The Faerie Blade: Chapter 6

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Chapter 6: Kaelyn in the Capital

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.

 

“How many dances are there?” I asked as our body sheathed the blade once again.

 


 
Author's Note: Here's chapter 6 of The Faerie Blade. Further chapters are available on Patreon.~Amethyst.
 


 Chapter 6: Kaelyn in the Capital

Chapter 6: Kaelyn in the Capital

I awoke before dawn the next morning. Sharai seemed to be already awake and I had to wonder if the spirit trapped inside of Neva’kul could sleep at all. I had not been able to rouse her after nearly dropping from the sky but did she sleep? What was it like for her to be dead and bound to the oath-bringer and me?

“Sharai, are you… okay with the way things are? Being bound to Neva’kul, I mean? I am fortunate and happy to have you guide me, but what is it like for you?” I asked the spirit hesitantly.

-I chose this, Kaelyn. I swore the oath to bind my soul to Neva’kul just as you swore to wield it. I have known that this would be my eventual fate since Tamisun passed the blade on to me. I could have just allowed the Fading to take me, but the Demons have returned and you need a guide more than any of the previous bearers of Neva’kul.- Sharai replied patiently.

“I… understand. I guess that I am just worried about whether it is uncomfortable or unpleasant for you,” I admitted.

-Worry not, this existence is not unpleasant. It feels like I am floating and I am not entirely trapped, I can sense what is happening around us and I have you to talk to. Now enough of these worries, let us get in some sword practice before we leave for the city.-

Once again, Sharai started training me but it was not long before we stopped. It was taking ages just to correct any improper stance or motions on my part because Shari had to resort to describing what I was doing wrong rather than being able to show me. “Could you take over and show me?” I finally asked in frustration.

The spirit seemed to consider it for a moment before admitting, -It would allow you to see and feel how the movements should be done. If you keep training in doing the movements properly, eventually your body will start to remember how it should be done when in a battle and will react instinctively. This is why repetition is used in training. Very well, Kaelyn, please allow me to take over.-

Almost immediately, I felt Sharai’s presence pushing at my mind and I relaxed and allowed myself to be pushed backward. Sharai wasted no time in smoothly drawing Neva’kul from its sheath and then sheathed it just as effortlessly. “Efficiency with the sword begins the moment that you draw the blade. In battle, wasted movements or fumbling will kill you,” she explained in our voice as she repeated the motions, allowing me to get a sense of how she tilted the sheath ever so slightly, how she gripped the hilt, and the motion of pulling the blade free.

Sharai repeated each action twenty times before going through a series of blocks, thrusts, parries, slashes, and other movements that I had no idea about. She repeated each movement twenty times and once she was done, she combined them all, flowing from one movement to the next in a long and intricate dance that she performed with liquid ease. The entire time, I concentrated on how our body moved from one position to the next and how those motions felt to me.

Finally, Sharai halted as the sun peeked over the horizon. “That is enough for the day; I do not wish to exhaust myself as I did when flying. We shall practice like this before dawn every morning until you are able to reproduce the first dance on your own. The first dance is the basics of swordplay. When you can perform the first dance fluidly on your own without thinking, we will move on to the second dance.”

“How many dances are there?” I asked as our body sheathed the blade once again.

I felt Sharai’s presence pull back to allow me control of my body once again before the spirit replied. -For most Fae, there are five; Säel’Eräde, Säel’Uíre, Säel’Phíera, Säel’Wühir, and Säel’Sülwaír. The fifth dance is one known only by the greatest of swordmasters among the Fae. There is a sixth that I will be teaching you as well eventually, Säel’Fäerie, but it is meant for aerial combat.-

Sharai may not have been in control anymore but that did not mean that training was over quite yet, I wanted to practice my archery as well before leaving for the capital. I was a fair archer and knew the proper stance and use of the bow, but I would be using both a new body and a new bow and I was sure that it was going to affect my shooting. I was right, but thankfully it did not take me long to compensate. Still, I would have to practice until it became a habit or I was used to the way that my new body felt and moved.

