The Faerie Blade: Chapter 25

Printer-friendly version
Faerie Blade.png

 

Chapter 25: Kaelyn’s Apprentice

Kaelyn was just trying to fill her belly, but she got a lot more than she bargained for when she decided to save the life of a Faerie.

 

For a long moment, her gaze hovered around my knees before she took a deep breath and looked me in the eyes. “I… I’m sorry, Kaelyn. I know that I shouldn’t have broken into your wagon last night and… but I… it was the only way.”

 


 
Author's Note: Here's chapter 25 of The Faerie Blade. ~Amethyst.
 


 Chapter 25: Kaelyn’s Apprentice

As the scream rang out from the direction of our wagon, all of the adults around the fire, including me and Vesha, swiftly got to our feet and hurried in the direction of the sound. It sounded like Shava and, given the direction that it had come from; I was very worried about my cousin as we rushed to find her. “Do you think that she is trying to claim Fal’hevar?” I asked Sharai.

-Without a doubt,- the spirit of Neva’kul replied grimly. -Your cousin greatly admires you, Kaelyn, and I believe that she wishes to be able to fight at our side. I believe that she will succeed in claiming it too, or rather, that Fal’hevar will claim her as its rightful wielder. She possesses the determination and will that the Vos’oraik all seek from their wielders.-

“How though? Master Nirlyn locked the doors to the wagon.” The Elders had also been worried that Shava would attempt something like this before another wielder could be found for the blade; it was why they had me place the weapon in our wagon and had my Master lock the doors. Now as she hurried to unlock them, I could not help but recall what Sharai had told me about those who attempted to claim Neva’kul and failed. I gently stroked Zaiya’s downy feathers but was not sure if the action was meant to soothe the owlet or myself.

-She is quite the adept little thief, and still a child. Perhaps she went through a window or found another way inside. The how of it matters not, Kaelyn,- Sharai countered. She sensed the worries in my thoughts and attempted to ease them. -Worry not, if there is anyone in this troupe who could gain the approval of one of the Vos’oraik, other than yourself, it would be your cousin. She is quite willful, and her determination and desire to master swordsmanship is impressive.-

Master Nirlyn unlocked the door after what seemed an eternity and I heard Shava say, “I’m Shava, well met, Alara,” before Uncle Bryden and Aunt Sivelle rushed inside, followed closely by my grandparents, myself, and Wilden. When I got inside, Shava was sprawled out on the floor with Fal’hevar unsheathed and gripped tightly in her hand. It appeared that her other hand was bleeding, but there was not a drop of blood on the gleaming blade. Wilden was already kneeling beside her, and calling out for his wife, Tanna, to get his Healer’s bag.

-The bond has been made,- Sharai spoke into my panicked thoughts. -She shall be fine; she is merely in need of rest, as you were when you bonded with Neva’kul.-

After a moment of checking her heartbeat and breathing, and casting two spells, the second being a small healing spell on my cousin’s hand, Wilden had seemingly come to the same conclusion. “Except for the cut on her hand, I could find nothing wrong with her. I think she just needs to rest, she should be fine by morning.”

“Sharai believes the same,” I offered. “She says that the bond has been made, and Shava just needs rest.”

“Bond?” Aunt Sivelle asked in concern.

“Aye,” I replied with a curt nod. “She has bound herself to Fal’hevar, as its wielder and the instrument of its will, as I am to Neva’kul.”

“Its will?” Wilden asked as he finished his examination of my cousin and got to his feet.

Fal’hevar, well, all of the Vos’oraik were created with a purpose and infused with a will to see that purpose done. To protect the innocent and purge the Demons and all followers of the Unspoken One from our world. Or, at least that is what Sharai has told me,” I offered.

I could see the moment that both my uncle and aunt realized what that meant. Aunt Sivelle looked very worried, while Uncle Bryden’s expression grew hard. It was the latter who shook his head and announced, “Shava is only ten summers old, she is still a child. I am not going to allow her to endanger herself that way. That damn sword will just have to bond with someone else; we will hide it away until another bearer can be chosen.”

-That would be unwise,- Sharai told me in sudden concern. -Fal’hevar has chosen Shava, it will accept no one else until she meets her end. Bad things happen to those who attempt to circumvent the will of a Vos’oraik. She is bound to her path as much as the blade, attempting to separate them would be painful and induce feelings of extreme anxiety in Shava. It is part of the bond, and why I have told you to always keep Neva’kul close, even if you are not wearing it.-

I was about to pass that information on to the others when my grandmother beat me to it by frowning at her son and snapping, “Don’t be a fool, Bryden! Do you remember nothing that I have taught you of magic?! She is oath-bound to a magical artifact, and trying to forcibly break such a bond would most likely kill her. Separating them would likely be nearly as bad.”

