Fate's Razor

Veryëamartánna

Back before Lahpae's resurrection

Morélirä hooted softly from his perch on the control panel as Mallory took great care in penciling a series of flowing letters onto her blade. “Hush, little one,” she murmured in elvish. The words felt heavy on her tongue, rusty, and she hoped that Aurelia would pick up the smooth lilt of Phaedra’s accent rather than her own harsh, clipped one.

Nosy relatives and neighbors had blamed the influence of the lithuaith when she was younger, but the fault did not lie with the few friends Mallory had beyond Emynwen, and in truth she had never learned much of their language other than a few choice vulgarities.

Primordial was an old tongue, older than the menelwaith and maybe older than the Archfey itself. She liked the idea of that, but true or not, it mattered to her little.

It was the language of storms. Of fire and flood, of shifting earth and lightning. It was the language, she felt, of rage.

Of course it would be rough. Of course. And it had bled all through her other words in other languages, so that even without the affectation of an always-foreign accent, she would never sound quite at home if there was nothing breaking.

She licked her thumb and rubbed away some of the pencil marks, huffing in quiet exasperation before reattempting a few characters.

“Veryëamartánna,” she murmured, examining her handiwork once she had finished. “A proper carving would take too much of your strength, so this will have to do.” She rested the rapier across her lap, now painting the blade with a thin layer of adhesive. Over this, she sprinkled glassteel that had been ground into a fine powder. After it had dried, the sword would be cleaned and the charcoal would wash away, leaving the name outlined in a prismatic glittering. Mallory’s lightning and thunder would galvanize it further, the name becoming starker through use.

Such decoration had never interested her before, but… She could feel her weapons better, since training with Casius. More like extensions of herself, less like a crutch she grudgingly relied on when her magic would not or could not do what she wanted.

She worked in silence, lost to her thoughts, barely noticing when Morélirä landed beside her. His head tilted as he watched the movements of her hands, and she paid no mind to his gentle, reassuring hooting.

Mallory held the sword aloft once she had finished. “I am Macarcalo Hurowilin Ilwellorane of House Celebeth. I name you Veryëamartánna, and I will make you worthy of the name you bear. I swear this.”

The sword made no grand declaration in return, but she was satisfied, all the same. She would show it to Lahpae when she woke, Mallory decided, and did not let herself entertain the “if.”


Veryëamartánna was the title given to something of an elvish folk hero: the first of the taurwaith (an eladrin) to defy the Archfey. Rendered in common as “Defiance” or “Defiant One,” a more literal translation would be “to dare against” or “to challenge fate.” Considering the way the Archfey has set itself up as the guardian and caretaker of all elvish peoples, the euphemism of fate standing in for that entity should be obvious.

Veryëamartállo, a related term often translated the same way, may help convey the lack of nuance in common; while both can be rendered as “Defiance,” Veryëamartánna implies defying fate by fighting it, while Veryëamartállo implies defying fate by fleeing it.

Both types of behavior were considered treasonous in the high forest, and could be punished by death.

-notes from a common translation of various elvish folk stories

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