Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks Fiction Fragment Friday is another one that was inspired by a writing prompt picture on the Gaming With Gage and Friends discord server. You can see the picture here that I wrote this story from. Is it one of my best written stories? Probably not. I do think it was fun though and I find that with these prompts I’m writing a lot more fantasy than I would otherwise. As a Science Fiction writer I don’t often stray into the fantasy realm unless it is a bit of urban fantasy. These prompts help to take me out of my comfort zone a bit and have me try something new. As always I hope you enjoy this story half as much as I enjoyed writing it.
“So brave adventurer someone has finally come for the sword. That must mean the necromancer has returned and his armies are marching across the land. What makes you think that you are worthy to wield such a powerful magical artifact?”
“Uhm what?” Ok I admit that was not exactly my most brilliant response to a question. I was riding to the castle with an urgent message for the king but had stopped at Henderson’s Pond to water my horse. Swiftwind was nervous though and would not approach the water for some reason. I decided to just get a drink myself and move on. As I looked deep into the water a bright light rose to the surface.
The surface of the lake was broken by long red hair attached to a purple face. She was beautiful in her own way despite glowing yellow eyes that had no pupils. Claw tipped fingers that wrapped around a brightly glowing sword. The rest of her body was hidden beneath the water making me wonder how human it might or might not be. When she spoke, her voice had a power in it. I was compelled to listen and had to fight the impulse to move closer.
“I said, what makes you think that you are worthy to wield the Sword of Artax the Crusader? I do not care to repeat myself. Pray you do not make me do it a third time. If you do I may need to remove the tongue from your mouth. Just to ensure that it is not broken.” Despite the threat in her voice, I still felt compelled to approach her. I have very little exposure to magic, but even I know when my desires are not actually my own.
“I beg thee pardon my stumbling over my words. Your beauty simply has taken my breath away.” I figured flattery might be a good idea in this situation. “You are indeed correct that the necromancer has returned to the world, but I am no champion. I am a simple messenger taking word to the king of his rise. I know nothing of this sword and simply stopped to refresh my horse before a final push through the countryside.” I tried to read her facial expressions, but they were foreign to me. I decided to play it safe. “I’m truly sorry to have wasted your time. I’m sure you are an extremely busy being. This is all just a misunderstanding.”
“Tis no misunderstanding. I am not summoned by mere coincidence. If you indeed have not seeked me out then the sword has chosen you. Even I do not question its wisdom in such matters.” She held the sword up out of the water laying across her palms. “Your destiny begins now.”
Taking all the willpower I could muster I stepped back away from her. “I don’t even know how to use a sword.” That was the truth. I don’t have the muscle or the training to properly wield a sword. The last time I tried to hold one I ended up pulling a muscle in my shoulder and was in pain for weeks. It was not impressive.
Shadows closed over the pond, wind whipped her hair around, and the temperature dropped by at least twenty degrees in an instant. I tried to look away as she rose to the surface but found myself cowering with very little control of my own body. She strode across the water as if it were solid ground holding the sword forward. “This is not a choice mortal. You will take the sword and you will fulfill your destiny.” She shoved the sword forward into my arms and I fell backwards onto the ground at the force.
I watched as she turned and walked back into the water. Her long red hair covering her back and providing a level of modesty I was grateful for in that moment. As her head vanished under the surface of the water the sword in my arms stopped glowing. It now just looked like any other ornate weapon that I had no idea what to do with. The shadows and chill that had shook me to my very core also seemed to follow her.
I grasped the sword by its hilt and was once again blinded by light. The weapon was far lighter than I had imagined it to be, but it still took both hands just to lift it. I could not imagine swinging without losing my balance and tumbling to the ground. Even with ancient knowledge and incredible power someone had made a mistake. I was the last person who should be holding a weapon like this. There was still a message to deliver, and time was like every other luxury in life. Something I didn’t have.
Looking at my horse I realized I had another problem. I didn’t have a scabbard for the sword. To make matters worse I didn’t have anything to wrap it in or a way to secure it to my saddle. You hear all the bards’ telling stories of brave heroes finding powerful weapons, but no one ever talks about how they get those items back home. Everyone always has packs of rope or magic bags. I had a horse and a pouch of half-eaten jerky that lacked even the mildest hint of flavor. I was going to have to balance the sword on my lap with one hand and try to guide my horse with the other. Now I’m a pretty good rider, but there was no way I could make decent time like that.
By the time I reached the castle with my message the army of the undead was already reaching the walls. I sat on the hill staring out at the battlefield. My message was pointless now as I was pretty sure by the massive battle that the king already knew the necromancer had returned. It looked like some of the army made it into the gates before the defenses could be raised. The smoke coming from within and the fallen guards rising to rejoin the fight told me it would only be a matter of time before the castle fell. Then things got worse.
At the back of the advancing army of undead the Necromancer sat on his large flaming skeleton horse. Part of me had to admit that he looked pretty cool in his black spiked armor. He looked like a real warrior as his eyes turned from the battlefield to stare directly at me. The sword was glowing on my lap making it impossible to miss me for miles around. With a yell in a language I couldn’t comprehend, the necromancer gave his troops new orders. Though I didn’t know the words their actions told me that I was the new target. I wanted to run but the sword urged me forward.
Waves of the undead soon overwhelmed me. I was pulled from my horse to the ground. I knew I should be swinging the sword, but all I could do was hold it close, keeping them from taking it as they scratched and bit at my flesh. The pain was overwhelming, but the sword did not stop glowing. I heard it in my head tell me to stand.
This was when the king made his move. From the front gates of the castle King Legandor rode point leading his best knights into the fight. They used my distraction to strike directly at the necromancer with the castle guards taking up a defensive point to hold the hordes off. Seeing their master in danger the undead left me lying in a pool of my own blood and shredded clothes still grasping the brightly glowing sword. The pain was so severe that I could not even crawl.
As the battle raged on, one of the King’s knights approached me. I could hear his armor clanking as he dismounted and bent down next to me, but there was too much blood in my eyes to actually see who it was. “You yet live,” he said in a rather hurtful surprised tone. “It was a brave thing you did, providing the distraction with your glowing sword.”
This was when I felt the sword pull away from me. The knight was not trying to take it, but the sword itself was trying to go to him. I heard it say in my mind, “you have fulfilled your role. Now it is time for a hero to wield me.” I couldn’t speak because I was too busy choking on my own blood. That was when I passed out. I would hear later that the knight personally beheaded the necromancer and ended his threat. As for me it would be a month before I could stand on my own again. I would never be able to ride again without intense pain.
I’m sure my part in the battle will never be sung by bards or painted by artists. The land has a new legend with his powerful glowing sword. I should just take satisfaction in knowing that in my own way I played a part. It is hard to do that when it hurts to breathe though. No, I need to get my satisfaction elsewhere and that is why I am working so hard on my healing. I will recover and when I do, I’m going back into those woods. I will get my satisfaction even if it means my death. See as soon as I can I’m going to find that pond with the magical sword distributing watery tart and I’m going to take a great big dump in it. Let’s see how she likes my gift.