when you don't see me: where is the edge: the dark sword likes cuddles

Naomi Bradleigh's Journal, 31 March 2101

There was a reason I tried twice to get rid of the sword Ian Malkin gave me. I've never wielded it. I try not to even grasp its scabbard, let alone lay a hand on its hilt.

The sword speaks to me.

This isn't a metaphor. Nor is it a joke. It is literal and deadly serious. The sword that Desdinova retrieved and insisted I carry because it is supposedly the only weapon capable of killing Morgan with a single blow is something out of one of those sword and sorcery novels I used to get as birthday presents from my faerie godfather as a little girl.

It figures that my faerie godfather would turn out to be my fencing maestro, who turned out to be the arsehole who founded the original AsgarTech Corporation, Ian Malkin, and helped with Project Harker. And, naturally, he was the keeper of a sentient runeblade that seems to take perverse delight in creeping me out.

I had hoped to be rid of all of that, but he's back as Isaac Magnin.

The dark sword is back in my hands, too, and back in my head.

I don't think the connection is mystical or psychic. Instead, I think the damned thing has somehow reverse engineered my implant's wireless networking protocols and has taken to texting me.

It could only reach me when I was touching it at first. But it seems to have gotten stronger, and can now clamor for attention whenever I'm close.

It insists I stop calling the damned thing "it" or "the sword" or "the damned thing". It tells me it has a name. Of course, it won't reveal it; apparently I'm supposed to figure it out on my own.

As if I had nothing better to do.

The upside is that the damn thing doesn't have to be a sword. It can change its form to suit its wielder. I've changed it into a dagger, a spear, a knuckle duster, a staff, and a tonfa. The only limitation is that it won't take a form that requires ammunition.


I've decided to call the sword 'Ahriman'. It's always whispering to me, trying to tempt me. Again, I'm not joking or being metaphorical here. This sword is sentient, and is evidently desperate to communicate.

As one might expect, Ahriman tends to be rather bloodthirsty. I dare not take it out in public; even sheathed it points to this person or that person and attempts to persuade me that I am within my rights to murder them. Reminding it that the death penalty has been abolished for all crimes save for tyranny and corruption on the part of Phoenix Society personnel avails me nothing; it has somehow decided that the social death of being made an unperson before being permanently exiled from Earth is a crueler penalty and that we'd be bringers of mercy rather than murderers. Never mind that with one exception—and I fervently and regularly pray to any god willing to listen that it will never prove necessary—I am /not/ in the euthanasia business.

When not inciting me to murder or doing its best to creep me out (something at which it succeeds more often than I'd prefer), Ahriman seems almost lonely. It is almost as if it were once a man and still craves company. It tends to become quiet with I let my hand rest on its hilt, as if my touch comforts it. Likewise if I sing in its presence. And though its personality is decidedly that of a mature and commanding man, there are moments when it seems younger and vulnerable, more a lonely boy instead.

For example, Ahriman enjoys being read to before I go to bed, though its tastes are definitely that of a boy. It cares little for introspective, literary novels. No, the sword craves more adventuresome fare. I've found myself rereading many of the novels I read as a little girl, tales of wizardry and wild romance.

Thrice a year, on my birthday and on the summer and winter solstices, a package addressed to me would show up. In it I would find public-domain media chosen for me by somebody who knew my temperament and tastes better than my parents. Somebody knew that I craved adventure, that I did not dream of being rescued by a handsome and daring prince.

Instead, I saw myself as a witch and warrior—and if some handsome and daring prince got in over his head and needed me to rescue him, that suited me just fine.

There was one saga I loved best, that of Morgaine. The last of a team of soldier-scientists on a suicide mission to close ancient spacetime gates before they were misused to cause yet another reality dysfunction, she found herself trapped in a gate until a desperate warrior named Vanye freed her, and then sought shelter by her fire. She claimed his service for a year in exchange as was the custom of his people, and they shared many perils together. She saved Vanye many times, but he saved her rather often himself.

Of course, Ahriman likes the Morgaine stories because of her sword Changeling. It's a demon-sword as well, though not particularly talkative. Hell, Ahriman is mad for any story involving such accursed weapons whether the sword is called Caine, Stormbringer, Gram, or Dragnipur.

Fortunately, the sword's taste for adventuresome bedtime stories and heavy metal songs about war and ass-kicking give me a bit of leverage. If it gets /too/ obnoxious, I can always threaten deprivation. It seems rather cruel, though.

Memo to self: Claire once mentioned a manga featuring a mercenary warrior in a medieval setting that she had characterized as a "size queen". He must have been packing a really big sword. Was it called /Bleach/ or /Berserk/? Ahriman might enjoy it, as long as the fights don't drag on /too/ long.