The Right Weapon—Ionia


from The Right Weapon


It was a longer weapon than the Noxian blade, with an elegant curve.

“Here you are, Summoner. Ionian. Very fine weapon for self-defense. Notice that curve? Matches the curve of a moving arm. You can learn to draw these things in a blink. Versatile, too. Works in an alleyway, works on a battlefield.”

Mauro was not a slow man. “So what soul-searching question does this one come with? Because I’m looking forward to learning more about myself by being rejected by weaponry.” Is this guy reading these off cards or something? Where does he keep the stack?

“I thought you’d be getting sick of judgmental swords,” the Keeper quipped back. “Which is why I chose this one.” He reversed the blade, which slipped through the air as though slicing the finest silk, and offered it hilt-first.

“No questions. This one doesn’t care about questions or answers. Just make one straight cut.” He gestured, to indicate that Mauro should try this while facing in a different direction.

Mauro took a grip on the sword. It didn’t fight him the way the Demacian and Noxian swords had. It wasn’t light, but it was flawlessly weighted. He raised it up over his head, thinking back to the match he’d fought while linked with Master Yi. Your sword is light. Your sword is a thought. It is already where your thoughts have taken it. This is the cut-without-beginning of the Wuju school. It means that when your enemy’s thoughts consider your stance, your thoughts have already cut them down.

He slashed.

Time seemed to slow as he cut. And in this tranquil slowness, he could see every wobble as the blade moved.

There were a lot of wobbles.

It was a perfect sword, but he could not make it cut straight. It amplified every distortion and excess in his own mind. The edge was supernaturally sharp, he knew, but he doubted he could make it cut a thick sheet of paper.

He felt heat rising in his cheeks. The sword had been nothing but eager and willing, but somehow he had still been rejected. He had rejected himself.

He started to think about trying again. Maybe a different Wuju lesson. Something about the moon on a clear night? Maybe that’d do the trick. And Yi’s voice returned, but not with an illuminating bit of philosophy. Rather, it was scolding. You have failed, and your denial merely prolongs your failure! Your retreating feet will only take your back to a wall. This is the rhythm of defeat; why are you still dancing to it? Fah! You are already dead. I will not waste my time teaching a dead sworsdman who doesn’t even know it!

“Maybe someday,” the Keeper assured him, taking it back. “I actually thought this one might be for you. Ionia’s an island, Nyroth’s an island. And you’re from that floating city, right? That’s like an island to an island. All aloof. Very Ionian.”

Mauro let out some more of his frustration, in the form of deadpan sarcasm. “Yes. Ionia is an island. And Nyroth is also an island. I’d never thought about that before.”

The Keeper, paying him no mind, considered a small box painted with bright shapes and enthusiastic squiggles.

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