Chapter 7 – Ixa
It looked as if he had run straight into a brick wall. Hanna caught a glimpse of soft blue light emanating from the rune cubes when he slammed into whatever was there. She noticed that both the runes on the stones and the saber flashed blue as well.
Jakob screamed at the hooded man as he moved forward to grab his brother’s feet. He yelled for Jokull to get up as he smacked his brother’s face. Jokull lay on the ground, unmoving. His friends gathered around nervously while keeping a wary eye on the ghost man to the side.
After several tense minutes as Jakob pleaded with his brother to wake up, Jokull finally groaned and opened his eyes. The boys all breathed a collective sigh of relief when Jokull struggled to sit up. Hanna couldn’t see any blood, as if he had cracked his head open. Nevertheless, he looked like he had taken a good blow to the skull.
He stood shakily to his feet and grunted when he straightened to his full height. He seemed to breathe shallowly and quickly, as if it were hard for him to gulp down air. Jokull looked around with a blank stare, as if the blow still stunned him. He took a wobbly step forward, and Jakob had to catch him to keep him from falling.
“He’ll be fine,” the ghostly, hooded man said with a light chuckle. “He’s just been stunned from a nice shock to his unprotected core. Take him home and let him rest for a day or two. He’ll be as good as new. Give him a little Thyrorolac Cutiterol. If you don’t have any in these parts, just have his mother make him some Imperial Toothward Tea.”
Jakob glowered at him and said, “You just wait till we get back here with my father. Then you’ll see what’s good for you.”
The hooded man cringed back and shook. He really looked frightened. “Oh! Scary. Daddy’s coming,” he said with a laugh. “Don’t worry, child. I’ll be long gone before you come back with your daddy. Just remember that I did warn you not to mess around with the Bearer of the Saber. As they absorb the saber’s power, he will only become more and more powerful to complete his mission.”
“The Bearer of the Saber is a girl,” Jakob growled. Then he turned to glare at Hanna. “Better watch your back. I’m gonna get you later.”
The boys turned to leave and helped Jokull hobble slowly back into the woods. The hooded man sighed and turned to look at Hanna.
“Hm! Yes, I guess the boy was right. You are a girl. First time that’s ever happened. Strange. I wonder what’s going to happen now. I’ve never had a female bear the saber. It’s always been a male, and generally an adult male at that. You must be what? Twelve years old?”
Hanna scowled and pulled herself up to her full height. “I’m fifteen. And how do I let go of this sword?”
“It’s not a sword, little lady,” the hooded man sighed. “It’s a saber. And there’s really nothing you can do till your body finishes absorbing its power.”
The man floated over toward her and patted her on the head with a gentle smile.
“So, why don’t you sit down here for a minute until the Swift Saber processes you. You can ask me any questions that you have and tell me a bit about yourself while you’re at it.”
Hanna glared at him for a second. Then realized there wasn’t much she could do for now, so she let out a long sigh. The girl sat down in the grass cross-legged. The large, hooded man sat down in front of her with an enormous smile, as if waiting for her to say something first.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
It was the first thing that popped into her head.
“Oh, yes. An excellent question indeed. I suppose you’ll need to know that to call on me now that we are attached through the weapon. Forgive my manners. It has been a long time indeed since someone wielded Swift Saber.”
He paused as if lost in thought.
“Well, the first man who bore the saber called me Ixahasbatherishards. Loosely translated, it means something like The Crazy Dude With The Dark Grey Cloak. So, I suppose you could just call me Ixa if you like. Each Bearer of Swift Saber called me some variation of that in their own mother tongue. You could call me whatever you want. Just let me know what suits you. Or what you think suits me best. I can insert that in my system so that I know you are referring to me. What would you like to call me?”
The girl shrugged and said, “Ixa is fine. Although as soon as this sword comes out of my hand, I’m leaving it here and going home. You’ll have to find someone else to bear it for you. A man, I guess.”
A strange look flickered across his face when she said the word sword. Ixa started to correct her, but then grinned.