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Blade of Promise (Part 1)

Part 1

There is a point in a woman’s life when she has a grasp of love and security and she does a lot of planning and getting ready for such things to happen like proposals and weddings and children. Not all women have this in their life sometimes by choice and sometimes it just happens for some reason unknown to them. But sometimes in other extreme circumstances it is taken from them.

In a small village near a sea was a tradition long forgotten but still very important to them. Each boy on his twelveth birthday is sent to the blacksmith. There the blacksmith takes very special care to learn about the boy going to the vast corners of his personality. After this meeting the blacksmith goes to work. And during this work he builds from air and metal to heat and ending with a most beautiful creation as anyone would ever set their eyes upon. Each boy would receive a completely new blade built especially for them laid with carvings and some with jewels and leather wrappings. It was always fascinating how from a single blacksmith could come hundreds of different blades none being identical to another and when the boys went to learn how to use their blades they would fit perfectly and feel like they were born holding the blade in their hand.

No one remembered who started the tradition or even when they did, but they were always taught why. The boys were given these blades because they were always meant to be warriors and when they were sent off they would always go to battle with these trusty blades at their sides, a bit of home you could say, there were other weapons at their disposal as you would imagine but they would never in their life after their twelfth year be unarmed. There were many times where the boys had to be disciplined for fighting each other with them and reminded that they were meant for real survival, even in their combat classes the blades had to remain sheathed so they would be harmless to one another. A different reason that came about for these beautiful blades were if the boys that had grown into men and went off to battle, they could leave the blade behind with their maidens or fallen soldiers would have them sent back to their mothers or other loved ones.

These uncommonly beautiful blades were the pride of this village even men of a higher class would seek out their origins to have them made with such care and creation, most of which were turned away unless it would help the blacksmith prosper, but he had been well known to turn down the work of outsiders making sure the blades of his village were created on time. He passed the tradition down through his children as his forefathers passed it down to him, even teaching his daughter to ensure their work would continue on over the many years. He would one day teach her husband and their children his was the only family in the village that had the choice whether to go into battle or stay behind. Of course it stood for reason they didn’t only make the blades they made everything the village needed from other weapons to cooking pots, if his family faded the village would be quite lost amongst the calm waters they lived near and the quiet trees that surrounded the rest of them.

Today was the time for another blade to be created the way the last one had been and the next thousand would be. Today running through the village was a dark haired boy with bright eyes and he was already out of breath with the excitement knowing that it was the day to meet with the blacksmith and start the plans. He was the last of his friends for the birth year and needless to say he had been growing more and more anxious as the beast of jealousy started to rear its ugly head inside him, but today meant that those feelings would be put behind him. He kept imagining a blur of different metals and etches and even colors trying to mix and match different parts of his friends’ blades to try to imagine how his own would turn out. One thing he did know however was that his blade would be perfect and beautiful just like every other in the history of the village.

On his way he past the Sellers’ home, a small home built into the hill where the only child was a dark haired ember eyed girl. She was outside chopping wood with some difficulty when she spotted him passing buy and put down the axe walking to the stick fence where he met her.

“Hi, Kalian,” She said quietly, almost as if his name as a secret on her lips. He felt a chill in his spine whenever she spoke his name.

“Safiyyah…” He said, feeling the embarrassing crack in his voice which always tended to make her smile at him. “You should let a man do that job for you.” She scrunched her nose at the crack in his voice again and said,

“If only there was one around…” He felt his cheeks warm to a blush as he looked at how her ember eyes glowed and danced, as if she was gazing into a fire on a dark night.

“Well… maybe… someday…” He said slowly as he started to kick his foot around the gravel road.

“Are you on your way?” She asked changing the subject and she rubbed a growing blister on her hand.

