My eyes wander across the numerous swords and daggers, wishing I could buy all of them. The man behind the counter simply watches me as I try to find the sword that entrances me. Most of the swords are steel and seem to be long swords, which I own already. A slight gasp escapes my lips as I spot an extremely rare type of sword.
“Can you tell me about that one?” I point at the abnormally crafted long sword.
The man turns and looks at the sword and starts to unhinge it from the wall. “Sure.”
“This is a drishon long sword. Uh, do you know what drishon metal is?” He sets the sword on the class showcase and gently tugs the sword from its sheath just enough for me to see the blade.
“Well, it’s a fae metal, which makes it a little pricier. Unlike most fae metals, drishon shifts with the wielder. As long as the wielder is a faery. The abnormal shape of the blade now, helps the blade transform.” He slides the sword from its sheath and slides his finger across the inward curve of the blade towards the middle. “This curve here is where the blade is sharpest. The style of the sword is based off of older stories of faery immortals who used swords similar to this to cut the heads of their enemies off.”
“How much is it?”
“It’s three-hundred and sixty links. But, I need to see a sword permit and some identification to prove that you are older than sixteen and have gone through the mandatory training.”
“Sure, no problem.” I pull the paper money, my weapon permit, and my ID out of my purse. I place it all onto the counter and wait as he sorts through them and types the information he needs into the holographic computer screen. I pick up the money he left on the counter and double check the amount.
“Alright, everything checks out. Three seventy, with taxes.”
“Acacia!” My mother’s shrill voice rings through the store as I hand cash to the employee. He transfers the money into the register and hands me my change as she appears next to me. “How many times must I ask you to stop buying weapons?!”
“Until you’re satisfied, I guess. Not really my decision there, I don’t feel like you must do anything.” She heaves an exasperated sigh and storms away, no doubt to complain to my father. The cashier hands me the new long sword. The handle is covered with black, crossing leather strips and the hilt is made from a burnt looking steel with a refined amethyst gem in the middle. The metal is a beautiful dark purple that looks black in the right lighting.
I smile to myself and slide it’s sword into the sheath and strap the sword, a new addition to my collection at home, onto my hip. The weight is comforting and I enjoy the feeling of safety that builds with each step I take towards my parents. Mother is furious and glaring at me, while Father is seemingly apathetic and voiceless, as usual.
No words are exchanged as we move towards the entrance and walk through the nearly empty parking lot. Our car is rather simple and not very memorable. Our house is the opposite. Mother slams the door shut as she turns the car on. I climb into the backseat, carefully unstrapping the sword from my body and placing it in my lap. The ride is short and silent. I imagine using the sword for the first time. Mother seethes quietly. Gorgeous and massive homes fly by my window until the vehicle slows down in front of our home, a three story house with a two car large garage. The car pulls into the empty garage and we scramble out of the car and into the house, headed our separate ways.
The living room is connected to the kitchen which the garage door leads to. There isn’t a wall to separate the two, but there is a bar with some stools. The kitchen is the only room painted in white and grey. All of the kitchen ware is stainless steel, lacking any fun or attractive color. The entire house gives off an uncomfortable feel. Eventually I reach the backdoor to the house, passing through the dining area, which is separated from the kitchen and the living room.
I make my way to our huge backyard and glance over my small, vegetable and herb garden. The tomatoes are almost ripe and the zucchini has finally started to show. My marigolds are blooming and with a soft smile I place a gentle hand on the dark soil, letting my body sense the plants. My mouth dries a little and I straighten up to water them. Being able to sense a plant’s health makes gardening extremely easy for me. Once that is done, I walk further into the backyard until I reach my usual practice area.
The ground here no longer grows grass, only the occasional weed, and is instead dusty dirt due to the constant activity it sees. There are wooden dummies in a circle around me, four of them, and each has only been around for a month. I eviscerate them quickly and have to create or buy new ones regularly. My hand reaches for the handle of my new sword and slowly slides the unused, shiny blade from its sheath. I let the weight of the sword become familiar in my hands, my arms, and my body. Both hands clasp at the leather gripping and I take a minute to spin and twirl the sword around me to memorize its quirks.
The drishon blade whips through the air with the slightest amount of force behind it and the first time I swing the sword, I nearly throw it across the lawn. Re-situating my grip on the handle, I give the blade another swing, with much less force. For a few swings, the blade is handling me and not the other way around. The sword slips from my hands when I try to stop its powerful movement. I jump back and the blade barely misses the toes of my black boots. I take a moment to collect myself and try again, this time not trying to take control of the sword, but instead trusting the blade to do its work.
In no time, I’m giving the wooden dummies heavy and light blows, going through the footwork Father has ingrained into me from the time I was six: step forward, keep one foot slightly behind for balance, and don’t lose focus. Breathe, feel, and see everything. Nothing should go unheard. The blade of my sword flashes from lavender to black to a purple tinted silver as the light hits the metal. A few flying birds chirp, I hear the back door of the house open and close, but I ignore the guest and keep swinging, maintaining a fast-paced rhythm. Left, right, upward, downward, thrust. The person nears me and becomes still. Sparing just a moment, I glance to my side to see Father standing there.
