My parents were part of the Society for Creative Anachronism back in college. They met on the battlefield, so to speak. They were Dungeons and Dragons nerds too, of course, and one can only assume LARPers based on the general description. If they were, I never heard those stories. Would've been funny though, right? My dad in shining armor, mom in a dress and elf ears- off topic again. Sorry about that.
When they were married, they didn't do the classical thing of going some place like Hawaii for their honeymoon. They went instead to a British armo(u)ry and bought their dream blades, everything they could think of including fencing foils, some replicas of Spanish sabers and at least one blade that belonged to a British officer during the Napoleonic Wars and probably killed a few men.
I dunno how many swords they bought. We keep 3 sabers and a scimitar on the mantel, but when my mother took them out to polish them, she retrieved a rusted pile from the garage that covered the entire couch. I counted one bastard sword and at least a dozen matching of pairs of short swords, along with the foils and Spanish replicas, and that's just what I can remember right now. My memory's not what it used to be.
They also kept three longbows, a crossbow, two flails, a pair of nunchaku and a bokken that I commandeered- never mind, it's coming back to me..
Anyway. When I was three my parents took me to my first renaissance fair(e?). They noticed I took interest in a pair of knights sparring, so they put me into a fencing workshop and I was dubbed 'Sir Clueless' for my inability to tell which end of the foil was supposed to point towards me. So I guess I can safely say I've been holding swords since I was strong enough to lift them.
Over the next couple of years, they did their best to train me in the use of some of their other weapons. We only ever got around to fencing and archery, cause that was all my dad had the equipment for to teach a kid without anybody getting hurt.
Eventually though, the other kids picking on me for my nerdiness led to me dropping it altogether. That and for being gay.
Middle school was rough. During those years the only blade I had been acquainted with was a razor blade. I hated myself for all the same reasons everyone else hated me- because I never stood up for myself. I may have known how to fight them but I never wanted to hurt anyone, even at the sake of my own preservation.
Once, I nearly ended it all. I stood at the top of a bridge and looked down into the water, just thinking about how all the pain would go away. But something... extraordinary happened.
I met someone.
More accurately, he threw himself upon me, knowing full-well what I'd been planning to do. He held me down and shushed me until I could speak coherently and could promise to let him walk me home.
His name was Darren, he was a year older than me and went to another middle school in my city. He too had an interest in weaponry, albeit primarily katana and quarterstaves, although he knew how to use a gun and a composite bow. He was brave, strong, and the general definition of tall, dark, and handsome. He was impatient and had what he called 'anger issues' and would be a little violent any time I displayed that I was smarter than him, but I didn't mind. I was worried about coming out to him during the violent times but he proved to be cool with it.
Darren was my first true friend. He was the only thing I cared about in the world.
In freshman year of high school, Darren broke up with his first girlfriend. I helped him through it the same way he'd helped me, and he called me his brother.
This was of course stunning to me, considering my status as an only child and the fact I never had any men to look up to. But it also meant something else to me: we formed a bond of trust. Something I'd never had with another living soul. That he truly and definitively cared for me.
I fell for him at that moment. Hard.
He took me back to his place a few times to train, which is why I commandeered said bokken. I accidentally broke his, since he'd been using it to practice with his katana, so I bought him a couple replacements off topic off topic OFF TOPIC!
Anyway. We spent three years training in his backyard. I'd forgotten everything I knew about swords and he helped me pick some of it back up.
And then all of a sudden... it was over. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement.
My parents bought me my own scimitar to help me get back through the depression. It didn't help. I had them mount it on a wall out of my reach.
I haven't touched a sword since. They're beautiful, but the feel of it in my palm... that reminder... sickens me.
Requiescas in Pace, Darren. I still love you.