Happy Friday, Aledans! I mentioned yesterday that I started reading through Nameless for fun, and then ended up editing it again because I’m an addict. I cut an entire scene from the Warrior’s Ceremony, and I thought you’d like to see it. Enjoy!
The rest of the daylight hours were filled with games and feats of skill, culminating in a mock battle to first blood. The inductees were already bloody and sore so they cheered their brothers and friends. The winner would receive a sword from the head family of Fie Wain.
Kaye was busy with priestess duties, so Kindra sat with her cousin Cassie, who was several moons pregnant. The teams lined up on opposite sides of the training grounds—Oak’s son, Osprey Conal, on one side and Monkey Preston on the other. Gar fought for Monk’s side along with his other best friends, Cougar Baylor—Cassie’s husband—and Alligator Campbell.
The drum sounded and the two teams ran for each other. There was a clash of swords and Kindra cheered as two men from Osprey’s team were blooded and eliminated. Monk’s team pressed the advantage, but they were next to lose a man. Kindra watched, greedy for lessons in the way the other warriors fought, and cheered again as another of Osprey’s men was ousted.
Osprey tripped Alligator and pricked his shoulder, drawing blood. Monk beat Osprey back, but one of last summer’s inductees ducked in and marked his arm with a line of blood. Monk swore—it was the first summer he hadn’t made it to the end since he was inducted as a warrior. As he sat down next to Kindra he poked at his red arm.
“Let this be a lesson to you, Warrior Odion. Never fight drunk.”
Kindra laughed. The boy who knocked Monk out was already gone, and Gar was advancing on Osprey.
“Do you know what Osprey eat?” The chief’s son said. “Little fish.” He rushed Gar and their weapons screeched as they clashed.
Soon they were the only two left, and the crowd roared with excitement. Gar was bigger and fought smarter, but Osprey was quick. Still, his sword couldn’t manage to find skin before it was stopped with harsh force. Kindra had sparred with Gar enough to know how tired Osprey’s arms were. Even when Gar went easy on her she always felt as limp as a dead fish when they were done.
Monk leaned forward at the same time Kindra did—they had both been on the bad side of this move. Gar had been leading Osprey on, getting him to over-reach, then spun away and caught him across the back with the flat of his sword. Osprey stumbled and Gar nicked his throat with his blade.
Over the roar of the crowd Kindra could hear Gar’s voice, deep and drumming with laughter. “Sorry, little bird. Your talons weren’t made for a fish as big as me.” He hauled Osprey to his feet before sheathing his sword.
Kindra cheered as Carrick Wain presented Gar with the prize. The sword was unadorned and too small for Gar, but it was of good construction and would drink the blood of the Obsidians as well as any other blade. A sword from the Wain family would last generations, and the hilt could be carved with the symbol of a warrior later.
Monk sat and drank. “And now Joseph has a sword before he has a name.”
“He’s giving it to Joe?” She shouldn’t have been surprised; who else would Gar give a sword to except his brother? And Gar didn’t need it—his sword was bigger, with his fish mark etched under a boar’s head pommel with ruby eyes.
“It’s a naming present.” Monk grinned at her. “Jealous?”
Kindra snorted “I already have a sword.”
He laughed. “Yes. One that probably outweighs you. I would gladly watch you try to wield it against Joe in battle.”
He was right—the Odion sword was a monstrous two-handed blade passed down since the Seven Tribes learned the art of metallurgy generations ago. Even Gar would have trouble wielding it properly without practice, although it had always looked easy enough for her father and grandfather.
She shrugged. “I have a spear that will beat that sword any time Joe wants a challenge.”
Monk put a hand on her shoulder and she winced as pain webbed through her back. “Don’t worry, Bride of Eoin. I’m sure you’ll get a sword suited to you soon enough.”
It was usually the father or grandfather that bought the inductees their first weapon, but her’s were both long dead. While Monk’s family had kept the Odions from starving until Kindra was old enough to hunt big game, she didn’t think Petoskey would commission her a sword. Even a basic sword was too expensive to give to a girl who wasn’t your daughter.
“I’m not marrying you,” she said.
Monk laughed so hard he spilled his wine. “For Trina, no. Gar’s been saving up for a sword for the past four summers, and he just won that one for Joseph. That leaves him with quite a credit in Fie Wain.”
Kindra looked across the field. Gar smiled at his brother as Joe showed off the sword that now belonged to him. She could never accept such a gift—she already owed Gar too much for training her. “I’ll win next summer’s battle and a sword for myself.”
“You’re going to have to beat me,” Monk said.
“You just told me how to do it. Drink up, Warrior Preston.” She tipped the cup towards him and Monk accepted happily.