“Your balance is off, so is your stance.” As usual, he is free with his criticism. I pause to re-focus my body and return into the muscle memory of my childhood. He walks silently toward the shed and I step outside the circle of dummies. What happen next only happens when Father is happy. Well, if you can even call it that. I brush a strand of my strawberry red hair from my face and tuck it behind my ear. As I stand there and wait, my eyes drift to the sky and I admire it’s beauty. The sun contrasts against the dark blue sky. The darkness of the sky exemplifies the colors of the clouds: lilac, burnt orange, faded yellow, soft pink and white.
When Father steps in front of me, I see him holding his sword, Stroyza, the only sword he’ll ever use. I don’t understand why one would stick with a single sword. Each one has its own personality, so why use one sword if you can use multiple? Obviously, a long sword is better in some situations than others. Though, I do vaguely remember Mother mentioning some important battle that he was in... I shake my head. Something important was said after that, but I can’t remember. Maybe the battle is why he sticks with one sword.
I gasp and jump to the left as I narrowly miss my Father’s down strike. I barely dodge the next strike by practically doing the splits. My hands scramble for my sword and just as Stroyza takes another down strike, I manage to give the sword a clash with my own. Still down on the floor, legs spread and my arms place all my strength into the blade to keep Father from cutting me in half.
“Thanks for the warning,” I huff as I shove his sword up and roll away, quickly rising to a defensive position. Of course, there isn’t a verbal response from Father just another attack. I chant in my head the steps. Side step, back, back, block, attack, forward, attack, forward. The pinging of metal on metal rings through the air as we duel. Sweat begins to form on my skin and I curse my hair swinging all over the place.
“Stolk! Get in here now!” Mother’s voice is barely heard over our duel, but Father stops immediately and gives me a look I’ve never received before. Confused, I stand there as he walks away to put Stroyza back in the shed. Eventually I just brush the look of what almost looked like pride off and place my sword back into its sheath. I’ll probably never know what the look meant, Father never explains anything. Not to mention, pride in me? All he’s ever told me is how to do better.
Placing my newest sword in one of the many showcases I have in the basement of the shed, I give it one last touch before closing and locking the case. Father’s collection is upstairs, with a few of Mother’s weapons. I’ve almost filled the entire room, meaning I will have to wait to buy another addition. I walk around the room admiring my vast collection.
A bastard sword, a couple of two bladed swords, and four kukris, a knife originally from Nepal. Each of mine are made of steel. Then I have a rapier - rather thin blade I ordered from Europe - two greatswords, and a Kopis. Technically the Kopis aren’t even weapons, they’re supposed to be used for sacrifices, but they looked so cool I had to buy one when we visited Greece. Finally, there are my Ram Daos which were particularly difficult to obtain. Most of China is full of the water dwarves and they don’t let go of much of anything. When I got mine though, I made sure the seller didn’t regret it. I have some of my daggers stored down here as well such as, three pugiones, a sica, and numerous butterfly knives.
With a final glance I start up the stairs and make my way through the main floor of the shed to the door. The shed door clanks quietly behind me and I stride through the yard, relishing in the cool night air. Once I reach the back door I step inside the house and take my shoes off, leaving them next to Father’s. I can hear the faintly heavy whispers from Mother coming from the kitchen, but I ignore it and head to my room. I’ve tried numerous times to eavesdrop on their conversations, but sneaking up on an ogre is like trying to creep up on someone while they’re watching you. Father has the best hearing and instincts of anyone I’ve ever met, so I gave up on trying to eavesdrop. The walls are pretty bare, no family photos or paintings, no knick-knacks, nothing. The color theme though is pale blue walls with burnt orange trim and grey doors. Mother painted it seven years ago and I didn’t like it at first, but I’ve grown used to it.
Reaching my bedroom door, I walk inside and shut it behind me. My room is the only room that deviates from the colors of the rest of the house. My walls are a light brown with an accent wall of dark purple. The trim is lavender and the doors are white. On my walls are elaborate vines spreading everywhere, ranging in colors from dark green to a dark red. Mother was furious when she came home that day to find me painting on the walls, but Father didn’t back her up as usual and she let it be.
On the wall that my bed is pushed up against, I have my Katana set pinned up. Mother was worried they would fall on to me in the middle of the night, so I’ve bracketed them onto the wall, practically caging them up there. On the wall opposite of my bed are shelves containing all of my books. A majority of them are on gardening or sword fighting. There are a few fiction books and the occasional book I bought for school. In the far right hand corner is my bathroom door and across from that is my stereo with my huge collection of CDs. I have a window above the head of my bed, next to the wall with my Katana set.
I plop down onto my bed and glance at my nightstand where a pile of homework sits waiting for me. With a heavy sigh I grab the pile and settle into the cloud of pillows, pulling my homework folder out of the pile first along with my agenda. I flip to this week in my agenda and look at what is due first, then I open my homework folder and pull out the packet I need to complete.