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The Secret of the Sword

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                                                          The Secret Of The Sword 

                                                                   Douglas Smith 

Mother!" the young man called into the empty sleeping chambers. She had left his birthday party only moments ago, he had watched her as she slipped through the door. She'd looked very tired. This wasn't surprising. The festivities had gone on all night, and custom dictated that they went on till the following morning. All of the party goers were supposed to stay until party's end, but few actually held to that particular custom. The way the beer and wine flowed; few, if any ever could.  

He glanced quickly around the rooms. Seeing that they truly were empty, he left them behind and began walking through the castle corridors, glancing into each room as he passed by, looking for his mother's distinct red hair. It stood out like a fire in the night against all the dark brown and black hair that was more common to the southern lands. In fact, other than her own fiery shade he'd never seen a person with light colored hair. His own was dark, like his fathers. He'd taken most traits back after his father; a tall man, lean and muscular. Even at fourteen, the young man had the lean hard muscles of a sword fighter. Which he was, he had trained from the time he could walk to handle a sword, and many other weapons. Even his hands, quick and skilled at many things, were deadly weapons in the right situation. 

But these things were not present in his mind as his long legs propelled him through the castle corridors; instead he focused on the source less dread that filled him. Something in her eyes, as she slipped through the door beckoned to him. He'd have followed immediately, had a very drunken friend of his father's not had him by the arm, regaling him with stories of adventure past. 

After what seemed an eternity though the man slipped into drunken mutters and the young man managed to break away without giving offense. He now regretted those few moments. Something inside him said that such a short time, in the wrong circumstances, had brought about more than one disaster. His leg's sped up; he was running now, and no longer pausing to look into rooms, just a quick glance as he passed by. 

There were so many rooms, why did the damned castle have to be so big? Room after room, corridor after corridor, he ran. He Pushed his body for more speed, coaxing his muscles for just a little more. The dread he had been feeling had increased to panic. Something, he didn't know what, but something was horribly wrong.  

Finally after what seemed days, he realized that his mother was not on any of the main floor, and the castle had hundreds of rooms, spread across its four floors, not to mention the four towers one on each point of the compass.  

Suddenly he knew exactly where she would be. Every morning, just before sunrise, she traversed the long staircase of the east tower to stare into the still pre-dawn.  

He knew this was her routine because it was also where he trained in weaponry. "Why," he had asked her one morning as he passed her by on the stairs, "do you come here every morning?" 

"Because" she said as she knelt down to look into his eyes, "The time, just before the sunrise, is when all the night animals are going to bed, and all the day animals are still in bed, the world is always at peace then and always beautiful. The next morning, he woke up extra early, and walked the long tower stairs with his mother. He stood quietly looking across the familiar landscape and holding his mother hand. 

"Do you understand now? She asked him, as she turned away from the window. He smiled and shrugged embarrassedly, its ok I guess. But if you like it, I'm sure it's very pretty.  

Her laughter filled the room, like falling flower blossoms. "Sometimes, old women forget, that young boys don't see things the way they do. But yes my love, it is very pretty for me." "Well, if you like it, then I do too." She kissed him gently on the cheek, and made her way down the stairs.  

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