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   Chapter 29 No.29

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5588

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03

"Why collect?" she asked.

"Why?" he repeated, closing his book. "Why not? A good weapon is a tool. A great one is a masterpiece. Art, plain and simple. Crafted with care, every detail lovingly shaped, balanced, polished. If sculptures were crafted with such care, the sculpture and the model who posed would be indistinguishable. Have you got a knife?"

"No. . . well, yes, right here, " she said, remembering the stiletto that had been returned to her.

"There, you see. Straight, sturdy, sharp. A tool. Here, have a look at this one, " he said.

Desmeres pulled a sleek, curving blade from his belt.

"Now, this? This is a blade! Look at the curve. Look at the edge. Simple. Elegant. Organic. This could have come from an animal. Based on the shape of a dragon's claw. And watch this, " he said.

He closed his fingers around the handle, then opened all but the index finger. The weapon balanced on one finger.

"The creator worked for months on this. It would be at home in a gallery or in a foe's back. I challenge you to find another work of art with that flexibility. Of course, this particular blade has more than good breeding--it has a history, " he said. "They say it was used by none other than the Red Shadow."

Myranda respected his passion for the subject, even though she didn't share it. It was rare to see such interest in anything, save the news of the most recent battle. The weapons he collected were the heart of the war, and so she despised them, but here was a man who admired the form above the purpose. It was a refreshing step aside from the prevailing obsession of her country folk. She could see his point, as well. What he held wa

r had the last crumb been finished than the waitress reappeared, eager to sell more.

"Anything else for you today?" she asked.

"No, thank you very much, " Myranda said.

"Five coppers, " she said.

Myranda dug into the satchel she had found on the horse's reins and gave the waitress five of the coins. The waitress lingered, jingling the coins in her apron. Myranda took the less than subtle hint and fished out two more coppers and dropped them on the table. The waitress widened her smile.

"Thank you, miss, and you have a perfectly lovely day, " she said.

"And to you, " Myranda said.

Myranda remained in her seat for a time. What was next? She was unsure who knew who she was, or what they thought she did. Did they still think that she had the sword? If it had belonged to a high-ranking military official, the penalty for its theft would be equal to that of treason. The sentence was worse than simple execution. An example would be made of her. Torture, humiliation, and shame would fill her days until she was finally put to death in as gruesome and public a manner as could be managed.

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