Step and swing. Hold. Step and swing. Hold. Step and swing. Hold.
Fiel’s arms and back were burning. He reached the wall of the hill, so he spun around and swung again. His thick cotton shirt was getting damp and cold, but the fire of his straining body kept him warm.
It felt so weird to be bald. On one hand, no wild bangs drooping into his eyes, tickling his nose and ears, no heavy mass of curly thick hair that would gather sweat in hot climates. But on the other hand, he was so naked and exposed… his scalp felt lighter, but also colder.
“Keep it straight.”
His mind had strayed to his hair, again, and he lost focus on his training. Thankfully Ylva was there to rein him in.
Fiel planted the tip of his greatsword into the snow, huffing and flushed, and turned to his mother.
“Time for a break, maybe?” he suggested tentatively. She too, after all, was taking one.
She had left her anvil and was sitting in the reclining wooden chair Farrin had built for her –as evident by the intricate carvings on the sides– holding a bundle of plush fur close to her chest. Fiel couldn’t see the babe, but he knew she was there… all comfy and warm and not worrying about training in the slightest.
Ylva raised a disapproving glance at him, but he ignored it. He’d been twirling that damn sword around his head since the break of dawn, he was sweaty, cold, sore, and hungry. He flopped down onto a stool near her forge fire.
“You have been lifting books and scrolls for too long.” She commented. “That’s why you run out of breath so quick.”
“Yes, Mother. You told me that already.” He added under his breath before taking long, thirsty gulps from his waterskin: “Many times…”
The necromancer side-glanced at her. Ylva looked as she always been, as he always knew her: her face hard, marked deep by scars and tanned rough by the fires of the forge. A few new wrinkles too, and was that a bit of grey hair he saw at her temples? And yet beneath all that, she looked… peaceful. Almost soft.
Was she like that when she nursed me as well? He couldn’t help wonder.
She caught his stare. “What is it?”
“Nothing”, he said as he looked away.
Fiel stood to stretch his back and roll his neck and shoulders, trying to pull and shake the stiffness off his muscles. His mother wouldn’t be satisfied until he did his 200 swings of the day, and after all, “mothers know best”, as they say.
It was the weaponsmith’s turn to stare at him now, and more specifically at the dark greatsword he snatched back from the snow. She didn’t like it. Didn’t like how it looked. It was all black, jagged, scratched and dull, like an old, worn-out blade left forgotten in a dusty coffer for several generation. It looked unfit for any kind of battle. But she also knew that it was a magic weapon, and magic weapons often had their own logic and their own character. Like her son’s staff-bird, currently perched on top of her hut, observing them both in avid silence.
Fiel was going back to work, and so should she. She put the sleeping Solvej back in her crib and resumed her forging.
A delicate work, this time. Another magic-infused set, but one that she insisted doing on her own –with Fiel’s occasional guidance, that is.
After years of nothing but producing serviceable weapons for the Vigil, Ylva had regained a taste for unusual pieces, ever since that magical prosthetic she had made with her husband and son. It had been a much needed challenge, a welcome oddity, as well as a commemorative work, one that symbolized the day her family had finally reunited.
She tempered the pauldron into the green tinted bath. Own logic, own character, she thought. She only half-understood the process it took to forge these, but once again, Fiel was the mind, and she was the arm. He had a lot more experience than her in the forging of arcane tools. She agreed on one condition:
“If you are to wear armor, then you must start training like a soldier”, she had said. Her son groaned and fussed, but it was not up for debate.
He is keeping his part of the deal, at least, she thought, the ghost of a smirk tugging at her lips. We’ll see how long he’ll last.
“When you’re done, you’ll do ten laps around Hoelbrak. Work your legs, next.”
She had to pinch her lips to not outwardly snicker at the groaning bellow he let out.