Since magic is so widespread, these people haven’t developed the kinds of technology that we have in our world. If you can move objects with your mind, you have no need to create engines.
But, there is another group in this world, a group that is interested in what could be created mechanically. They like to tinker with gadgets, and they study science. They’re a marginalized group, but marginalized like a group who’s fascinated with an obscure TV show here would be. Those who know they exist don’t pay all that much attention to them.
The inciting incident in my novel is an attempt on the king’s life. The weapon used is one that was made by this group. My point of view character doesn’t have the background or vocabulary to name this weapon, but it is something that the reader should recognize. I hope.
Here’s where the weapon is described:
The assailant brandished a small, black item with such intent that I knew it had to be a weapon. His hand was wrapped around a base of some sort, and above it stuck out a tube with the open end pointed away from the assailant. Before I knew what I was doing, I leaped for the man. A loud “pop” sounded just as I slammed into the man, making a bruise-worthy connection between my hip and the assailant’s hand holding the hard weapon.But of course I am way too close to the story to be sure if I did it, so… Did I do it? Do you know what weapon the assailant used? What can I do to make this passage clearer?
A small, fast-moving projectile came out of the weapon. I flashed to snowball fights in the winter with my brothers. Challerton zinging one at me with his face full of anger and intent. It was the same expression the assailant had. Those snowballs stung, but they never did any real damage.
So, snowballs filled my mind, and I forced that image onto the projectile. As the two of us fell, I heard a loud, wet splat. I fell onto the man as he hit the ground, and I struggled to breathe.