Describe in detail one item that you would love to inherit from a relative, or that you have inherited.
Kita sprinted down a narrow alley between two shops in the Royal Merchant’s Quarter, her soft boots nearly soundless against the cobblestone. Her pursuers, by contrast, crashed loudly in the night, the metal plates on their heels echoing off the same stone paths she whispered through.
She hugged the shadows as she weaved her way through the maze of the bazaar. The stalls were low enough she could have used them to leap to the shop rooftops, but doing so would destroy whichever stall she propelled herself from. She was not looking to add “destruction of property” to her list of crimes for the evening.
The guards circled the market, closing in on their prey. Kita cursed under breath as she realized she was cornered. She would have to fight them if she wanted to get back to the Captain. The king would understand. These were not loyal to him.
Kita leapt out of the tangle of stalls and soared over them to the center of the square. It was much too open, but the chances she inadvertently destroyed some poor merchant’s livelihood were lower here. “Alright boys,” she crooned, settling lithely on the edge of the stilled fountain, “you caught me.” The Captain’s clan pendant swung gently off her neck as she bowed toward them, the dark stone glinting in the moonlight.
Their eyes went wide at the sight of it. Did they know of the Crescent Moon this far north? “Fires to cut,” they muttered in unison.
“Okay that’s creepy,” she replied, reaching behind her for the glass blade hidden on the small of her back. The king had forbade her from carrying her sword in the city, but she wasn’t foolish enough to go completely unarmed when there were rogue guards afoot. The obsidian wasn’t ideal for battle, but it would slice an enemy as well as a fruit.
She twirled the smoothly carved handle through her fingers. The grip was not made for her hand, though she had acclimated to it just fine over the years. It was like holding her father’s hand and fighting alongside him, like he wasn’t forever lost to her on the other side of the sea. She remembered his face as he slipped it to her before she departed, after the elders had destroyed her own. He couldn’t go with her, but he could give her one last bit of home for her journey.
She pointed the short knife at her opponents. “Are we gonna dance, or what?”
All three lunged for her as one. Kita dropped to the ground and slashed at the leg of one. He collapsed, falling face-first into the calm waters of the fountain. She wasted no motion, flipping herself off the ground with her free hand and driving her foot through the chin of the second attacker. The third had wrestled his sword free of its scabbard and swung it in a wide arc. She managed to duck under it as she landed, then launched herself towards him. Her momentum drove her knife straight into his throat.
Kita let him fall, sputtering, to the ground. She took no delight in the kill. Three seconds, three bodies. These had been no match for her. She looked at her father’s blade. She frowned as blood dripped from the eye of the wolf carved into its base. Did it weep for her or her enemy?
She took it to the fountain, its waters growing murky with the life of the first soldier she had slain. She inspected the body. He had struck his head after she sliced open his leg. Whether he had bled out that quickly, or drowned, she couldn’t be sure. She rinsed her knife off just the same.
The bodies couldn’t remain in the square until morning. That would incite panic. She would have to move them somewhere less conspicuous before she could find Leo and tell him what she had learned.
She removed the drowned one first, throwing him over her shoulder and carrying him toward a sewer access grate down a side alley. She dropped him unceremoniously into the hole and returned to the square for the other two.
Except there was only one left. The guard with the hole in his throat wasn’t going anywhere, but the one who hadn’t tasted her blade had vanished. Her hand flew to her knife again as she listened for the wounded man. The square was silent.
She hastened her efforts to hide the second body. Tomorrow, she would let the official palace guards know what had happened, and lead them to the bodies. She did not want to stick around in case the third imposter returned with them first.
Notes: I got thinking about the what sort of heirlooms my characters might inherit and I remembered the pendant Leo gave to Kita for safekeeping in my ninja–pirate adventure story. That was technically an heirloom from parents he doesn’t remember and I wondered if there was a similar heirloom that Kita would have inherited had she remained with her clan. I decided on a knife.
I stuck with obsidian for several reasons, not least of which was to further connect Kita and Leo to each other. Obsidian is incredibly sharp, and it’s pretty, but it is brittle. It does not react to stress well, and can chip or break with the slightest pressure in the wrong direction. There was also the matter of the ritual these zealots wish to perform to oust the king. Obsidian lends itself to useful imagery in prophecy and ritual instructions. It’s made from cooling lava after all, and the phrase “earthly fires” came to mind while I was trying to figure out how to incorporate Kita into their plans.
The knife was a sort of coming-of-age totem in Kita’s clan. Their territory is rich with obsidian so when a young ninja is accepted to the clan as an adult, they get to craft their own blade from the glassy stone. Kita had her own once, but as she comments here, the elders destroyed it when she was exiled.
This prompt really got me thinking about more world building for Kita’s tale so I’d say it was a success! I don’t really know of any specific item my mom or grandmother might have that I would want to inherit. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want anything of theirs bequeathed to me, just that nothing stands out in my mind as “I want THAT.”
What about you? Is there something in your family that has been passed down for generations? Is it something more recent that you would love as a memento? What about someone you know? Have they inherited something from a relative? Write these ideas down! They could prove useful to your writing someday!