Title: All Other Loves (part 1 of the Katana series)
Author: Blue Buick R (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing: eventual J/W
Summary: Will finds his Pearl
Notes: This is the first fic in a series of three. Id like to thank my beta Antoinette as well. Feedback is greatly appreciated.
All Other Loves
Will pounded away at the glowing metal held between his hands, bursts of orange white light flying, his ears ringing along to the beat of his strokes. The air in the forge was humid and heavy, slicking his hair with sweat and shortening each breath he took as his own lungs struggled never ending with the unyielding atmosphere of the room. The rest of his body was no better off, his arms aching despite years of this type of work...his frame was obviously not meant for blacksmithing and whoever the dunce was whod indentured him to Brown as a child was a bigger fool than most. Arms and legs were seemingly melting away as the heavy, burn marred, material they were swathed in soaked up his very life. He knew it was necessary to keep his sleeves out of the way and his delicate skin safe from wandering sparks, but he felt like his entire body was being suffocated, limbs and torso bound tight in damp material, heavy leather apron over it all like a lead blanket. He felt like the strange Greek god Elizabeth had told him about once; ugly and deformed, suffering as he created his great works which others treasured above all others, and his own worth hinged upon. He wasnt sure whether he should have been insulted that his labors had reminded Elizabeth of such a sad and lonely creature, or if likening him to a god, even a lame one, was flattery enough.
He felt the shift of the air pressure, the rush as the heated air in the small room escaped out into the open street as the door was opened, before he heard anything. Quickly dousing the rapidly cooling metal into a nearby trough of water, releasing a cloud of steam into the air, he set down his mallet and turned to greet his visitor. He was a small man, smaller than the average European, with glossy black hair tied back in a knot at the back of his head, and dark almond shaped eyes which swept the workshop in veiled distaste. Wills eyes were drawn to the elegantly curved scabbard hanging from the mans small waist, a beautifully gilded sword grip jutting from one end. Tearing his eyes away from the hidden sword, not wanting to be caught staring, he cleared his throat.
Hello, can I help you with anything? he asked, his hairline tingling from what he supposed was cooling sweat.
Yes, the man replied with a clear accent, nothing as thick or unwieldy as many Will had heard from those who traveled from the Far East. Im looking for the man who made the weapon of one..., and he paused for a moment as if either trying to remember the mans name or the proper pronunciation, Commodore Norrington?
Yes, Norrington, Will agreed. His sword you mean? he asked, because really the Commodore had many weapons, he should think; a whole ship full of cannons in truth, but for some reason Will didnt think this man was interested in cannons.
Yes, the man tilted his head slightly in the affirmative. I saw this wonderful work of art at a mans waist by the wharf, he had the most absurd hat and coat but I approached him none the less and asked him where hed procured such a piece. He directed me here.
Are you looking to buy a sword then? Will continued his line of questioning, eyes unintentionally flitting back to the weapon already at the mans side.
No, the man replied firmly. As I said, Im looking for a man.
Well youve found one, Will grinned.
Ah, but is he the right one? the little Asian man grinned back.
He is, Will conceded, but after a pause continued. Well I think he is...I suppose that depends what you want him for.
I simply wished to meet him. Looking about the shop again the mans lip curled slightly. I did not imagine, however, that such art would be created in such... he groped for a word.
Squalor...filth...aromatic surroundings? Will offered.
The man shook his head. Such an uninspiring and spirit oppressing place.
Will shrugged. It all comes from in here, he tapped his chest, and here, he held out his hands palms up.
I see that, the man nodded, hopping down from the landing onto the dirt floor of the smithy. Now I am even more impressed.
Will could feel his face flush and was glad he was already beet red from his previous exertions. Maybe he was lucky people didnt appreciate his work as his own or he might be walking around like a ruddy apple for the better part of his life.
He cleared his throat. What are you doing in Port Royal if I might ask?
The other man shrugged. I follow the voices on the wind; they tell me where I need to go and they have never led me astray. He paused. Have you ever considered crafting other styles of weapons? the man asked, redirecting the conversation back to its original topic and cleanly side stepping Wills diversionary tactics as if stepping over a childs discarded toy.
