“And so,” concluded Els’ father, “you are the foretold Champion of the Neridian Prophecy who’ll overthrow the Karghad Emperor and restore our freedom!” He beamed at her, certain of the reaction his revelations would produced. Around him the elders of the village, his friends, beamed too. Els realised that none of them actually believed a word of her father’s speech.
“This,” said Stridos the smith, stepping forward with a long object wrapped in cloth, “is the sacred sword that we have kept safely for this day.” He flipped back the cloth to reveal the weapon. “Take it up and see how it feels.”
Els did so, drawing it carefully from its scabbard. Frankly, she’d thought Stridos’ work better. The weapon just felt wrong in her hand, from its balance to the insubstantial, oily feel that clung to it. She kep her face still as she resheathed it.
“And this,” said the wizard, Cardofal, stepping forward to replace Stridos, “is your Spirit Guide, imbued with the same Spirit as the companion of Ricemuir. Take it and heed its words of wisdom.”
The animal Cardofal was holding out to her looked like the white-furred result of breeding a fluffy, white cat with a particularly vicious breed of musteloid. If the thing could talk, Els didn’t plan on taking its advice. For now, it merely chittered and perched on her left shoulder.
It was the last straw.
Els snuck downstairs late that night when the household was asleep, leaving the special sword and guide up in her room. She let herself out through the kitchen door and flitted from shadow to shadow until she reached the woods surrounding the village.
“Where’re we going?” The voice in the tree above her came from the animal she thought she’d left in her room.
“I’m not hanging around here to be the patsy for their rebellion,” Els told it.
“Ah, you’ve got actuals brains!” It sounded pleased. “Their scam stinks. Can I come too?”
Part Two is here.