Zokusho is a story owned and written by a good friend of mine. It even has its' own website www.zokusho.com which I would recommend checking out.The following story began life simply as a short story, but I ended up extending it into a full-blown fiction.
The blind Swordsmith had led a pretty interesting life. He had lost his sight when he was but a child, but he had not lost his love for swords. Since he could no longer fight, he turned his hand to making them instead. Most people in his small village mocked him, asking how he would make blades without being able to see his work. He invariably replied “I may not be able to see the results of my labour, but I can still feel it. I can hear the swishes it makes and I can judge by this alone.” Despite his handicap he proved to be naturally gifted when it came to his art. Soon rich nobles from throughout his country were paying inordinate amounts of money for his blades, each crafted to match the owner. For whenever someone entered his shop he could tell from the footfalls and their voice exactly what they needed.
Therefore he was unsurprised to hear the bell above his shop door tingle. He heard the soft footfalls of a woman. She walked straight up to his desk and spoke in a voice that was entirely too soft.
“Excuse me my good man, I’m looking for the greatest Swordsmith of our age. Have you seen him?”
“I have not seen the swordsmith for many years.”
“Strange. The peasants outside said that he would be in here.” She muttered to herself. The swordsmith noted the flagrant use of the word peasants. He also noted that she had used far too much perfume.
“But he is here. I merely said I had not seen him for I am blind.”
“Well then, can you please go and get him?”
“But he is already here.”
“Listen you old bat, I travelled for far longer than you could ever know, and I’m not in the mood to indulge an old man’s humour. Go get the great swordsmith!” her voice changed from that of a kind woman to one as cold as ice and as sharp as steel.
“But he is right here. I am the great swordsmith of which we speak. How may I assist you?”
“You? You are the great swordsmith? I don’t believe it.”
“I do not care whether you believe or not. It is true.”
“You are the same man who created the blade of Nebull? The sword which slaughtered over five hundred people?”
“It is not the blade which kills people, it is the man who wields it.”
“And the Sword of Vengeance which killed Nebull?”
“One of the better acts my blades have been put to. But again, it is the man who wields the sword who deserves the credit. I heard Nebull was quite skilled.”
“Then you do not care what purpose your blades have? Your swords have caused wars.”
“The swords did not cause the wars. It was mans lust for the swords that caused those wars of which you speak.”
“Very well blind man. If you truly do not care what purpose your swords will be put to, then make a sword for me. I can pay you enough jewels to cover a mountain.”
“All the money is to be paid to the village. The mere crafting of the blades is enough for me.”
“Then so be it! Have my sword ready in one week.” The mysterious woman said before striding out of the shop. The old man closed his shop, for only one blade could be made at a time. He toiled for an entire week, not sleeping and barely eating or drinking. His daughter, Sheridan, always hated it when he got an order, for this was always his response. The old man was using the mysterious star metal that had fallen in the woods near the village some ages past. None of the other swordsmiths could ever get the hang of using the strange metal, but with his senses the swordsmith could forge it like steel. At the end of the week he emerged from the forge, stained with soot and sweat, a new blade in his hands. The metal was completely invisible, as if it didn’t exist.
When the woman returned to claim her prize, she seemed angry when he brandished the sword. She threatened to kill him and burn the village, but when he cut a table in half she stared in awe. A blade that nobody could see, which could cut through all but the strongest metal. Now none could halt her plans.
And thus the Crystal Blade was forged.
It was only one week later that Edgar arrived in the village. He looked around the sorry scene, his blue shirt and slacks blowing in the wind. The huts had all been razed to the ground, and dead bodies littered the streets. He methodically checked every one of them, only stopping when he heard moaning. He rushed over to the body which had made the noise. Edgar rolled the young woman over, and looked into her pretty face. Unfortunately he knew she wouldn’t make it. Her legs had been cut straight through, and she was bleeding heavily. She looked up into his face and coughed up some blood.
“Please, you must escape. She will be back for his daughter. It took everything we had just to get her out of the village in time.”
“Who? Who will be back? Why does she want the daughter?”
“She wants enough swords for an army. She already has the metal and the swordmsith, but he refused to create any more swords. He said it would be an insult to the first blade to copy it. Please, you must protect his daughter.”
“Okay, but where is she?” Edgar asked anxiously. He wasn’t scared that this woman would return, only that the woman would die before yielding the information.
“She’s in Interplanes. We used our last jumping crystal to do it. One of our young swordsmen took her to the Surly Dragon. Her name is Sheridan. Please, you must pro-“ The woman began to say, but her eyes faded even as she spoke. Edgar lay the woman back down and closed her eyes.
“Don’t you fret madam, I’ll find her for you.” Edgar said even as he withdrew his own jumping crystal.