“Ye-Yes, I am.” She nodded and said,

“Well… good luck… I have to check on dad while mom’s gone.” He nodded and said,

“Maybe… I’ll stop by later?” She smiled and said,

“Yeah maybe you could bring that ‘man’ you were talking about.” He started to laugh then felt a crack and started to clear his throat and cough to hide it. She shook her dark hair and went in the small wooden door. He watched a moment longer till she was out of sight and he started to walk on. Little did he know that on the other side of the door she was also watching him till she couldn’t see him anymore.

There was a hoarse cough in the next room of the small home and she ducked into it sitting by her father being very ill and helped him drink some water and fixing his blankets to keep him warm. He smiled quietly at her, but it had been a long time since she had really heard his voice. He can, every now and then, cough out her name but they hadn’t really been able to hold a conversation for a very long while.

Kalian sat quietly trying his best not to fidget as the blacksmith collected his parchment and charcoal to begin a sketch and sat with the boy with an old sigh and said,

“Kieran says you have been very anxious for this.”

“Yes, sir, I have been.” The blacksmith smiled and said,

“It must be hard being the last birth of the year.”

“I never noticed till now.” Kalian confessed. The man laughed and said,

“And you won’t really notice again, believe me. You’ll just wake up one day and be an old man.”

“I hope I am a wise one at least.” The blacksmith smiled enjoying the energy of this child, not completely tamed but also not wild.

“I’m sure you will be.”

They sat by the fire in the blacksmith’s shop for several hours, people walking by the door trying to inconspicuously peek in without disturbing. It would seem the whole town had been anxious for Kalian to receive his blade as well. He needed to be mentally prepared to not be able to sleep for another week, maybe longer. Wouldn’t his mother’s face be full of worry if he never slept again?

After they were done the sun was barely setting and he started to run home passing the Sender’s again seeing the door open, he tried to slow himself before he was seen. Sure enough Safiyyah came out of the house, she was taking the chopped wood inside when she looked up through her messy curls and saw him.

“Oh, hey…” He said before veering his path toward her.

“How was it?” She asked. He shrugged and said,

“He asked about stuff I liked… disliked… what I wanted to do or be…. Stuff like that.”

“That sounds boring.” She said. He smiled and said,

“Well, of course a girl wouldn’t understand.” She looked at him and said,

“A ‘girl’ shouldn’t understand the blisters I have so I suppose we have established I am not some girl. And I’ve already asked the blacksmith if he would make me a blade but he has refused and he said the only way for me to get one of my own was for both of my parents to die or to be engaged. Well, mark my words I will not be living in this village long enough for either one to happen.”

He watched her ember eyes go from light and dancing to dark and damning and he started to feel as if she was going to reach out and tear him apart. All he could do was stand there and stare at her realizing she wanted to cry but refused to do so for his benefit. He suddenly had the urge to reach out and hug her to calm her down, and in realizing this feeling he waited for her to breathe and then he said, as humbly as his shaking voice would allow,

“I’m sorry…” And he turned and went home suddenly scared of his feelings and the urge. Also scared of her, he was just a child and had no knowledge of these things. He’d need to council his father that evening, if his father would understand such odd goings on.

“How was the meeting son?” His mother’s soft voice asked as he stared down into his bowl of stew.

“It was fine, mother… just answered his questions as best as I could… like you told me to…” She looked from her son to her husband, who was also watching his son and looked at his wife.

“I remember when I had my meeting. All the knots in my stomach, feeling so vulnerable…” His father said sitting back in his chair, “But then… when my blade came…” He glanced up to the mantle above the fireplace where his own blade laid now, not as shiny as the day he received it, but still reflecting the firelight quite beautifully. “I felt so connected to it the moment I unwrapped it… the training was so simple and fluid after the first few lessons…” His wife giggled lightly seeming to remember watching her husband during these times. “And then one day giving it to your mother before going to battle…”

“It was your father’s style…” She said spooning through her own stew before her as she spoke, “They were in the middle of lining up for orders and I was able to catch his eye but in the last moment he ran to me and pushed the blade’s hilt in my hand kissing me once… and then leaving for battle without a word… It was the best and worst day of my young life…”

“I wasn’t gone for to long, my love.” He said standing from his chair.

