Writing prompt: People assumed that Megan carried the sword to earn her keep, to defend herself from the monsters of the night and cut out the tongues that scorned her name. But no one knew that it was a blunt sword, one she had never killed with before.
(BTW, I do do prompts! I’ve gotten a lot of them so it may take me a couple of days :) Thanks for sending this one in anon!)
“I never wanted to become a legend,” Megan says gloomily, staring at the sheathed sword on her knees.
Across the campfire, the mountain troll snorts. “Don’t flatter yourself. You’re a horror story, not a legend.”
Megan isn’t sure she wants to be hearing that from a mountain troll, particularly not one who had been trying to sneak up and eat her only twenty minutes before. She doesn’t answer, staring at the way the firelight flickers over the metal scabbard, sending long, deep shadows into the engravings along it.
“If you’re going to kill me,” the mountain troll says, “hurry up and do it. Sun’s coming up and I’d rather go by that sword than a bit of sunlight.” The troll looks anxiously to the horizon, hands twisting in the ropes binding it to the pine tree behind it.
Megan, feeling dangerous, picks her sword up with both hands, one on the scabbard, one on the hilt. The troll’s beady eyes fix on it, the breath seeming to still in their lungs. Slowly, Megan drew her sword just one inch. Then two.
“The Sword of a Thousand Souls,” the mountain troll breathes. The troll stares for another beat and then laughs without humor. “They said you could feel the pressure of your kills from across a field.” It swallows. “They were right.”
So even this one can’t tell a blunt sword from a live one.
Megan sheathes her sword with force, the metal singing a protest, and stands. She doesn’t know what she expected. To be caught? To be freed of this reputation? To be understood?
She can’t look down at the troll, the troll being taller than her even while sitting, but she tries. “You’re a disappointment,” she says coldly. “Maybe the sun will think differently.” She turns sharply on her heel and clicks her fingers. With a hiss, the fire goes out.
“Wait,” the troll says with alarm. “Wait! You can’t leave me here! Behead me, stab me, take my heart, anything. I don’t want to burn!”
Megan scoops up her bag, purses her lips, and keeps walking.