NaNoWriMo 2019 Chapter 7
Disclaimer: This is a NaNoWriMo attempt where quantity trumps quality. This will also be a long piece, so if you’re looking for a quick read, I recommend checking out a different category like Short Stories.
~Chapter 7 From One Survivor to Another~
She doesn’t know if it is Shatterstrike’s custom for everyone to take turns to take the day off, or if this a special arrangement made so that there is always someone who can watch after her. Regardless, she is glad to have company, but equally anxious about spending a day with someone she barely knows.
Today, it is Lex’s turn to take the day off, and she knows this because he approached her about it the night before.
“Do you have a plan for tomorrow?” Lex asked.
“I don’t have anything planned,” she said with a shake of her head.
“Are you interested in finding out more about your emph? I have a friend who broke her emph before and managed to recover. If you’re interested, we can invite her over for a chat,” Lex said.
Another person in her situation who might be able to help her out? Definitely interested. “Yes. That sounds great.”
Before Lex’s friend arrives, they prepare a space in the living room. She helps Lex set up the coffee table with food and drinks from the pantry. Nothing heavy or messy, just bite sized snacks that will be easy to eat.
At exactly two in the afternoon, a lady knocks on the guild hall’s main door. Lex is already there to open the door and let her in.
The first thing that strikes her is the deep gash up the lady’s face across her right eye.
“Hello Anastasia, I’m Beth. Nice to meet you,” the lady greets with a smile that softens her face.
“Hi Beth. It’s nice to meet you too. Thank you for taking the time to come here,” she says.
“It’s no trouble at all. How do you feel?”
They exchange pleasantries as they head to the living room to where they set things up earlier. Beth and Lex choose the two armchairs, leaving her with the sofa.
“So, you must be wondering about my scar,” Beth says the moment they take their seats.
She is caught off guard by Beth’s directness, but her exposure to Lucy helps her snap out of it quickly.
“Yes.” She considers saying more, but she can’t think of anything she can add that will be able to pacify Beth if she is offended by her curiosity.
“I received this scar when my emphatic weapon broke. This is what my emph looks like,” Beth says and raises her right hand above her head.
Her bracelet flashes red and lengthens into a pole ending with a long blade on one end. Beth carefully turns and lowers the glaive over the table so she can take a closer look.
“I was in a large scale raid to take down an elite monster. I was caught out of position and had to use my pole to block an attack from it. The monster overpowered my emphatic weapon and broke it. When my emphatic weapon broke, the monster’s claw continued its path and slashed my eye.”
The glaive disappears in a flash of red light. Beth folds her hands over each other on her lap.
“It took me a few months to recover. My injury wouldn’t close properly from the trauma of my emphatic weapon breaking. But I survived. And so did my emphatic weapon. As I healed, it healed as well. It wasn’t the same as before it broke, but by the time I recovered enough to even consider holding a weapon, it was back in one piece. Do you mind showing me your emphatic weapon?”
She pulls her emphatic weapon out of its sheath. Carefully, she turns the cracked knife and passes it to Beth, hilt first. “This is it.”
Beth takes the knife. Anastasia leans back in her seat as the lady examines her emphatic weapon.
Beth nods and says, “That looks like what mine did. Cracks and all. As you can see, in my case, the cracks eventually went away.”
Beth stretches her hand out to show Anastasia her bracelet. The red crest is unmarred, and if not for Beth’s tale, she won’t think that the emphatic weapon has ever been broken before just from looking at it. There is no guarantee that her own emphatic weapon will enjoy the same recovery success, but seeing that it is possible is still a great comfort.
“Here you go. You can have your emphatic weapon back,” Beth says and passes her knife back to her hilt first. She immediately returns it to her sheath for safekeeping.
“Did you lose any of your memories when your emphatic weapon broke?” she asks.
“No. I remembered everything. Good and bad,” Beth says, “But every case is different. I had physical injuries to deal with, your challenge is your lost memories.”
She nods. That makes sense.
“How did you fix your emphatic weapon?” she asks next.
