The Hero’s Sword (but we’re not calling it that, okay?)

*falls through your ceiling, raining plaster and bits of wood down on your head* Did you miss me?

I’m honestly digging the bi-weekly schedule, but I do forget what week it is and find myself thinking “oh yeah it’s a blog week” over the weekend and scrambling to figure out what I’m going to do. What do you guys think of this schedule?

Thankfully, this week I had something pre-written from a month or two ago. I wrote it after Amy emailed me about an idea she had and the first sentence popped into my head while I was making tea one day.

Amy has a Medium profile now, so go take a look at that! She’s posted a lot of really cool short stories. *whispers* Bob the Prince might be my favorite.  https://medium.com/@amy_49007

Oh, and my dudes, *~*things*~* are happening with The Wishmaker. Plotting things. Concept art things. I feel like the first few episodes were the “teaser,” though that’s not necessarily what I meant to do. But things are coming. *scheming face*

And now: a short story I would call something like “The Hero’s Sword” except that would be really, really cliche. So we’re not calling it that.

 

*dramatic off-key recorder music*

 

“Are you here to kill me?”

The tall man in the trench coat shook his head slowly.

“Hm. What a shame. You’d be an interesting opponent. Tea?” He nodded, but notably did not help himself to the seat at the tiny table in front of him. The woman with the scarred face filled a teapot and set it on the stove. She hopped up to sit on the counter, and swung her legs as she talked.

“I knew the Worldsavers Alliance would send someone, but then again, they haven’t had much luck finding me. They came close a few times, but it’s always a bad idea to send a spy after one of their own.” She chuckled. The man in the coat did not.

“So what is it this time? They want me to come back to the field? They need a new professor at that school they opened up?” She pushed herself off the counter. “Can you imagine me as a teacher?” she laughed as she searched a cabinet.

“I’m not with the Worldsavers.”

“Ohh. Nice. One of those researchers huh? You want my side of the story? Find Mikael. He’ll tell you everything you need to know. My memory is a little spotty,” she tapped the side of the head, right next to the scars that crossed from temple to chin like streamers decorating a war monument.

“I’m not interested in what happened at World’s End. It is the here and now I’m concerned about.”

“Then go to the Worldsavers. That’s what they’re here for, right?” she sighed, pouring steaming water over tea leaves. The woody smell wrapped itself around the kitchen. Cozy, in a way that fit disjointedly with the spy and the man in the coat. “they’ve probably found a new Chosen One already. It’s been long enough, hasn’t it? We’ve mourned Anders for what, eight years? That’s more than enough.”

The man in the coat accepted the little wooden cup from her marred hands. “You know as well as I do the Worldsavers cannot be trusted. They have many Chosen Ones to make the people feel safe, but without the Sword, they will never stand a chance before the Ashen One.”

“So they’re still trying to lift that old thing? What happened to their ‘learning from history, not repeating it’ motto? As soon someone finally does pick it up, the Ashen One will wake and then you’ll all be in a pretty pickle, now won’t you?”

“Only the Hero’s Sword can defeat the Ashen Sabre. This is lore.”

“Ha. Because that worked so well for Anders.”

They sipped their tea in silence.

“You thought I was here to kill you.”

“I’m still technically a war criminal. Eventually, the Council will find a way around Mikael’s lawyering skills and it’ll all catch up to me. There’s a reason why I live a tree trunk.”

More silence.

“So why are you here? Just wanted to chat about what a mess the world is? You’re not here for stories about Anders’ ragtag group of misfits and how we saved the world, apparently.”

“No,” the man in the coat said slowly. “I’m here about the Sword.”

“I’m not the right person to ask. I barely touched the thing. I was just there to make sure the Farm Boy of Destiny didn’t trip over a thorn bush and die before he had a chance to use it. He didn’t know a thing about self-defense, but he could lift the dumb Sword. And that made him a hero. Or close enough.”

She laughed bitterly and didn’t look away from her tea. “You kids these days, you have it good. Your dark lord is sleeping under the mountain. Back in my day, he was rampaging about, burning villages and the like.”

“That may soon change.”

“Hm?”

“The Sword. It’s been stolen.”

“That’s nonsense. For someone to steal it, they would have to…”

Nothing moved in the house in the tree trunk for a few seconds.

“Oh rats.”

“Indeed.”

The woman with the scars fiddled with the locket around her neck. “Well, that’s one way to find the Chosen One. Do you have any leads?”

“None. The Worldsavers are fumbling. They have been slowly falling apart since they day they were founded, and they are in no shape to handle this.”

“And you are?”

“I am the last hope.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

She finally sat, like she had more important things to do than keep her legs steady.

“You can’t let them use that Sword. That’s the first order of business. I don’t care if you get it back to the Worldsavers, in fact, it might be better if you don’t. But you mustn’t let the Ashen One die.”

The man in the coat sat down awkwardly across from her, as if it had been a while since he humbled himself to take a rest. “And why not?”

“You said you don’t care about what happened at World’s End? Well, you’ll probably want to.” She scooted her chair closer. “Anders killed the old Ashen One all right, and we so proud of him. He was like, what, fourteen? He had done pretty good. But the Ashen Sabre was just sitting there, kind of glowing, and then the Prophesy made sense.”

“The Prophesy?”

“The one about the world being locked in eternal battle. Because the Sabre was supposed to disappear, right? That’s what they told us, anyway. But then we looked more closely at it, and it had that prophesy engraved on it. It said someone would always wield one Sword, and someone else would wield the other. So Anders just let go of the Hero’s Sword, because, I mean, it made sense at the time. Mess up the cycle, right?

“Then the Sabre just JUMPED into Anders’ hand. Mikael pried it out, but then his eyes started glowing, and we realized the Sabre was choosing a new owner, like the Sword had chosen Anders. But you know Mikael, he might have been our self-proclaimed comic relief but he was still a demigod. He would have made a terrifying Ashen One. So Anders took the Sabre back, and when we tried to stop him, he said if we wanted to fight the easiest dark lord ever, that would be him. He was just a kid. He didn’t even really know how to use a sword. Then his eyes started glowing, and he said, in a very deep growly voice, that he would stay under the mountain until we could find a new owner for the Sword. He could promise us that much.”

The woman sat back, and unwrapped her hands from their stranglehold on her teacup. “I don’t know how much of the boy I knew is left in the Ashen One, but he’s kept his promise. And if he dies, someone worse will come. We have to find that Sword.”

It was the man in the coat’s turn to chuckle.

“What?”

“Before, you said I had to find the Sword. But just now, you said we had to find the Sword.”

“Well yeah, I suppose. Anders is the best dark lord we’ve ever had. And maybe the cycle isn’t eternal after all. But if some punk kid is going to march up to the city with Anders’ decapitated head like we did with the old Ashen One, it’ll be over my dead body.”

 

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