Chapter 6 Down from the mountains...
Three days, it had taken her three days to finish the blade, three grueling days hours and hours of work that had strangely not seemed like they had taken any time at all. It was not strange for Bobbie to lose herself in her work but this was different. She couldn't quite put a finger on it but she was sure she wanted to see more of the tall man with red hair and blue eyes.
Much much more.
She didn't know if she wanted a fling or something more long term but she knew she wanted it, and she got what she wanted, she would hammer it into submission and then would shape it to be what she wanted.
Just like forging.
With a smile she glanced down at the blade in the seat next to her, it was a good one, she was quite proud of the workmanship, it was made of a good piece of EN45 steel, which was a real bitch to forge by hand seeing as it had a rather hight silicone content which meant that blows by a hammer when it was hot was prone to shatter the blade, but once cooled and ground into shape it would be more durable and hold a better edge than blades made of the more contemporary 1075 or even 5166 spring steel. It was a messer, a kreigsmesser to be specific, A slightly curved single-edged sword made originally in Germany and was a widely used weapon in the fourteenth century, not the standard sword for H.E.M.A, but then again she felt like it was the right sword for Adam.
But then again he was not an average man in her mind. In fact, she had put off half a dozen orders for this one trip down the mountain to town, and she was using the excuse of coming down to present the sword to him, which was something she never did.
If you wanted one of her swords, Bobbi expected you to come up there and retrieve it, but what would be a more perfect excuse to go see the tall man she had found her self thing of for the past few days? If there was one then she'd like to know it so she could use it as well, it hadn't taken her long to decide, the only issue was that she had no idea where he lived but she knew where he worked out…
The gym was a pretty large structure, three stories tall to be exact and it was on the middle floor where the sword fighting school was held. It was a nice building, each floor being roughly the size of a high school gymnasium and had the same hardwood floors. She pulled up her truck and parked it in one of the visitor's spots outside the gym and grabbed the wrapped bundle that was the messer and walked in the front door.
"Hello and welcome to Fallio-" the receptionist started to drone before she recognized Bobbi and stopped mid-sentence. "Ms. Reyan how may I help you today?" she asked, her tone becoming more friendly.
"Hello, can you tell me if a Mr. Taylor has visited today?" Bobbie asked with a calm look on her face even as her heart felt like it was about to burst from beating to fast. The receptionist typed away with a speed that only came from years of practice as she checked who had used there gym membership cards to sign in today before she stopped and paused to read the results.
"Ah yes Ms. Reyan, Mr. Adam Taylor has used his card and is still checked in, it would seem like he is up on the second floor, would you like me to call and send word for him to come down to see you?" she asked, her eyes narrowed slightly in a suspicious look that Bobbi studiously ignored.
"No, No it's fine, if you don't mind I just think I will head up there to the second floor." Bobbi said, and the receptionist nodded even as her eyes narrowed even further in speculation. Bobbi made her way up the stairs and was almost to the top when she heard the sounds of training blades clashing in a furry of action. She cleared the top and halted at the amazing sight she saw before her.
Adam was easy to find, what with how tall he was and the red hair, it also helped that he was currently in the middle of the room sparring with Chad. Well, perhaps sparring was to kind of a word, the two were barefoot dancing back and forth with synthetic practice blades, one was the dark-skinned man she had grown up with, Chad, the man was actually more like a brother to her and was the actual reason she had started forging, seeing as her dad shoed horses for a living and Chad her best friend was fascinated by knights. He had kept that first blade she had forged, it was a remarkably ugly thing no fineness no refinement, it was more like a hunk of sharpened iron than a blade, but Chad had loved it, and still kept the damned thing hung above his fireplace on a mounting board. She smiled at the thought, and her eyes drifted back to the other man.
Adam was tall, like really tall, a good six foot or so, and it would seem that he was rather well built, at least from what she could see of him. Like Chad, he was barefooted and was also wearing tear 1 HEMA gear, which consisted of black shin guards made of some plastic composite, along with gloves, a gorget, a fencing mask and of course, a gambeson.
