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Bad Luck Charm, part seven

November 16, 2010

          So Talf falls through the earth and I see a satisfied smile on Fargyle’s face.  Through the openin’ I hear Talf’s screams.  Lo’an jumps through the hole, feet first, brandishin’ his sword with a howl.  Ye ask me, that’s plan foolish jumpin’ through a hole with a naked blade.  Yer just askin’ for an injury, but then jumpin’ into a pit ain’ the smartest and I was doin’ just that.  Could hear Talf and Lo’an down there so I knew I could make it, though I didn’t know what I’d be facin’.  Course, back then I thought I had the stuff to be a hero, I’d survived the war with me limbs and digits attached, after all.
          Seeker curled into a ball and bounced down through the openin’ and I followed.  Droppin’ in the dark’s no fun experience, and landin’ is always sudden and unexpected.  I hit the ground, and it’s black as a scorned woman’s heart.
          In the middle of this blackness I saw somethin’.  The guardian as the wizards would probably refer to it.  Turns out it was a Shadoweater. Nasty bugger.  Usually they blend into the shadows and slowly suck out yer life force.  Ye don’r see them in any kind of light, sort of bleaches ‘em out, but in the dark they kind of glow, or more precisely they’re darker than the dark.  So we could see it and I could see the outline of anyone that was betwixt me and it, Lo’an for instance.
         Bit of luck for the rest of us that Talf fell in and the thing could feed a bit off of him so we could see it better.  The more it fed, the darker it got.
         I drew me blade and approached the thing.  Steel ain’t great against it; Fire will hurt it, but it just blends with the shadows so ye don’t have much chance of hittin’ it, so steel would have to do.
        So I approach, I see Lo’an dancin’ around it, blade flyin’.  I get close enough and the thing grabs me left arm with one of its tendrils.  This long scar right here along me arm is from the thing.  Never forget how that felt.  Ye ever slipped on the ice and ye put out yer bare hands to catch yerself and ye feel the ice and rock cut into the meat of the palm?  That’s what it felt like only maybe ten times worse.
        So, I’m cursin’ every god I could name, and some I made up because I was tired of some of the curses I’d been usin’.  Ever notice that people curse a god’s name, but they don’t touch a goddess?  Not sure if that’s respect or fear of what the goddess would do.  I suppose ye can think of a male god sort of like yer Da and he cursed, but except for the love goddesses, they tend to be like yer sis or Ma and they don’r curse.  Leastwise, they never did around me.  
        I diverted the Shadoweater’s attention enough for Lo’an to finally kill the thing.  It sort of shredded and faded away.  Once it was gone, a light flared from Fargyle’s hand and I saw the rest of our companions were down there with us.
        There were bones littered on the floor, customary in these situations.  Whether from previous grave robbers, or put in at the time of the burial, I couldn’t be sure.  Nearby was a bier upon which the once substantial girth of Gyllanin rested.  He was all withered, but his armor was huge.  Not in the length but in the width around the waist.
        The corpse’s hands were placed in the middle of the chest area and clutched the sword that must have been the one we sought.
        The bier was covered in stonework portrayin’ the feats of the hero that rested upon it.  From when he was suckled by a bear as a babe to his death by chokin’.  The artist did a fine job of portrayin’ the fear and desperation on Gyllanin’s contorted face as he clutched at his throat.
        Now, if Talf was the hero, the blade would have gone to him, but it didn’t.  He was lyin’ on the floor lookin’ as withered as the last piece of winter fruit in the cellar.
       Fargyle and the prince approached the dead king and I swear the corpse’s eyes flickered.
       The wizard stopped and restrained Cathel.  After a moment the wizard said, “We have need of your blade.”
       There was a pause then Fargyle nodded before sayin’.  “I know I’m tainted, but I don’t come to claim it.”
       Another moment of silence and everyone is watchin’ the half conversation between the mage and the dead.  “Prince Cathel, the man beside me, unsullied by the touch of chaos comes to request the service of the weapon that served you so well.  We have need.  The time Caryamberlain told you of is coming.”
       Now part of me was thinkin’ that the wizard was makin’ this stuff up.  I couldn’t hear the dead speakin’, but there was somethin’ creepy about the thing that made most of me believe it.
       Fargyle bowed deeply, “We are honored by your gracious gift.  We will use it for the purpose it was intended.”  He motioned Cathel forward.  “Be careful of the blades.  Take the shealth first.”
      Cathel nodded and approached the dead king gingerly.  The sheath I thought was strange.  Two scabbards, not one, were fused to each other.  The prince removed it from Gyllanin.  The body didn’t move when the belt was taken.  Not even a ripple that ye would expect when someone was tuggin’ on it.
      I swear the hands of the hero released the blade as Cathel grabbed the pommel of it.  No pryin’ back of the fingers.
      The prince stood back to admire the blade; it was untouched by rust.
      “Use the inside scabbard.” Fargyle advised.
      Ye want to know why two sheaths?  Well, I suppose I can tell ya.  Ye see the actual blade acted like a normal sword.  If it was blocked by sword or shield, it stopped, but runnin’ next to it by less than a hand was the twin blade, unseen.  If the visible blade stopped, it stopped, but if it didn’t stop, then nuthin’ stopped the unseen blade.  If the visible blade cut, then the invisible one ran a matchin’ wound just above it.
       It cut through stone, metal, anythin’, as easily as air.
       Ye can see the advantage of it.  Just sweep under someone’s guard with the visible blade and the other one will cut right through anythin’ just above, like hands or shield arms.  Course it would be easy to accidentally cut yerself and like all magic weapons, ye come to depend on the advantage.  The wielder learns to miss with the real blade, but hit with the magical one.  Not a good technique with another weapon.  Most possessors of magic learn to regret it. 
       The prince eventually did.

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