Spatho - Vela's Origin
Written by Annie Wang
The door slammed, echoing into the silent mansion.
“Unbelievable!” Vela hissed as she stormed out of the room.
“Don’t you turn your back on this family, Vela! I”m talking to you, young lady! Come back this instant!”
A tall man in his fifties yelled, chasing Vela down the hallway. She refused to turn around and continued onwards until the man caught up to her and grabbed her arm. Vela roughly shook off the man. Even though she was a head shorter than him, her muscled back and arms from countless hours working in the shop made shaking off his grasp easy.
“Have you forgotten what this family has given you? Why can’t you stop being so selfish?”
“Selfish? Selfish?!” Vela yelled, unable to control her temper any longer. She whipped her head around, causing her brown hair to fly over her shoulder like a sudden rainstorm. “You, of all people, have absolutely no right to call me selfish!”
“Don’t you dare talk to me like this, Vela. I am your father.”
“Yeah, like that means anything to me,” Vela responded coldly, making eye contact with the man for the first time.
He flinched and tried again to assert his dominance.
“As the head of the fami—”
“Papa would have never done this.”
The man froze immediately, the word catching in his throat.
“That’s right. I know. So stop spewing this load of crap about being my father and leave me the fuck alone,” Vela spat, taking this opportunity to escape to her room.
As soon as Vela was back in her safe space, she yanked out several bags from her closet and began packing. Her pet owl, Birdy, sensed her distress and flew on her shoulder. She gave it a small smile and gently stroked its body before throwing her clothes on the floor and rummaged until she found her favorite outfit. She tossed the outfit into the duffle bag and opened the large box that was front and center in her closet. The moment the door gilded open, a beautiful sheen revealed the countless of swords stored inside. Vela picked three of her favorite swords she crafted and carefully placed the covered weapons into one of the bags. She then packed some essentials and all the money she saved up before trashing her room.
“I’m done with this family,” she declared, staring at a family portrait with a broken frame that she’d thrown on her floor.
She placed her bags outside her window and crossed over to the outside. She took a deep breath, feeling rejuvenated and lighter than ever at her decision to leave home. As she walked, she thought about the events that led to her breaking point…
Vela’s first memory was the heat of the forge, Papa’s strong arms hammering a lump of metal, and the beautiful sparks that flew off it. She always thought that the sparks were the magic that transformed the lump into a work of art. Since before she could remember, Papa told her that she always watched as he worked and, as she became older, she started begging Papa to let her try her hand at forging. It took her years of begging for him to finally start teaching her. But when she started, she distinctly remember the proudness and the spark in Papa’s eyes that shone brighter than anything she’s ever seen in the forge: she was picking the craft up well, perhaps even better than Papa when he first started.
This lifelong obsession of Vela’s was quickly overshadowed, however, after Papa disappeared and her mother remarried. Vela never found out what happened to her father. At first, Vela bawled her eyes out every night and refused to wake up. She would rather be asleep than wake up in a world without Papa. But overtime, her anguish turned to anger and she withdrew into herself. The once bright and bubbly young girl grew up into a withdrawn and bitter teen.
Why had Papa left her? Why did Mama marry that man who is obviously fake and untrustworthy but she can’t see it? Questions like these kept swirling in Vela’s head for years to the point where she no longer trusted anyone.
The event that led her to finally break away from her family was when her stepfather suddenly announced the news that finally tipped the scales.
“Vela is to be married next month. It’s time she stop leeching off this family and do something useful for once, like her brother.”
A deafening silence filled the room until her stepfather forked a piece of sausage on the plate, causing a soft clink to echo.
“Honey, now’s not the best time to talk about this,” Vela’s mother whispered, a strained smile on her face.
“When would be a better time? The whole family is gathered and Vela is sitting right there” he said with a smug look on his face.
He continued chewing his sausage with a feigned look of disinterest until he finally met Vela’s glare. He swallowed his food and took a sip of his coffee on the table, waiting to see what her reaction would be. But he was, once again, surprised.
He thought that for once, he could tame the unruly teen and force her into submission.Yet Vela’s defiant glare told him otherwise. She silently stood up.
“I rescind my participation of all activities in this family indefinitely and I withdraw my name from all possible wills. Good day.”
Having stated that, Vela stood up curtly and left the room.
Vela knew that her stepfather had been trying to marry her off for years. As the eldest in the family, Vela was next in line for all the family’s fortune if she chose not to marry out of the family.
Well, now you get what you want.
With every step she took away from her home, her uncertainty melted away as she headed to the Oracle’s Archive, the best sword-smithing academy in the kingdom. During the turbulent times when her father went missing and during puberty, Vela had taken all her frustration and anger out in the forge. Ironically, her father was both the cause and cure to her pain. As she spent more and more time in the forge, Vela refined her sword-smithing skill. Her young age and her masterful crafting had turned her into somewhat of a celebrity in the forging world. However, due to the reputation of her family, she could never claim credit for the swords that were auctioned. Vela had to sell her swords under the pen name of Spatho. Confident in her skills as a craftsman, Vela arrived at the front door of the Oracle’s Archive only to be treated as an ignorant girl.
“Girls like you shouldn’t be here. Why don’t you go back home before your family starts looking for you?”
“No. I don't have a family. Could I please see the headmistress? I would like to enroll here.”
The security guard looked at her apprehensively before sighing in defeat.
“Very well. Come this way.”
He led her to the headmistress’s office and knocked on her door.
“Madam? I have someone here who’s interested in enrolling.”
There was a moment of silence before a deep voice responded.
“Bring him in.”
The guard pushed open the door and Vela saw the headmistress poring over something on her desk. She was an elegant woman who was wearing all black. Although her outfit was plain, Vela could tell the material was quite nice. She walked to the front of the desk as the guard silently closed the door and left.
Vela stood there in silence until the headmistress finally looked up.
“My, judging from the unorthodox method you chose to see me, I was expecting a dashing young man.”
“My apologies for not meeting your expectation, Madam.”
The headmistress showed no sign of emotion as she continue speaking.
“So, I hear you want to join the Oracle’s Archive. What qualifications do you have?”
Vela wordlessly took out the swords she brought with her and laid them down on the table gently. The headmistress picked up the swords one after the other and examined them carefully.
“No. I reject you. Now leave.”
“You heard me,” the headmistress said, looking back down at her desk and dismissing Vela with a wave of her hand.
Completely shocked at the utter rejection, Vela tries to plead her case.
“I don’t think you understand my talent. Can’t you see that these swords are made by Spatho? I’m risking my family’s reputation to tell you the truth.”
“Maybe so, but as the headmistress, I have the right to reject applicants. And I certainly don’t owe you an explanation. I have already broken protocol by letting you in here like this.”
As if on cue, the security guard entered the room and escorted Vela out of the school. She stood in front of the gates, frozen, still in shock that the plan she hatched did not workout. Her mind began to race, thinking of all the possible reasons she was rejected, before shaking her head.
If people in the market believes my swords are good enough to be sold, then I shouldn’t doubt myself. I guess I still have room to improve...you know what, I will make a better sword and prove to her that I’m talented enough to get into Oracle’s Archive!