He wasn’t certain what first caused him to notice the boy. Sometimes that’s how it worked. Divine inspiration wasn’t always about shining visions from the heavens or talking squirrels and crap like that. Sometimes…sometimes it was just a feeling. When Shrey saw the boy pulling a rusted, battle-worn sword from the rubbish pile, he was curious and stopped to watch. When he saw the boy so obviously enamored with that old, used up hunk of ruined steel—which wasn’t that great of a weapon even in its prime—he became intrigued.
The boy thought he was being discreet. And perhaps to the average city-dweller he was invisible. But Shrey was neither average nor a regular city-dweller, and had a lot of practice staying hidden. It took many days before the boy felt comfortable enough with his sneaking around to smuggle the blade outside the walls. The bundle of wood hid what he was doing well enough. He probably didn’t consider what observers might think of carrying sticks into the woods rather than out of them. Fortunately for the boy, there was absolutely no reason for anyone to pay attention.
No one but Shrey, who still didn’t know what was so compelling about the situation. This almost literal babe in the woods that now sat leaning against a tree, scraping a smoothly-worn river rock along a blade that was beyond hope of sharpening. But something was there. Something had kept Shrey’s attention all through the mundanity of a poor shop boy’s life for very near a tenday.
Then Shrey finally saw something he could grab onto. Just a spark. As the boy leaned back against the tree in defeat, so obviously lost, there was the barest glimmer of desire in the boy’s eyes. He wanted to use that sword, to become something greater than what the happenstance of his birth had decreed. This. This was why Shrey watched. With a small prayer of thanks to his Lady of Blades, the greatest swordsman that has ever lived stepped out into the clearing and began teaching.
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