The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 51

They stayed with Beliach only overnight.  Callindra stayed up late, drinking ale with the smith and talking about swordplay, his work at the forge, anything she could think of.  For his part, her host was more than happy to sit, swap tales and drink ale.

She told him of her training and some of their recent exploits.  In return he gave her what little information about The Order that he had.  Mostly he only had names and the last time he’d seen any given member, but she also gained subtle insights about their fighting styles based on the types of weapons they wielded.

Most of them hadn’t been by in years, but he had an encyclopedic memory when it came to weapons and every single one of the ranking members had a weapon forged by him.  Only the best of the best could afford one of his blades, which made her equal parts worried and awed that Glarian had managed to procure her one of his swords.  Now she had a second one.

Her brothers had retired candlemarks ago, but Callindra felt energized.  Her Brightfang was whole once again, although she couldn’t really call him Brightfang anymore.  He was still hers, but he was so different; stronger, faster, more balanced and more dangerous.  When Tryst came out of the room where the others had been sleeping, stretching and yawning she was surprised to see that she had spent the entire night chatting with the smith.

Following the Hand and consulting maps, they made their way out of the great glacier and down from the mountains.  After a few uneventful day’s travel, they found a medium sized village tucked into a high, verdant valley between a pair of peaks.  It was named Lanthodell on the map and seemed to be mostly comprised of craftsmen who had started their own town in order to gather others with crafting skills where they could explore the limits of their abilities and learn from one another.

They found an inn called Raven’s Roost and after they had stowed their gear and had a much needed bath, they sat in the common room for a meal.  The mutton stew had a heavy cream gravy and large chunks of potatoes and mushrooms floating in it and the bread had obviously been freshly baked that morning.  The ale was light and refreshing, making everyone think of spring.

After dinner, Callindra had gone to bed early, anticipating being in a real bed for once and slept hard through the night.  The troubling dreams faded as she awoke an candlemark before dawn, her sword hilt still in her hand and a few fresh cuts on her forearms.  She really needed to make a sheath for him, but she just hadn’t had the time.  She got the feeling that he didn’t want a sheath.

She made her way to the top of the inn, finding a flat rooftop with a low wall with herbs growing in tidy garden boxes along the sides where the sun gave the best coverage.  There was a clear flat stone space in the center and she sat in the exact center, settling with her re-forged sword across her knees, trying not to think about how different he was.

Despite her best efforts she kept running over the changes in her mind.  Perfectly straight instead of the gentle curve she knew and loved.  Two razor sharp edges instead of having one flat edge for her hand to safely rest on.  Gone were the runes proclaiming her the master of the blade.  The guards were even and facing forward instead of having one that curved back over the hand and one that followed the shape of the blade.  The slightly curved wire-wrapped hilt was replaced with a straight hilt wrapped in some strange two toned gray leather that she didn’t recognize.  Instead of being mirror-polished silver, he was now a dull light-drinking flat black.  A perfect pair of tips like a razor sharp tuning fork graced the business end of the blade replacing the slender curving point he’d had before.

The only things that remained the same were the pommel and the chain.  The pommel that held her power and the chain that kept him safe.  She hadn’t been strong enough to give it up.  She hoped it would make her stronger in the end.  It had to make her stronger.

“I’ll never let anyone take you away from me again.”  She muttered, feeling the Weave pulse through his length in recognition of her oath.  It wasn’t true though, that Smith had shown her differently.  Beliach told her a person just needed to know the trick of it and anyone could remove the chain but he was a crazy old bastard.  Not for the first time she wished for the pipe that had been destroyed when she had been swallowed by that monster.

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