As she watched Chad went in for the thrust, one that was rather elegantly slapped aside by Adam, unfortunately for him Chad had been hoping for this and as the blade was knocked aside he used the momentum to set it in the Ochs pose, resing the blade over his shoulder and back by his ear before coming down in a rather devastating blow. She cringed a little as the sword came down, sure it would impact right into Adams collar bone, and gambeson or no that one would leave a mark. Much to her surprise however he twisted out of the way just in time, though this put his balance on one foot which was an opportunity Chad would not pass up, rushing forward her childhood friend laid the taller man out on the mat by shoving his shoulder into Adam's chest and placing one leg behind his knee. Adam went down with a rather loud and painful sounding whomp, and faster than he could recover Chad had him pinned with a knee on one shoulder and a sword to the throat. They both didn't move for a moment and the gym was silent as they panted and attempted to catch their breaths, each man panting like a dog.
"Not bad," Chad said, getting up and extending a hand towards Adam, "You lasted about thirty seconds that time," he said as he levered the taller man to his feet, Adam for his part snorted at that and reached up to grasp the fencing mask under the hem and pulled it off his head. Sweat dripped down his face and into his beard but he made no move to wipe it away he shook his head.
"Yeah, rub it in," he said with a good-natured laugh.
"No, no really, I've been doing this since I was eight years old, you have been doing this for what, not quite a month, that's quite good, trust me," Chad said slapping him on the back, "it helps that your in decent shape, so we don't have to focus on that, however, so, all in all, I must say you are progressing quickly, quite quickly in fact."
"Where do you think I will be in about two more months?" Adam asked, it was an odd number to bring up, like it was specific or something, Bobbi tried to think of what it could be but came up with blanks.
"If you keep working as you have been… in two months, I would say you would have all the basics down, perhaps a little more, I would even probably be ok with allowing you to enter a tournament, you would likely get your ass handed to you but hell there is only one way to get better right?"
"Right," Adam nodded, seemingly satisfied with the answer.
With a smile on her lips she waited until the two men noticed her, she didn't need to wait too long as they turned and saw her. The show over everyone in the gym went back to there own training. With a smile she walked up to the two of them.
"Bobbi!" Chad said and moved over and gave her a big sweaty hug, not even seeming to notice that she was carrying something and really didn't want to be hugged while he was in that lack of cleanliness. "What brings you out of your hermit hut?" he asked with a smile on his face, he finally spied the bundle in her arms, "Did you get me a present?"
"I came out of my hermit hut to deliver this." She sneered back at him, "And it is not for you." She said, turning to Adam who was about to move away to leave her and Chad alone. Her heart almost stopped as he looked over to her and their eyes met. He walked over slowly, grabbing a towel as he did and rubbing his face in it and hanging it around his neck.
"For me?" he asked and she simply held the sword out to him. He took the bundle and unwrapped it, laying bare the Kreigsmesser, it was a gorgeous blade, all curves and angles, long and lean, elegant but deadly.
"Gods damned, you went all out Adam that thing must have cost an arm and a leg, what made you decide on a Messer?" Chad asked as he eyed the sword, looking enviously at the mahogany handle and the simple but elegant black leather scabbard lined with fox fur.
"I didn't," he said his eyes never leaving the blade. "I went there she told me to try a few swords and then took my measurements and shooed me off; honestly I was wondering if I needed to go to another smith seeing as I might have somehow offended her."
"Oh, trust me, friend, if you had offended her, you would have known." Chad laughed, but then he stopped and looked down at his old childhood friend's eyes narrowed like that of the receptionist at the counter. "Is that perfume I smell?" he asked, but he knew, he knew she never wore the stuff, only doing so when she wanted to impress a man.
