The sword had belonged to his father. It was a pretty thing, if you could call a sword “pretty”; Guillermo did not know if that was a good idea or not, but he admired the elegant concinnity of its design. There was something primal in a weapon of such elegance. Hefting it in the hand, feeling the light balance of the weight between blade and hilt, and seeing the glint of sharp-honed steel along its business edge gave Guillermo a sense of gravidity, of the prospect of putting the sword to use in a duel in his future.
That was ridiculous, of course. A programmer who worked in a high-tech startup, as Guillermo did, was not a person who settled scores with a sword. Still, the moment Guillermo took up the glaive he felt a strange whispering in his veins, something like a call to action that he had never felt before.
Surely the sword had not come to him by chance. His ease with the sword indicated beyond peradventure that he had been born to hold this sword, to wield this weapon. To avenge the wronged. Yet he was not some extremophile, a tiny organism that lived in rare conditions of extreme temperature, acidity, and so on. He knew his place in the modern world. His was a practice in front of a computer manipulating zeros and ones, not the limb and muscle of a trained warrior. But Guillermo’s discovery of his father’s sword did, in the end, render his software job into a carceral effort, one that felt like a prison or jail. How did that happen?
It began with weekends devoted to the study of swordplay. There was an excellent teacher in the next county, it turned out, and Guillermo demonstrated an instant knack for the techniques of sword fighting, especially the Spanish distreza style that had been favored in the 17th century. It wasn’t a surprise that he became the best with his weapon in the local chapter of the SCA – the Society for Creative Anachronism – and soon began competing in national events. His father may have acquired the sword merely for show – Guillermo recalled seeing it displayed in a place of honor over the fireplace in his childhood home – but it was definitely a worthy weapon. Guillermo was proud to have the opportunity to learn to use it well.
Another story inspired by unfamiliar words presented by athling2001’s “A Writer’s Life” blog!
- concinnity – harmony or elegance of design especially of literary style
- glaive – broadsword
- gravid – pregnant
- peradventure – chance
- extremophile – an organism that lives under extreme environmental conditions
- carceral – relating to a prison
Update – thanks to a suggestion from Dahlia, I think I’ll come back to this story and write an alternate ending, perhaps something along the lines of time travel or a mysterious other world of sword play, probably in the next few days. Thanks, Dahlia!