Mal looked down at the sword at his hip and Ashrinn only just managed to avoid laughing at his put out expression, despite the envy squirming in his guts. Mal hadn’t struggled at all. His identity and spirit blade had resolved themselves without Mal even having to try.
“What the hell?”
Ashrinn extended his magical feelers and scanned for threats as Mal spoke, unable to shake the caution that had been drilled in to him for most of his life. He didn’t detect anything in the immediate vicinity beyond Raietha and Khiriana. Raietha’s alien aura pulsed with quicksilver light, while Khiriana’s was that flickering fire he was becoming so used to living beside. He withdrew his psychic hand as though he had burned its physical counterpart.
“Swords and paladins just go together,” he answered, trying to keep his voice free of resentment, “and your blade is an expression of yourself.”
“An expression of myself?”
Malkai drew the blade, though he sounded scornful. Ashrinn whistled. A shining weapon, the silver-blue light it emitted not unlike the color of Malkai’s eyes. Sigils squirmed along the length, but Ashrinn couldn’t make sense of them. The blood channels burned electric blue.
“Ha, I always knew you were a little ray of light.” Ashrinn snorted, grinning.
“Shut up,” Malkai grumbled, sheathing it again. He folded his arms and in a rare moment of ribald humor, raised his eyebrows and said, “I showed you mine. Show me yours.”
Ashrinn pulled the sword from the decorated scabbard on his back, the jewel-hoofed doe depicted there forever frozen mid-leap. The snake familiar appeared now as an etching on the curved length of the blade itself, entangled with a rose. The design shimmered, outlined in fire.
“You’re making fun of me for having a fruity sword?” Malkai said. “A rose, Ashrinn?”
“I like flowers, you rube,” Ashrinn grumbled, “now shut your hole and pay attention.”