In and Out of Disarray

She had asked him to join their expedition. Gone for at least a week, she said, going deep to find tombs that hadn’t been looted yet. Garth turned her down after one look. Her armor was dirty, her weapons burred, her gear in disarray. He wouldn’t trust his life to someone like that.

Garth sat in the cold dust of the empty hall. He’d shuttered his lantern nearly all the way, and the only sound was the whetstone’s rasp on his blade. Even in the dim light, his sword gleamed.

She hadn’t cared, had said it was his loss. When he heard she’d gone up, he followed at a distance. He wanted to show them what it meant to approach life—and death—with meticulous care.

Putting away his whetstone, Garth tested his edge. He breathed a single, surprised laugh when the blade drew a drop of blood from his pale finger, then slept.

He opened his eyes again on brightness, her lantern filling the hall with light. His gear was all orderly. Hers was not. With great tenderness, she helped him out of the puddle of his blood.

“Doesn’t have to be pretty if it works, right? C’mon. Let’s go home.”

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