Great-Grandfather’s Sword

Rain sluiced blood into rivulets of muddy water. I turned up face upward, and struggled to get the rain to sluice blood off me. Cold rain woke me from battle fatigue and slumber. To my left side, a rivulet revealed an old, well-used scabbard. With all the energy I still possessed, I pulled it out of its muddy grave.

Hands much steadier than mine carved 9 runlets on both sides the case. Holding my breath, I pulled the sword from it’s casing. Metallically dull like the scabbard, half-finished runes twisting around the blade.

“I see you’ve found my sword,” said a strangely familiar voice to my right. “I have been wondering where I left it.” I turned slowly towards the source of the voice.”It’s a shame we had to wait so long to meet, and at a place such as this.” An old/young man leaned against an outcropping of blasted granite.

I intuitively knew, “Great-grandfather?” “Tis the very same,” he answered with a smile in his voice. “But . . .” I stammered. “I went on a Quest, and never returned,” he finished my thought.

“Are you real, or a shadow?” I asked, knowing what the answer must be. “What would you have me be?” A puzzler, a trickster, was it really even my great-grandfather?

Then I knew. “I am mortally wounded am I not?” “Yes.” The blood I was sluicing off was my own, not from the enemies in the heat of battle. “Had you really misplaced your sword?”

“Yes, which gives me an opportunity rarely granted in the game of life and death. You found something most precious to me that I lost on my Quest.” As he hefted the scabbard, the years of mud, and disuse washing away in the rain. He pulled out the sword. Against each drop of rain, it shone – crusts of lost and loneliness peeled away.

“This means you have a choice; an opportunity to choose your fate, as it were.”

So many ideas spilled over into my mind: mortal wounds do not heal; could there be more to my life than warring, pillaging and plundering; any unfulfilled quests; the sword was obviously magic – could I have use of it for a while. Did I really have a life to go back to?No family, few friends, no lovers – like the sword buried for many generations.

Great-grandfather, handsome and young one moment, old and wizened the next, answered my questions, although I had not spoken a word. “The sword has it’s own Quest, and when it’s ready, it will tell you.”

“Have you decided for me, then? That I am not to be a shadow but a Quester?” I asked. Great-grandfather walked around me three times.

“No, the sword has chosen. I have been unable to find it – it was not a trick by me that the rain loosened the soil. If you knew at what cost I have looked for it; and now I can pass it along to someone who understands the old ways and will adhere to them.”

I awoke. Cold. Wet. Pain in my chest. Bloodied clothes. A strange dream. Great-grand-father’s voice (or how I thought it should sound) echoed between rock outcroppings. Rain had stopped, and a wash of blue and yellow filled spaces in the sky.

Such a strange dream, I thought. I moved my right hand brushing up against something. It was a sword; one minute as if just forged by the smithy, the next as if it laid buried in the ground for generations.




15 thoughts on “Great-Grandfather’s Sword

  1. Pat December 2, 2014 / 6:02 pm

    Great job and fascinating tale – had me in and held fast from the start! Well done Phylor – and apologizes for reading and responding late.


    • phylor December 2, 2014 / 11:46 pm

      Thanks Pat! Worries about when you read and comment — as you know, I’m not the fastest in the world to do that!
      If you’re interested, the story continues, and I’m working on another post (from Friday’s fairy tale prompt) with the narrator and the sword.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pat December 7, 2014 / 2:25 am

        I’m so behind and really not up to much these days – but hopefully I will get to it – soon enough. Take care :)


  2. wendy November 29, 2014 / 12:37 pm

    Oh my gosh I love this. The writing is wonderful. the story…..I know you have written just a little more…but it must go on, if it is in you, please tell it.


    • phylor November 29, 2014 / 11:27 pm

      First off — thanks for the wonderful comment!
      1 is the loneliest # is the next installment.
      I think the sword will decide what happens after that! It does seem to want to go a-questing.


  3. summerstommy2 November 24, 2014 / 5:18 pm

    I love the mystery of this tale and that you have used the dream so well further intrigues me with the ending suggesting more than just a dream. Excellent writing Phylor.


    • phylor November 25, 2014 / 6:44 pm

      Thanks — When I started, I wasn’t sure it would be a dream, or . . . As MLM asked — what kind of quests does the sword have in mind? Ooops, I’ve created yet another couple of characters to define and sent on adventures, lol.


      • summerstommy2 November 25, 2014 / 6:48 pm

        Well I think that’s a great development, the mystery and challenge of determining where a potential story might go. It’s something we as writers do from time to time. Whether we pursue such potential is always the question, at least I find it so.


        • phylor November 25, 2014 / 6:51 pm

          You’re so right! Does a character than comes to mind in a wordle show up again in another genre? When a character, a line, a plot leap onto the page without any conscious discussion/consideration with me, then I really wonder whether this is something to purse or let “live” for the moment, then go on.


          • summerstommy2 November 25, 2014 / 6:55 pm

            I tend to let them live in the story. For me they often serve a purpose and then I want to move on. I think it’s my short attention span.


            • phylor November 26, 2014 / 11:33 pm

              Maybe not — some characters I’ve created have never been any where outside of my head, but their stories and life spans are eternally part of me. Others are “one post wonders” (that does sound egotistical!).


  4. phylor November 24, 2014 / 5:32 am

    Good question! I am curious, too!


  5. mindlovemisery November 24, 2014 / 2:17 am

    Brilliant story-telling I am curious to know what the sword’s quest is


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