With that finished, I scavenged some food for breakfast and tried to cast a glamour for my trip into the city. It took three tries before Sharai was satisfied that I would not be detected but I was soon disguised as a tall and willowy blonde girl close to my own age in a simple dress, shoes, and headscarf that I had seen commonly worn on my trips into Greendell. With my glamour in place to hide both my appearance and weapons, I began walking toward the capital.

~o~O~o~

Even walking, I had set a much brisker pace than I had been expecting to get to Majair. Maybe it was because of my now longer legs, the fact that my new body felt more energetic, or a mix of the two, but that pace quickly ate up the distance from our camp in the forest, through the farmlands, and to the capital. As a result, it was still fairly early in the morning when I arrived at the city gates. It seemed though, that I was not early enough to avoid waiting in line.

“Torr’s balls,” I cursed under my breath as I took my place in line behind a cart loaded with vegetables from the farmlands surrounding the city. They were probably bound for the marketplace and despite my frown in the direction of both cart and vegetables; they were not the source of my current upset. No, that honor belonged to the line itself, and the guards that surely waited at the city gates at its end.

I should have realized that this could be a problem. Those guards would be checking papers and making a note of everyone who entered and left the city. Greendell had had similar checkpoints to enter the city but I had never used them, I knew secret and little-used ways in and out of that city, but I had no such knowledge of the capital. I could probably get by with a traveler’s pass but I would need to give them a reason for my visit and a name, and I dared not use my own.

Once again, I wished that I had been able to return to what had passed for my home before setting out on this journey. I had had more money hidden away and if I had my instruments with me, I could have possibly passed as a traveling musician or street busker. They would have provided a familiar comfort on this trip as well.

It was not until midmorning that I was able to get inside the city gates. I gave my name as Laesa Miller and claimed that I was passing through on my way south and just had to take the opportunity to see the capital. Once inside, I had spent much of the time until noon wandering the streets and making my way through the slums to the marketplace where I now found myself. I had used a pair of copper coins from my dismally barren coin purse to purchase a meal from one of the street vendors; two meat-filled pastries and a mug of cider. Now I was sitting on a bench and watching the people frequenting the market as I ate.

The pastries were dry and bland and I was not sure what the meat was, but at least the meal had been cheap and filled my stomach. The cider was considerably better, with a slightly spicy and earthy flavor that I found myself enjoying far more than the bland meat pastries. I was still getting used to the idea that I could eat meat at all now since I had heard that the Fae could not.

It seemed that ‘could not’ was actually ‘would not’ though, as Sharai had explained yesterday while I had cooked the rabbit that I had put out of its misery. They were a practical people and, while they would normally not intentionally hunt and kill other living creatures to fill their own bellies, there were rare occasions that they would kill denizens of the forests that they protected. Such as with the injured rabbit; it had been suffering and would have died anyway, due to a predator eager for an easy meal or by starving because it could not move. Sharai had said that it would be a waste to let the animal’s corpse rot when its death could feed me instead.

Another case would be if the animals were an invasive species or a danger to the balance of the life of the forest. No matter what the circumstances though, the Fae would always make sure the death was quick and clean so the animal would not suffer, and they would thank it for the food that it provided. As for my current situation, the animal was already dead and cooked, and eating what was available would help me to blend in among the humans.

Majair was much larger than Greendell, intimidating in both size and the sheer number of people walking the streets and going about their daily business. I would have expected a city this large and active to be more boisterous with people hurrying to and fro, but most kept their heads down and watched their surroundings furtively as they moved quickly from place to place. There were not even as many cut-purses or beggars as I would have imagined for a city the size of the capital.

It made for a very tense atmosphere and between that and not knowing my way around, I was afraid that I was going to stick out like a country girl on her first trip to the big city. Sadly, that was not very far from the truth. As a result, blending in was not as easy as I had hoped. I just wanted to finish our business and leave this place.

So far, I had not felt any dark demonic-feeling magic, but I had only really passed through the slums and into the marketplace. This was a very large city so there was still a lot of ground to cover, it might take me several days to explore the entire city. I was not certain if I would have enough coin to stay at an inn though and, even if I did, doing so could expose me if I was not extremely cautious.

