Chapter 2: Back to Perdfale
Draden awoke early in the morning to the sounds of his table banging into the wall. He groggily stepped out of bed, staring wide-eyed at the hectically jolting nightstand, his sword violently vibrating atop it. Draden, overcoming shock and tiredness, quickly grabbed the sword, the vibrations instantly stopping.
“What!?” he exclaimed aloud. He laid the sword back down, and it immediately began again. The table did one gigantic lurch and with a loud crack all four legs split and the sword flew off, banging and sliding across the floor in loud, irritating scrapes. Draden dashed after it, picking it up to make the sword stop.
‘Well this is great. I don’t feel like holding this sword all day. I guess Ill just skip breakfast and go straight to Jannice’s. I hope she can help,’ thought Draden, just wanting to put an end to the madness.
Letting Marfol know of his predicament, he grabbed his cloak and left for Perdfale.
He had arrived in Perdfale to find Melana waiting for him. How she was always aware of his arrival in town, he had no clue.
Now they were standing quietly at Jannice’s, Draden holding the sword while the woman examined it thoroughly, tilting it up and down underneath the candlelight.
“My, my, my…what a gorgeous sword. Such power…such destiny. What is its name?” asked Jannice. She was a sorceress, probably in her sixties, yet her hair was bright brown and her skin was still smooth. She was comfortably thin and wore flowing purple robes.
Draden took a long breath, then answered, “That’s just it. It has no name. I’ve been trying to choose a fitting name for it––”
“You cannot!” Jannice blurted, eyes opening wide. Melana jumped next to him. “The sword is already named; you only just have to find it!” She paused, placing the sword down on the table. “Have you had any strange dreams lately?” she queried.
‘How does she know?’ Draden thought to himself. “I dreamt of a dragon last night. His name was…Isliaz,” Draden admitted, remembering.
Jannice’s face showed recognition and she smiled, pointing her finger at him. “That is your sword’s name, and that is why it vibrates. The power of the sword has been released, and to contain it you must inscribe the name on the sword. The legend of Isliaz is well-known by people of nobility. He was the dragon that once led the others in the first War of Zersevbein. The spirit of Isliaz is in your sword, but it shant be for long. Take this chance and keep the spirit within the blade! Do not mess with fate…fortune can easily turn.”
Draden, eyebrow raised, warily nodded. He had one more question. “Why does the sword stop vibrating when I touch it?”
Jannice laughed and answered, “The spirit recognizes human contact and is content for the time being, so it rests. You cannot control the spirit; you can just merely keep it in one place. If it wills, it shall aid you in battle.”
Draden swallowed; he had had enough of this weirdness, and he slowly backed towards the door. Melana, catching on, said, “Thank you so much for your help, Jannice. You have cleared up many things for us.”
“Not really…,” Draden muttered. He grunted as Melana elbowed him in the ribs.
“It is not I who helped you. Day breaks stealthily over the stars while shadows linger by the moon,” she replied, her eyes going hazy.
“Um, yea -sun; moon- we’re gonna go now…,” Draden said speedily, pulling Melana out through the door. “Yea, that was a load of––”
“Draden!” Melana stopped him short.
“What?! Please tell me you didn’t believe that!” exclaimed Draden, an expression of disbelief on his face.
“Well, it sounded pretty real to me…,” admitted Melana, looking embarrassed.
“Pretty real? The woman is clearly off her rocker.”
Melana glanced over her shoulder at the open door. “Draden! She can probably hear you!”
Jannice’s voice came from inside the shop, “It’s alright dear; I came off my rocker once. Very nice rocker it was too. Beautiful wood….”
Draden grasped Melana’s arm and whispered in her ear, “Let’s go!” He stalked up the street and they had soon made it to the blacksmith.
Draden walked in first, and Sgorba greeted him, calling out, “Aye! ‘Ave you come to have the name ‘ngraved on your sword?”
“Yea, how’d you know? And could I also finish paying for the sheath?” wondered Draden aloud.
“Draden! I’m supposed to pay for it!” blurted Melana.
“Yes, well, I don’t want my sword doing other weird things and hurting somebody, so I would feel much better with the blade covered.”
Melana blushed, but she nodded slowly.
Draden, realizing he’d been very sharp with her, added, “If you’d like, you can pay me back for it when you get the money.”
“I guess that would be okay,” she said quietly.
Draden turned back to Sgorba and handed him the Ƒangs.
With a snort, Sgorba accepted the payment, asking what the name was that he wanted engraved, and took the sword from Draden, walking into the back room. Draden plunked himself onto a seat, Melana sittting down next to him.
Sgorba poked his head out, once again in a merry mood, “You wanted Scixare laid in the ‘ngravings, right?” Draden nodded. “Alrigh’ then! I’ll be done shortly.” He disappeared again and a grating sound emitted from the room. Draden let out a sigh.
