Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Sword Gods," Awakening, pt. 8, 366 words

The smith shook his head dumbly. “I was a... a captive.” His thoughts came more easily now, but his tongue still lagged behind. He swallowed against a dry throat.

The other man paused for half a step before continuing on. His gaze slid along the wall, considering the dungeon doors, down there in the depths of the keep, and moved back to the smith in careful thought.

The smith managed to grab at the other's shoulder, shaking his head. “Not a criminal,” he said. “I live in Ordal. Blacksmith. Was brought in by force, to make swords. A sword.”

“A sword? Why wouldn't a Calland smith do?”

“Don't know,” the smith lied. His hands suddenly shook, and the tremor swept up his arms and down his body. He nearly fell out of the other's arm, still doubled over as the shaking went on. He gritted his teeth and tried not to bite his tongue.

“Hey– hey!” Hands on his shoulders held him steady. “Why didn't you say you have seizures?”

“I don't normally.” The smith bit back a sharp profanity. “I was just stabbed through the frigging lung. I think I'm allowed an unpleasant side-effect or two.”

“How are you even still standing?”

The smith squeezed his eyes tightly shut for a moment, and had to make a serious effort to straighten up. Taking a deep breath and letting it out before answering, he said, “With effort.”

“No,” the other man said. He let go of the smith and backed away, shaking his head. “No, no, no. That isn't – it isn't normal.” A pause, and then, “Are you... are you a god?”

Sighing, the smith again briefly closed his eyes. “Maybe,” he admitted. “Not sure.” He touched the ragged tear in his shirt, where the sword had pierced him. “Not much of one, it seems.”

“Swords...” The man shook his head. “I've never heard of gods actually making their swords – or any swords at all. I don't know, they just... don't.”

“Like I said, I'm not much of a god,” the smith said tersely.

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