“That is true I only had to wait a couple short years. That is very short compared to others in the village… some never even returning…” He kissed his wife’s forehead and rubbed her shoulder a bit. Their son didn’t pay them much attention, he had heard the story of their love so many times it felt like a fairy tale even though they were standing before him their love still ever growing.

Their child slowly stood and said,

“I’d like to watch the stars, father.” He noticed his son’s tone and said,

“I’ll join you son.” They walked outside and laid in the grass beside each other and stared up into the night sky as an infinity of stars smiled down over them. “What did you want to talk about?” His father finally asked after some silence.

“On my way home today… I stopped and saw Safiyyah… and I upset her…”

“Well, how did you do that?”

“I said something about she was just a girl and wouldn’t understand getting a blade…” His father chuckled lightly and said,

“She yelled at you?” Kalian nodded and said,

“I’ve never seen her… mad…”

“Well… You will need to apologize for the first thing…”

“I did… before I ran away…”

“Now, son, why did you run away? You’ve taken on older boys before… Did she scare you the badly?”

“Because I… wanted to… hug her…” His father stifled a laugh and said,

“That’s just stirrings, son, it’ll get much worse hereafter.”

“What do I do about it?”

“Live.” This wasn’t the easiest explanation he had gotten from his father before, seemed to be more confusing than the original problem. But his father had also never steered him wrong either.

After the few days passed by Kalian steered clear of Safiyyah till she finally blocked his path walking down the road and forced him to stand toe to toe with her.

“Well?” She asked with her hands on her narrow hips staring at him.

“Hi, Safiyyah…” He said looking at her glowing eyes.

“No. ‘Hi’ is how one would greet his friends, but we aren’t friends anymore, are we Kalian?”

“Yes, of course we’re still friends…”

“Then why have you been avoiding me?”

“I thought you’d still be angry with me…” She huffed and said,

“I actually was going to apologize to you, Kalian, and tell you it was my fault… but then you wanted to act this way so I’ll wait for you.” She stepped around him and headed for her house. He roughed up his hair a bit then ran after her grabbing her wrist saying,

“Safiyyah, wait… I am sorry, very sorry in fact…. I’ve been worried about you… you were so upset…. I didn’t want to make it worse…” She looked at him then punched his shoulder and said,

“I accept your apology.”

“Thank you…” He said rubbing his shoulder and then he felt something that he had never felt before in his entire life. Safiyyah had kissed his cheek, and that small kiss made his entire cheek burn and it quickly spread to his other cheek and across his forehead. He stared at her his eyes as wide as they could go and she lightly blushed and hurried towards her home leaving him in the middle of the path, unable to even move.

He felt like he stood still for a decade before he was finally able to slowly shuffle his heavy feet towards home, his face still burning and his eyes still wide. As he made it into the door his mother turned to greet him before seeing his state and she watched him slowly make his way to the small table.

“Vishnu!” She called to her husband. After a moment he came in the backdoor saying,

“What is it, love?” He saw her staring at their son and he walked closer. “What is it, Reanna?”

“Our son is horribly sick.” She hoarsely whispered. He scrunched his face and looked at his son’s face at all angles then stood upright and asked,

“Was it Safiyyah?” Their son nodded which lead to his father bursting in laughter which only seemed to horrify his wife and he took her in his arms saying, “He isn’t sick, my love, he was kissed today.” She scowled and walked out before she had a chance to yell at them for worrying her. She always did this, she feared what her temper could do and wished for her family to remember her smiling more than any rage.

Today was the day, Kalian’s birthday, the day he would receive his blade in front of the entire village and they would light the fires and start a feast where the entire village would dance the night away. Kalian threw the blankets back and practically leapt from his bed unable to contain himself ran to the door and out into dim sunlight as the sun itself had barely woken over the horizon. He breathed in deeply and slowly exhaled his boyhood smiling proudly knowing that today would begin his journey to being a man.