She turned to me with a questioning look as she said the last and I nodded sadly. “Aye, Grandmother, it would only earn the ire of Fal’hevar and cause Shava pain. It is why Sharai has encouraged me always to keep Neva’kul close by, even when bathing or practicing my dancing.”

“So, what do we do then?” Aunt Sivelle asked as she wrung her hands nervously.

My grandfather snorted as he looked down at Shava. “First, we give her a stern talking to when she wakes about respecting the feelings and property of her troupe. After that, we will have to trust Kaelyn and Sharai to teach her to use that blade properly. Keep training her with the bow as well, Kaelyn, and Vaela is the troupe’s most powerful and experienced mage, so she will start teaching Shava magecraft as well. If Shava is to be bound to this course of action regardless, the best thing that we can do is give her the tools to keep herself alive while doing it.”

~o~O~o~

When I left my wagon to train before dawn the next morning, Shava was awkwardly awaiting me outside wearing Fal’hevar’s odd chain-like belt and metal sheath, the tip of the latter dragging upon the ground as she dismally slouched. For a long moment, her gaze hovered around my knees before she took a deep breath and looked me in the eyes. “I… I’m sorry, Kaelyn. I know that I shouldn’t have broken into your wagon last night and… but I… it was the only way.”

She then babbled in a torrent of words about why she had done it. I could barely follow what she was saying and I had to wonder how she could keep going without seeming to stop to breathe. Her reasons were not entirely unexpected, and I found myself agreeing with most of what she said. She wanted to protect the troupe, from both trying for Fal’hevar and failing, and from the Demons and other dangers.

She had the determination and will to do what needed to be done, and while I did not know the others of the troupe well enough yet to determine whether any of them would have been suitable candidates for the sword, I could not help but think that, despite her youth, my cousin was indeed the best candidate. She was determined to become the best that she could be with a sword since Sharai and I had started training her, and both Sharai and I suspected that she wished to fight by our side. She had certainly made it clear enough how she idolized me since that first day she saw me practicing.

When my cousin did finally stop babbling, I gently chastised her. “Next time that you decide to do something reckless like that, at least discuss it with me first, Shava. The Elders have officially put Sharai and me in charge of your combat training, so we are going to be working you harder than ever on both weapons and now that you have a sword of your own, we can add sparring into the mix.”

“Uh, yeah, and Grandmother will be teaching me magic too. And when neither of you is teaching me, I’m supposed to be training my gift too. Alara says that she can probably help me with that, and find ways to use it in combat since it’s sort of the opposite of hers,” my cousin said with a sigh. At my questioning look she blushed and looked away before elaborating. “I discovered it just before you joined the troupe, and it’s how I got into your wagon. Alara says that I make myself ethereal.”

I could almost feel Sharai raising an eyebrow in my mind as she said, -A useful skill that, both defensively in combat and for getting into places that she shouldn’t be. Between that and Alara’s gift, your apprentice’s defensive capabilities will be admirable.-

I mentally nodded in agreement, but the apprentice comment had me almost jumping in surprise. I guess that she technically was since I was the one doing most of the teaching, even when Sharai possessed my body, it was still ‘me’ teaching her. It was nothing official like with the guilds, but going by what Shava had said earlier, she already seemed to consider herself my apprentice. My first day as an adult, and already I could feel the responsibilities weighing on me.

I tried not to let that show since I was currently focusing on being stern for my ‘apprentice’. “Yes, and I have just decided that when I have my dancing lessons with Selice, you will be joining us. It will help improve your range of movement and body awareness. You are going to be very busy from now on, Shava. Consider it your penance for what you did.”

Shava sighed but nodded with a dismal expression on her face. I probably was not the first, or even the second, to deliver such a lecture to her this morning, and the day was just getting started. It was clear that these extra lessons were not what she had wanted when she decided to take up the sword, but she either saw the use in them or resigned herself to taking the good with the bad. “I understand, and I am sorry that I had to claim Fal’hevar the way that I did.”

“I know, and we will go get started on practice in a few minutes. Before that, now that we have someone who can speak with Alara, I do have one question that has been driving me mad since I found Fal’hevar. What was it doing all alone in the middle of the ruins of the Salamanders’ cavern village?”

