Seven Deadly Sins
Talia Fleetfoot the swordmage
The party was still celebrating downstairs. I could hear Auralia calling for a round of shots while Elhaym retold the tale of our victory over the dark wizard Bargle loudly to the other patrons. I was upstairs in the room we had rented from the inn, obstentially cleaning my twin blades. But the rag had dropped from my hands ages ago and I was just staring at my reflection in the dirty metal. There was a sound of people walking up the stairs, whispery words floating through the hallway outside. The door opened and Flor glanced in, Lucian behind him, cheeks red from too much liquor. Flor hastily closed the door and I heard him say that this room was taken.
I wanted to celebrate, I wanted to crow our success, our win, buy rounds and maybe flirt with Flor (although getting him drunk to attempt a seduction was out of the question as I had learned the last time we all drank together, Tieflings have a high tolerance for alcohol). I couldn’t though. I couldn’t bring myself to go down and join my friends, my companions. I just kept staring at the swords in my lap. Today was the first time they had failed me.
I remember the first time I held a sword. It was illicit, like the first kiss between friends, something I wasn’t supposed to do, and I knew it would change everything. My family were wood elves, the tribe had always lived in the trees, using their bows to defend and protect the hidden village in the tree tops. Swords weren’t useful, you couldn’t attack from afar. But the feeling of the leather in my hand, the weight of the sword, it was so different from what I knew. I had to have one, not just one. I had to have both the jeweled swords the traveling merchant was selling, I couldn’t let either of them go. But as much as I tried to hide them from my parents, it wasn’t enough. Shortly before my 25th birthday I was found out. I was given a choice, but it was no choice. I wasn’t going to give up my swords. They were the only friends I had known, ostracized as I was by the other children my age. I didn’t look like a wood elf, my stocky build and deep red hair. I was too ugly to play with the other children, but my swords didn’t care.
I had left my home almost 10 years ago, honing my craft, finetuning my ability to fight with two blades. And I never ever looked back. Until today. Watching my companions fall in battle, feeling myself grow weaker as I tried desperately to fight the remaining monsters. Even with Bargle dead it was a bitter fight, and too many of us were unconscious at the end. It was a miracle that we survived to celebrate tonight. And I thought for the first time that my swords had failed me. I had failed, failed to save my friends, failed to defend them against the Knolls. Failed.
No one blamed me of course, after all we had survived, so why attribute blame to the close call when instead we could drink and embellish our victory? But I could barely face my companions. I knew I needed to find a better way to fight. A way to fight that also allowed me to defend as well. I had grown up in a culture that valued fight and retreat, attack then vanish. And even though I had not followed my family as an archer, I had taken up their method of fighting. But now I knew, I needed a new path, a new way.
In the morning I would tell them. I will leave, retreat again, but for the last time. After this no more retreating while my friends fall. I clenched my fist, feeling power come from me. An internal power that did not come from a weapon. Maybe I could use this power alongside my sword? Maybe…