“Kalian.” His mother called and he went back inside to get ready for the day as she began making breakfast. They ate as a family all smiling and proud of the beautiful day discussing the usual proceedings between bites.

“Before your blade is presented the village leader will talk about the tradition and we’ll have a time of silence to remember the true meaning of the blades. Remember those from the past, and then it will be about you.” His father said to him.

“Please do your best to be patient and not fidget.” His mother said seeing that it was already to late to curb her dear child’s excitement.

“I’ll do my best, mother.” He said. She and her husband smiled at each other and they all continued eating. When Kalian was done eating he moved onto finish getting ready and helped his mother tidy their home before he went for a walk.

“There isn’t any harm in being early.” He thought to himself.

It didn’t take long till he was passing Safiyyah’s home. He fussed with his hair a bit, something he had never cared to do before, and slowed his pace before stopping at the small gate. The door opened and the small Safiyyah emerged into the sun. She smiled at her friend and walked to the gate saying,

“Happy Birthday, Kalian.”

“Thank you.” He said smiling, feeling his cheeks burn a little. She smiled and said,

“I’ll be at the ceremony, but I’ll be alone… Mother doesn’t want to leave Father alone…”

“You can sit with us… you know… if you’d like.” She smiled and said,

“I would like that…” He nodded and said,

“Good… yeah… I’ll see you there…” She smiled and he watched her eyes dance as she said,

“I can’t wait.” She headed back inside the small door.

He smiled and moved onto the village square to watch a few of the villagers setting everything up for the festivities, several greeting him in passing wishing him ‘happy birthday’.

It wasn’t long before his parents joined him and they helped set things up.

“Mother?” He asked.

“Yes, Kalian?” She responded.

“I told Safiyyah she could sit with us.”

“That’s fine, love.” She said, “Do we need seats for her parents?”

“No, ma’am, they won’t make it…” She noticed the worry in his face and she said,

“Well, it will be delightful to have her with us either way.”

The evening slowly crept to them and the villagers began to seat themselves with their families, Kalian’s family in the front row, an empty seat on his right. As more and more of the seats behind him filled he began to be more worried about the empty one by him. But he soon saw her come down the path, her curls brushed and tamed into a nice style laid over her shoulders. He noticed she was wearing her nicer dress, which she never wore for any other presentation that he could remember. As she approached he and his father stood to greet her and his mother gave her small hand a light squeeze before he helped her to her seat and sat back down on his father’s subtle cue. He noticed his mother gently touch his father’s hand in an approving manner. It wasn’t long after that when the ceremony started. The village leader began to speak about the past and the tradition how it was passed on and expressed his thanks to the blacksmith on behalf of the village members. The village applauded and the blacksmith stood and walked to where the leader stood and said, “This was a hard blade for me… not building it but finding the proper inspiration… this being the last for the year it is always hard to grasp that I’ll be done making these masterpieces for several months on end, but it will always bring me great pride to see all of the boys from the year join their classes and see them all grow in so many ways I cant even express it in words… so, without further ado I’ll present the blade. Kalian please come up. Kieran, bring me the blade please.” Both boys stood and walked towards the blacksmith and met in the middle. “Kalian,” The blacksmith said, “may this blade reflect your soul and be by your side always. We believe it will help you become great.” He carefully took the leather bound blade from his own son and handed it to Kalian who started to shake. “May it be up to your expectations.” The blacksmith whispered as he released it into his possession. Kalian started to unwrap the blade.

He first saw the hilt made if dark metal his initials carved delicately at the very end. Further on the dark metal continued beautifully, emerald green stones and leather set deeply in the hilt and the blade itself was the dark metal curved ever so slightly to help with throwing or slashing the design of a dragon carved on either side. It was definitely a sight to behold and he was speechlessly in love with the blade. His blade to have for the rest of his life, he couldn’t believe it had finally happened.