"So, how much is this going to cost me?" Adam asked pulling the blade free of the scabbard, it came loose with a soft whisper as the blade slid through the fur-lined interior. Chad's eyes narrowed even further at this, seeing as Bobbi never started work without at least half of the total price.
"Well, seeing as it made of EN45 steel, which I will tell you is a right bitch to hand forge, and mahogany, not to even mention the actual work put into it, I would say $1,700 or so," she was relieved to see Adam nodding to this, meaning he had enough money to pay for the sword, she had worried about it seeing as he had driven a clunker of a car up to her house, "That and a dinner out on the town." Chad's eyes flew wide at this, his surprise almost comic in its severity, Adam just laughed, as he did so she caught sight of a ring on his pinky, it looked like the ruby in it was glowing extremely bright. "Your ring-" she started and was surprised when he quickly twisted the band, so the gem was facing the inside of his hand.
"Oh yeah, I have meant to ask you, why are you always wearing that thing?" Chad asked, looking back at Adam.
"Ah, well, this is something I kind of stole out of my fiancee's jewelry box, with the intent of getting her ring size unbeknownst to her." Adam laughed, "she has really tiny hands."
"Ahh, a fiancee, huh?" Chad asked and he saw out of the corner of his eye Bobbi's shoulders slump ever so slightly before rising back up and getting a determined set to them. "You never said anything about a fiancee."
"You never asked, also I don't think there was much of a chance to chat, seeing as you were ordering me to do burpees and pushups and beating me to a pulp with practice swords." He smiled.
"You have a point." Chad said with a smile.
"Speaking of a fiancée, I need to go and meet up with her, so I think I will call it a day today," he said reaching into his pocket and pulling out a checkbook and using the wall wrote out a check. Ripping it out he handed it to Bobbi and smiled, "Little tip in there, for the quality work." And with that he rushed into the locker room to pick up his stuff, as he did Bobbi looked at the check and her eyebrows shot clear up towards her forehead.
The check was for $3,000.
Adam waved a quick goodbye and rushed out of the door, as he did so Chad turned on his childhood friend and gave her a look.
"What?" she snapped.
"Don't you what me, I know you too well." He snapped back. "I know that determined look on your face, he has a fiancee, don't go ruining the poor guy's life for some half-assed romp in the hayloft."
"As if," she huffed and was about to say something else when Adam ran back in.
"Hey, my car won't start, can someone give me a lift to my place?" he asked, rubbing his hand across the back of his neck.
"I can do that." Bobbi pounced on the opportunity, and received a sharp glare from Chad for her troubles.
"Thanks." Adam beamed at her and off the two of them went, leaving behind a Chad who prayed the man thought more with his head than with his dick.
"Turn right up here." Adam said, and Bobbi looked on in shock and horror as she pulled into the dilapidated motel. God above, this was where he lived? There was no way right? "You can pull over here, I am in that one." He pointed and she did as she was prompted, as he got out of the car so did she, and she followed him up to the salmon-colored door. "Thanks for the ride," he smiled at her, and she looked around his place through the open door.
The place was a study in tidiness, the exact opposite of what she had expected, seeing as it was a run-down motel. The man was an enigma, wrapped in a mystery and deep fired in curiosity. He acted like a man of means, but he drove that two-ton paperweight and lived here.
What the hell?
"Adam?" she asked, looking at him, "Should I be worried about that check bouncing?" she asked him eyebrows raised.
"What? No." he smiled and stepped in, "Well, I would invite you in but I really need to get ready," he said, stepping in and still holding the messer, he closed the door with a final goodbye and left her standing there on the motel's porch. Shaking her head she was about to turn and walk away where a bright white light shone through the threadbare curtains, no sound, just a blinding light.
What the hell was that?
"Adam?" she asked, knocking on the door, "Are you ok?"
There was no answer.
After beating on the door a few more times she tried the door nob, it was unlocked, "Adam?" she called out as she walked in. looking around the room she realized why there had been no answer to her knocks or calls.
Adam was gone.