The sheath relinquished the sword with a soft click like a key turned in a lock. Jennika paused with her hand wrapped around the hilt, and tried to decide if that was a bad sound echoing in her clever little silence.
Going still, she cocked her head, and listened just to make sure that her silence was still clever, and not the thing that fell when heads suddenly came up and breaths were held to hear what was not there.
Below her, the first floor of the house laid as quietly as before. Before she came, there had been a light hum through a cracked window, but she’d shut that up tight before it could wake anyone who might be willing to get out of bed to investigate. The second floor ached and cracked with its usual nighttime shufflings. A man snored. A sideboard creaked in the breeze outside. Some timber in the wall decided to shrink in the cold and groan about it. But none of them were loud enough to break the silence that Jennika had brought with her through the second floor window she’d shimmied into.
She slid the sword a little farther out.
The white light gleaming through the window glinted off the blade. The glow and the quick shadows that lined the other edge made it look longer and thinner, though she supposed it would be elegant enough in daylight. The metal was smooth, and faintly blue. The tip narrowed quickly, giving the body some substance, though if she turned it in her hand, it seemed suddenly to be a slice in air. The hilt guard wrapped around her hand in a swirl of silver strands.
She liked it, and she was a little sad that she was not going to be taking it with her. She had her own knives, one strapped to the inside of her forearm where it had belonged since her forearm was long enough to hide it, and one at the small of her back. But knives were not swords. They were more common, and more useful to her, but kneeling in the dark, with that line of silver gleam in her hands, she liked the idea of the more ostentatious piece of violence. She liked the glory tied up in it.
Jennika could feel her own thoughts cracking her silence, and she shook her head. She chuckled lightly to herself, and turned the blade in her hands.
There was a series of symbols engraved in the other side, lined up perfectly, just far enough from the edge to allow the sword to be sharpened without them wearing away. She pulled the long piece of paper from her pocket and laid it flat against the metal. Then she pulled out a piece of led and held it carefully by its wrapping to keep from smudging her fingers. One hard swipe down the length of the sword let off a low ringing tone, and etched the symbols into the paper. She looked them over once to see they were whole. Then she tucked the lead away again and rolled the paper into a tight stick.
The sword, she grinned down at, and then slid it back into its sheath. It clicked and clacked again, the key turning back and all the tumblers falling back into place.
It was a satisfying sound. She was a sneak after all, built to crack open every door and glimpse inside – built to creep through a hundred of them, and break through one or two – and then to shut them again without being seen.
She would look ridiculous with a sword.