It started off with doodles, as such things often do. Idle sketches in a middle school notebook of giant swords that mimicked the ones she’d seen in her favorite cartoons. The type whose size and weight defied the allowances of physics, with intricate inlaid designs and ornate scabbards, which could be swung to slice one’s enemy into any number of pieces or shapes.
The half serious habit grew over years into an obsession, going from reproduction to creation, adding features for flair or functionality. Her draftsmanship skills increased impressively, while her figure drawing stagnated. The tiny men holding her deadly pieces of art were merely props, after all.
As her constant scribblings were difficult to ignore, her friends began to commission her. It started as sketches, but at some point it was suggested that she actually make what she was so fond of designing. The idea was pure revelation, and she immediately set to creating a blade with what supplies were scattered across her father’s house. The papier mâché result was as sloppy as all first attempts must be, but the making of it filled her with such joyful purpose that she knew she could have no future without it.
Flimsy building materials and amateur engineering gave way to more professional attempts. There were myriad portals online to fellow enthusiasts, and she poured herself into building for the purposes of costuming. She couldn’t begin to answer what other girls her age got for their birthdays, because all of her gifts were foam, rubber, leather, and sets of carving tools.
She found herself the exact opposite of her friends at the end of high school. She was absolutely resolute about what to do with the rest of her life, but not nearly so about where to do it. Further research yielded that the last true swordsmiths were trained by apprenticeship, as they had been for thousands of years. This was a legacy to which she was determined to belong.
And she did. After years of training under a master metalworker, she can still be found nearly crying and laughing with the pure ecstasy of folding steel with her hands and a hammer into beautifully balanced blades.