When She Was Five

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by Fraser Ronald

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Fraser Ronald is a graduate of the University of St. Jerome’s College who worked as a Lecturer in English at Taegu Polytechnic College in South Korea. He now lives with his wife and two daughters in Ottawa, Ontario. He runs Sword’s Edge Publishing, which produces role-playing game products and can be found at http://swordsedgepublishing.ca. Fraser is also a co-host on the gaming podcast Accidental Survivors at http://accidentalsurvivors.libsyn.com. His personal blog and media commentary site is at http://swordsedge.ca.
Fraser’s published fiction includes “Gifts of the Elder Gods” in the Parasitorium: Terrors Within (2004), “Flotsam Jewel” in Forgotten Worlds (June 2006), “For Simple Coin” in On Spec (Winter 2010), and “A Dead Pound of Flesh”; in Black Gate (Spring 2011). Through Sword’s Edge Publishing, he has released the games Sword Noir: A Role-playing Game of Harboiled Sword & Sorcery, Kiss My Axe: Thirteen Warriors and an Angel of Death, Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, and Nefertiti Overdrive.

 

When she was five, she sat with her father, listening to a story. She stared at the sword over the hearth in their small, cozy home and imagined. “Daddy, why doesn’t mommy have a sword?”

Her father chuckled. “Oh, your mother doesn’t need a sword. She does just fine without one.”

When she was eight, she washed the dishes as her father dried. “I don’t want you and mommy to go out tonight. Let someone else do it.”

He smiled his easy, indulgent smile. “That’s not what we do. We protect others, we do not sacrifice them.”

When she was ten, she fed wood to the fire one autumn day. She turned to her father. “I want to take down the sword.”

“You can,” he said. “But then you need to spend until sunfall with me practicing.”

When she was twelve, she sewed the wound on her father’s shoulder and grieved her mother. “Why did she die?”

She saw the sadness in him, saw the tears in his eyes, and heard his words struggle to be free. “So others could live.”

When she was fifteen, she faced her first monster. Fear froze her, but never her father. Later, cuddled with him, she cried in shame. “I couldn’t do it.”

Her father stroked her hair. “You are your own person. There are many ways to save and to serve.”

When she was eighteen, she found the bow, and the wood warmed in her hand. “I like this.”

Her father raised an eyebrow. “Let’s see what you can do.”

When she was twenty-one, she defeated her fear as she faced a beast. “In the eye?”

The silver blade of her father’s sword carved its intricate paths in the air, part of him rather than an artifact or tool. “You know best.”

When she was thirty, she stood between evil and her father. “I need no sword.”

Her father breathed heavily, his sword’s tip resting on the ground. “You do just fine without one.”


If you enjoyed this, check out the rest of the May-June 2016 issue of FSI!

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