning relentless. It is only understood that such a strong woman is not afraid to call a spade a spade, and she demanded that the current King step down in favor of someone more capable. There may not be another Sankt Neyar or another Neshyenyer for the matter, and it was imperative that there be no need for them either. She got her way, and Shu Han has since been ruled by queens.
Sankt Neyar was a powerful Grisha, which means that she had a long life to live. We honestly believe that maybe the human race is not cut out for immortality. We are a race that thrives on love, friendship, and companionship, and the loss or lack of any of these can go against our very nature. That is what happens to Sankt Neyar. In “Shadow and Bone” Season 2, she tells the Crows that she had shut herself off when all her loved ones started dying one by one, simply by virtue of being human. Now, Grisha could live long lives, but they could not be open about it. Her sword was displayed proudly at the palace of Ahmrat Jen, which is the capital of Shu Han. It was stolen from there by a thief known as “The Disciple.” We don’t know if Neyar actually cared about the sword or if she just got curious in a long life where nothing really changes for someone as powerful as her, but she was interested in the thief who had stolen what she had made.
The Ahmrat Jen was apparently an engineering marvel, and “The Disciple” might be a good challenge for Sankt Neyer. Their love story is pure conjecture on our part, depending on what we saw in Season 2 of “Shadow and Bone,” but we imagine a smooth-talking thief with a worldly woman who is hard to impress, and they both have a challenge they want to conquer. Maybe they had adventures of their own before eventually falling in love, or maybe the attraction was there right away. We think it is the latter scenario. They fell in love, and suddenly, Neyer was not scared of getting her heart broken because this was going to be worth it. Love is the only feeling strong enough to motivate someone out of the comfort of lifetimes of emotional inertia.
Either way, life goes on, as it did for the two of them. Neyer remained unchanged as ever, whereas “The Disciple ” grew old and felt the consequences of age. It was a blissful life spent in each other’s company when the crows came knocking on Neyer’s door, seeking the sword. She resisted it with all her might. After all, she wasn’t going to use it again, but she also wasn’t going to hand it over to someone she thought were bandits. It took the presence of her husband for her to calm down and listen to what the others had to say. And when you have lived a life as long as hers, you do not care about Ravka being torn down by the Nichevo’ya. But the crows convince her to hand them the sword so that others like them can build a life for themselves that she has already lived through. That is when Sankt Neyer agrees to let go of it, when she decides to let others find their own universe, as she did for herself, by giving them a fighting chance with her sword.
In the books, Alina has mastered the Cut by the end of Book 1, which is when she regains control of her power from the Darkling by severing his connection with the stag in the fold. The Cut is good enough to kill the Nichevo’ya, except that they are too many in number compared to her limited abilities with the Cut. In Season 2 of “Shadow and Bone,” Alina doesn’t master the Cut till the very end, and hence, there is no weapon against the Nichevo’ya, which is why the sword of Neshyenyer comes into the picture. And since it is here, we can’t wait to see what role it plays in Season 3 of “Shadow and Bone.” Is it going to be used on Nikolai, who might turn into a Volcra or a Nichevo’ya, or will it be used against the Darkling, who might come back to life? It remains to be seen.