Sunday, August 09, 2009

"Sword Gods," The Mounted Lady, pt. 2, 409 words

She tested the blade's balance and heft, gave it a few practice swings. It was a mortuary sword, so called for the basket guard that resembled some miniature man's ribcage, with a long straight blade. In the hands of a mounted warrior such as the sword-goddess, it would be a deadly effective weapon, slashing across the exposed flesh of her foes and piercing through weaknesses in their armor. The obvious facility with which she bore it made the name and guard design seem more than suitable. It seemed an extension of her arm.

Sword-gods, whether foul or fair of appearance, were creatures of death. No human could hope to match them. But they appointed themselves warlords and champions of human kingdoms, never challenging their chosen king or queen unless they went too long unused in war.

The sword-goddess before him was, or so the smith had heard, one of the “good” ones. One that killed out of her nature, not out of sadism. One that preferred to seek out other sword-gods in battle immediately, turning the tide of battle as soon as possible instead of expending her given time on slaughtering as many mere mortals as possible.

Or so the smith had heard. Every king claimed their sword-god was a killing saint on the field. Every king claimed the sword-god of the enemy was a demon of slaughter.

Unable to hold silent any longer, the smith looked up at the beautiful goddess and asked, “My lady? What do you think?” He had no time to react, barely saw the blow before it came.

When his eyes had refocused, he realized he was staring at the sky above. His face throbbed in great pain, and felt a warm trickle spill down his left cheek. A coppery taste flooded his mouth, and he turned his head aside to spit blood on the ground. Above him, the knight stood glaring murder down. A few specks of blood caught the light on the back of the knight's gauntlet as he went for his blade.

“Hold,” the goddess said. Her voice sighed over them like the breath of new spring, soothing the cold fear in the smith's belly. The icy murder in the knight's eyes remained, but he let his sword rest at his side and stepped back from the supine smith. “Rise,” she said next, and as if pulled up by strings the smith found himself on his feet.

No comments: