Torna: Introduction

See also: The SwordThe Birth of a BladeThe Park at Night, and Father, Son, and Sword for more excerpts from the same world.
Today’s entry was intended to be done in one go, but I ran out of time. Expect to see it completed tomorrow (unless it grows out of control, which experience tells me might happen).

I am not a man much beholden to aesthetic considerations. I keep my uniform clean and well-kept because it is proper, not because I care for my appearance. I trim my hair close and care for my beard to inspire respect in those with whom I work, not because it matters to me whether I keep with the latest fashions or whether others find me appealing.

Similarly, I don’t care much about how others look. I’m unlikely to even notice whether a person is beautiful or ugly, so long as they are clean and dressed in a manner befitting their social station and situation. To be quite honest, I’ve never felt attraction to another person based on their physical appearance. It’s just not in my nature. I’ve never taken a lover, nor had the desire to do so, outside of longing, in my teens, to be more like others.

I don’t prize objects for their form, but for their function. I appreciate my boots because they are well-made and comfortable, not because of their sharp appearance. I’m thankful for my watch because it represents a mastery of clockwork, not because, as I am told, its burnished bronze is lovely to behold. I care for my uniform because it is a mark of my station made by a master tailor, not because, as befits the influence the Empress’s power has over the world, its cut has inspired the direction of the empire’s fashion.

I mention all of this so that the depth of sincerity with which I make the following claim can be appreciated: Torna is beautiful. She is lovely enough that, when I first laid eyes upon her, even I was taken by her appearance. Even I gasped upon that first viewing.

Most living swords are spectacular in their own way. Their genesis lends itself to impressive appearances. As a faithful servant of the Final Empress, I have seen enough of them to no longer be surprised by their make. Swords are formed by their parents out of the materials present at the nexus of their birth, and so a sword of glass, stone, gold, ice, or other impossible things is not only possible, but common.

Torna is not common, though not solely because of her makeup. I have seen swords made of granite, and of gold, and even of wood, though it was wood that had died before the sword’s parents reforged it into their child. Torna’s parents forged her from living wood, a feat scholars once described as impossible. It is this, and the fourth material within Torna, that makes her composition remarkable.

The cutting edge of Torna’s blade is made of black-and-grey granite, which shines with a smooth, polished sheen, as though it has recently been cleaned and buffed. Down her center, growing out from the hilt like a bone, is living wood wood, which produces leaves and violet flowers around its guard. Through all parts of her run veins of gold, and in those veins runs her final component: human blood.

Under the direction of the Unnamed Sword, the swords under the command of the Final Empress have produced children unlike those of their ancestors. Torna, though not as powerful as had been hoped by those that planned her birth, represents nothing if not the ingenuity of the empire. And oh, is she wonderful to behold.

Torna’s granite is the color of clouds just before they break into a storm, a deep black marbled through with grey like sunlight seen beneath the waves, with lines of gold passing through it in an intricate pattern. The smooth bark of her wood, and the gold lines that pass through it, draws the eyes just as surely as the marbled granite. Yet it is her flowers and her delicate leaves, limned with delicate veins of gold, that drew the gasp from my lips as she was presented to me to wield.

As the sword gifted to me by hand serving the Empress, Torna is mine, but from that very first moment, I began to view myself as hers, as well. I was chosen to wield her because of my asexual nature, and so I explained away my expression upon meeting with her as surprise that a sword of her composition could exist, but I fear that, given the feelings I’ve developed for Torna, I have begun to fail as a servant of my Empress.

I have no sexual or romantic desire for Torna. Let me be clear in stating that. However, for me to even acknowledge that she is aesthetically pleasing is such a grand divergence from the way I have perceived the world for so long that it casts doubt within me as to whether I was the right choice to become her wielder. I am eternally grateful to the Empress for the opportunity to prove myself, and I hope that, for her continued glory, I am able to succeed.

I realize that my mention that I lack sexul desire for Torna may seem odd, considering that she is a sword and I am human. There are no functional methods of sexual congress between the two, and I would like to believe that none have tried to discover any. Torna, however, is unique. Though her powers are weak, compared to some other swords granted to men of my station, she is possessed of a novel power, unseen among swords in recorded history, which the men who granted her to me attributed to the human blood flowing through her.

Torna, when held in hand, is able to construct a body. A second body, I should say, since the granite-and-wood blade is her true body. This second body takes the form of a human woman, with wood-brown skin, gold-and-violet eyes, and flowing hair the color of dark amber. If not for the granite that covers parts of her body like armor growing from her flesh, Torna’s constructed body would pass perfectly as human, albeit an impossibly beautiful one.

The body fades into nothingness when a human hand isn’t present on Torna’s hilt. Torna’s human form doesn’t count toward this requirement. She must be held in the hand of a true human to maintain it. This is for the better, as the Empress orders swords which can operate too independently without a human to be destroyed. If Torna could wield herself, the world would have lost her shortly after her birth, and I would never have met her, and we would never have encountered another sword who took a unique form.

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