During the rest of the festivities the blade was placed on a stand where everyone could go by and see it also to keep the boys from getting carried away while they played. The music began and the village erupted in dancing and being merry. The children all gathered near one of the bonfires to dance and play. Normally Kalian would join his friends in stick fighting, but tonight he noticed Safiyyah more than usual. She sat on one of the logs alone watching the adults dance with the bonfires. He saw the way he watched them with such a longing it made him ache inside, even if he didn’t understand the reason for it. He slowly approached her and sat on the log by her and she looked at him.

“Are you all right?” He asked her gently.

“Yes,” She said, “your blade is beautiful.”

“Thank you.” He said quietly suddenly not concerned about it at the moment. “Do you want me to take you home?”

“And leave your feast?” She asked.

“I can come back, it’s not like anyone will notice I’m gone.” She smiled lightly and said,

“Yes, please, I would like to go home…” He stood and held his hand out for hers and they walked down the path in the moonlight toward her home.

Several years passed and all of the children grew with the days, some closer than other, some stronger than others,All of them making their families proud of them. All of them each making their families proud of them every day with their own personal strengths.

Kalian walked with his friends from class laughing and joking together, no longer a boy, now he was tall and built like his father, and as he turned the corner he saw Safiyyah sitting in the grass by her home. He bid his friends farewell and walked to her sitting on the hill adjusting his blade as he looked at her.

“Hello, Kalian…” She said quietly picking in the grass.

“What’s wrong?” He asked feeling all of the jokes of the day slowly leave his body. She looked up, her ember eyes dulled and her face red and tear stricken.

“My father… he’s…” She choked on a breath and he put her arms around her letting her cry into his sturdy body. He stroked her soft hair trying not to tangle his fingers in her curls. “I don’t know what my mother and I will do… We’ve cared for him for so long…”

“When did it happen?” He asked.

“This morning…” She said leaning into him as he held her.

“Why didn’t you come to get me?” He asked looking at her.

“Because I didn’t want to disturb your training…”

“I don’t care about that.” He said roughly.

“Well I do, the training is what will keep you safe you need to be focused on that not other stuff…” He lifted her face to look at him and said,

“You aren’t just stuff, Safi. Do you understand me?” She nodded as he dried a few of her tears. “When is his burial?”

“I guess tomorrow… mother already had the council take him…”

“I will be there.”

“After you're training.” She insisted. He sighed and said,

“All right, but you don’t let them bury him without me.” She nodded and said,

“Agreed.” He brushed some hair from her face looking into her eyes then said,

“Do you want me to stay?”

“No… Mother needs me…” He nodded and said,

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He stood and helped her to her feet hugging her tightly in his arms and watched her walk to her home going in the door. He waited for a moment then headed home as well.

“That’s terrible…” His mother whispered as she served dinner.

“It is…” His father said looking up at her, “But hopefully he’s in a better place… he suffered for so long…”

“They all did.” She agreed. Kalian sat quietly as he spooned his stew around in the bowl before him. His parents watched him quietly till he excused himself for bed.

“Do you think they’ll be all right?” He heard his mother ask in a hushed tone.

“She will be… she has him…” His father responded, he sensed something daunting in his tone, and he didn’t like it.

