by Chris W
Very short fantasy story about a special sword. Written for The Writer's Cramp.
| In the end, it didn’t matter. Brand cleaned his brother’s sword, examining the fine blade for the perhaps the last time. His brother had acquired it from a travelling merchant years before, and it had been his prized possession up until his recent death. A fine blade indeed, but not fine enough, thought Brand. Not fine enough to bring Elton home from the front. It didn’t matter how sharp or balanced his blade had been, his brother would not return.|
“What are you going to do with that?” Brand’s sister Pedra looked up from her packing.
“Taking it to market with the all the rest,” Brand replied. He placed the sword unceremoniously back in its thick leather wrappings.
“Elton’s sword?” Mild disapproval and curiosity were apparent in her tone of voice.
“What else should I do with it? I’m not hanging it on the wall to remind of us of him, and storing a sword that neither one of us will ever use will do little good.”
“Just thought maybe you would keep it. The King’s army did bring it all the way back from the borderlands.”
Brand didn’t answer. He packed the sword in one of the crates bound for the market. Shaking his head, he decided he was finished packing for the evening. They wouldn’t be leaving until noon the next day, leaving enough time to pack any items he had missed.
Brand slept poorly. Dreams of his brother and that cursed sword. Elton had been self-absorbed and headstrong, and they had parted on bad terms. Brand was certain that his brother had cared far more for the sword than anyone or anything else. He had even named it. Warriors of legend named their swords, Brand had told him, not foolish foot soldiers.
He woke with a start. A feeling of dread washed over him, as if a grave danger were approaching. He rolled out of his bed, drawn inexplicably into the front room, near the packed crates. The urge to draw his dead brother’s sword from its crate was irresistible. As he unfolded the leather, he could feel the sword pulsing with energy. What had Elton named it? Keeper? Watcher? Something like that. Brand lifted the sword. He could feel its power, and he felt its warning. Something bad was coming.
Sentinel. That was its name.
The door to Brand’s modest house burst open. From the black of night three men strode in, all masked. The moment seemed to freeze in time for Brand, who stood there, mouth gaping in surprise.
“Put down the sword and kick it over, boy.”
Brand looked at the sword in his hand, somewhat surprised to see it there. He was far from a swordsman. He had planned on selling it at the next day’s market, but now… now he wanted to learn a bit more about his brother. The sword was his only link.
“I’m not telling you again, fool. Put it down.”
Brand quickly weighed his options. The sword was magical. It had to be. Three thieves, one magic sword. The math was simple. Brand set his feet and stared hard at the intruders, a challenge.
The lead masked man shrugged slightly. In the blink of an eye he was on Brand, pressing an attack. Sentinel flashed in response.
It was over in seconds.
Brand lay on the floor, staring blankly at his ceiling. The masked attacker knelt next to him, his cold eyes looking down at Brand. The fallen man could faintly hear Pedra scream.
“The sword probably let you know we were coming, didn’t it?” The thief winked, retrieving Sentinel.
In the end, it didn’t matter.