The God-Touched Blade

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The God-Touched Blade

Post by Circe on Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:12 am

The God-Touched Blade
(1814 words)

His sword was shattered. The hilt he tossed away once the barricade was secure against the crypt's ancient door. The sword in his hand he had salvaged from the effigy guarding the tomb in the center of the crypt. Hefting it a few times, he found its balance to be uncanny, and though his mind was occupied with thoughts of surviving an onslaught of undead warriors now howling against the door, a part of his mind couldn't help but take a moment to appreciate his good fortune. Maybe this wasn't the worst birthday he'd ever had after all. He'd even managed to stumble upon an ancestor's tomb, so it was almost like celebrating with family. Almost.

As he faced the door, readying his stance for the inevitable, the sound of stone grating against stone rose up behind him. Turning with a fright, he gave a cry of startled fury.

“My own family?! Curse you, demon, manipulating my own kin!”

Coughing and beating the dust from his chest, the long dead corpse of his ancestor turned to face him.

“You watch who you're calling a demon, boy. I've got some fight in me yet.”

The castigatory tone gave him pause, and as the panic gnawing his mind relented enough to let him think, a question tumbled from his lips. “Grandfather?”

“Well, great-great-great-um . . . great- . . . how many now? No matter, no matter,” the old man said, wiggling his fingers in the air in a motion that looked dismissive before climbing out of his tomb. “Grandfather will do. And how are you, Kale?”

Kale's brow furrowed in a complex combination of concern for his sanity, and concern for his life. “To be honest, I'm a bit confused.” Before he could say anything more, the bodies of the dead hurled themselves against the sturdy door with renewed vigor as if enraged by the reunion within the crypt's moldering center.

“Only to be expected,” the old man said. “By Ciah! What have they buried me in?! Where's my armor?”

“Your armor?”

“Yes, my armor! I would have given it to you, you know.”

Kale's lips pulled together tightly as he couldn't help but picture what state any armor would be in after so long in a tomb. To his ancestor, he said “I can't tell you how comforting it is to think about wearing armor you decayed in.”

“Ah, humor. Good. Your father did well in that much, at least.”

“I'm really not sure what that –,”

“Rhune's balls! What in the name of Thenoë is this?!” The old man fingered the coat about his shoulders with mingled horror and disdain. “And where is my pipe?” He demanded, patting himself down.

“Grandfather, I –,” The crypt's door shook violently on its hinges, causing the make-shift barricade to scrape against the floor.

“Hm, no pockets. That's inconven—Wait! Where are my pants?!”

“Grandfather, I really think we should –,” Unearthly howls filled the air, setting Kale's teeth on edge as his ancestor continued to fuss with his attire.

“What is that awful racket outside?” The old man turned to glare at the door as though it was the offender, both interrupting his thoughts and in possession of his pants.

“That's what I'm trying to talk to you about, grandfather. There happen to be a dozen or so corpses out there who seem quite intent on killing me.”

“Oh, that . . . .” he muttered, pausing a moment as he inspected a hole in his outer robe. “Indecent.”

“Well, yes, I can't imagine there's much decent about being pulled from the grave to hunt someone down.”

“No, no, no, boy! Haven't you listened to a word I've said? I've got no pants, boy! No pants!!”

“As disquieting as that thought is, and I mean that, is there any way we can stay on the subject of the wraiths and maybe even prevent them from killing me?”

“Right you are, my boy, and kill you they shall not!” The old man's watery gaze fell on the sword in Kale's hand, and a glow seemed to rise from within them. “I see you found the sword! Good, good. Did your father ever teach you any of those old rune hymns?”

“I . . . rune hymns? Those little lullaby rhymes? What do they have to do with me not dying? Which, I might remind you, is kind of my favorite part of living, so I would like to avoid death tonight if at all possible.” Kale was increasingly unsure it was possible, especially when his ancestor suddenly looked as though his eyes were going to fly right out of his head. Though he looked as healthy as any man pushing a hundred seventy years should – a far cry healthier than one who had been dead for nearly a thousand should–, Kale could swear his face was turning blue as he suffered what could only be called “a fit”.

With a strangled, inarticulate shout, the old man finally managed to find words to hurl at Kale. “Everything, you cow-brained son of a drakinae dropping! How do you think that sword works?” He flailed and stamped in place before glaring an icy glare that somehow seemed to pierce Kale to the core.