After his training session Kalian cleaned up and walked to Safiyyah’s home with some flowers in hand and he knocked on the door. It slowly opened to Safiyyah’s mother, her face was very pale and her eyes were dark. She looked as if she hadn’t eaten or slept, just cried. He held the flowers to her and watched her attempt to smile as she took them and stepped away from the door so he could enter. He saw Safiyyah by the fire finishing with some of her hair, her fingers trembling. He reached over and gently helped her, she smiled softly to him and raised her necklace to her collarbone as he carefully fastened it and fixed one of her sleeves. She felt his hand lay against the small of her back as he looked into the small mirror at their reflection together then he quickly moved away when he realized she was looking as well. He opened the door and the ladies stepped out into the sun blinking in the light squinting through their tired eyes. It wasn’t long before the villagers arrived to walk with them picking up the body in the square and walking to the edge of the water, Kalian kept his arm firmly around Safiyyah’s shoulders. His mother did the same with Safiyyah’s mother letting her sob as they walked. He noticed Safiyyah wasn’t like her mother, she didn’t curl over sobbing loudly into her hands… Safiyyah walked with Kalian her head held high though you could see her shaky breaths and tears falling down her cheeks and he felt her body was tense trying to stay strong. When they met the water the old soldiers, Kalian’s father included, continued to carry the small boat that held the body into the water and lowered it down to float alone. Safiyyah took her mother’s hand in hers staying in Kalian’s arms as they listened to the village leader talk of how her father was a good man and when he fought diligently in the last war and how he had been sick. Her mother was presented with her father’s blade which she clung to as if it were her last breath. After more words the small boat was set on fire and pushed away from shore. As it departed so did the crowd leaving Safiyyah holding her sobbing mother who had fallen to her knees screaming out her tears. Kalian stood quietly nearby with his parents their heads bowed in reverence. It was rather late when the small group departed as well taking the women home.

Kalian sat in the dark near the edge of the woods watching the small house, he couldn’t explain the feeling he was having but he couldn’t deal with it. The heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach wrenching his gut into knots of horrible uneasiness. It made him worry about Safiyyah, made him worry that her sorrow wasn’t over yet, the hushed words of his father from the night before ringing through his mind.

“She has him…”

He woke up in shock and wet as cold water was thrown over him. Kalian sat straight up coughing and shaking, his dark hair throwing the water as he rubbed his eyes.

“Hey! You’re not a dog!” Safiyyah’s voice yelled at him. He looked up in the sunlight as she stood over him with a bucket. “Why were you asleep out here?” She asked as he got up dusting his pants off.

“I was worried about you.” He said calmly.

“Why?” She asked.

“I don’t know… I guess because of yesterday…” She sighed and said,

“You need to go home and get ready for you're training.” He shook his head and replied,

“No, I am staying with you today.” She put her free hand on her hip and said,

“It wasn’t a suggestion, Kalian.” He sighed and said,

“All right, but I will be back afterwards.” She nodded and said,

“That’s all right. I would enjoy the company.” He nodded and walked home to get cleaned and dressed. He ate heartily then headed off to the training grounds. When he got there he saw the rest of the group sitting in the grass and he filed in seeing the leader of the village talking to one of the war generals. He didn’t know asleep it was about, but he was sure that none of them were going to like it. After a few more minutes the general looked over at them and cleared his throat and said,

“You boys might be soldiers before your time has come… if the news I just received takes its course… we will have to go to battle before the first snow falls…” No one spoke or asked any questions though you could feel the tension in the air. “We’ll have to add a few hours of training to each day… starting tomorrow… now stand up.” They all stood and began the training session.

On the way home there was no horseplay, no jokes, no laughter. The boys now turning to men walked down the road with heavier hearts. Kalian stopped at Safiyyah’s door and tried to push down the feeling so he could focus on comforting her. They sat by the fireplace, Safiyyah reading an old book to him as he sat as close to her as he could trying to absorb her presence, memorizing her features and the way her voice curled around words. Her mother sitting nearby staring solemnly into space not speaking to them, every now and then she would get up and go to the room only to come back even more forlorn than when she went. Kalian thought she was trying to check on her husband, as she did for so many years before, only to find the empty bed laying in the darkness. He got through the night and got home before he finally let it go and sat by his mother while she stitched something. She looked at him and said,

“Kalian, what’s happened?” His father looked up and he saw tears in his son’s eyes. He told them what he was told and his mother fell to her knees holding him tightly starting to cry his father holding the both of them tightly.

