∴ A Wind of Change∴
A milky sunrise seeps over the grey-green hills, not proclaiming the new day so much as mumbling it. The first swifts flit to greet it from beneath the crenelations, streaks of sudden motion across the narrow window slit. From your perch on the deep stone sill you let out a long yawn.
The gentle scuff of wool against steel has been the only thing keeping you awake, your leaden head bobbing toward your chest with each pass of the cloth.
“You’re going to wear that thing away if you keep polishing it,” your companion remarks from his post by the door.
“Gives me something to do,” you grunt, turning the gleaming rapier over in your hands. The sleepy morning light plays off the polished steel, picking out the engraved curls of the cup, the deep fuller of the blade. You smile, satisfied by this, at least.
“Light little thing, isn’t it?” your comrade goads. “You sure it’ll stand up to what’s coming?”
You slip from the sill in response, your legs protesting at their unexpected use. Flicking the sword out before you, you whip it through the air in a series of tight, precise cuts, recalling the darting swifts at the window.
“I reckon it’ll do,” you mutter, stepping out of stance and slumping against the wall.
Your companion gives a low whistle. “Wouldn’t like to be tickled by that feather, that’s for sure.”
The pair of you lapse back into an uneasy silence as the unwelcome day continues to brighten the stone chamber. Your vigil has been long, and the news you are awaiting rife with anxieties of its own. Better to be silent than to speculate, you reckon. There’ll be time enough for that on the other side.
Just as you are reaching for your cleaning cloth again, the studded door rattles, as if shaking off its slumber. Your comrade leaps nearly out of his skin, his hand flying to his hilt, and a squeak in his voice as he demands, “Who goes there?”
“I am come to summon you,” a voice replies. The door slides open to reveal a harried-looking guard bearing dark circles under his eyes and the crest of your lord on his breast. “It is time.”
“Then the king is dead?” you ask.
The messenger nods, and your stomach twists with thrill and fear at once.
You sheath your sword with a flick, and as if you have sliced the air itself, a cool breeze whispers through the window.
“Change is coming,” your companion murmurs with a hopeful smile.
“Change is here,” you reply.