Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice, post 7

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 16, 2011

**a slightly longer post today, mainly because it doesn’t make sense to make it shorter!**

The next night the sword resumed the story.

The next few days were ones that Lucca never wanted to remember, but could not forget. With Quintus she made her was as quickly to the border as she could, travelling on foot so as to not attract attention. Occasionally approaching hoof beats warned them to hide, and they watched with fearful eyes as groups of ragged men rode past on horses they could never afford to buy. Horses they must have stolen. Men whose eyes stared all around, peering into shadows, obviously searching for them. Then there was a frightening crossing of the swift flowing river that formed the border between Rome and the barbarians. There was no bridge, and they had to pay in gold to be ferried across in a small boat that had barely enough room for the two of them and the ferryman, who used no oars but instead heaved on a heavy rope strung between the banks. Every lurch of the boat caused rushing water to slop over the sides and swirl around their feet in chilly puddles.

Eventually, tired and hungry, they came to a small village, a group of half a dozen houses surrounded by a fence just high enough to keep out wolves. Quintus made Lucca hide while he approached with his hands well away from his dagger. A huge red headed man bearing a spear met Quintus at the gate, towering over the stocky Roman soldier. The two exchanged words, too quietly for Lucca to hear, and then she was waved forwards.

The red headed man looked straight at Lucca and asked, “Is this true? You are the daughter of Governor Mikel?” He spoke slowly and carefully in thickly accented Latin.

Through her weary legs Lucca felt a tremble begin. It started in her calf, and spread to her thighs and without passing through her body it jumped to her hands. She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound emerged.

“Well child?” The barbarian narrowed his eyes.

“Don’t expect much,” said Quintus, “you must remember she only saw her father murdered just four days ago, and we have been fleeing ever since. She is scared out of her wits.”

“Hmph. True enough,” replied the barbarian, “see how she trembles like a leaf before the storm.” He turned and shouted back into the village, words Lucca could not understand, and within seconds she was surrounded by a knot of women fussing and worried. None of them spoke Latin, and Lucca knew no Gallic, yet she felt safer than she had at any time in the last few days.

“And once again Dawn, this bed time story is finished for tonight.” Dawn’s grandfather smiled as she yawned and carried her hot chocolate mug over to the sink and filled it with water.

“Why didn’t Dad ever tell me this story? He told me lots of other ones. Lucca is amazing.”

“This is a special story, not just told to anyone.” Her grandfather said.

“But… but… what if someone forgets it?”

The sword replied, “I’ll never forget.”

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