The Regalium Montante

∴ A Regal Affair ∴

Between fluted arches, the throne sits empty.

Instead, its would-be inhabitant stands at the top of the steps, so like a sculpted effigy that for a moment you imagine him to be one. Dark skinned and dressed in robes of stony grey, he stares with placid eyes that seem to take in the whole room without emotion. The only mark of his office is the slender silver circlet about his temples – that, and the sword.

Long, dark fingers curl around the midnight-hued grip of the greatsword, pressed against his chest, only a head shorter than the wielder. Simple steel rings adorn its crossguard – slender, like the crown. A carved pommel gleams atop the weapon, faceted like a coronal, or the bulb of a sceptre.

At once you understand the stony-eyed prince’s unspoken message. He needs no golden regalia or gleaming jewels to denote his dominion. In this sepulchral court, the sword is authority enough.

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The Kyndra Montantes

∴ A Kindred Sport ∴

The stable door swings shut behind your brother as he harkens to the call of his comrades.

Usually you would chase him, beg him to bring you along, to show you the world beyond the sandstone courtyard. Usually, he would shake you off, scold you, tell you to go inside and help Mama. Usually you would stamp and swear and spend the evening in a black mood.

But not today. Today you remain in the shade, on the bench beside the water butt, and pretend to be engrossed in your darning. You wait until you hear the shouts and jeers disappear down the country lane, then raise your head to take in what he left behind.

Propped beside the still-swinging stable door, black pommel grazed with sandstone dust, is the montante. Its blood-red grip calls you across the courtyard, dares you to lift the sword – though as you approach, you note it’s taller than you are.

Placing one delicate hand below the black metal rings, the other a palm’s width behind it, you step back and raise the sword above your head, mirroring the moves you’ve so often watched your brother practise. The montante is heavy. Its tip drags toward the ground. You adjust your hands and try again. Better.

You spin the sword from right to left, adjusting your feet as you do so, keeping the movements tight. The motion delights you so deeply that at first you don’t hear the soft chuckle from behind.

You freeze, then turn slowly to see your brother watching from the stable door. Your face turns the red of the sword’s leather grip.

“You could do with something a little more your size,” he says, with a grin.

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The Fangen Montante

∴ A Pointed Silence ∴

The door is tall and thin, elongated almost to absurdity with fluted columns supporting an arched lintel. Pale wood is interlaced with studded metal tracery, the design dragging the eye upward as if to further emphasise the height of the structure.

You know as sure as you breathe that the answer you seek is on the other side.

Between you and the door stands the guard, himself tall and thin, garbed not in armour but in decorous slashed silks of grey and green. The message of the man’s attire is clear – he fears no attack – and the reason clearer still. His grey-gloved hand is clasped around the mottled green grip of a greatsword almost his equal in height. Its blade is scarred by three thick fullers, and its long, straight quillons end in sharply jagged fangs.

“Greetings,” you begin, “I mean no quarrel. I come seeking your lord.”

The silk-clad guard says nothing, the slight smirk at the corner of his lips mirroring the almost imperceptible flicker of light on cold steel.

“How can I gain an audience? Or at least send a message?”

Again your question is met with silence. Impertinent silence, you think. The quest that led you to this chamber has been arduous. You have pitched wits and weapons against knights and brigands alike. You are not about to be turned aside now, least of all by this brazen popinjay. You will have your answer.

And then, you think with a smile, you will have that sword.

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The Líban Montante

∴ A Dangerous Dance∴

You step onto the silent floor, and draw your partner to you. Even in this brief moment of stasis, you are struck by her power and grace. Though you know the steps by heart, she was made for this.

You make the first move, both followed and led, and sense her spinning out into a graceful arc. You smile as you turn a quarter step to meet her – you’ve had to work hard to keep up with her all these years, but you’ve still got it.

She’s urging for speed now – a slight shift of momentum, hungry for the fight. You tighten your grip only slightly – enough to remind her who’s leading the dance. It was always this way: even through the stone wall of your discipline, you cannot fail to sense her passion.

As she spins through another flurry of steps and cuts, you recall a line from an old story book. The one about the mermaid. “She laughed and danced with death in her heart.”

Caught in the beauty of her motion, you can’t help but laugh along with her.

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The Helvetica Montante

∴ A Binding Force∴

Mounted high above the mantle, the greatsword is an imposing thing. Your fellow confedorates can hardly keep their eyes from it, though whether they’re assured by its promised protection or cowed by insinuated force, you cannot guess.

The sword is a contradiction in itself, its delicately carved hilt offset by the brute length of its blade. As much as it suits the ceremonial surrounds , you’ve no doubt it was forged for battle. 

A symbol of severance by its very nature, you think it strange that such a thing should preside over this moment. Yet as you lift the quill to add your name to the charter, you cannot help but be glad of it.

Just as a knight kneels to swear his oath and rises at the touch of a sword, so you make your alliegence known.

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