A Projection On Paper story by Zachary Storch
My father taught me the way of the blade. He said the most important thing to remember was why he taught me.
“I teach you so you learn when to use it,” he said.
I took that to heart, but never to mind. We started with wooden sticks that we threw into the air. He showed me how he cut them such that they would split into eight pieces before landing onto the ground. I cut them once only.
The next day we went out to the river, and my father placed his blade into the stream and showed me how his blade cut the water and anything that touched the edge of his weapon. I asked him why he did this, and he said it was to show the danger. That made me confused when we were slashing at flying sticks again the next day. I cut one twice.
Later we moved on to hunting. There were wolves outside of town, and we exterminated them. I asked him what the wolves had done. He told me that they had pillaged chickens and grain. I took that as moral and a reason to use a sword. A thief. Thieves could face a sword.
Then it was sticks again. I cut one four times, but it was only a fluke. The next I could only cut three. Father cut them all eight.
We sparred, too. A dangerous thing for certain when our blades were live, but we did it. He scraped my arm and it bled badly. We stopped then. I cut him back when he lowered his blade. I expected him to be angry, but he applauded me. No mercy. Merciful people could face a blade.
I grew older, and my skill had improved. I cut the sticks six times now. Father had gotten older too. He only cut them five now. He still taught me, only now I knew I was the stronger. I would always learn from him, even now that he is gone.
Bandits came by town. I decided to find them. Father came with me. I cut all I found down. Then we came upon a woman. She held her hands up and cried for me to stop. Father urged me the same, claimed she was innocent, that she was just one of their wives. She had a small dagger on her belt. Were she innocent, she would have struck her husband down. I turned my blade upon my father. I cut him down, then swung back at the woman and she fell with him.
I returned home as a hero. I would still learn from my father in his death. I would never do as he had done.