Writing Every Day in October: Day 12

“Names are hard.” A true statement in this or any world.

Here we go: Day 12. I’ve ended up averaging about 500 words for each of these scenes (which is apparently a lot for a daily exercise, I’ve been told).

This one was a kinda hard to stretch out to that length, but it worked out in the end.


“A sword like this,” Tancred von Ivanhoe-Hauteburg tells himself, “deserves a good name.”

He turns over the sword in his hands, admiring how the light reflects off the face of its blade.

“So,” he mutters, “names. A name. A good name. For this sword right here.”

He frowns, not feeling particularly inspired.

He has more than his share of names. Eleven of them, in fact.

Tancred Gildas Mallory Astolfo Ambrosius Winnifred Perceval Galahad Cervantes Orlando von Ivanhoe-Hauteburg stares thoughtfully down at his new sword and thinks. Perhaps he could bequeath one of his one names to his sword.

No.

Mother and Father would never allow it. Grandfather would have a fit, and at his age, that would not be ideal.

Of course, Tancred Gildas Mallory Astolfo Ambrosius Winnifred Perceval Galahad Cervantes Orlando von Ivanhoe-Hauteburg has at least nine more names than he could never need.

But his parents have made it quite clear that that they gave him each of those names with the utmost care and after the utmost deliberation. Most of the people in Realmgard would neither care, nor even notice, if he were to give up one of those many, many names for the sake of his sword.

His parents, however, would never forgive him.

And, he wonders, just who would take a sword name Winnifred seriously?

His frown deepens.

“Names,” he mutters. “Names, names, names.”

He waits and hopes for a sudden flash of insight that never comes.

He prays for some heavenly Muse to descend the lofty heights of Mount Epos to inspire him and is similarly disappointed.

Point-Haver? No.

Two Edges? No.

Foe-Stabber? No.

Villain-Slasher? No.

Thing-Slicer? No.

Is-a-Sword? No.

Swordy McStab-Stab?

Really, Tancred?” he asks himself.

He groans.

His parents gave him eleven names! How hard can it be to think of a mere one name for a sword?

“Tancred, my boy,” he hears his grandfather exclaim. “Whatever is the matter?”

“Oh, it’s nothing, Grandfather,” Tancred says. “Just having a bit of trouble thinking up a name for my sword.”

“A noble endeavour,” his grandfather assures him. “One can’t very well become a legendary hero without a legendary weapon. And no weapon ever becomes legendary without a suitably name. Take, for example, Duke Mercurio’s sword, Dracomordax, with which he slew the mighty Orc.”

As Tancred recalls from his Classical Elven lessons, “Dracomordax” means Serpent-Cutter. That is a good name for a sword, though it strikes Tancred as rather something of a mouthful.

And it sounds like some kind of cheese.

‘Ah, yes,’ he can imagine his mother saying to the guests of one of her salons, ‘the Dracomordax pairs delightfully with the Natalian red.’

“And then, there is, of course, your own great-great-step-uncle,” his grandfather continues, “who smote the Goblins harrying the outskirts of Greengrove with the famous Goblin-Slayer.”

“I can’t name my sword the Goblin-Slayer!” Tancred protests. “I work with a Goblin!”

He can imagine the look on poor Pela’s face when he shows up to the Lyte Brigade’s next assignment with a sword called Goblin-Slayer.

“Hmm,” his grandfather says. “That does complicate things. To the library then, my boy. We shall consult the Encyclopedia Swordnamea.”


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