The Knife. A short Story.

              Night invaded. The moon sent dancing shadows into Amber’s room. Amber quickened her anxious pace. It had been long enough.

              Dropping to the ground, she reached beneath her bed, enclosing her hand on a small item. It was enclothed in a velvet bag, which Amber gently pulled away to reveal an unfinished blade. The knife, a rare metal alloy, contained a beautiful glint to it.

Amber traced the blade with her fingers, musing over the craftmanship. The process of melting and refining had taken many weeks, especially with her soft hands. Although Troy hadn’t said it, Amber knew he thought them too weak to man the stove. But she had managed. Of course, he had helped some, but she worked hard to do her part.

              Sliding the knife into the folds of her cloak, Amber gazed out her window. The moon was full, not a good sign. She hoped her uncles wouldn’t notice her, but chances were that they were still smoking in the veranda, blocking her narrow path. So, perhaps she would have to use her second route.

              Amber lithely opened her window. Troy had waited long enough. Although she was on the second story, it hadn’t stopped her from escaping into the night. Amber tightened her grip on the tied sheets, her hands burning as she slowly dropped to the ground. With the easy part done, she searched the area for any disturbances. Nothing. The cobbled courtyard was enclosed with a wall, which Amber quickly scaled by jumping upon a large rock located near it and flipping to the other side.

              Her uncles’ mansion was a short distance from the town. Amber fled into the night toward the smithing shop. Creeping through an alleyway, Amber continued on. But suddenly she began to notice noises other than her own trailing her. Someone was following her. She sped up, anxious to be there. Whoever was following her hopefully would lose his way, as she made a few twisting turns, delaying her journey a few minutes.

              Finally, she was knocking on Troy’s shop door. Troy answered, and Amber slipped through.

              “Ah, I wasn’t sure you would make it today.” Troy said as he led Amber over to the stove. The stove yielded light to the small shop, making it a very comfortable place. 

              Amber warmed her hands, before saying anything.

              “I think I was followed tonight.”


              “Yeah, but hopefully they got lost. I took a different path than usual.” Amber tried to hide the fear in her tone.

              “Weird.” Troy’s lip tightened.

              Silence invaded once more as Troy and Amber were left to their own thoughts.

              A quick rap on the door startled them. Troy strode to open it. Beoloft, Troy’s good friend, stood in the door.

              “Glad you could make it.” Troy said, a smile shining on his face. “Let’s get straight to work.” Looking toward Amber, he asked, “You did bring your knife, right?”

              “Of course,” she took it from her cloak. “I didn’t come here just to talk to you.” She laughed and gave Troy a small jab.

              Troy smiled and said. “We should be able to get three refines in tonight for you, Amber. Beoloft, your sword is coming along finely, but I think you should polish it now. And I’ll sharpen mine and help you guys if you need it.”

              The three set straight to work.

              Amber placed her blade in the stove with the tongs. After some minutes, the blade, heated to perfection, was done. She pulled it out and began to bang on it until it was too cold to work. Picking it up again with tongs, Amber turned to put it into the furnace, only the blade slipped through the tongs and fell to the ground. Quickly, scooping it up with her gloves, she raced it back to the anvil. But it was too late, even through the gloves her fingers were baking. After she dropped it onto the stone, she ripped off her gloves to see her burns. They weren’t the worst, but they hurt dreadfully and were already starting to swell.

              Troy glanced up from his work and saw Amber looking at her hands. “You okay?”

              “Yeah, just a small burn.” She flicked her hands, relieving the pain.

              “You sure?” He came to see, and Amber explained what happened. “Here, why don’t you dip your hands in the water basin, while I see to your blade.”

              “Thanks.” Amber went and dipped her hands in the cool water. How could she have been so silly? She wondered. She reluctantly left the pain reliever, watching as Troy placed her knife into another water bucket to cool. He pulled it out, placed it into sand to dry, and came to Amber.

              “It’s okay, we can finish it another day. You can watch me if you want.” Amber found a seat near Troy, and he began to work once more. They chatted for a few minutes until Beololf declared he was finished for the night.