“Mother… I can’t leave her.” He whispered. She smoothed out some of his hair gaining control of her tears and said,

“Maybe you won’t have to, love… it’s happened before… and your father’s always come back…” She hugged him again, Kalian couldn’t tell if she was right or just trying to convince the three of them to feel safe.

The next few months went by quietly, Kalian trained hard and spent as much time with Safiyyah as he could. She had gotten better smiling even more than she had before, he beauty making him more and more breathless by the day. Her mother, however, stayed still and silent despite her daughter’s tryings to make it better for her, for both of them. His parents stayed strong and positive as no one had heard any further on the subject of battle.

But it didn’t take much longer before the word came, and it was time. The soldiers prepared the weapons and sharpened their skills spending the evenings with their loved ones. Kalian watched Safiyyah being as strong as she could for him, a trait he always adored, but he would ask her to hold him knowing she needed it dearly though she wouldn’t admit it to him. He listened to his mother cry from her bed his father murmuring comforts in his sleep. Kalian imagined the lonely nights he had coming for him the cold winds and the stale meals. He wished there was another way but deep down he knew, like his father and the other many generations before him, this is what they were trained and raised for.

The day arrived and even the sunrise seemed to be saddened as the soldiers suited up and loaded their wagons down. They were allowed a final meal with their loved ones which for Kalian’s home was a very quiet one, even with Safiyyah and her mother joining their table. It had become normal to see Safiyyah’s mother not eat and just stare at the food before her, but not for Safiyyah to do the same. In fact, the only one who really ate at all was Kalian and each bite seemed to stick in his throat. He helped his mother clear away the table and as he watched her he took the bowls from her and placed them down so he could hug her tightly trying to reassure her he’d be alright, his father soon joined the hug and they all stood quietly together. When they released he realized Safiyyah and her mother were gone the door closed behind him. He breathed deeply and his father gripped his shoulder saying,

“She’ll be alright, son, we’ll be here for her and her mother.” He nodded and they heard the horn to assemble being blown down the road. He took a breath picking up his bag and looked at his mother saying, “Don’t come to the square, Mother… Stay here with Father…. Please…” He could tell by her eyes that she wanted to refuse, but she sadly nodded and they all joined in a final hug before he walked out the door. As he closed it he saw his mother collapse into his father’s arms sobbing uncontrollably into his chest. His father looked at him with a stern look that told him not to turn back. He slowly closed the door his mother’s sobs ringing in his ears. He gathered his composure and followed the rest of the men down the road. They all slowly began to naturally line up in their ranks. As he passed Safiyyah’s home he watched the windows and door to see if he could catch a final glimpse of her, but there was no movement. He held his head high and continued with the group.

As they got to the square there was a crowd of villagers gathered to watch the soldiers leave. Kalian didn’t pay attention to the crowd, he felt there was no reason to. But then he felt eyes on him, he turned and caught sight of Safiyyah watching him from a shallow part of the crowd, she was quiet and still as she watched him. He quickly broke from step and turned back running toward her, no one tried to stop him. He pushed through the crowd to his lovely Safiyyah and looked into her worried eyes as he took her hands in his, a million words burning through his mind. He took a breath and kissed her deeply holding her close to him feeling her heartbeat against his. For a moment the world faded away and it was just them and their love. As their lips parted the noise crashed around them like waves on a shore and caved around them. He looked into her eyes again, they now danced again despite the tears, giving him a fresh memory of their beautiful ember glow. As he stepped away he pushed his beloved blade into her hands and she looked down and gasped.

“I love you, Safiyyah, I can’t remember a moment when I didn’t.” She shook her head and tried to give it back to him.

“I’m not saying good bye,” She insisted, “Not like this!”

“Good. Because neither am I.” He kissed her again and she felt the tears spilling from her eyes before she whispered,

“I love you too…” He hugged her tightly kissing her forehead before he rejoined the ranks, she watched her soldier leave the village as she clutched his blade close to her heart as it held the promise of his return to her.

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Blade of Promise (Part 1)
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