8th of Cylus 719
The Sharp Spear, a Mystery Novel by Dumb****
A day after the Lightless Revel held by the Naer of the Ramshackle Burho, the entire neighborhood was lit by the bright moons of Cylus. Alora nevertheless held a torch as she kicked in the hatch leading into the basement. She opened the door after the rotted wooden bannister holding it together fell apart. That done, she descended into the basement to look for plunder.
There wasn’t much left over. Squatters and wreckers tended to comb through ruins such as these, picking up what was of immediate value. The wine was gone, the meat was gone, most of the grain and dry goods were cleaned out of the pottery that lay largely shattered on the ground.
Curiously, there was a glint of something in the gloom. It didn’t take more than a passing glance to see that it was of metal. Alora reached out to grasp the haft of the tool or weapon, whatever it was. It took some strong pulling, but when it did break free of the rubble, she saw what it was. A sharp, iron spear. ”Strange.”
She quirked a brow at the weapon, wondering why it’d been left behind, if it’d been overlooked. Then again, most Yari, even the squatters and thieves tended to have their own preferred weapons. Such works as this ordinary spear were not exactly coveted.
It was then, that she noticed an enscription along the spine of the leaf blade of the spear. It was a name, Utojesk
Decades ago, when Alora had departed from Augiery, she left with only a few things, apart from the clothes on her back. She departed on poor terms with her family then, but not irretrievably so. The Naer still had sisters back in the city, who she presumed still drew breath. Her mother was the most strained relation, but even that wasn’t a total loss.
It was understood that Alora would be welcome back, should she ever desire to return, whether large with child or heavy in the nel purse. There would be few other circumstances under which Alora herself could envision returning to the city of shadow. To do so would be an admission of defeat.
Apart from the few things that were necessary to survival, Alora took upon the ship to Volantis with but one thing of import, one thing that drove her abroad.
Her father’s name.
It wasn’t that she was sentimental, or even yearning for her father. What prompted her curiosity was just that, followed by a dash of vanity. That was all, there was no great void to be filled, no answers to be sought. She only wanted a glimpse at who her father may have been, and how that might have a bearing on her own identity. That is, before she put that information aside for the next pressing issue.
Upon her arrival from Volantis to Yaralon, via Fool’s Run, Alora had made some meager headway into investigating her father’s name. But over time, the trail grew cold, light leading her way grew dim. Until her hopes of finding some vestige of him left behind went up like a plume of smoke.
For a long time she’d put it off to the back of her mind, forgotten, to be called upon when the issue came up again. Alora figured if the man was of any value, he would’ve left behind sons and daughters in his time, and that his name would be remembered by them if not anyone else. And so, should one of those far-flung offspring rise to prominence, they would honor their ancestor, and it would come down through the grapevine to Alora’s ears.
It came home to roost on this bright silver Cylus day, on the 8th of Cylus.
She looked again at the spear’s blade, analyzing it, trying to determine whether it was indeed her father’s name, or if her imagination had carried her off balance.
It was there on the spine as plain as day. She couldn’t deny it.
She picked up the spear, and used it to pull herself off the ground where she had knelt. Alora must have stared at the blade a million ways before she finally conceded that it was indeed her father’s name.
Having done so, she went up the stairs, then out the ruined, ramshackle threshold leading into the streets. She followed alone, in a daze, moonlight glinting off of the patina of the iron blade’s surface.
The Temple of Aeva was not far from there, she would find out it’s make. If anyone could determine the specifications of a weapon, or its origins, it was a priest or lay man or woman of Aeva.
The layman of Aeva looked the weapon over, but shook his head, ”Maker’s mark isn’t one of our current Priest-smiths. It doesn’t follow our typography. Most likely an enscription of someone’s name, or a dedication perhaps.”
Alora crossed her arms, lifting a brow at him, ”So what can you tell me about it’s design? Where do you think it was made?”
”Oh, in Yaralorn no doubt. The sharpness of it’s edge is exquisite, even if the materials are rather lackluster. The edge was well-forged, perhaps too stiff? But no matter.”
”Why would one enscribe a run of the mill weapon like this, then?”
The layman gasped, then chortled, ”Are you implying that anything coming out of this temple is ‘ordinary’? For shame, my dear. No, there’s something else to this spear, perhaps. Maybe it was an engagement weapon, or a gift during a wedding? Often we Yari will gift weapons that have felled a powerful or famous opponent. Perhaps that is who’s name is enscribed on it. This is all conjecture unless I go to consult our records.”
She began, looking all around at the grand crafter’s gallery she was standing in, ”You priests keep track of every modification? Where do you find the paper for all of that work?”
The layman shrugged with his shoulders, handing over the spear to Alora. She took it, and leaned on the shaft, like a staff. ”Perhaps you’d be surprised to know that Yari are not sentimental when it comes to the vanquished. We very rarely honor them so on weapons and such. And we do not name our weapons. We leave such practices for the fool adolescent children of Rynmere.”
”But didn’’t you just suggest that it was named for a beaten warrior…?”
”Again, mere conjecture for now. I will find out who made the enscription and why when I go through our records. I’ll start with maker’s marks, as unlikely as I feel this is a maker’s mark, it’s far more probable than a maker named a weapon for someone.”
”Fine, just send out word for the Candlewives when you’ve found something. I won’t be leaving for a while.”
So saying, Alora left the temple, spear in hand.
She made her way from the Temple, down into the Burhos. Eventually she found her way off the main Thoroughfare between the Shield Gate and Hammer Gate. Her footfalls fell on the dry mud and grass, moonlight shining and reflecting the patina of her spear’s blade.
The Naer had to check her vision, as she thought she saw shadows moving in the light of the moon. Her suspicions were confirmed when she heard a whistle from behind her.
Whirling around on her heels, she took up her spear in hands, angling it downward. Scowling at the interlopers, she spoke first, ”Name yourselves, Yari, if you would challenge me.”
The three men gathered there snickered among themselves, ”Oy, yer got somefing o’ours. That spear, hand it over and things don’t have to get nasty, yeah?”
Alora furrowed her brow, but smiled at them. One could always tell a foreigner by how wrong they got the Yari tradition. One did not accept a weapon from someone unless they were willing to get married. And Alora wasn’t ready to start looking, at least not for these featherbelts.
She looked at them, they had none of the trappings that made a trueborn Yari stand out. They carried small, poorly kept weapons. One of them had a rusty cutlass, the other a club, and the final one a staff. It was then she realized who these men were.
”That’s the one the Chandler wanted, eh?”
Said one, only to be shushed silent by the cutlass.
”Shaddap, we’re not s’posed to talk about ‘im.”
”What’s it matter, we kill her, we get the spear.”
Unmarked, hangers on to some caravan passing through. ”Tourists.”
She said with a smirk.
With a shout of glee, she came forward, and stuck cutlass in the abdomen before he could so much as reach for his weapon. She shook her spear, a little uneasy with it as she’d not been one to use stabbing implements, preferring instead blunt weapons for most of her adult life. Nevertheless, it was indeed rather simple to aim, especially when you landed a lucky sucker stab on the bastard.
She had to kick him free of the spear, stuck as it was in his guts. With a spill of viscera, the spear was then freed, and she stuck it, butt end into the ground. Then drew her mace. ”Come get the spear, then, featherbelts. It’s all yours.”