Shava’s posture shifted abruptly, her shoulders and back straightening and her face taking on a carefully calm expression that was not like Shava at all. I wondered if it was that jarring to others when Sharai took over for me since I had a strong feeling that Alara had just done so with my cousin. Moreover, she looked stiff and somewhat uncoordinated, as though she could not quite remember how her body worked, though that was not surprising after thousands of years as a spirit trapped in a sword.

“This is strange after so long…” she mumbled distractedly before turning her attention back to me. “It is a pleasure to meet my saviors at last, Shava thinks very highly of both you and Sharai, Kaelyn. To answer your question, I will have to tell you a story. It will be easier this way than having Shava relay everything. I have a question that I would like to ask in return though.” At my nod of acceptance, she asked, “That armor you wear is… familiar. What became of the Darkling that bore it? Did you slay it somehow?”

I thought about the question for a moment before shaking my head and smiling sadly. “No, I set her free. I purified her with faerie fire, and she Faded soon after. She passed this on to me before Fading.”

“I…see.” the spirit possessing my cousin said, her voice quivering as her eyes became misty. “…thank you.” Then she took a deep breath to steady herself and began to tell her tale.

The Great War was at its height, and both sides had taken heavy losses. The Sa’vash had abandoned most of their cities and retreated to the capital of Alustriel, where a large contingent of Fae and other allies of the Sa’vash had gathered as a rallying point. It was there that the Elven sage, Darion, created the weapons that he hoped would change the war, weapons made for Fae warriors who had become legends during the war for their dedication to eradicating the Demons and everything associated with them.

Of course, Alara was one of those five and the weapons were infused with their will to see the Demons, and all traces of them, purged from our world. The weapons made them even more powerful than they had been before and it was beginning to look like the war might be taking a turn in their favor as they went on the offensive and took down one Demon stronghold after another. All was going well, but for the fact that the followers of the Forgotten One had infiltrated Alustriel.

Their tainted magic had created a dark zone in the city itself, and Alara and a contingent of Fae warriors and mages under the command of General Espalia were sent to evacuate the still accessible parts of the city, combat the horrors that the dark zone had created, and look into ways of purifying the tainted mana. The fighting was intense, and exposure to the tainted mana would eventually turn their own forces into more Darklings and Tainted for them to fight with ever-dwindling numbers. Even General Espalia was turned, and Alara told me that it was her armor that I now wore.

Despite the assistance of the Fae, the Salamanders, and their other allies, the Sa’vash could not reclaim their capital, and the few survivors were forced to flee the city. Alara had been injured while fighting the Darkling that had once been General Espalia. She had hesitated to fight her lover, and the blade of light that Espalia could summon with her gift could cut through even Alara’s steely skin.

They had lost the battle for Alustriel. The Sa’vash were gone, the Salamanders had all but given up, and their allies were scattered, trying to win other battles and, most importantly, the war. Her lover had been turned into an eldritch horror, her only apprentice was dead, and Alara could feel the mana in her body becoming tainted from the wounds she had received during her battle with Espalia as she retreated to the chamber of fire where the Salamanders made their home.

Alara did not wish to become a Darkling and fled through the tunnels to the chamber of fire and the city within in an attempt to make her way to the temple, hoping that the Salamanders might take her weapon and pass it on to someone worthy. She never made it to the temple. The pain was too great, and she knew that she would become a Darkling if she waited any longer, so she hid from the Tainted pursuing her in someone’s home. Then she bound her soul to Fal’hevar in death before her body could turn completely into what she feared most.

It was a sobering tale. So much tragedy, and yet, perhaps there was hope since I had saved Espalia and Alara had avoided becoming a Darkling by binding her soul to Fal’hevar. With the tale told, she allowed Shava control of her own body once again, entrusting her training to me and Sharai since she had been far too long without a body to be helpful in that regard. I let Shava show me to where she had trained the morning before and then we got to work.

© 2022 - 2024 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

Further chapters are available to the public on my Patreon page.

up
110 users have voted.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos! Click the "Thumbs Up!" button above to leave a Kudos

Comments

a successful bonding

gives them another potentially powerful member should they need it - once she gets some training first

DogSig.png

Yep

Amethyst's picture

Shava will definitely need more training, but she's proven that she has the courage and determination to learn and the will to protect her troupe.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Given time

Wendy Jean's picture

all things will be known. If they live long enough.

Staying alive

Amethyst's picture

That's always the tricky part.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Shava

Well, as the saying goes: "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

Thx for another nice chapter^^

true

Amethyst's picture

And Shava certainly seemed to think that way. She's going to have to work hard to show that she made the right choice and can protect her troupe.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3