Chapter 18Where a Gift is Given

It should have been a moment of choice, where I had to decide where to go first, check for Deirdre at the stables or go to the armory to see Sir Brandt. But, in reality, I headed for the armory automatically. Part of me rationalized it by thinking that Deirdre wouldn't be done yet and that it would just be a waste of time to wait for her first, but I knew that wasn't the real reason. It was simply that I knew I shouldn't keep Sir Brandt waiting. Perhaps through years and years of being a student under his tutelage made me think that, but it was not something easily gotten rid of. I also had made up my mind. I wanted to go on the mission, but it would be really difficult for me if Deirdre didn't go with me.

The Armory. It took up almost the whole left wall and below. It was very spacious inside, because of the many training apparatus and sparring areas. Unlike the other building, the Armory had no large windows and was mostly lit by torches, making it not too bright inside. It was enough for practice and the like, but most students, like me, preferred to spar outside, where the light of the sun made actually seeing what the other did a lot easier. It could be very educational though to fight in low-light, to depend less on your eyes and more on the other senses. There was a little smith on the far end as well, where one could learn to make new swords

It was empty now, no one here but Sir Brandt on the far side, working on a sword in the furnace on the far end.

"Sir?"

He looked up, putting the sword back in the fire. It didn't look like anything important, more as if he was just working on it for the sake of being working on something. He removed the thick leather gloves from his hands and put them down on the anvil next to him, smiling in the soft light of the torches.

"Ah, there you are. Going to Rockwall then, are you?"

It was always easiest being honest with him. "Probably, I'm not completely sure."

He smiled. "Regardless, I have something that may be of some use for you. It's nothing special, but I thought you might appreciate it."

He walked to the other side of the armory and retrieved something from a chest. It was wrapped in cloth, but it looked very sword-shaped. "Here, to most people this would be worthless or even unusable, but this should prove interesting for you."

I unwrapped the sword after he handed it to me, curious what he was talking about. It was a very plain sword, with a blank blade and a wooden handle. Well made, sure enough, but very plain. No ornaments or designs besides a hexagonal gem on either side, perhaps the size of a silver coin. But, they weren't expensive gems. In fact, when I held them up to the light, they didn't even appear to be the same hue. One was a lot darker than the other. Were these Light and Dark gems?

"Gems? These absorb magic?"

He nodded proudly. "Very good. Yes, a Light and Dark gem. They're not that rare and these aren't very big. But metal guides Magic well and those gems make sure that almost no magic can be used on the sword, good or bad."

I moved it about, slowly, surprised by it's lightness and balance. It was a good sword after all. Simple, but good. I liked it. "Why give this to me?"

He smiled. "Well, I've been through the forest before, and a sword like this should make it easier to protect yourself against any spirits. The focus of their magic is usually more on weapons than people, which would be a waste of focus in this case."

I was starting to understand. "You used this?" Another thought occurred to me. "Wait... you made this... didn't you? Eh.. Sir?"

He laughed. "I'll forgive you this time. Yes, I did. My power over Light is minimal, which is why I still hold the title of Sir. But my craft in gems and steel has been very useful for the Castle. I made this sword some years back and it has served me well. Considering the length of your journey and your aptitude with the sword, it would be more useful in your company than in this dusty chest."

I've never had my own sword before. I mean, I did have the gold for it now, to buy a cheap sword at least, but I never really got around to it. The library held more attraction to me than weapons usually did, even if I wasn't bad with a weapon. I had certainly enjoyed the many fighting classes, even if some others preferred to bend the rules a little to hurt or wound me. It had made my reflexes swift at least.

"Thank you."

He smirked. "One other thing." He turned back to the chest and retrieved something smaller. "Here, his little brother."

I unwrapped it and was surprised to find a large double-bladed knife with similar, though half the size, gems set in the handle. It appeared to be well-sharpened and, like the sword, had an elegant lightness to it, despite its simplicity. "Thank you, Sir."

He smiled. "Just hope they won't come in use. Five days is quite a journey for an inexperienced traveller. Try and stay out of the brothels though." He grabbed a scabbard for the sword and the knife and handed them to me.

I took both and sheathed the sword and knife neatly. I wasn't sure how to answer him, I wasn't really the outgoing type like that. "I will."

That being that, he walked back to the furnace and retrieved the sword. After some inspection he lifted a hammer and flattened the sword, using the anvil. Time to leave. I moved outside and took another look at both sword and knife. The gems really looked like glass and smoked glass, although they had a depth that felt and appeared to be a bit deeper than their actual size. Curious, I unsheathed the sword and tried to charge it with Light, to make it stronger. The Light gem flared up and died down, the Light grounding in my hands with a tingle and flowing down into the ground. Of course, it would remove all focus, so it would just ground on anything and anyone nearby.

Unless the gems were unpredictable...