Into the Fire, a story for the Giraffe Call (@ellenmillion)

For [personal profile] ellenmillion‘s Prompt

“Stand there.”

Terena had placed Tho off to one side and handed him a short blade. At first, he’d been a bit worried for his safety – she had dressed him in enough chain mail to make a handkerchief and just enough leather to hold it on, which left far more of him exposed than he liked.

Then he’d watched her go to work, with her sword-kin, and his only worries had settled in to “why can’t I move my feet?” and “exactly how silly do I look?” The blade looked as decorative as his armor, far too shiny to be an actual weapon.

Tho knew weapons. He’d been a blacksmith’s apprentice, before his village was sacked and he’d been taken captive. He knew armor, too.

Terena was carrying a weapon, a real one, and wearing real armor, a proper breast-plate, greaves, and leather under that. As Tho had learned in the last day and a half, she also had the muscle to carry both weapon and armor.

Tho did, too, of course. But Tho had a tiny shiny blade and tinier shinier scale maile. And feet stuck in place. Which really wasn’t a logistical concern, because Terena and her sword-kin were stacking up the bodies before they ever got to Tho.

He jabbed the silly blade into the arm of someone who fell too close to him, just to make himself feel better. The arm twitched and stopped moving.

“There.” Terena beheaded someone with a tidy swoop – the tiny spurt of blood suggested the beheading was just for show – and jumped on top of the pile. “That’s done.” She twisted back to look over her shoulder. “Well, now that I’ve paid for you, boy, let’s find out what you can do.”

Tho looked at the pile of bodies. Two days ago, those had been the bandits who had sacked his home. He looked at Terena and her kin, and then back at the bodies.

This, his mother would have said, was out of the kettle and into the fire.

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