Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Festina Lente [4 Thory 4385]

I called it Festina Lente: "Make Haste Slowly." Which isn't precisely what is intended by the original aphorism, but it will do well enough for a name. It is not my best work, but it is tolerably good, nonetheless.

I had Kantele call in a few Eigrach notables for the formal presentation: Aiziju as a matter of professional courtesy, and Lord Bwipin to represent the busy Mayor Mmixamk, Muekar the duelist, and, of course, Rehit, the dour and rather elongated gentleRassy for whom the rapier was made and who will use it in duel-wars. We served light Mrasteain refreshments in one of our many parlors -- we carefully picked one that had a good deal of pirate damage, to remind them that work was to begin on Strayway as soon as the first of the magic weapons was delivered.

Me:"Rehit, once you are finished with the spicy mouse, if you will be so good as to open the long shallow ebony case on yonder cabinet..."

Rehit nodded, and strode over to the cabinet, flipped the two ornamental shell latches up, and threw open the casket. "Oh, shine thee Mircannis! It's beautiful!" I had expended artistry upon it, in my three-day afternoons. Technically I am a jeweller, and technically Festina Lente is a very large and very useful item of jewelry. The quillons and lower blade are set with fine golden and silver wires in fierce arabesques, and the brilliant dots of back-lit rubies to punctuate them, and the pommel is a drum-in-crown in ivory and iron.

I nodded, just a touch grimly. "I do not work by halves, Rehit. Take it up." He lifted it. It was perfectly suited to his hand -- unsurprising; it had been his second-best rapier before I started on it, and I had tuned it to him two parts more. "The secret commands: let me teach them to you." And then, a few minutes later, "Try a few passes at arms against Muekar."

They fought there, a whirling pointy whisperwind of quick weapons. Rehit was rash by design, and traded a slash on his knee for a little pinprick in Muekar's thigh. After which the tempo of the battle changed. Muekar lagged: not exhausted, but becalmed in the usual wind of time. Rehit sped up: not pressing the attack, even fighting a bit relaxedly, but far quicker.

"Point the first," I said. "Festina Lente can steal somewhat of your opponent's time. Just a second or two out of every six or eight: but enough to give you the time for several extra blows. Not necessarily even just on her; you are truly made swift; she is truly made slow. Indeed, you need not do this to your foe: you can steal from a friend as easily, or your foe's horse, and you will have speed though your foe does not have slowness."

Rehit stepped back, then charged at Muekar in a fleche that left a long wound in her arm. Muekar, still becalmed, parried as best she could; but by the time she got to riposte, Rehit was on her far side, and had his guard well up. "I know how to use that to considerable advantage, O wizard." Which he clearly did.

"Point the second, and lesser than the first:", I said, "Festina Lente can catch fire. She is not so fearsome as burning swords go, but she will not grow so hot as to hurt your hand as you wield her. Use this against foes too resistant to magic for the first power to work, or, if you are pressed, to take better advantage of the extra seconds you have from the time transfer.

Rehit nodded, and set Festina Lente ablaze, with a swirl of thready blue-white flames. "How about not burning me, Rehit?" asked Muekar, her voice a touch deep from lost time.

"Point the third and last and least:", I said, "Festina Lente can heal you a significant amount. It is only temporary healing, and, like many another temporary healing, the second use is lesser than the first, the third than the second, and the fifth nearly useless. Nonetheless, you may find that it lets you duel for some moments longer, and that may turn a loss to a victory. You carry the same spell bound on a bead on that cord about your waist; Festina Lente's spell is perhaps a half again as good as yours." (Dissecting someone else's bound spells at a glance across the room is definitely showing off, but this presentation was as much an act of dramaturgy as thaumaturgy.)

"I had not expected that," said Rehit. "We had discussed no such feature. I cannot complain; it is a bound spell I always carry, and often wind up using."

"At times the labor of enchantment goes better, at times it goes worse. When it goes better, you shall get laignappe," I said. "I am honest and generous." (Which is true, except when I'm not.) "Festina Lente has a single main limitation: Twelve uses of its powers each day. Total, not per power."

Aiziju, who knows more than most people about great enchantment, nodded. "I have heard a little of sharing charges."

"It seemed appropriate. Sometimes he will want one thing, other times another, other times a third. He can spend the rapier's force on whatever is most useful that day. As a dueling weapon, in particular, he is unlikely to encounter more than one or two battles in a day," I said. "More power is available, of course, but the cost would be higher, and it would be more than a single week's work, even for me."

Aiziju tugged her shorts down and scratched a brick-red buttock, which is very rude, but she can get away with it I suppose. "Which leads me to another point. You did this in a single week?"

"You listened to part of the discussions; you advised Rehit about the details of the flaming sword. I made it to your specifications, plus the laignappe. It has been only a bit more than a week since then."

"How did you do it in a week though? You weren't Orren-crafting it -- that would take you all day and all night, and I know for a fact you've been at the city at noontime and at the fortress in the early afternoon!"

I shrugged, flickering my wings so that the feathers gleamed in the light of the burning sword. "My grandparent Glikkonen could do more in a week, I'm sure. I am not the wizard zie is."

"Well, yes, you are not Glikkonen," she said, mollified enough to let me avoid the question. She is not Glikkonen either; but she worked as zir assistant for some long time. And did not learn many of his secrets of enchantment: as I understand, she assisted in matters of spell-invention, not enchantment.

Rehit turned to salute me with the sword's last flames. "O Zi Ri, I pronounce myself well-satisfied. You have worked wonders of enchantment and beauty; you have made miracles of speed and elegance. And you have been generous and forgiving beyond anything I could possibly expect."

"You are welcome, Rehit. Just don't ram this one through my ribcage, please. Once was enough."

I admit to being satisfied by the resulting wince.

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