A large, dirty customer plundered in, heavy footsteps rattling the floor. He had blond, ruddy hair and wore a long, brown robe with more holes than cloth. He banged a burly, calloused hand down on the counter, fingernails caked with dirt. He grunted, one inky black eye staring at Draden. The other one was swollen shut and had a deep mauve ring around it. “I didn’t think your family had enough money to be here Draw-din,” he said in a voice as dirty-sounding as he was. He sneered at Melana. “Well, aren’t you a pretty thang.”
Draden glared, replying, “Do not talk about her that way. She’s mine. And that’s pretty funny Gragdo, because I wasn’t aware you were capable of thinking,” he smirked, “and by the looks of you, it’s a wonder you’ve survived as long as you have. Why, if I hadn’t saved you––”
Gragdo lunged at him, knocking the chair over as Draden dodged to the side. Draden kicked sideways, landing a firm hit on Gragdo’s back. The man fell on his face with a crash, and Sgorba came rushing out. He saw the two of them squabbling on the floor, Melana staring at them in shock. He yelled, “Hey you two! No fightin’!” They glared at each other, Gragdo pulling himself up. “I was just leaving anyway.” He shoved Draden aside and banged through the door.
Melana stared at him, eyes searching his face. After a moment, she said. “I’m yours? I don’t belong to anyone.” Draden tried to reach out to her, but she pulled away. “No...not right now. I need to be alone.” She walked out as well.
“Wha’ was tha’ all about?” boomed Sgorba, hands tightly gripping a blackened hammer.
Draden looked down. He didn’t even know where to begin with Melana. ‘I hadn’t meant it like that.’ He thought back to his fight with Gragdo. “It’s nothing. He probably saw me when we came in here and just followed to mock me. Gragdo’s hated me ever since we were little and I saved him from a wolf. I’m still not quite sure what happened -I was knocked unconscious- but sometimes I dream about that night. I can vaguely remember a flash of blue light. But it’s nothing, really; he just couldn’t stand not being able to fend for himself.”
Sgorba exclaimed, “I remember tha’! There was no sign of the creature, and you almost got blamed for attacking Gragdo!”
“Yea, but no one knows what happened, except him, and he won’t tell anyone, especially me,” said Draden with a sigh.
“Okay, well, your sword is almost done. I’ll only be a minu’.” Sgorba left again and hammering broke through the heat.
Draden soon emerged holding his newly sheathed and engraved sword. The sheath was made of blue leather. Where the silver of the hilt left off, indenting in the sword, it lined up with more silver on the sheath that narrowed to a point a few inches up the middle. Starting a couple inches on either side of the sheath were edges of silver, stopping before reaching the halfway point. In the middle of the sheath was an opening that allowed for viewing of the Scixare on the sword. Above that was a long silver plate where the name was engraved in blue Scixare. The point of the sheath was also edged in silver. On the sword, the name had been engraved on the smooth metal towards the top of the blade, more blue shining brightly.
Thankfully, the sword had stopped vibrating.
Draden, who was still incensed about his fight with Gragdo and Melana’s reaction, glared at anyone who passed him.
‘Why is Melana always so moody? Sometimes it seems like a relationship is more trouble than it’s worth,’ he thought unhappily. His entire mind devoted to this thought, he did not notice as he entered the centre that a mysterious man was watching him closely. Draden exited onto a side street, the man trailing quietly behind him. There were only a few people still wandering outside; most had gone to lunch. He walked past the all-too-familiar houses he had traveled by many times to Melana’s house, just as he was doing right now.
Steadying his breath and suppressing his anger, he walked past a dwindling flowerbed that had previously boasted Marigolds and Hollyhocks, but now displayed browning buds, and knocked on the auburn door.
Shouting came from inside: Melana disputing with her father over whether or not to open the door. At long last, the window next to the door opened and Melana poked her head out.
“You’ve got some nerve coming back here,” she said with a snap.
Draden’s fury rose again. “I––I’ve got nerve? You are the one who overreacted and left!”
“I told you I needed to be alone. I would have found you when I was ready to speak to you again. It would seem my own boyfriend doesn’t respect what I want.”
His face turned pink. “I do respect you. I may have misspoken, but you have to know that I love you more than anything.”
Melana’s face softened. She left the window, and a moment later the door opened. She stepped in front of Draden, and he could see that her eyes were wet. “Draden,” she said quietly. “I love you too. I really do. Just right now...I really don’t think I can handle a relationship.”
Draden’s vision became blurry, as if clouds were filling his eyes, and the world around him receded into a dull gray haze. He heard droning that sounded like someone’s voice, though coming from far away, and he had no sooner started to panic than the fog cleared and he regained his bearings.
Melana was closing the door softly behind her, her face tear-stained.
‘What happened? Did…did I just black out? I don’t remember anything,’ he thought, confused. His breathing was slow and steady. He walked forward, raising his hand to knock. With a sigh, he let it drop. “Whatever,” he whispered. He walked shamefully down the pebbly road, avoiding people’s stares, wishing he knew what was bothering Melana; wishing he could explain his life; wishing he could erase it all.
He followed the road as it entered the forest, making a vow that he would not bother Melana again, unless she approached him first. Little, did he know, his vow would come true.
Jannice = Jan-iss
Gragdo = Grăg-dō