James 8

James awoke with a start. He experienced the dive off a building that got him into this situation in the first place in his dreams. he noted the cold sweat that covered his body, and shook his head. That felt like another lifetime than this one here. At least now he had something of a purpose. He decided to leave the armor in the room, hoping to ditch it, as he wasn’t sure if he could even sell it, and the sword didn’t have any distinguishing marks on it, other than the handle which had an insignia on it. He had been working on scratching it off, and had been about halfway successful, but the distinctive shape of it may just give it away. He just sighed and figured he’d have to bluff his way through this like he had before. James made sure to leave the room unlocked, so that if the armor did get stolen, then it would be one less thing to worry about.

He ate the meal provided by the inn, and began to leave, searching for the nearest shop to go and pawn off his sword. He figured that someone might be willing to trade for something else like a sharp dagger or a spear, as he wasn’t any good with swords from what his experience was with training. It took him a good hour of walking down different streets before he had come across something at least resembling a metalworking shop. He walked through the doors to find a rhythmic banging sound from the back room. He began to look around to try and see if he could find anything that could catch his eye. Lots of swords, spears, and axes hung from the walls from hooks, each looking quite well crafted. Within a case along the counter he found the knives and daggers, almost giving the feeling of a pawn shop back on earth.

After a few minutes of browsing along the walls, but not yet feeling anything that caught his eyes, he heard someone from behind him say, “ya know, if yer looking for a weapon, those don’t fit you.”

He felt like he jumped out of his skin, and had a near heart attack before spinning around. He spotted a short, yet stout woman behind the counter watching him with a bemused look on her face.

“Sorry about that, I saw you looking through all of them swords and thought it didn’t suit your build. you seem more of the sneaky type rather than the slashy type. I’ve seen plenty around and can get a good feel for it with how long I’ve been at this.” she continued.

The clanging from the back had finally died down, and a man just as tall and stout as she walked into the front stating, “Dess, have you seen my…” before seeing James and getting surprised. “Oh, a customer. Sorry about that, I get so caught up with my forging and I get to a space where no matter of calling gets me to snap out of it.” he said with a soot covered grin. The man had a long black beard with a bald head. The wrinkles on his face showed that he was quite a jovial person and was prone to smiling.

“It’s no problem. I was just looking around, trying to see if anything catches my eye. Oh, and can you take this?” he said, holding out his sword.

The smith took it, examining the blade closely, “I see this has been well maintained and loved. However, this is an imperial sword right? one that has been used for quite some time if the pommel is anything to go by I assume you inherited this from your parents before realizing that this wasn’t for you. Of course, this is the story you want to go with, right?”

This caught James off guard. “Wha…?” he muttered aloud

“Honey, how long do yeh think we’ve been running this store?” asked the woman with a smile. “I’m sure we’ve gott’n that excuse about 15 times since the start of this”

“Look, I know it’s discouraging being a guard, but you’ll be fine.” said the blacksmith “though, you were smart to not bring your armor. that’s something a bit taboo among us blacksmiths. I think that the last bloke who brought it in got arrested. Something about misappropriation of government property or something like that. These swords, however are a bit different. They are more or less normal swords once you change out the pommel, the very thing that gave you away. Normally they wouldn’t be so damaged without the rest of it being in about the same shape, and so I’ll take the sword, however, I’ll be asking you to go back and continue training. Can you promise me that son?”

Hearing this, James thought and deliberated on whether he should lie or not. Thinking about how they saw right through him, however, he decided against lying, as they would probably see through that too.

“No.” James finally stated after a moment, shaking his head. “I’m not going back, sorry for disappointing you like this.”

The blacksmith just smiled, and looked at the woman beside him, whom just rolled her eyes.

“well lad, at least you know that honesty will get you farther than a white lie.”  said the blacksmith, turning back to James. “I guess I can’t let you go unarmed, so come choose a knife. It’ll fit you better than this.”

He walked over to the cabinet with James in tow. He gestured to the knives lying in the case as he opened the top, and just watched as James looked through the display.

He saw many beautiful knives, almost like works of art. The blades were all shades of the rainbow, including a blade that looked like a rainbow, but yet none of these caught his gut’s attention. He moved towards the next shelf, but still no luck. The bottom shelf, however, he found one in the far corner that just felt… right. James leaned over and grabbed the hilt and pulled it out to display it to the smith.

“That’s a good knife. It’s one of the few I forged out of dragon’s bone and mithril. Seems to me that you have a good eye for these things” he mentioned, taking the knife from James.

“I just felt it… calling to me almost…” James admitted, deep in thought. This caused the smith to pause, but only for a moment, before continuing back into the room that he emerged from. James heard shuffling, a clang, some cursing, before he emerged from the back room again carrying the knife within a sheath before passing it back to James.

“Take good care of it, as there aren’t many that can fix it. It took me a good 2 hours that one did.” said the smith, looking assured in himself. “The sheath is made of the same material.”

James was absorbed in the knife’s features, looking at the black hilt, leading to an elegant blade. James finally pulled himself away from the knife, only to turn to the smith.

“Thank you.” James said. “I’m grateful for this, I feel like it’s worth more than my life.”

The smith simply smirked and began to explain, “Well, that would be true, however, that blade isn’t awake yet. It requires a person to connect to it, in order to start waking up. That blade, because it was made with both dragon bone and mithril can be considered living, and it will grow so long as you use it. However, do keep in mind that it must awaken first, and each blade requires something different to wake.”

he paused for a moment, but then continued, “I don’t know why I decided to give you that knife honestly, but it feels like you were born to have that knife. I pour my soul into each and every one of my creations, and considering that it just fit you so well, I guess it would be awful of me to keep it from you. That being said, I give you this one last piece of advice before you go. Listen to the knife. It will tell you what it needs.”

After that, the blacksmith stroked his beard with a jovial laugh, and then walked back to that room without another word. the lady whom had been silent for all that time finally spoke again after the old man had left. “I don’t know why my husband gave you that, but you’d best be careful now dear. You can use the knife, but you’d best not let it carry you. Take this and be on your way.”

She passed over a bottle of oil, as well as a simple metal knife before disappearing behind a curtain leading to another room.

James looked at the other knife, and back at the curtain, but the woman didn’t return. He nodded to himself and secured the knives to his belt before walking out of the store. After doing so, he turned back to look at the shop one last time, realizing that he had forgotten to thank the woman, only to find that the shop had vanished, replaced by a simple home. Puzzled by this, James pulled up his pants and began to look for a place to eat.

He was hungry.



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