Will dumbly shook his head, attention once again pulled toward the sword the man carried. His guest smiled knowingly.
Your European blades are a clumsy and inefficient design. Will opened his mouth to protest but was cut off as the man raised a hand. None the less you do great things with such inferior material to work with.
Thank you, Will muttered. I think. He looked into the mans smirking face and tightened his lips. I suppose you think your design, he jerked his head toward the blade belted to the man, is better?
I know it is, the mans smirk grew, flashing small pearl like teeth, a pleasant change from the rotting and putrid mouthfuls Will was used to seeing. And so do you, he continued, even without seeing what is in this scabbard. You can *feel* it.
Id like to see it all the same, thanks, Will snorted.
Are you sure? the man pressed.
The man bowed low. Stepping back and widening his stance he brought his left hand over to the hilt near his hip and slowly drew the blade out of its resting place.
Will was mesmerized, his wide eyes fixed to the gleaming metal as it whispered from the scabbard, an ornate branch with perfectly unsymmetrical blossoms delicately etched on the side of the blade appearing an inch at a time. It was beautiful and terrifying like fire, or a storm at sea.
The man straightened and snapped the sword up to rest vertically in front of him, splitting his face in two.
Who are you? Will whispered, throat dry and voice hoarse.
Tashiaki Shichirobei. Who are you?
Would William Turner like to learn how to fashion such blades as to make the gods weep and men forget all other loves?
I... Will stared stunned, unable to reply. He *did* want to learn how to make such a awesome sword, more than hed even wanted anything, but he had responsibilities here in Port Royal. A job and a few friends, not to mention he was wooing Elizabeth, had been since the entire debacle with the pirates. I cant, he finally sighed to Tashiaki, clearly heartbroken. I cant leave here...theres a girl and...and...I just cant.
Tashiaki brought the sword down so it came to rest horizontally between his body and Wills, the tip almost touching the younger mans belly button. My people honor their sword smiths, prize their abilities above all others and see their talent as worthy of song and respect. You have great skill William Turner, and heart enough I think to make great katanas...you could become legend, even if only among those whose eyes alight upon your work.
Will didnt know why or how it was possible but he felt his eyes well with tears, and as he looked down at the sword bridging the gap between his body and Tashiakis one dropped from his eye landing perfectly on the narrow spine of the blade, cascading down the side to be captured and held by the blossoms carved in the steel.
Would William Turner like to learn how to fashion such blades as to make the gods weep and men forget *all* other loves?
Yes, Wills numb lips uttered the word without his consent.
Tashiaki looked on him, expression softening, eyes sympathetic. Im sorry, William, he said. I did ask you if you were sure.
Will simply stared back at him dumbly.
Hold out your hand, Tashiaki ordered, face and demeanor brisk once more.
Will did as he was told, feeling slightly curious and completely drained.
The other man brought the sword up and like lightening tapped Wills open palm with the cutting edge of the blade. A thin bloody line bloomed immediately, almost Will noticed discontentedly, over the scar from the cut hed made to break the curse all those months ago. He looked up into Tashiakis lined but calm face in puzzlement.
A warriors katana once taken from its sheath can not be returned until it has drawn blood.
Will looked down at his bleeding hand, then back to Tashiaki as he slid his blade back into its resting place.
You could have bloody well nicked your own damn hand, thank you! he snapped.
Tashiaki froze for a moment, then threw his head back and laughed. Come William Turner, he reached out and grabbed Wills shoulder once hed recovered. Let us gather what few belongings you wish to take with you from this...place, and we will journey. I have much to teach you.
Will accepted the friendly gesture and turned to move back to his room where hed throw together some clothes and the like. He felt very little trepidation, much less than he thought he should have. He was after all about to be parted from his home, his work, and his Elizabeth. Thinking upon it, he supposed he finally realized what kind of man would trade another mans life for a ship...the same type of man who would trade a beautiful wife and a life of contentment for the love of a sword.
continue to part 2: True Match
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