Benoni laughed as he watched Bear frolic around Blizzard and Goldie. The beast sure had a lot of energy. Ben could not think of Bear as a dog no matter what his father thought. Bear was smarter than any dog, and some people, he knew. Bear saved his life, and Ben trusted him completely despite the fact that Bear was demonspawn. He knew no one who owned a dog that did not turn tail and run when demonspawn showed up. Most dogs in town would slink away at the sight of Bear. No, he was definitely not a dog.
He kept a close eye on his dad, but tried his best not to look like he was. His dad had beaten him to the gate every time, but last time he had to cheat to win. Benoni was sure that he could beat him to the gate if he just kept a close eye on him. Goldie was at a full gallop before he even knew they were racing last time.
I won't let you fool me this time, he thought. His dad walked out of the stable, pulling his horse behind him. They walked around to the back. Behind the stable was a small grove of pine trees that he gathered seeds from at certain times of the year. The grove, and fallen needles, kept a door hidden. Benoni's heart raced excitedly. Weapons were stored underneath the barn. He had often wanted to use real weapons. His dad limited him to practice swords and clubs. His skin felt tingly as he realized he would be using a real weapon.
Gerry pulled a tiny key from a chain around his neck and unlocked the door that angled slightly upwards rather than laying flat on the ground, but it looked like just a small lump of debris. Stairs led underneath the barn, disappearing in the shadow as they opened the door and descended. Benoni found himself sweating despite the chill in the air. He resisted the urge to rush down the stairs and into the darkness like a charging bull, somehow managing to stay calm as he followed his dad. A bright yellow light flashed on as they walked down into the weapon room. Spears, javelins, hooked bills and halberd lined one wall and helmets and other pieces of armor were stacked neatly around sturdy wooden benches that came up to his knees. To his right was a wall of swords of every size and shape imaginable. Blades varied in thickness from the width of his thumb to the width of all of his fingers put together. Swords with curved blades, backward curved blades, notched blades, blades with holes in them, blades longer than his body and blades shorter than his forearm hung, leaned or sat on the shelves. For years he wanted to do his. Sweat poured from his palms so profusely that he worried whatever weapon he grabbed would slip from his damp grip.
Gerry disappeared around a corner and opened a door Ben did not notice before. "Here." he said as he came back and tossed a leather harness to Benoni. "Put that on and pick out a sword and shield." Benoni went immediately to a sword that seemed to be calling to him. It had a small handle made of wood strapped with a thin strip of leather. It was about as long as his arm and felt lighter than his froe.