You swing a staff until you’re ready to swing a sword. Then you go on all kinds of adventures — fighting monsters, casting spells and saving damsels in distress. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work, but I didn’t believe a word of it.
Maybe it really was like that a long time ago. But I didn’t remember my father ever saving a damsel, fighting a monster, or even swinging a sword. He didn’t even carry a sword, although he did help me swing a cane when I was younger.
So I swung my staff because I was supposed to, though I knew one day I’d become a diplomat like my father — using my voice and my mind instead of my muscles and my magic.
But I swung the staff for other reasons too. It helped me forget how people looked at me funny in the corridors of the castle, forget how lonely I was sometimes locked up in the study. It gave me a reason to wake up early every morning, even when I had nothing else to look forward to.
Today was different, though.
Today Giancarlo was going to let me swing a sword, even if it was only a wooden blade.
Maybe it was because I was finally sixteen. Maybe he thought I was ready to fight some of those monsters that I’d never seen and didn’t even believe in. I never got a chance to ask him.