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Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns – Chapter 24

After a week of practice, Devarius decided to visit the blacksmith. He was finally given a day off from the field, but encouraged to practice anyway. While he enjoyed the break, he itched to practice more sword fighting. He’d improved a lot since the first day, but knew he had a long way to go.

The brisk morning air brought a chill to his body as he explored the city. Saefron was different from most cities in Kaeldroga. It never slept nor rested. Everyone in Saefron had a job to do, and they all took it seriously. Unlike most cities, people worked together. There weren’t merchants selling goods on the streets. Instead, many different shops were on every street, and if anyone needed anything, all they had to do was ask. There was enough to go around, and generosity flooded the city.

Devarius stopped in front of the blacksmith shop and took a deep breath. The sign on the door said, “The Smithy.” He pushed open the door. The sound of metal hammering metal echoed in the small building. He saw coals and orange liquid being poured into molds. The scent of metal filled the air. Devarius walked to the counter, rang a small bell, then watched from behind the counter as several men worked.

After a few minutes passed, a man in overalls, with a soot-covered face, ambled to the counter. He wiped his face with a rag before leaning forward.

“Good morning, sir. I don’t recognize you. Are you one of the new recruits?”

“Yes, sir. The name’s Devarius,” he replied.

“They call me Smithy. What can I do you for?”

“I am interested in a custom sword.”

“Are you now? Has the captain said you’re ready for your own sword?”

Devarius frowned. “Not that I recall. But when I first practiced against him, we got in a conversation about swords, and I had an idea. He said to talk to you about it … to see if it could be done.”

“Hmm … interesting.”

“Is everyone here a blacksmith?” Devarius asked, glancing to the other three workers.

The man grinned. “Two blacksmiths, two apprentices. With an entire army to equip with weapons, honestly, it’s still not enough.”

“I see,” Devarius said.

“What type of weapon were you wanting to make?”

“Well, I’ve practiced with both a bastard sword and a flamberge. I like them both, and really want a mix of the two.”

The blacksmith tilted his head. “A mix of the two?”

“Yes,” Devarius said. “I was thinking of a sword with a straight edge on the upper half, but a wavy blade like a flamberge as it approaches the hilt. That way it’s good for stabbing and normal sword fighting, but if my opponent tries to slide down to the hilt, the vibration will throw them off-balance.”

“Hmm.” The blacksmith scratched his chin.

“Do you think it’s possible?” Devarius asked.

“The balance would be off. It’s already hard to make a flamberge with good balance, but mixing the two styles, and getting a perfect balance … would prove difficult.”

Devarius frowned.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to split the blade half and half. It wouldn’t give enough straight blade for much of a standard fight, and the balance would be hard to get just right.”

“I see,” Devarius said, dipping his head in defeat.

“However,” the blacksmith began, “if we split the blade into thirds: two-thirds on top for a straight blade, and one-third on the bottom with the flame blade … it would give enough room on top for your standard duel, and the vibration protection on the bottom third. The balance should be a bit easier to pull off that way as well … as long as I do proper mathematics to configure the ratio.”

“Two-thirds and one-third?” Devarius asked. “I like that idea.”

“I will have to make a new mold … and it may take several molds before mastering one to have the perfect balance. I’m willing to give it a try, but it’ll probably be several weeks before it’s ready.” The blacksmith paused. “Will that be all right?”

Devarius grinned. “Yes. I look forward to it. That gives me a few more weeks of practice.”

The blacksmith nodded, and the two of them shook hands. Devarius left the shop with determination. He needed to improve his skill tenfold within a couple of weeks.

Devarius wandered around the rest of the city. He wasn’t working on his strength and endurance, but he was learning about the Resistance. He spoke to the old shoemaker, a few different seamstresses, and dozens of chefs throughout the city. Devarius was amazed by how well rounded the city was, and how eager to help everyone seemed to be. After exploring the city all day, he went to the courtyard at night. Normally, he was too sore at night to do anything but sleep in the cot the Resistance had provided for him. After the day of rest, well, his feet were sore from exploring the city, but it was still restful compared to combat practice. He decided to lie in the courtyard and watch the stars. Devarius had always loved the stars, but nothing compared to the view of them from the mountains.

“I thought I may find you here,” a woman whispered.

Devarius tilted his head back and watched as Aquila approached.

“Good evening, Aquila.”

She lay down next to him, her feet pointing the opposite direction, her head resting next to his.

“The moons are beautiful tonight,” she whispered.

Devarius looked north to find the smaller half moon and south to see the larger half moon. “Yes … they are.”

“Have you ever noticed how the larger one has a tint of blue, while the smaller one is tinted orange?”

Devarius shrugged. “I guess. I have seen their colors change a little depending on which sun they’re near.”

“Do you think they reflect the suns?”

“I would imagine,” Devarius replied.

“I wonder how bright the night would be if they were both full moons,” Aquila whispered.

“I don’t think that’s ever happened. But I imagine it’d be bright.”

“I think it’d be beautiful,” she whispered.

Devarius turned his head to look at her face. The moonlight glimmered off her smooth brown skin. He smiled. “Yes, I imagine so.”

She spun her head to look at him. “Devarius … are you looking at me when you say that?”

Devarius quickly turned his head away. “No … I, um … was talking about the moons.”

She giggled softly.

“How is your training going?” Devarius asked.

Aquila smiled. “Not nearly as difficult as yours. I was already proficient with a bow. I have learned to carve my own bow, with help from the woodworker, and I’ve been getting used to it.”

“How were you so good at a bow? I’ve never seen you use one before.”

“My father taught me … when I was young. He never had a son. Instead, he took me hunting with him.”

“Do you miss him?”

“Yes,” she replied.

Devarius remembered her father was the first who had been accused of being a Resistance sympathizer, and hanged.

“I’m sorry.”

“What for?” she asked.

“I should have found a way to save more people. I should have stopped them before they began murdering people in our village.”

She smiled faintly. “No one puts the blame on you, Devarius. You are the one who saved us. Without you, we’d all be hanging right now. If you had moved any sooner, they would have caught us.”

“Still … I wish I could have done more.”

Aquila touched his cheek. “You’ve done plenty.”

“I lost my parents the same way when I was young.”

Aquila’s eyes widened slightly. “You’ve never told me the full story.”

“It’s hard to talk about. I’d rather not—”

She touched his lips. “Then don’t. Just promise me one thing.”

“What?” he asked.

“When you’re ready to talk, come find me. I will be here to listen.”

He nodded. “Thank you.”

They gazed at the stars for a while, enjoying the silence. The night wouldn’t last much longer. Each day had only nine hours of darkness for their thirty-six-hour day during the fall. Once winter arrived, the nights would be a little longer.

“It’s late,” Devarius said. “We should both get some sleep. We have a long day tomorrow.”

Devarius stood, then offered a hand to help Aquila to her feet. She accepted, smiling at him.

“Yes,” she agreed. “You need your rest. The captain is really working you hard.”

Devarius grinned. “Yes. I’m glad he is. I need it. Many of you already came with skills. My family was farmers, all I know how to do is grow grain.”

Aquila tilted her head. “There’s nothing wrong with that. Harvesters are needed as much as warriors here.”

“I know.” Devarius sighed. “But I want more. I want to be a part of the action. I want to make a difference, to tip the scale in the Resistance’s favor.”

“High ambitions.” Aquila smiled. “But I understand the feeling.”

She leaned into him and kissed his cheek. He felt her warmth spread through him at the touch.

“Good night,” she said as she sauntered into the darkness.

“Good night,” he whispered, touching his cheek where she’d kissed him.


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