Lifting the sword, Kale glanced at it before giving his ancestor a strange look. “I had assumed that if I swung it at things, it might cut them enough to make them stop moving . . .”

“And don't you feel like a fool now!” The old man scoffed, his rage suddenly gone.

“What—Why?”

“The runes, boy. Stop dithering about and concentrate. This is important! Look at the runes!”

Kale's brow furrowed again before he gave the sword another looking over. Turning it this way and that, the wan light from the crypt's high windows caught in a set of shallow etchings that ran the length of the blade.

“Runes of the gods, you know. 'God touched', they call it. Well 'Airan eliSunya' they call it, but I'll be eaten by blood spores before I let those imaen snow fleas know I said it their way!” He shook his withered fist at the sky before jabbing Kale in the ribs with a finger that felt like it must be made of stone. “There's one for each of them,” his ancestor continued, as if never side-tracked. “Fourteen runes in all. Which hymns do you recall?”

Rubbing the site of what would surely become an impressive bruise, Kale started to protest. “I still don't see what –,”

“Which ones?!” He repeated with a muttered “thick as a mule in a panic,” for good measure.

“Earth and Life,” Kale said at last, rolling his shoulders in defeat.

“Ah! Good elements, good elements. Strong Westingdale elements, for those who care to know.”

“Are they my elements?”

“Guess they'll have to be now.”

“Have to be? What happens if they're not?”

“It'll suck the soul right out of your body and send you into the dark underworld to dance as Rhune's puppet for all eternity.”

Kale felt as though he'd been struck by lightning, and it showed.

“Oh lighten up, my boy!” The old man laughed an insolent laugh. “Nothing will happen. They just won't be your strongest elements is all. Besides, I wasn't lying when I said they were strong Westingdale elements.” He tapped the side of his nose with one finger before extending it to look it over as if he had no idea what it had been doing there in the first place.

“Not that scaring the Light out of me wasn't amusing, Grandfather –,”

“And it was.”

“But how close are we to ensuring my immediate survival?”

“Patience, my boy. You can't rush the learning process.”

“A dozen or so reanimated corpses inspire me to wish otherwise.”

“Speaking of wishes, I wish I had some pants. The draft in here is enough to . . . . Well, it's enough to . . . you know, I'm not sure what it's enough to do, but it's something meaningful and ironic, I assure you.”

“Is there a point at which you tell me what I'm supposed to do before those creatures out there eat my face off?”

“Didn't I already say something about patience?”

“And pants.”

“Oh, have you seen them?” The old man glanced around hopefully before realizing his folly. “Oh, you meant . . . never mind then. Sing now.”

Kale stared as a realization finally dawned on him, sealing the dread that had been growing in the pit of his stomach. “You're insane, aren't you.”

“I've always preferred 'eccentric', but yes. You could say that.”

“I'm in a mausoleum waiting to be eaten by a small horde of reanimated corpses with the also reanimated corpse of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, who happens to be insane.”

“Great.”

“No it isn't.”

“No, I mean you missed a great before grandfather. There are six of them. And why aren't you singing yet?”

“Why should I be singing?!” Kale finally exploded, the stress and fear of dying only exacerbated by the sheer confusion and irritation of trying to figure out whether letting the undead eat him alive would be less painful than trying to force sense out of his ancestor's addled ramblings.

“You brainless son of a liggon berry.”

“I –what?”

“You have to sing the rune's song before you can use its power. For a man who can't stop fussing about his imminent demise you sure aren't showing a lot of that survival instinct.”

“I have to . . . the rune hymns? And then there's magic??”

“I never thought of putting it that way before. I'll have to write that down. Now then, where's my pen?” The old man gave himself another pat down before shouting. “Blast! Rhune take you, whoever stole my pants!!”

“I'm sure if you were buried with them, whoever took them is already dead.”

“And serves them right! No-good pants-thieves. Well, get on with it boy! I don't need your body in here crowding up my eternal rest. Now go!”

With a twitch of ire, Kale turned his back on the lunatic, and took a deep, cleansing breath to clear his mind. The tune he had been told was that of Light came first to mind, and as he began to hum in his soft tenor voice, a rune on the blade began to glow.

(All characters, concepts, and stories are the property of Circe von Briel)
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Circe
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Join date : 2012-02-28
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Posts : 14
Age : 33
Location : Pacific Northwest


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