              “I’m heading out. Got work to do tomorrow. Thanks, Troy. See ya.” He let himself out with that.

              “What time is it?”

              “Probably around nine.”

              “Oh, I’d better go also.” She said, yet still she lingered, until finally she made her way to the door.

              “You forgot your knife.” Troy hurried to grab it for her.

              “Oh, thanks. I’ll probably need it.” She winked as she took it from him.

              Troy’s face darkened. “Hopefully not.”

              Amber laughed. “Probably not very useful in my hands, till you teach me how to use it.”

              “Well, you have to finish it first.”

              “Bye, I guess, see you tomorrow.” And with that, she slipped back into the night.

              Troy was worried. He quickly sheathed his sword, grabbed his cloak, and hurried out the door. He listened for footsteps. He heard Amber’s light step, quickly he followed it.

              Amber had always been a mystery to him. The only woman he had ever known interested in hard work. She even wanted to fight. Queer. Troy didn’t even know where she lived. He had met her one day when a sudden storm came upon the land during the night, and Amber came to the door wet and weary, saying she had been caught in the storm and saw the light, and was wondering if she could pass the storm in the warmth. It happened that he was giving lessons to Beoloft at the time, and by the time she left, she had convinced him to teach her also. That was six months ago. From then on, Amber had frequented his shop.

              Yet, she hardly talked about herself. Her answers to his questions were vague, instead, she flipped the switch and asked him questions, devouring the replies as if she was starving. Yes, she was quite a mystery. But somehow, he had come to love this woman of unique character.

              Now, as he followed, he asked himself who he was doing it for. Him or her? He decided both. He had been dying to know where she lived, and, if someone was following her, he could make sure she was safe.

              Distracted by his thoughts, Troy didn’t realize it when Amber’s footsteps suddenly stopped. Then she broke into a run, and all Troy could do was follow.

              Amber led him out of the town. Finally, she came upon a beautiful walled house, that only a noble could have owned.

              I had no idea her family was rich. Maybe that’s why she’s so vague all the time. She really isn’t supposed to associate with me, a regular old blacksmith.

The wall around the house was eight feet tall, yet Amber went to it confidently, and jumped, catching the edge with her fingers. After wiggling for a moment, Amber fell to the ground, only to try again. Four tries later, she quickly hurried around the corner and came back with a small chunk of wood. Tilting the chunk vertically, she stood on it, managing finally to heave over the obstacle.

              Troy listened as Amber’s footsteps faded into the night.

              Now, the only question is why does she want to learn the art of fighting?

              Amber’s hands burned like fire. Jumping over the had almost been the end of her. She didn’t think she would be able to climb up her sheets, but still she tried, but only succeeded in rubbing the swollen skin from her hands.

              Quickly, Amber ran to each door, checking if they were unlocked, but her uncles kept a sharp eye on the doors, since they lived so far from town.

              Her strength was gone. She slid to the ground outside her window, tears leaking from her eyes. She couldn’t get back in till morning when the housemaid came.  She slowly cried herself to sleep.

              She awoke to the jingling of the gate, as the housemaid entered the courtyard. She waited until the housemaid was in the house before stirring. She was sure she looked like a mess.

              She rushed inside, hoping to get cleaned up before anybody noticed. As she walked through the door, she was startled by a stern voice.

              “Where have you been so early?” Her uncle stared at her, disgust in his face.

              “I was just outside.” She cowered under his anger.

              She pulled her hand behind her back to hide the scars, but it was too late.

              “What happened to your hands?” He pulled them to himself to examine them.

              “Nothing.” Amber tried to withdraw her hands from his, knowing there would be graver consequences the more her uncles knew. But her uncle only clutched them harder, making her hands bleed.

              “What did you DO?”

              “Nothing, really.” Amber bit her lip to keep from crying.

              “You lie.” He said calmly. “Go to your room, and don’t come out till called.”


              “You are an embarrassment to your family name. With the way you act, you will never get your inheritance.”

