The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 52

Callindra sighed and stood in one lithe movement, holding her sword in one hand.  The Mithril chain tinkled merrily as the ever-capricious winds whipped around her body, tugging at her hair and the Brightstar bramble tangling through it.  With a determined expression on her face, Callindra assumed the first Stance and began moving through the rest of the them at half speed.

She could feel the power building, releasing in fits and starts just as it had when she first started to learn how to harness it, only worse.  Thankfully she wasn’t hurting herself beyond a few cuts from the unexpectedly sharp edge or unfamiliar straight shape of the sword, but these practice sessions had deadly potential.  Callindra knew from experience what could result from a lack of focus.  Even this blade, specialized as it was, could shatter if she didn’t maintain control.

The sword began to tremble with Weave; she could see particles of it like glowing motes of dust gathering along the edges.  Without warning the Weave scattered and the blade sang in protest, the vibrations hurting her hands even through her gloves.

“God’s Balls!”  Callindra barely stopped herself from hurling the sword to the ground in sheer frustration.

“Having trouble?”  Callindra whirled, sword at the ready.  A woman with an impressive physique and even more impressive halberd stood just outside of the edge of the courtyard.  “Sorry, I didn’t know anyone else was up here.  I’m Karas.”

“Callindra.” She hefted her sword, “That damn Smith didn’t tell me that he was going to change this much when the blade was rebuilt.  He changed almost everything.  He just won’t listen to me anymore.”

“Bonded eh?  I’ve never seen a bond survive being re-forged before, you’re lucky to have found a smith talented enough to fix a broken blade.”

“That sonofabitch was the one who broke him so he’d damn well BETTER have been able to fix it.  Not that he really fixed the sword though.  Everything’s different.”  Callindra frowned at the pace long length of black metal.

“From my experience it’s impossible to remake a blade exactly the way it was; I’ve broken hundreds of them.  The balance is always a little off, the wind resistance changes, the edge cuts differently, it all changes.”  Karas gestured with her polearm, “I’ve discovered it’s actually easier to get used to a totally different weapon than one that has only changed slightly.”

“I can tell you haven’t ever been Bonded before.  It feels like being abandoned.”  Her voice dropped to a whisper, thinking about Glarian at the same time.  “I’m lost without him.”  Callindra didn’t know why she was able to speak like this with a stranger.

“I would imagine he feels the same way.  You say he’s not listening to you, are you listening to him?”  Karas asked.  “If you will be here tomorrow I will spar with you, provided you spend some time listening to your blade.”  With that she turned and strode from the rooftop courtyard.

“’The first Korumn is of the Breath.’” Callindra quoted, thinking of the beginning of Glarian’s instruction.  She moved to the center of the yard and sat, feeling the wind ruffling her hair.  Closing her eyes, Callindra allowed her body to relax using the breathing exercise her master had shown her.  The vagrant playful breezes stopped circling her; the air became still.

She could feel the ground beneath her, the weight of the sword across her thighs, only a thin layer of silk between the metal and her flesh and realized for the first time that even in this stillness the blade was singing with slight vibration.  Callindra listened to the music he was making, trying to hear a pattern.  Her awareness gradually went beyond hearing, what she felt was joy.

“Callindra!  It’s time to go!”  Vilhylm broke her concentration; he had been acting strangely of late.  Well stranger than usual.  His habit of issuing orders was annoying, even more so because the orders he gave were more often than not excellent choices, especially on the battlefield.

With a sigh she stood, “I could have used another few minutes Vil.”

“You’ve been up here for three candlemarks.  If you haven’t figured things out in three candlemarks I doubt another few minutes would make much of a difference.”

“I was just starting… never mind, you wouldn’t understand.”

‘Shadowsliver.’  She could feel it more than hear it.

Callindra smiled, “Shadowsliver then.  Let’s take this up a notch, to the nine hells with this slowed down shit.”  As they moved through all the Korumn she knew Shadowsliver ceased to be simply a piece of steel and instead became a part of her.  He filled in the parts that were missing, sealing the cracks of doubt and weakness with the strange jet black metal from which he was forged.

The final Korumn, Marking the Compass was finished and the small precise jets of air that always accompanied the last eight movements came as though they hadn’t been absent for the last fortnight.  She knew without looking that they had blown the dust that lay on the stone floor into a perfect compass rose.

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