-Perhaps an inn or tavern would be a good place to listen to the talk of the capital,- Sharai agreed in my mind. -Tongues loosen under good food and drink but we have very little of your human currency left to procure such a room for our stay, and no way to make more. I loathe suggesting such a thing, but could you use your gift? Coins are made of metal, after all.-

A long sigh escaped my lips as I thought back, “My gift doesn’t work on all metals, Sharai. Believe me, I have tried. Steel, iron, and a few other metals are easy to control but I cannot seem to grip gold, silver, or copper easily and it becomes more difficult the purer they are. The purity of the metals used in the coins of Evalis is very high. My father once told me that it is a point of pride for the kingdom.”

With a shake of my head and a long sigh, I stood up once more to continue walking the city. I had wandered into a wealthier looking area past the marketplace when I passed a small shop with musical instruments displayed in the window. It looked like the shop was closed, and had been for a while, but I still stopped to stare longingly at the hanging instruments. -Why do those instruments call you so?- Sharai inquired.

“My mother taught me to play a few instruments; I was strumming on a harp and playing the pipes before I could walk. My father used to tease her that it was not very practical so he taught me to hunt, but he always loved to listen to us play. After my parents… died, I took what I could carry and left Greendell to live alone in a small hunting shack in the woods. It was lonely there, especially at night, but with my instruments, I had my music to keep me company,” I thought back to the spirit sadly as I stared at a beautiful cherry wood lap harp.

-I am truly sorry, Kaelyn,- the spirit said regretfully. -You saved me and I have gotten you involved in all of this Demon business, pushed you to bind yourself to Neva’kul, and even changed who and what you are with little thought to what you might be leaving behind to take up this quest.-

It was a moment before I could reply, my thoughts racing and my mind focused on the ghosts of the past. “I was already involved, Sharai, they killed my parents. I am glad that I was able to at least save your spirit and being a Faerie is not the end of the world. This is important, I want to help you with it, and speaking honestly, I had little to leave behind. If I had an instrument though, I might be able to earn enough coin to help with our expenses while in cities like this. I would have done so in Greendell, if I had not been trying to avoid the Church of One and they did not see musicians as much better than the Touched.”

We were both quiet for several minutes as I stared at the lovely little harp in the window. I saw a nice flute, a lute, and a fiddle that soon caught my eye as well. It was not until I felt the distinct sensation of being watched as I examined the latter that I was able to tear my eyes away. It wasn’t a bad feeling, and no sense of the Church’s evil magic accompanied it though, so I turned from the window and was about to walk away when a woman’s voice with a strange accent spoke behind me, just loud enough to be picked up by my newly sensitive Fae ears. “It is strange to see a lone Faerie travellin’ alone in this city, especially one as young as yerself. Do ya play, girl?”

My head snapped around in surprise, my heart thrumming wildly in my chest. I had not even heard the woman approach and she had apparently seen right through my glamour. With the rest of what she had said, the comment about my age barely registered. Sharai had explained that Fae are not considered adults until around fifty years old, when they receive silver rings from their troupe to wear on both forefingers that mark them as adults. Despite looking to be sixteen or seventeen by human standards, I still had over thirty years to go before the Fae would consider me an adult. Even if I did have a troupe to induct me into adulthood.

When my eyes landed on the speaker though, my surprise became even greater and my eyes nearly jumped out of my head. She was a Ravieri. Her cerulean skin, contrasted starkly by white hair and silver eyes would make that apparent to anyone, as would the large fuzzy white cat-like ears atop her head and the long white tail swishing behind her as she smiled, showing the tips of her long and sharp incisors. Her hair was long and fell around her in dozens of braids, each tied off with a colorful ribbon and ending at her waist. She was also nearly as tall and svelte as I was, though with a more prominent chest that strained her dark blue tunic near to bursting. She was dressed in simple traveling clothes with several instrument cases slung over her shoulders and sticking out from her pack.

My mother had told me stories of the Ravieri, along with some of the other non-human races. It was said that they were as gifted with magic as the Fae and they lived in the Spearhold Mountains far to the north in Galandir, though they rarely left their mountain home. Seeing one as far south as Evalis was practically unheard of. This one appeared not much older than I was, but appearances could be deceptive. My mother said that Ravieri aged slower than humans do and could live to be many centuries old.

