Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Battle of Fisheye Cove - Part 6
Time had little meaning to the sword Inazuma; the ancient blade had spent a millennium in battle, and at least another sundered and broken at the bottom of the sea or in a slumbering twilight dragon’s hoard. Patience he had learned.
Darkness, likewise meant nothing to him, it was just another flavor to the world around him. It in no way limited the clarity of the magic senses he used. So, when the minor magic on the stick finally faded and went out, he could see the girl’s face clearly.
The ancient sword had taken a thousand lives on the end of his blade; and seen the extinguishing of ten thousand more. Great dragons full of elemental power, proud elven masters of arcane lore, and noble human wielders of divine might, all had fallen within his witness. What was one peasant girl’s silent tear to all of that?
The girl, Meriwynn, had her unconscious brother’s head in her lap, stroking his hair with one hand. And she was still clutching the driftwood stick with the other, even after the final light had faded from it.
“Don’t worry, everything will be alright.” The girl’s quiet voice spoke into the darkness.
Inazuma wasn’t sure whether the lie was for her brother or herself, but the sword felt that it was high time he made some truth of it. He renewed the sparks along his blade. Usually a purely visual warning for intimidating foes; like a rattlesnake, his strike was just as deadly without the show.
“Meriwynn, child of Fish Guts, we have dallied here long enough.”
Inazuma had not spoken the language of man aloud for untold ages. It sounded strange even to him and the dim and inconsistent light from his blade could not hide her shocked expression from his sight. He felt it was probably better if he did not speak directly to her mind at this point.
The girl jumped back from the sword; looking around for the speaker. Hadn’t she heard him speak earlier? It was a good thing her brother looked like he had a hard head.
Inazuma thought for a bit, what image would children such as these respond to? He supposed the kindly old man route was best, but which. He had spent several centuries in the company of the wizard Hergelmist who pulled off the ruse of a bumbling senile very well; the children of that time seemed quite taken too him. But he surmised that considering the circumstances, these kids would want someone stronger appearing, but not threatening.
The sword summoned part of his magical energies and formed an illusion of old Marious in his simple blue robes, a wide brimmed hat with the peak half collapsed on itself perched upon his head. He remembered clearly the liveliness and power of the eyes set in the wrinkled old face, framed by the barely tamed beard and hair of grey; and he recreated it in detail. He formed one of Marious’ favorite staffs and set a bright flame upon it. Such was the power of Inazuma’s illusions that the flames actually gave off heat; although it could not actually burn or harm anything.
“My apologies dear child” he began, forming the sounds from the illusionary mouth of the old man. “I am Inazuma, the sword and the spirit in the sword.”
The girl curtsied very nicely, with just the perfect bow of the head to an unknown lord. She obviously had at least some small training outside of fishing boats.
“I am Meriwynn Fichgotz of Ravenford.”
The girl emphasized the pronunciation of her last name. She seemed to have regained some of her spunk. He had seen her beating on a red dragon with no more than a stick; there was some strong metal in this fisherman’s daughter.
Inazuma smiled at her and bowed in return. A dramatic, theatrical thing such as Marious would give to the old kings and queens in ages gone by. It was so much more effective to communicate through the illusion; with a dozen visual clues, he let her know she had nothing to fear from him and he considered her an equal in this endeavor.
“Well Miss Fichgotz, lets see how your brother is doing.” He certainly didn’t need to bend over the boy to see him clearly, but that action would make the girl feel better.
“Will he be alright?”
“He is awakening soon, and we must prepare.”
“First, you must take the sword.” Inazuma thought it best to refer to himself in third person to avoid confusion and enhance the illusion of humanity he was establishing.
Meriwynn leaped back from the shock that jumped from his hilt to her hand before they had even touched. Since his re-forging, he had only been wielded by Rukastanna, an Electromaster who encouraged the free flow of power in both directions. Together, they could create lightning far more powerful than either alone.
It was several millennia since the hands of man had held his hilt. How had they found balance, he tried to recall. He made an effort to focus all his elemental power down-blade, but it would require equilibrium of charge he was not sure they could find between them, or perhaps the children of man no longer possessed.
The girl queued up her determination, gritted her teeth and tentatively grasped his hilt. The strands of hair that had fallen out of her braids rose like live things; she began to shake slightly, her eyes rolling…
“Let go!” Inazuma shouted directly into the girls mind. The illusion of old Marious vanished. It took all of his concentration to suppress the current long enough for her to release his hilt.
Meriwynn dropped to the floor clutching her right hand; she was flexing her fingers, getting the feeling back in them.
“Burned on the one hand, shocked on the other, it’s my day of extremes.” The girl looked over to Inazuma as she spoke. He was once again forming sparks on his blade to give the room some dim illumination.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to carry yourself.” She said softly.
Inazuma’s reformed image smiled sadly at Meriwynn as he made his illusionary hand pass several times through his own hilt.
If she was able to, Ruka would have been back already. Inazuma was beginning to think he would spend the next millennium stuck in this room. He didn’t want it to be with the corpses of children if he could help it.
“If you are to travel out of this room without me, the first thing you will need is light.” Inazuma’s image squatted down in front of the girl to better hold her attention with his illusionary eyes. Dear old Marious was a truly great teacher, the sword tried to remember how he had done it.
“All people have the power to control magic within them, but only the very clever ones can figure out how to use it. And I know you are very clever.” he began.
Inazuma was truly amazed, he thought he was humoring the girl, but she definitely had the spark of sorcery and was fast on the uptake. Within a handful of minutes, she had the end of her stick glowing and lighting the whole room. Granted, it was the most basic of cantrips, but she cast it spontaneously with no memorization of formulas or material foci required.
“Wow! That is so cool!” The girl’s younger brother had apparently awaked while she was practicing her magic.
“Yeah! Isn’t this neat?” Meriwynn turned to show him the now glowing stick.
While Inazuma had been concentrating on teaching the girl, the full force of his power flowed through his blade and hilt. He wasn’t prepared; he hadn’t suppressed any portion of his elemental charge.
The boy, standing barefoot in a small pool of sea water, had firmly grasped his hilt with both hands. He couldn’t stop the surge. Inazuma didn’t want this small life added to the karmic debt he already owed, but there was nothing he could do, the circuit was complete, the power needed to flow.
The earth tried to take some of the power, but it couldn’t contain it. Wedged tightly between two stone blocks, it still couldn’t hold him. His bronze blade had already slipped from its grasp. He was wrenched skyward; firmly held by small hands and even skinnier arms he would have thought too weak for such a forceful action.
With a great crack, Inazuma release a bolt at the ceiling. The small pieces of stone raining down did nothing to flatten the boy’s hair, every strand of which was standing straight up, or to diminish his huge grin as he held the Lightning Blade Inazuma aloft.
“I am Gulhalk the Mighty! You can keep the axe, I want this sword!”