              Amber rushed upstairs, tears streaming from her eyes. This day couldn’t get much worse.

              She flopped on her bed. If only Troy would teach her to fight, sooner. Oh, Troy. She would hate to leave him behind, for she had come to care for him deeply, no matter how she tried not to. But, he was out of the picture, and she needed to be off to Travington. If she could get to that major town, then she could support herself. She only needed to protect herself, but it was taking much longer than she had anticipated.

              “Why do you want to learn to fight?” Troy asked as soon as Amber came into his shop that night. His thoughtful expression was trained on her.

              Amber looked like she was about to say something, but then decided not to. “You know, a woman must protect herself.” She said flatly.

              “But you live in a castle, practically.”

              The look on her face, told him that he had gone too far. Suspicion lined her eyes, and then sudden alarm. “How do you know that?”

              “I followed you home last night. You know, it’s not very nice to treat a man like this. It’s not like I knew you were nobility. You aren’t even supposed to hang out with me.” He accused her.

              “I…” She faltered. “It’s not like that. And it doesn’t matter what people say, anyway.”

              “I know, but if you’re practically a princess why do even you need to know how to fight, much less man the stove.” He stared at her, his expression unreadable. “Please explain.”

              There was a quick knock on the door, and Beoloft entered.

              “We’ll finish this later.” Troy whispered, and then said. “Hey, Beoloft, what’s up.”

              The three began to work quietly. Troy acted normal, but Amber could tell that he was watching her every now and then, contemplating something.

              Although Beoloft stayed a little longer than usual, he eventually left, leaving Amber to answer the dreaded question. She trusted Troy, but even then, she had told no one of her plan.

              “So, what’s all this about?” Troy sat across from her, his eyes searching hers.

              “Oh, Troy,” She took a breath and collected herself. She might as well tell him the truth. “I’m going to Travington.”

              “Why there?! It’s a den of thieves. Surely your parents wouldn’t even consider taking you there.”

              “I’m going by myself.”

              “What do you mean?”

              “What I am saying is I’m running away to live there. It’s the only place with jobs available for women. But, it also is dangerous, that’s why I need to know how to protect myself.” She said.

              “I’m not sure I understand.”

              “Troy, I can’t live with my uncles anymore, they’re much too harsh to me.” A look of pain crossed her face.

              “You never told me.”

              Silence invaded, until Troy finally asked.

              “Do you have to?”

              “Yes. I plan to leave as soon as I know how to fight.”

              Amber looked into Troy’s eyes and noticed his reflected a flash of sadness.

              The next few days Troy didn’t talk to Amber as much, his mind brooding over possibilities. He had definitely come to love Amber, and it hurt to know that she would leave. He could just utterly refuse to teach her to fight, but then she might just up and leave without knowing how to defend herself, which was much worse. He could tell her to just to stay put, but that would force her to remain with her uncles, not that he had that much authority, anyway. If only, he could just marry her.

              The thought delighted him, until a thousand voices told him why he couldn’t. But still, if only. He might just ask, to see if she even cared.

              That night Troy inquired if Amber would meet him the next morning at a spot near the forest, there he would spring the question.

              Amber wondered what Troy wanted to meet about. She glanced at the mirror glass, fixing her hair. Slipping again from her home, Amber made her way to the spot Troy had indicated. Troy was waiting when she got there.

              After greeting each other, Troy led Amber on a walk.

              Troy took a daring move and reached for her hand. “Do you love me, Amber?”

              She almost looked shocked at the query, sending chills through Troy’s heart, but quickly recovered. “Yes, I do.” She replied softly.

              “I was wondering. I can solve all your problems if you marry me. Yes, I’m poor, and, yes, you’re rich. And, yes, society would think that we’re crazy. And—”

              “No, wait, let me think.” She was soon lost in contemplation.

              He was amazed that she hadn’t outright said no, for he had already convinced himself of its foolishness.

              “I will tell you tomorrow what I have decided.” Amber turned and fled, leaving Troy staring after her.

