Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Sword Gods," Awakening, pt. 7, 400 words

Footsteps hurried to his side, and an arm slid under his shoulders and hauled him upright. A hand cupped his chin and forced the smith to look up. Blearily, the smith closed his eyes for a moment to stop the world from swimming wildly around him, then opened them to squint at eyes staring into his.

“Who... 're you,” he managed, barely, around a tongue thick and stiff like he had been sick for days.

The person holding him was a young man, late in adolescence and features only just taking on the full sharpness of adulthood. He had a narrow jaw with little chin, and soft brown eyes that, combined with the long black hair pulled back in a queue, conspired to make him look more feminine than masculine. But his features blurred in the smith's eyes, something recognizable in the shape of his nose and the set of his mouth, something in how his brows drew down over those brown eyes in intense scrutiny.

The smith physically recoiled from the younger man, seeing the knight in his features. He fell backwards out of the young man's arm and cracked his head on the stone floor. The ancient straw offered no cushion against the blow.

“...ohh ow...”

“Damnation... What the blazes was that about?” The young man knelt down beside him. Questions flowed in a babbling rush. “Who are you, and how aren't you dead? What are you doing here?”

“Stop,” the smith croaked. “Get away.”

“What? No, you're hurt. And in a place as filthy as this...” He shook his head. “Come on.”

The young man grabbed the smith and hauled him up with surprising strength for his small frame. The smith braced himself, but the pain he expected never came. Oh, his body ached and the wound still throbbed, but he was lifted carefully off the floor so he didn't pull at his hurts. He rocked unsteadily on his feet, but the younger man held him up.

As they shuffled out of the chamber, the smith managed to ask, “Who... What're you doing here?”

With a sideways look at the smith, the younger man said, “I should be asking you that. I live here.” He flicked a quick look around the dim hallway. “In this city, that is. I don't think anyone could live down here.”

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