The Cardinal Feder

∴ A Capital Vice∴

Wrath was always going to be your downfall, from the heated debates with the masters to the vicious scuffles in the cloisters. Twice already the abbot has taken you aside to remind you that your tuition is a matter of charity, and that further outbursts will not be tolerated. He sent you away with a dose of Hail Marys and a look of disdain.

It’s that contemptuous look – and not the Latin prayer – that you dwell on now. Perched on your low wooden bed, muscles aching from the beating you took in sparring practice, you meticulously clean your sword and scowl. Your fist clenches around the feder’s blood-red grip as you let anger take over. Anger with the abbot for that superior sneer. Anger with your father for signing your life away to these warrior zealots. Anger with yourself for being so easily riled.

“I heard the abbot gave you hell today.” A familiar voice distracts you from your melancholy, heavy with good-natured gloating. Your cellmate scuffs over the reed-strewn floor toward you, a chicken leg in his hand and a grin on his face. “What was it this time, the belt or the switch?”

In a flash of fullered steel you’re on your feet, half-polished sword slicing the air between you and the intruder. In a strange moment of calm before momentum takes hold, you realise you’ll never forget the look of horror on his face.

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The Basilica Feder

∴ A Divine Inheritance ∴

Beams of jewel-toned light refract from perfect curves as the scent of incense rises on still, thin air. With a curt bow to the altar, you slip into a side chapel and gesture for the boy to follow.

This place has been your sanctuary since you were a young squire. Not so much for the blessings and beatitudes as the silence and the space. It is immense and yet intimate, profound and yet somehow protective.

In the cool shadow of vaulted stone, you draw a sword from the scabbard at your waist. It is not a sharply-honed weapon of battle but an elegant federschwert, its pommel lined with graceful arcs that put you in mind of your sacred surroundings.

It is the sword you were given when you commenced your own training. The sword that carried you through to knighthood. And it’s time for its legacy to continue.

You hold it out to the boy, and watch his eyes widen with wonder.

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The Bindingsbane Feder

∴ A Training Sword with Bite ∴

You half-step-half-stumble through the sturdy storeroom door and pull it closed behind you. Sinking to the floor, you feel your way over flags, wary of any sound that might give you away.

Your fingers brush besom bristles and the base of a barrel. Cursing yourself for a craven, you consider clambering into the cask. Without a weapon you have no hope of defending yourself, but perhaps you can pass unnoticed.

And then the unmistakable chill of steel on sweating palms – fingers follow a broadly-tapered blade to the schilt of a feder. You hesitate – could this keep the intruders at bay? Grasping the string-wrapped hilt, you raise the weapon into guard.

A training sword it may be, but something about it cries out for the fight.

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