If it was still in fashion to name blades, Briditte was pretty sure Hanna would have named her sword Lady Sparkle. Or something worse.
It was a good sword, just a little leaner than Briditte liked in her own hand. It had a delicate curve, a sharp edge, and a soft gleam that made it frightening in the dark. When it came down, it gave a sound like a sweet singer reaching for a note almost beyond hearing. It looked like a silver feather that had developed too large an attitude to stay on the bird. Briditte liked a blade that might have been a tree-trunk club in a past life, but there was nothing wrong with Hanna’s.
Until she saw it draped across Hanna’s knees, lying like a river of steel that knew it exactly how pretty it was, glittering in the sunlight.
Hanna ran a stone along the edge, and it sang even then, humming under her careful touch. Hanna’s long fingers stayed gracefully bent on either side of the palmed stone, and she leaned into the motion as if she could hear the drum beat behind the sword’s song. Her legs were propped up onto the toes, bring her knees up to better keep hold of the sword, and making her look like a dancer caught just before a leap. Her hair was curled, knotted at the back of her neck, while long strands swirled around her shoulders, while others curved down to point to green eyes, high cheekbones, bowed lips. Her spine stayed straight, as if her shoulders were just too light to warrant any bending. Her smile stayed curved, permanent, as if the air was too light to bend it either.
Briditte blinked at her as she entered the barracks. Somehow even Hanna’s uniform seemed in on the dance, clinging close to her waist, and lying in even folds and flows everywhere else. Briditte unbuttoned her jacket, letting it fall wherever it liked, which was usually straight down, framing out broad shoulders and hard muscled arms.
Hanna looked up through her hair, eyes flicking from Briditte’s feet, to her face, to her hands, sharp. It was quick, trained, but it didn’t help the look of her. Briditte honestly could not come up with a single thing she could do to look less intimidating.
“Do you enjoy this?” Briditte asked.
Hanna tossed her hair out of her face as she looked up. “What?”
“Making life as difficult as possible for yourself?”
Hanna grinned. At first it was just a smile: white teeth, round cheeks, a sparkle in those green eyes that didn’t belong anywhere but a ballroom. But it lasted too long, and Hanna’s eyes sharpened, until Briditte was resisting the urge to shift back on her heels.
“Of course,” Hanna said. “Easy just isn’t worth much, is it?”
My friend, Kathryn is a thief! Be sure to check out her blog and see what she wrote when she ran off with the first line of this piece.