Cutlery Book 1: The Sword collector part 7

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joshmightbe

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Edited By joshmightbe

Continued from here part 6

Several years ago

Victor had finished his requirements as an academy instructor and taken command of an outpost many miles from the Capitol. It had been a little over a year since he had taken Harris and Gunnar into his care. Marcus had come for a routine inspection.

He approached Victor in a field just behind the outpost, "How are the boys doing?"

Victor turned, "Pretty good. Gunnar and Vargas are progressing well, but that Harris is a damn prodigy."

The men looked out on a series of logs the boys had been placing in holes Victor had dug. As they finished Victor walked over and ordered them up the poles with their wooden swords. He then looked up, "Last one standing up there gets cake for dinner."

Vargas looked down, "What do the losers get for dinner?"

"Beans and water."

Vargas looked to the others, "Guess I'll be sleeping outside tonight after I've had my cake."

Harris chuckled, "Is that so?"

Gunnar charged without a word but Harris easily deflected his shot and tripped him sending him to the ground. Gunnar angrily punched one of the poles cracking it. Marcus looked to Victor, "Did you see that?"

Victor nodded, "Yea, Gunnar's strong as hell."

Vargas attempted to attack but Harris dodged and struck him in the back. Vargas lost his footing but caught the pole. He launched himself into the air and attempted to kick Harris down, only to get the flat of a wooden blade across the gut.

Vargas fell between two poles but spread his legs to lodge himself. Harris looked down to gloat a bit but Vargas was gone. Suddenly Vargas' blade smacked against his ankle sending him over. Harris caught the top of a pole to hold himself up as Vargas jumped up with a grin.

***

Their back and forth battle went on for over an hour. Many of the marshals and workers from the outpost made their way to watch. They began placing bets on which boy would fall. The boys paused for a moment, staring each other down as the sweated and panted. As they charged warily at each other both slipped and butted heads as they tumbled down.

Victor stood up, "Looks like we got a draw folks."

The men grumbled as Gunnar collected Victor's winnings for him. Vargas and Harris sat up and in unison yelled, "Who hit first?"

Victor grinned.

***

As they sat down for dinner Victor relented and gave each a slice of cake. Gunnar slid his away, "I'll eat it when I've earned it."

He then dug into a plate of beans. Vargas looked to Harris, "He's sleeping by the window tonight."

The two chuckled a bit but a glare from Victor shut them up.

***

The Present

Belial and Paimon walked alongside as their forces marched. Paimon gave a wary look toward Harris as he spoke to Belial, "You sure he's got the stomach for this?"

Belilal looked curious, "You doubt his courage?"

"Not courage but his resolve. He is said to be one of the world's greatest swordsmen but when he fought Victor, he flailed about like an angry child. To be sure he wanted us to believe he wanted the man dead, hell he may have wanted himself to believe it, but combat never lies."

Belial shrugged, "All that matters is that he's dead. Now to the matter at hand, where have you lead us?"

Paimon grinned a bit, "I sent a bird to inform my old crew of my freedom. This miscreants you've gathered will serve as nice pawns but we need power if we want to win. I instructed them to gather every bandit and sellsword they could find with a grudge against the marshals."

They came over a hill and looked down on hundreds of men gathered behind Paimon's crew. Belial smiled, "We can work with this."

***

As they joined the camp the bandit Erick looked on Vargas as he sat alone by a fire, "Why haven't you joined with the others?"

He looked up, "There's a man we may encounter, he will not be pleased with some of the things I've done and I must make certain I'm prepared to kill him."

***

The Capitol

Gunnar stands next to Ian on a city wall as workers buzz about, "What's happening up here?"

Ian turned, "This man, Uri, has had every blacksmith, carpenter and engineer in the city working for two solid days. Said our defenses were pitiful."

Gunnar looked at a line of catapults connected by a system of poles and cogs. Ian pointed out, "He says we only need two men for every five catapults. He's even devised a system for automatically firing ballistas on the East wall."

Across the city Hana sat next to Sarah while trying to attain a meditative state, "How is this supposed to help me master the Starburst?"

Sarah cast a weary eye on her as she picked up her rapier, "This blade is called the Lightning Lily, she chose me when I was younger than you. The reason our blades can choose us is simple, they are living things with a voice of their own and you will never master yours if you can't hear it."

She looked to her shuriken, "Can Vargas hear his blades?"

Sarah nodded, "He claims the Wolf sounds like an old man who's overly fond of ale and cigars while the Coyote is like an angry boy who's voice cracks when he gets excited."

"Is that true?"

Sarah shrugged, "I don't know, only he can hear them."

Hana then looked to Angus who was eating a bag of mixed nuts as he watched some street performers from the balcony, "Do you hear the Changeling?"

He nodded without looking back, "Yappy bastard never shuts up. Plus side, he's funny."

***

Vargas stood with Marcus as a large vault door slid open, "I'll be glad to get rid of a couple of these."

He handed the bag from his back over to Marcus who opened it as he put a metal gauntlet on. He pulled the Cobra's Fang out, "I've heard stories about this nasty piece of work."

Vargas nodded, "Luckily I don't think Bedo had it long. Only really knew two moves but the second was pretty much a variation on the first."

Marcus placed it on a table with other blades with snakes craved on their hilts before pulling the next blade from the bag, "So, I assume you'll be wanting to add the Dragon's Tail to the collection. Are you prepared to take it?"

Vargas nodded, "He's never been able to beat me before."

Marcus nodded, "This is true, but you've never been able to beat him either."

"Those were different times. As far as I'm concerned my friend died on the battle field with my father. I'm just doing away with the thing using his name."

***

Alana stood in front of the North gate of the Capitol, "Hey, Gatekeeper! You there?"

A man poked his head out, "We're a bit busy up here."

She yelled back, "Why's the gate closed in the middle of the day?"

"We're on high alert."

She sighed, "Can I get in?"

"What's your business?"

"Can you just let me in?"

"I can if you tell me your business."

She gritted her teeth, "My sister is Marshal Captain Sarah of the Lightning Lily."

He looked unimpressed, "That's nice, what's your business?"

She huffed a bit, "I have information about the guy with the Reaper's Arm and the army he's about to march on to this city."

"Give me a minute."

She listened as the gates unlocked and began to open. She muttered to herself, "I hate this place."

(To be continued)

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joshmightbe

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cbishop

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Transitional chapter. Nice stuff. Really liked the thing about the blades being alive and having voices. Really liked:

..."He claims the Wolf sounds like an old man who's overly fond of ale and cigars while the Coyote is like an angry boy who's voice cracks when he gets excited."

And:

..."Yappy bastard never shuts up. Plus side, he's funny."

Added to my FF Long Box - Authors. :)

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joshmightbe

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@cbishop: I figured giving the weapons themselves a touch of personality couldn't hurt. BTW I'm working on a character index, should be up some time in the next couple of days.

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@joshmightbe: Nope, doesn't hurt at all. You were kind of doing that anyway, saying that the weapons choose their wielders, and describing things like Changeling vibrating in its owner's pocket. Just going ahead and outing that lets you get on with things, if that makes sense. ...Yay to the index. :)