Her name was Irene Sienna Espada Saavedra or Irene Espada as most people called her and she was the best bladesmith in Toledo. In the small, but a proud community of Toledo blacksmiths she was known as the Queen of Spades. She had a small unassuming shop. The kind you would miss if you didn’t know it’s there. And she liked that because it meant that only the people who are really interested in swords would come to her. She wouldn’t mind the occasional stray tourist who would stumble upon her shop. She loved the look on their faces when they would realize that those swords weren’t souvenirs but real, functional pieces of fine craftsmanship. Her customers came from all around the world. If you wanted the real rapier from Toledo, there was only one place to go. They would hear that she is the best in her trade and even though they believed it, nothing could compare to the first time they would actually hold one of her pieces. They couldn’t explain it, but they would feel something different when holding them, there was something more than just holding a piece of cold metal.
She was making the swords in a very traditional way like they did in Roman times and you could see that in them. There were no two identical swords, but they were all imperfectly perfect. If you got close, you could see small blemishes and imperfections but they were the ones that gave the swords a soul. They didn’t look like mistakes or something unintentional. They belonged there and were a crucial part of the swords. While she was making them, she could feel the steel under her mallet. For her, this wasn’t just a physical act of turning the steel into a shape of a sword. It was more of a dance. She would listen to what the steel was telling her and she would just follow. She went past the simple knowledge and practice of sword-making techniques and into a realm of her own. When she would forge the steel, nothing else existed. It was like there was a black hole, a perfect vacuum of space, and in it just her, steel, fire, and her mallet.
On this particular day in the black hole, she was making a replica of the Tizona. It is one of the most famous swords in Spanish history and it belonged to one of the greatest Spanish heroes, El Cid. The sword itself was beautiful – a strong blade with an exquisite crossguard, worthy of a hero. This was the only sword that was still giving her trouble. She always felt like there was something missing, she could never get it completely right. This time, while she was forging the steel something strange happened. She fell into a deeper trance than ever before. Not only that she could feel the steel, but she could also feel the essence of the original sword calling for her through time and space. And with the final blow of her hammer, she suddenly found herself somewhere else.
At first, she thought she just fell out of the trance, but as she came back to her senses she couldn’t believe her eyes, and for some time she hadn’t. She wondered if it was just a dream or a hallucination, but she was standing in the middle of the field and all around her there was a raging battle. And she knew this wasn’t just some roleplaying battle, these were real medieval knights fighting for their lives, their honor, and their kingdom. Even though she was in the middle of the field, nobody seemed to see her. It was as if she was just slightly out of phase with reality. Once she accepted that this was really happening her eyes were drawn to a man who has just fallen off his horse. Although she has never seen this man, she felt something strangely familiar about him. Not only did she feel like she knew him, she felt like she’s known him for eternity, and yet she couldn’t think of anything specific about him. After he fell off his horse he had his sword beaten out of his hand and his opponent was swinging at him. At that moment, she knew what she had to do. She couldn’t explain why, but there was something larger than herself pulling her towards him because she knew she had to get him her sword. As she started running to him, the time slowed down around her. She could see the look on his face. Even though he knew he was going to die, there was no fear in his eyes, there was only courage, down to the end. He would proudly give his life for his kingdom. When she reached him, she placed the sword in his hand, and at the moment she had let him go she was back in her workshop.
The sword was not.