He swung it and then drew back in a defensive stance. He then lunged and spun toward his imaginary target, finishing with a thrust of the pommel, followed by a downward stab. The tip stuck in the floor for a brief moment before Linvin pulled it free and slashed behind him in a circular motion.
Linvin was pleased to see that he had retained his fighting skills. The movements brought memories flowing through his mind of far-off days when he was known as the Defender of Valia. He smiled again. The expression however, was to be short-lived.
Out of the corner of his eye, Linvin spied a black area on the blade. A sudden panic overtook him as he pulled the blemish closer. He rubbed it with his finger and it did not change. Panic turned to horror as he realized that it was dried goblin blood. With hastened speed he took a towel to it and scoured the blade as though his life depended on its cleanliness. After several frantic moments, he stopped and looked for the stain again. It was still on the metal. The wiping, as it turned out, had spread the area across the length of the sword.
“No!” cried Linvin. “This cannot be! It must come off!” Try as he might, the more he worked on the blemish, the more it coated his prized possession. Sweat dripped from his brow as he began to pant from the effort.
Then he noticed a smell enter the room. It was not a pleasant odor, but rather the sickly stench of goblin blood. Its pungent aroma brought vivid images of death and murder to Linvin’s inflamed mind. He could see the faces of the enemies he had slain. One after another, they screamed as he cut them down in every conceivable fashion. Their fallen carcasses sprayed blood on Linvin like an ocean wave.
He dropped the sword and screamed as visions of slain goblins filled the room. The walls melted away and he found himself in the swamp again, surrounded by living and dead, rotting goblins.
“Get out of my head!” he shouted as he grabbed its sides, but the sights persisted. He tried to cover his eyes, only to find that his hands were drenched with the hot, viscous fluid of the fallen.
Linvin stumbled into the wall of the tree and he was back in his room again, though still surrounded by enemies who drew ever closer. “I must get it off!” he yelled, while dousing his hands in a nearby wash-basin. Stubbornly, his hands remained black. He scrubbed with a towel until his skin began to tear from the strain. Still he found no reprieve.
His body shook and he neared convulsions. Crawling on the floor, Linvin wedged himself against the wall. The goblins had their weapons out and were ready to strike him down. Linvin folded his hands under his arms to both hide them from sight and try in vain to stop his shaking.
“There is no blood! There is no blood! There is no blood!” he wailed while rocking himself back and forth. His enemies were practically on top of him. Linvin closed his eyes and said aloud, “I can control this. I can stop it. There is no blood.