Aketa had been praying over the sword for a day and a night when the strangers came.
They were Tabersi, of course. There weren’t that many people on this wreck of a continent, and most of them were Tabersi.
And of her tiny village, all of them but the children and the ancient (Anketa among them) were out on the boats. They needed the fish if they were going to survive the winter.
They needed the children if they were going to survive longer than that, and the Tabersi were known to steal children.
And they needed the sword if they were going to survive as a people. Anketa banked the fires of her forge and sent the little ones into hiding. She tottered into the center of the village, the weapon nearly dragging in her arms, and met the strangers there.
“I am the eldest of this place. You will speak to me.” The Tabersi language was stupid and fluttery, like a flower, but they refused to understand proper language.
“Why would we speak to you, old lady? Your people are here illegally. This is not a sanctioned settlement.”
“The Ideztozhyu need no more sanction to live than a goat needs to rut. Leave here now, and it will go better.” She was looking over the gathering of them. Seven, for a village of old people and children. They must have been expecting more.
“You are here illegally.” The man in front liked repeating himself. “We will take you as chattel, then, to pay the settlement tax.”
“Such things will not happen.” That one, in the back. He looked young and thoughtful. Not the normal for a Tabersi army boy. Anketa tottered towards him, dragging the sword behind her. “Such things cannot happen.”
She was nowhere near as weak as she looked. No woman who survived a winter in this foul place was. The sword pierced the boy’s heart before anyone could stop her.
She hugged the boy, from behind, adding her heart to his on the blade. The magic flowed through both of them, vaporizing their flesh and adding their substance to the blade.
The village must be saved. That was the only directive Anketa added, but she added it with her entire being. The actual steering of the blade, she left to the boy.
She had chosen well. The sword slashed through the strangers as if through cheese.
Ancient Tabersi records said, with no explanation as to why Do not bother the village on the top of the hill near the Arkanti river.
Note: for the words Tabersi and Ideztozhyu, see:
http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/342141.html – Roots
http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/349330.html – Taproots
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