Thursday, May 24, 2012

Story of William, section 2

"Oh, son," she said, needlessly adjusting his tabard, "you're the image of your father at this age." William's mother beamed at him. "And off to fight, just like he did." Her voice strained to keep its cheer at that last bit.

"Mother, I can't stand by while these things overrun cities and enslave people. Protector Garth's men even repelled an attack against Andol itself." William took a deep breath. "This is what Father has been training me for my whole life." He squeezed her hand with his own leather-gloved fist. "I'm your son, do you expect me to let any of these worthless creatures stop me?"

"No," she said, still trying to keep her smile and still adjusting at his tabard. "You're far too stubborn for that." She stopped suddenly. "Oh, dear, I forgot. Wait here. You, too, Detrious." With that, she turned and walked back towards the family coach. William turned to see Detrious picking at his own leather armor.

"Detrious, what are you doing?" William asked as the big troll kept readjusting.

"Well, I figure, if you're mother finks yours is crooked, mine's gotta be worse." And with that, Detrious went back to trying to fiddle his leathers into what should be straight and presentable. William almost said something, then smiled and shook his head. This time, it really wasn't worth the effort.

And his mother returned, carrying a bundle gently as a babe, her emerald eyes shining in the late morning sunlight. She held it out to him, a long and slender bundle. William grinned a bit as he picked at the bits of rope keeping it tied. "Oh," she said, irritated, "just let me." She deftly drew her curved belt knife and slit the wrappings, and the velvet fell away, revealing a new, gleaming blade.

William picked it up slowly. The blade was a wide broadsword blade, wrought out of amazingly fine steel that gleamed in the light of the morning. The hilt was covered in a heavy basket, backed with a lattice of heavy steel to protect the hand. He turned the blade in his fist, feeling its balance even in its length. It was a longer blade, standing up to his waist, and he was a taller than average man himself.

"This blade is..." he began.

"Yes," she said quietly. "Just like the family one. I wanted you to have as solid a blade as possible when you went out. I know you went through so much with the one you have, but..."

"Of course," he replied. He pulled the cross guard blade from his belt and flipped the hilt towards her. "Maybe one day my little brother will learn to use one beyond which end to hold. This is a good blade for that."

"Your brother," his mother smiled, "or his son, yes. But given him and his wife, I expect they'll be more inclined towards teaching their children magics." She carefully slid the blade into her own belt, where it didn't look out of place, oddly enough. "Where are you headed?"

"First stop is to pick up troops, assign them commanders and designations. I know our family is minor nobility, but I imagine they'll be putting me in charge of some sort of heavy infantry. I don't know what they'll do with Detrious."

"I wouldn't worry about him, son." She touched the elk on his tabard, the emblem he had chosen for himself. "Don't you forget, there is work to be done after the war."

"Yes, Mother," William smiled. He hugged her, patted her dark brown hair and turned to march onto the ship as a proud Andolman going to fight. But over his shoulder, he did her one bit.

"Detrious, you stay near him. Stay near him, and keep him safe. That order is more important than any you'll be given until you see me again, do you understand?"

"Yes, ma'am."

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