The Weeping Knight

Reminiscence Two

The sword master pitied the young lad who had come to his door those many months ago. So much so that he hadn't turned him away. He was old, the sword master, and knew someone of Tragean stock when he saw it. He sighed. The lad had vengeance on the mind. He knew that much. He was driven, though. In the few scant months they had been together, he had improved exponentially. The sword master had not instructed him at first. He had taken him on as a servant. Yet, the boys spirit had never bowed. However grueling the task, he had done it. No complaint.
The boy, whose name the sword master had never learned, he just called him Nameless, had finally won the sword master over. He could still remember the day. He had set him such arduous tasks that a lesser man would have balked. Yet this boy hadn't even blinked. He had just set upon each task with the same quiet intensity that he did everything given to him. But it was more than completing the tasks that caught the sword master's attention. It was after he was done and it was late, the sun having gone to bed hours before. He himself was thinking that bed did not seem like such a bad idea. That is when he saw Nameless in the courtyard.
He had told Nameless that he needed to master the simplest of strikes when he first arrived. Until he had, he would never teach him. Apparently, the boy had taken his words to heart. The sword master watched as Nameless practiced the strike, a simple overhand blow, over and over again. From the way the sinews in the boys forearms stood out, he had been practicing the blow quite a bit. Even after the day of grueling tasks, his arms didn't waiver.
The sword master stepped into the courtyard and cleared his throat. So focused was the lad, he had to clear his throat a second time. When he finally had the lad's attention, he said, "Go to bed, tomorrow your training will start in earnest."
The lad hadn't even smiled. Merely nodded and headed to his humble quarters.
The next morning, Nameless arose. He began his morning like every other, did those chores that he did every morning. When he went to the master to recieve the rest of the list he was instead greeted with thick leather practice gear and wooden sword. "This is what you will be wearing from this point ever morning until sundown. Do you understand?"
"Yes, master."
"Good. Now get into your practice gear and prepare yourself. "
"Yes, master."
The sword master shook his head. The lad had only the basics of swordfighting down. If anyone had come to him that was half his age and wished to learn the things this boy wanted to learn, the sword master would have turned them away as impossible. There was something about Nameless, though. The lad made him believe that he would master those techniques that the sword master chose to show him. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he would. His was a quiet but indominable will. The old man believed this was someone who would learn to move mountains when he was older.
Years he stayed under the sword master's tutelage. The quiet, serious boy grew into a quiet, serious young man. He excelled at all that the sword master taught him. Soon, sword arm was the scourge of his sparring partners. Finally, the sword master knew that he had no more that he could teach the boy that had become a young man before his eyes.
"Nameless, I think it is time that you journey beyond these walls," the sword master said.
Nameless looked up from his meal. "If you think I am ready," he said simply.
The sword master smiled ruefully. What had he expected? Complaining? "I believe that you have reached the limit of what I can teach you. But, before you go, I wish to present you with something."
Three young students came bearing a couple of gifts. One held the sword that would become famous the world over. His sword that she had given to him. Nameless took it from him and hefted it. He looked at the sword master curiously.
"I had the sword rebalanced. I knew that you would never trade that sword, so instead of getting you a new one, I had the old one serviced."
"Thank you," Nameless said.
"Look at the blade, lad, right about here," the sword master told him, turning the blade until he could see. Etched on the blade was an apple tree. It was hard to tell unless you knew it was there but it was beautifully done.
Tears welled in the young man's eyes. He had thought that no one understood his journey and with that one simple act, the sword master had proved that he understood and more. "Thank you," Nameless said again but more vehemently.
The next two students were carrying a set of plate armor between them. The armor was beautifully crafted. The sword master cleared his throat. "I didn't have it adorned but it is crafted by the personal armorsmith of one of the Seven Immortal Barons. He has come up with a technique that makes the armor durable and lightweight."

"Thank you," said Nameless, tears welling up in his eyes. He lifted the blade and kissed it. "I promise that I will regret any life taken by your edge."