“I slowly learned to use it again. It’s very much like learning how to use your emphatic weapon for the first time, but you have to be extra careful not to push things too far. Pay attention to your emphatic weapon. If it feels like you are pushing it too hard, you are pushing it too hard. Stop, take a break, try again another day. Think of it this way. Right now, your emphatic weapon is ready for any excuse to break again. Don’t give it that excuse.
“The other thing to keep in mind is that your emphatic weapon may change. Don’t assume you’ll end up with exactly what you had before it broke. My emphatic weapon used to be a halberd. It is now a glaive, and both of them have different kinds of abilities. That should not be a problem for you, since you don’t remember what your original emphatic weapon was,” Beth says.
With the general guidelines laid down, Beth continues with some practical exercises she used in the past to recover her emphatic weapon.
By the time Beth leaves, her head is so full of do’s and don’t’s that she feels like they’ll explode out of her ears if she so much as turns her head too quickly. But there is comfort in information. Her memories are still missing, but she has a goal to work towards for her emphatic weapon. And maybe, as she restores her emph, her memories will come back too.
“That’s a lot to take in, huh?” Lex says sympathetically.
“It is, but it’s very helpful,” she says.
“That’s good,” Lex says with a nod, “If there’s anything you’re not sure about or can’t remember, you can just ask me. If you need help with the exercises, you can ask Fletcher. He’s our resident emph master. He can guide you through some of Beth’s exercises and his own special training regimes tomorrow. It’s his turn to take a day off from hunting tomorrow.”
“I’ll try to ask him tomorrow,” she says, “Thank you for arranging this, Lex.”
“Not a problem. If you want to speak with Beth again just let me know.”
Lex starts to pick up the empty cups and plates. “I’m going to clear things up here and get dinner ready before the others get back. Why don’t you go upstairs and rest?” Lex says.
“I’m fine. I can help,” she says.
“If that’s what you want,” Lex says, “But if you feel tired let me know straightaway, alright?”
“I will,” she promises.
Now that they aren’t expecting any visitors, they are a lot more relaxed as they prepare for dinner. As her hands peels the vegetables, her mind wanders. Lucy and Nolan has different stories of how they joined the guild. Now she’s curious about everyone else’s stories.
“So how did you end up joining Shatterstrike?” she asks.
“I wanted to find a guild near my home. This was the closest I could find. I asked Corvus if I could join, he said yes, so I did,” Lex says, eyes down as he chopped the vegetables beside her.
“That’s it?” she asks, having expected something… more.
“Well, it it doesn’t sound impressive when I put it like that, but imagine me, a few years younger and a lot shorter, approaching Corvus to ask for a spot in his guild. I had to stand on a crate to talk to him properly because he was huge. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but Corvus is extremely intimidating when he doesn’t smile, and that man does not smile very often to strangers.”
Her mind easily conjures the image of a mini Lex standing as tall as he possibly can but not even reaching Corvus’s chest, and trying very hard to have a serious adult conversation with Corvus while Corvus frowns grim-faced down at him.
“Now, tell me what I did wasn’t impressive,” Lex says.
“It certainly sounds a lot more impressive with context,” she says, “So how far is your home from here?”
“It’s just two streets away, so it’s easy to drop by whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I’ll go home for dinner and stay the night if I don’t need to wake up early the next day.”
Family. Does she have one who might be looking for her right now? Well, it’s going to be difficult from both sides to find her if she really does have a search party looking for her. She doesn’t know who she really is, not even her own name, and they won’t know that she has lost her memories.
“How many people do you have in your family?” she asks.
“There’s my parents, the twins, and my brother. So six of us in the family,” Lex says.
“That’s a lot of siblings. Who’s the oldest?”
“Me. Then the twins, then my brother.”
“So you’re a big brother. What kind of big brother are you?” she asks.
“The big brother who is highly respected and loved by his siblings,” Lex declares, with just enough emphasis that she can’t help but look at him suspiciously. Lex expertly ignores her look and changes the topic.
“So, would you prefer soup or stew for dinner?”
She narrows her eyes, but graciously lets it slide.
“Both sound good.”
“Then soup it is.”
~End Chapter 7~
Continue the story in Chapter 8.
Chapter word count: 1699
Total word count: 10436