              She was caught again. Evidently her uncles watched the doors fervently.  

              “Amber, yet again you leave. Have you not received enough punishment from last time? When will you learn?”

              “I assume never.”

              “What do mean? Don’t talk to your elders that way. Go to your room or help the maid with dishes.”

              “You can’t just make me do that. You don’t own me. Why do I have to listen to you.” She began to weep. “All my life you have done this to me. What can I do, but disobey when the rules are so strict they forbid me to even breathe.”

              “Foolish child. This is the only home you have, and unless you reside here you will not receive your inheritance. You have no where to go. Why aren’t you happy with it, you have no other choice.”

              “I’m getting married.” She blurted.

              “With whom, I ask?” A wicked snarl showed on his face, as if he thought she was making it up.

              “Troy, the blacksmith.”

              “You can’t marry a blacksmith. Have you lost your wits. Yes, you are insane. Marry a blacksmith, ay.” He laughed cruelly. “Go to your room!!! And DO NOT LEAVE AGAIN!” 

                            Amber ran upstairs once more. She needed Troy to know that she had chosen to marry him. He would know what to do with her uncles.

              Two hours later, the housemaid came to tidy up Amber’s room. Amber took the chance to ask for a favor.

              “Please, can you give this message to Troy, the blacksmith.” Amber handed her a small note.

              “Oh, I don’t know if I should, ma’am. You know I could get in trouble…” She paused when Amber shoved a shilling in her hand. “Yes, I suppose I can do that.”

Yes, is my answer.

It’s getting really bad here. Please act.


              Troy tossed the note aside. He knew he had to act like it said. For the sake of love, he couldn’t let her get hurt.

              He sheathed his sword, rushed outside, hopped on his horse and rode to get Beoloft. The more people with him the better. With Amber’s house in sight, he began to slow his horse.

              He rang the bell at the entrance. Minutes later, a butler answered.

              “What do want?”

              “I would like to speak to Amber’s uncles.”

              “Let me see what I can do.”

              Ten minutes later, Troy and Beoloft were standing across from Amber’s two uncles.

              “I have come to retrieve my bride.”

              “You’re not marrying anyone in this household. Especially not Amber. No matter what she says.” One uncle said.

              “Would you like me to use force?”

              “You’re not getting anything from us. Leave!” The same uncle ordered, but the other came up to him and whispered in his ear. A look of delight passed over the first uncle’s face.

              “You may marry her. But you must take her away now. And she won’t receive her inheritance. It is her choice.”

              The uncle called Amber down from the stairs. She was ghostly pale and looked scared, until she saw Troy. She hurried to his side. Her uncle turned to her.

              “Is this the man you wish to marry?”

              “Yes.” Was the feeble answer.

              “You won’t get your inheritance.”

              “I know.”

              “If you wish to marry this man, you must leave now. No other chances.” He said this in the same way her uncle had manipulated her all her life.


              “Then, leave. But don’t come back crying or begging. Trust me, we won’t even take a second thought of keeping you.”

              Her uncle practically pushed them out the door.

Once they were in town, Beoloft said.

              “Yep, I don’t think I could live with that man for even one day. Can’t imagine what it would be like for a lifetime, even marrying Troy is better.” He gave Troy a punch.


              Beoloft left to his own business, and Troy and Amber stood outside the churchyard, waiting for the parson.

              Amber gazed into Troy’s eyes.

              “Thank you, Troy, for saving me.”

              “Thank you for deciding to marry me.” He leaned down and gently placed a kiss on her forehead. “I love you.”

              “I love you, too.”

I wrote this story in dedication of Dawn Wild. If you want to learn more about her, Indy Wild has a sweet post about some of the amazing adventures they experienced together, so don’t forget to check that out, too. Here’s a link.

Last year I wrote a romance story for her birthday, this year I tried to be more realistic, but still with a touch of action and romance (although not as much). If you want to compare the two stories, written a year apart, here’s a link to Daring.

Thanks so much for reading, and Happy Birthday to Dawn!! 🎈🥳 God bless you.

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