I was still trying to get over my shock when the Ravieri woman shoved a wooden case in my arms without even giving me a chance to answer her question. Not that I could have answered in my currently stunned state. I fumbled with the case for a moment before staring at it, unsure of just what was happening.

“Well, go on, open it an’ play me sumthin’. Ya were lookin’ at those instruments there wi’ such longin’. That means ya either play or ya want to. Let’s see what ya got then, aye?” the Ravieri pressed.

Not seeing any way to get out of this situation, other than running, I carefully unfastened the stays on the wooden case and opened it to reveal a fiddle and bow. They were worn with age but seemed well cared for, and a quick test showed the fiddle to be properly tuned as well. This woman took good care of her instruments. With a nervous swallow, I allowed the strange woman to take the case from me as I took both fiddle and bow in hand and got a feel for them.

The fiddle was not my best instrument but I could play it well enough, or rather I had been able to before I changed species. My new body was graceful and fluid with dexterous hands though, so I was confident that it would not take long to get comfortable with it. After a few minutes of fingering and bow exercises to get a feel for both my hands and the unfamiliar fiddle, I began to play a jaunty jig that my mother had said was popular in her youth and was well suited to the fiddle.

Singing wasn’t easy while fiddling but I had gotten used to practicing that years ago, it was the unfamiliar clear soprano coming from my lips that nearly made me hesitate as I began to sing To Zhahimel I Go in time to the music.

I have left my hearth and home
To journey far away
And ever southward I shall roam
To reach my goal someday
Each step takes me further
From everything I know
I am on a grand adventure
To Zhahimel I go

Zhahimel, it calls to me
The city of the free
I am certain this must be
The call of destiny

I was born a simple village girl
‘Twas not the life for me
So now I am travellin’ the world
And such sights I will see
I will climb through mountains high
Sail river valleys low
Pass through the forests of the Fae
To Zhahimel I go

Zhahimel, it calls to me
The city of the free
I am certain this must be
The call of destiny

To Zhahimel I have run away
To go and join the Order
Then I will train hard every day
To become a great warrior
Zhahime, I vow to fight with honor
And courage I will show
When I battle Fellwoods horrors
To Zhahimel I go

Zhahimel, it calls to me
The city of the free
I am certain this must be
The call of destiny

I finished the tune with a flourish before allowing myself to look at the Ravieri, who was staring at me in surprise with her hands tightly clenching the fiddle’s wooden case. It was a moment before the cerulean-skinned woman spoke, an intent look on her face as she seemed to assess the Faerie girl in front of her. Then, her voice nearly a whisper, she asked, “Girl, who is yer Master?”

© 2022 - 2023 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

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

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Comments

Yup

Amethyst's picture

She's definitely caught someone's interest.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

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

Master

It seems Kaelyn's mother was an excellent musician and teacher, otherwise the Ravieri woman would probably have run off. So something of Kaelyn's mother will live on in her.
But something in the behavior of the Ravieri woman after hearing Kaelyn play tells me that there's something more involved here than just the suprise of hearing a nice tune played in front of her.

Thx for another nice chapter^^

It would seem so

Amethyst's picture

Kaelyn may no longer have the instruments, but she has proven that she still has the skill to play them. Her mother was very talented indeed and she seems to have passed it to her daughter.
As for the Ravieri woman, something about Kaelyn, or her playing, has definitely caught her interest. We'll see what next chapter.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

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

A Way Of Making Money

joannebarbarella's picture

It seems that Kaelyn has a gift which will enable her to survive in the city.

maybe

however notice the music store was closed and there's no sign of any native musicians, whom should be commonish in so large a city.

Silence, like a cancer grows...

Yup, it's all too quiet

Amethyst's picture

You can hear the sound of silence.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

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

She does

Amethyst's picture

If she can get her hands on a proper instrument of her own.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

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

It appears

Wendy Jean's picture

Our heroine now has a fiddle. Maybe?

Fiddle

Amethyst's picture

Well, it might be a loan, but if she's impressed this strange woman then maybe something more might come of it.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

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