The Tale of a Sword - In Ten Ridiculously Short Parts
In this edition of Flash Fiction Friday, I present a ten-part narrative poem. It's not perfect, and the meter needs some work in places, but I hope you will forgive that and see the larger story at work. This was an experiment in a slightly different style than I am used to, as a way of broadening my experiences.
I was born in fire, ash, and smoke; Hammered and mauled into form. I was born for battle, for glory, for honor. Born for the King, for the one who would rule over all.
They wrapped me, named me, tucked me away, and presented me to him, my Lord, that fateful day. I knew he would conquer, with me at his side. Into the thick of battle we would ride, to return victorious and emblazoned with pride.
And so we did put down our foes, from glistening city to caverns below. I struck true and swiftly, blade ever sharp. Effective in day, deadly in the dark. Forever his hands gripped with strength at my hilt, guiding my through battles, victory was built.
I am a sword, in me is power.
The kingdom was one, the kingdom, our kingdom. The battles were done, peace was won. The people threw flowers at the feet of the king, while I adorned his hip, lying beneath his royal ring. The world was a wonderful place to be, and so it was for many years, and seemed forever to be.
But in the life of humans, the day must arise, where they must go up to the cairn to die. And so it was with my king, my master, my friend. I was to go with him to death, to the fire again, to melt and to bend.
Before his last, the king's son arrived. The prince knelt by his father's side. A golden crown was placed on his head, the ring was passed, and finally I was given a new life.
I am the king's sword, in me is peace.
The prince, now king, followed in his father's wake. But like all things human, the peace would not stay, not even for my master's sake. He made ready for war, to put down the uprising. To return the people to their place, if not through speech then through fighting.
His hand was strong, striking foe as his father did so long ago. His aim was deadly, falling upon the rebels with every strike and blow. He called out to the others, the usurpers would not prevail.
That was when I felt the sting, and knew that we would fail.
Upon the ground I lay, bloodied and alone. My master lay before me, dagger piercing through flesh and bone. His trusted aide stood beside him, and oh, how he shone. The anarchy was complete. Our kingdom was in defeat.
I am only a sword, my power is not my own.
I was reclaimed from the field of war. The man who held me, usurper and cheat, held me weakly in his palm. I knew the grip of true strength and power, of which this man had none. He examined my scars, cleaned me carelessly and returned me to my sheath, newly ripped from the true king's hip.
I did not understand why anyone would follow this man. What about him made such a demand, surely he did not know the first thing about command. He loped and limped, carried me back to the throne, and then he sat and explained all to his drones.
I was discarded, given to another. I was set aside, cast off, wholly forgotten.
I am forsaken, my purpose is lost.
My home is now dark, among the forgotten relics of old. I rest beside an old frame, a painting of the king, adorned in gold.
Rust has become my covering, rats eat at my leather. There is no hope for me here, no pain, just sorrow: the absence of pleasure.
I am a relic, covered in rust.
I hear a voice, not one but two. They've plundered the basement, searched every room. Valuables were stashed in large sackcloth bags. Somewhere in the rush of gathering, I fell with a crash.
Whispering and caution was passed between the thieves. They looked over me briefly, cooing over my sheath. From the dark room to a dark bag, then into the morning light. I felt a slight sense of renewal, though small and full of fright.
I am plunder, to be bought for riches.
No, it can't be, she said as she lifted me from the shelf.
That will be fifty, my new master said. He had stashed me away behind more looked after weapons, looking for the biggest sell.
The woman paused, fifty is too steep, she cried. Look at this blade, you'd be lucky to sell this to the blind.
Forty five then, he bargained.
He thought, then relented, accused her of thieving.
You're mine now, she whispered, I thought you were lost. She held me close to her breast, her grip was one of power and strength, a memory of so long ago. I knew that I would defend her, wherever she would go, and strike true once more, whatever the cost.
I am redeemed, my purpose restored.
I was cleaned, scoured, remade. Rust removed and edge renewed, my shine lit up the room. New leather, the sweet smell of oil, and the gentle touch of fingers against my engravings brought me so much joy. This was no king, but she loved me like he did, and that was enough to carry me through.
We trained and talked, built our strength, while others joined her crew. Her grip became firm, her balance steady, and I remained forever true. She told my story to the others, who listened with care. She told them of her own life, confirming what I already knew to be true. She was the heir.
I am renewed, my power rekindled.
We move tonight, my master called. I knew the time was now. The army was strong, it would be a good fight.
The rebellion would be swift, with justice on our side. The wrongful leaders would be overthrown by this relentless tide. Those who made life miserable, who cast aside a loving king and placed a hateful man in his stead, would die for their mistake tonight.
We stormed the castle during the feast, when fewest would suspect. It was chaos and glory, life and then death. The weasel retreated to the stolen throne, screaming for protection. Guard after guard fell before me, my master the picture of perfection.
He groveled before her, as he should, and begged her for forgiveness. I was briefly filled with dread that she would stay her hand, but to my relief, and the kingdom at large, she relieved him of his head.
I am a sword, vengeance is mine.
We ruled once more, upon the throne, I forever at her side. Not a king, but a queen, and much greater than her father. He would be looking down with pride. His daughter, his princess, now loved and respected, bringing his kingdom new life.
I am a symbol, I have brought peace.