Chop wood, carry water.
Mira dropped the head of her ax, cleanly splitting the piece of wood in two. She rotated the pieces and dropped the blade again. The remains were tossed into the pile and another piece of wood was placed on the stump. She wiped the sweat from her brow.
Chop wood, carry water.
Mira picked up the bucket of fresh water and headed back to the house. Thinking she heard Dad, she squinted at the building, trying to notice something. She couldn’t make out much through the ricepaper sheets. Just Dad and some other figure. Was that a sword?
“Dad?” She hurried forwards as her stomach twisted itself in knots. “Dad!” As she neared their home, a shockwave tore out from the building, shredding the paper covering the doors and knocking her backwards. Mira quickly forced herself back to her feet and dashed inside as fast as she could, screaming for her father.
There was nothing.
She ran outside, through another door, trying to chase down her Dad and the other figure. There was nothing; the hills and river that surrounded her home greeted her as if nothing had happened.
Mira poured over the room. The mats were scuffed, as if Dad had charged forwards at nothing. His sword, Patience, was nowhere to be found. The scabbard was on the ground though. It looked like it had been yanked off, dropped on the floor and then blown away by the blast.
She picked up the scabbard and clutched it to her chest, hugging it as she cried.
Mira sniffled and wiped the tears from her face. There had to be something here.
A small book caught her eye. It looked old. One of Dad’s journals. It had been resting on corner of the shelf where Patience normally rested. She opened it and began reading it, trying to find anything useful.
It appeared to be a record of Kyras’s earlier days, before her became an ascetic. She didn’t recognize the place names. Saserine, the Isle of Dread… She’d never heard of them. She scrambled for the bookshelf in search of an atlas.
“So, what’d you think of my offer?” Grimsdottir flicked her Eyes away from the scabbard Mira was turning over in her hands. She always had to revert to her normal, mundane vision when Mira brought that thing out; it practically burned her eyes with its brightness. After blinking for a few moments, her Eyes closed and she could look in the direction of Mira and the scabbard again.
“The one to join your group, you mean?”
Grim nodded. “Yeah, that one. It’s not a bad deal. The pay is crazy good. True, there’s a lot of fighting and killing, but you can handle yourself. Most of the things you fight are either crazed, mindless, or just plain stupid.”
Mira placed the scabbard back in her bag. “And why did you need me, again? You can hand yourself.”
Grim nodded. “True. But my employer can’t; her previous protectors got wiped out in a convoluted crash of multiple assassination attempts. So I’m stuck babysitting and coordinating.”
“There’s adventure and stuff. I’ve got a nagging feeling we’re going to end up going to someplace called the Isle of Dread. Some island that moves around and supposedly nobody returns from.” Grim shrugged, closing her eyes as Mira’s perked up. “Sounds like nonsense, but it also sounds like the sort of nonsense I get dragged into.” Grim sighed. Her life had become so complicated lately.