Monday, October 04, 2004


Day Twelve

The swordsmith was broad, well-muscled, and came up to my shoulder. He was in late middle age, I'd say, with a frosting of silver to his hair, and seemed completely at home in the fiery heat of the forge. The local smith was beating a red-glowing sword on the anvil, with a couple of his apprentices standing ready to help him, but the swordsmith himself wiped his palms on his apron, and gave us his full attention.

I brought out the flaking old sword that I'd used against Atzmon, and three other items we'd found there - a pale hilt-less blade, with just the metal core at the holding end, a shortsword of almost black metal, and a thin-bladed dagger which had a blade that looked slightly green. He examined them all carefully, hefting them, balancing the blades, and running one thumb up and down the metal. He grinned broadly. "That's a terrible old sword you've brought me, all notched and pitted and bent, and it looks as if it's only the rust that's holding it together, but I think it has possibilities, Sera."

"What about the others?"

"Well the dagger is evil, and I'll make sure it is destroyed, but the other two items are of interest - Ser Ashil is paying me a day's wage for my work on your sword, but if you'll let me have them, I promise you an extra-keen, extra-swift blade, enhanced to the full extent of my abilities. Now does that seem fair to you?"

It did, and we shook on it. Then he gave me the old sword, picked up another convenient one, and fenced with me for a few minutes, just to see how I used a sword, and understand my style. He was surprisingly skilled, and when I pressed an attack, calmly parried or deflected everything, before pushing forward in turn. I found myself extremely busy for a while, though neither of us was trying anything at all dangerous, and Memree watched fascinated, appreciating the skill of what she was seeing.

"Come back tomorrow evening - the sword will be inches longer, the hilt will be freshly made, and you won't recognise it as this shabby old thing", he assured me, as he took it back from me. He handed the blade he'd been using over. "I think you may wish to borrow this one meanwhile, if there are assassins on your tail!"

I'd almost forgotten about that particular side of things, and, borrowed sword on my hip, made the rounds this afternoon of all those nice kind helpful people who were always glad to see me, if only because I wasn't a guardsman. Nobody had been hiring assassins locally, it seemed, which was a comfort, and the surviving would-be assassin, who'd been hired in a town two days away, had no idea who he'd been working for, except that it was "a man in a tavern".

Ashil had left town to visit a mage who lived not too far away, so there wasn't anything else much to do - which means that this is all I'm going to have to write for you today, I think!

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