Prompt: A swords-woman wields an Eidolon-enchanted sword. The sword holds an array of powers.
Enish, daughter of the irrelevant Sir Nash, knew she was doomed to the same sort of history that plagued her family tree back to its roots. Observers, every last one of them. They’d never starred in portraits or tapestries, always relegated to the sidelines of the scene, their faces so tiny and simply in the paint or fabric that they looked deformed by awe or stupidity.
For five birthdays in a row, when she blew out the candles on the sweets her mother brought her, she wished to avoid that fate. Of course, her wishes were useless as well. Fate was a river, always favoring those in its flow versus those on its banks. Wishes could only be carried on its currents. Hers fell below the table and died, licked up by their dog like simple crumbs.
It was a year after she left home, while serving as assistant to a group of researching scholars, that she stumbled across an opportunity. Her fate could never be brilliant, but she could be a companion to brilliance rather than an onlooker. She merely moved equipment for the scholars and spoke with the locals, as the educated didn’t speak the low-speech of farmers and tradesmen. They were tasked by the king, while only in the beginning stages of his madness, to scour the land in search of pliant magics to better their lands.
She was ordered to report anything she saw that fit that desciption. When she snuck a glance in an abandoned barn and saw the brilliant flash of what had to be magical steel, she found a way around the rule. She reported it to her superior, but she did so across a field and in low-speech.
“Hiye Seer!” she shouted and waited for his head to turn. “Inthe he Bern, whett wiss Illuk forne?”
“What?” he shouted back. “Speak the king’s, stupid girl.” Her job was done. He’d been given the information. Enish slowly approached the blade with her hands out. The only sound was her footfalls in the hay. She stopped, inches from the sword as it hung on the wall. Its brilliance now had detail. No wonder she had seen it in the dim barn, for its reflection was not sunlight. It was the drop of white intelligence in a pupil. A spirit within the sword, waiting for a chance to act again.
“My name is Enish,” she whispered to the magic blade. “Do you want off this wall?” The eye reflected in the steel blinked. “Twice more for yes.” Two blinks. “You must promise to lead me to adventure.” Two blinks. “And not leave me behind.” Two more. Enish grabbed the hilt, freeing it from whatever enchantment had kept it in obscurity. A roar emanated from the blade. Oh. This was no warrior’s spirit, but a beast’s. A dragon? A griffin? A sea serpent? She had no idea. If she’d studied a little more king’s speech, had gotten to the legends, she would’ve learned the name of the creature: Eidolon. She would’ve learned what power she held, and that it was the kind of thing that ripped tapestries and nested in them rather than play starring roles in their tales.
The Eidolon could be contained in its sharp prison, but not its power. It flew out of the barn’s window, dragging Enish along with it. It ignored her terrified cries as it launched itself into the forest, in search of prey.
Enish did her best to regulate her breathing. It was most of her job as the being holding up the Eidolon sword. She just had to convince it to stay near the ground and move just slowly enough that she could run with it. Her legs pumped as her cheeks puffed in and out. She knew better than telling it to slow down. It would just ignore her.
Two years it had kept its promise. Her palm never left its hilt, even when she wanted it to. There had been a fine young gentleman interested in their deeds some months ago, but his advances were ruined by the sword constantly butting in and dragging her away. There was always something else to slay, more blood to drink.
They were in the midst of the Orange Forest, so named because its leaves had seen too much of the old world. They never went green, doing nothing but shivering when Spring blew through them as if it was Winter. Enish had overheard the tip and offered their services. There was a beast coming out of those woods in the dead of night, shooting its fangs into livestock and ripping our their hearts. Whatever it was, it left the rest of the unfortunate cow or pig behind.
Enish and the Eidolon blade could take care of it, for a price. The gold coins the locals offered her jangled in her pocket as the blade dragged her through the orange trees and their leaf litter. When her legs couldn’t take the effort any longer, she simply straightened them and let it drag her. Streams of leaves shot on each side of her boots as she flew, like the snow spray after a dog sled. They would just have to risk somebody seeing them.
At the moment, most of their employers thought she did the work when it came to ridding villages of giant vampiric dusk bats or the rotting grave salamanders. Enish couldn’t even control her name as they moved from village to village. She wanted to be called Lady Enish, and her blade to be called Idol, but they had given her a different name after her tendency to end conversations suddenly and fly in the direction of the nearest threat. She was simply called Growlchaser: greatest exterminator in the land.
The Eidolon blade stopped suddenly, whipping its charge painfully by the wrist. Enish hissed, but then quieted. She felt it too. The monster was near. She had no clue as to its identity, and if the Eidolon knew it wasn’t sharing. It hovered there, held by her only in name, waiting.
A single orange leaf fell, but it was obliterated, turned to powder, before it could fall past Enish’s heart. Something had pierced it with incredible speed: the speed of an Eidolon. She recognized its aura, the prickle it put in the air, and thought she would get to see the true form of the beast. Her sword reacted, but for the first time ever, it wasn’t quite fast enough.
Something struck its hilt, squeezed between her palm and its material. Enish cried out as her top layer of skin was cut away. She fell into a pile of leaves, her palm taking a few seconds to actually start bleeding. She stared dumbly, amazed to have her hand back. Her mind couldn’t linger, as she was forced to roll out of the way of the fight raging over her head.
Her blade was forced to pierce the ground, as was the opponent it clashed with. A spear! Not the creature in its flesh and blood, but another weapon trapping another of the same kind. She saw its eye reflected in its sharpened head. Its length was decorated in gold as opposed to the utilitarian steel of her companion, but it fought with a viciousness that ignored the snobbish quality of its filigree.
The weapons pulled out and clashed again, the sound ringing out through the trees. Enish got to her feet, pressed her skinned palm against her tunic, and tried to stay out of the way. Over and over again the blades collided, emboldened by the other’s dedication to blood lust. Soon they forgot the nature of their prisons and unleashed the full power of Eidolon beast spirits.
They breathed fire from the edge of their blades, the flames swelling back and forth, so precise that not a single leaf was caught even as many fell around them. The fight was dragged deeper into the forest. Enish followed in morbid fascination. She didn’t even know if she wanted her blade back. Without it, her life as Growlchaser would turn into a whimper and vanish.
The clashing weapons disappeared over a boulder, and Enish climbed after them, leaving bloody hand prints. Before she could reach the top, the sounds of their battle stopped, replaced by long metallic notes, like a guillotine singing a lullaby. Was her blade’s viciousness gone? She vaulted over the rock to find out, and ended up rolling into the middle of a stony bowl.
There were weapons everywhere, all animated and moving. Slowly, elegantly, they scraped themselves across the smoothed funnel of stone. Each had a reflected Eidolon of its own. A nest of sorts. A place of sharpening. She could feel their meditation, as they further transformed their prisons into their bodies.
Her own had passed the spear’s test, and was thus allowed to sharpen with the rest. It pretended she wasn’t there, like they’d never been bonded, and went to work honing its steel.
“I want to be Growlchaser,” she whispered. They ignored her, their sharpening louder than any sound she could produce. Maybe they weren’t the only ones. She could sharpen her soul as well, cut the tapestries that had so long ignored her line. A blade passed by, singing and staring into the distance. Enish placed her bloody hand against the rock, pulled it across the unbelievably smooth surface, and felt…
Author’s Note: This flash fiction story was written based on a prompt provided by Rhaine_Novel during a livestream. I hereby transfer all story rights to them, with the caveat that it remain posted on this blog. If you would like your own story, stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade during one of my streams and I’ll write it for you live!