Callindra spun, bringing her sword to bear on the man. He was exactly as she remembered him; bald with a long salt and pepper beard, wearing a leather apron and covered in soot and forge dust. Stripped to the waist in the heat, he exposed a well-muscled torso although he was obviously much older than she was.
“Expecting someone else were you?” He asked, giving her a quizzical look.
“Before I answer you I want to know what business you have with Shojin.” She said, the tip of her blade not wavering.
“Oh he’s always making a fuss over one thing or another.” He pitched his voice like a petulant child, “Oooh, my leg hurts, I can’t use it as a pivot and it’s throwing off my swing. My blade needs to be lightened and balanced to compensate.”
She chuckled, “I gave him that limp. My name is Callindra, these are my brothers Tryst, Cronos and Vilhylm.”
“They aren’t yer brothers!” The man laughed.
“Brothers in all but blood.” Tryst said, “That’s what really matters I think.”
“Some bonds forged in battle are stronger than blood. There’s something to that.” He noticed the chain wasn’t looped over the obelisk any more. “This won’t do at all.” He inhaled deeply, “HEY MAJERA!”
“Hey, are you sure that’s a good idea?” Callindra was backing slowly away from the opening that looked out on the monster’s lair.
“Oh sure, he’s fine. MAAAAJEEEEERRRRRRAAAAAAA!!” He broke off into a coughing fit and seemed to hack up sparks, cinders and ash.
The immense demon opened one of his eyes a slit and fixed the smith with a baleful glare. ”WHAT?”
“You’re missing one of yer thingies there.” He pointed to the chain where it dangled loose.
Magera reached down, picked up the chain and looped it back over the obelisk. “FOOL.” His voice shook the room before he slipped back into slumber.
“What did you say your name was?” The smith looked at Callindra’s face for the first time.
“Callindra. Callindra Sol‘Estin.”
His gaze moved from her face to the hilt sticking up above her shoulder. “No… no, it couldn’t be.” He muttered turning towards the forge. Suddenly he spun back towards her, a massive forge hammer appeared in his hands and it brought a torrent of air with it as he swung it at her head. Callindra stood her ground, whipping Brightfang from his sheath and releasing a blast of wind that perfectly countered the blow the smith was aiming at her.
Everything stood motionless; her hair, dust motes, even the breath in her lungs was momentarily stilled. “Heh, not bad, but what’s this?” He had plucked Brightfang from her hand so quickly that she hadn’t been able to stop him and was examining the blade.
“What’s with the chain? You little fool, it throws the balance completely off.” He began muttering angrily to himself, “Glarian, what in the world are you teaching your students? How the mighty have fallen.”
“It was better than having someone take him away again. Have you seen Glarian lately? You are Beliach aren’t you?” The tension made her voice crack.
“He’s in Hellgate keep, supposedly trapped inside his sword last time I heard.” Beliach was still looking at Brightfang.
“Trapped inside his SWORD?”
“Yeah.” He said, obviously not paying attention to her.
“Can I have my sword back now?” Callindra was trying to restrain herself from trying to rip it out of his hands by pulling on the chain because she was pretty sure she would fail.
“I suppose so, it’s broken anyway. The balance is completely off now. You ruined a perfectly good blade, dunno what the hell you did to it.”
“I guess someone like you doesn’t know what it means to be weak. To have others be able to completely dominate you?” She paused and her voice lowered to a whisper. “To have something inside yourself that wants to destroy you and will if you can’t channel it.”
Beliach barked a laugh, “So what? You think that chain makes you stronger? You think it keeps you safe? Why not just hold on to your damn sword?”
“You can’t hang on when you’re unconscious.” She said, gripping her sword’s hilt tightly, “I won’t let anyone take him away again.”
“I’ve seen many a man dead on the battlefield with his fingers clutching the hilt of the blade.”
“Sure, and I’d bet you’ve seen many a scavenger pry that blade out of those fingers haven’t you?” She shook her head, “This is pointless bickering. I won’t let anyone take him away again. Look, I know this might be asking a lot but can you … can you re-balance Brightfang for me?”
“No point. You haven’t been listening to me have you girlie? Whatever you did to this blade it’s ruined, just look at these flaws.” He reached out with two fingers and tapped her sword directly in the center of the blade. Callindra watched in horror as spider web cracks spread from where his fingers touched and then shrieked in horror when it shattered like glass.
“See what I mean? Ruined.”
“What have you done? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” Callindra’s voice rose in a piercing scream. Weave broke from her mouth with the cry, winds whipping around her chaotically. “I can’t control it you stupid old FOOL!” A rumble of thunder seemed to sound in the distance.