[When I completed the circle for the third, the sword and stone] . . .. . . began to sing to each other. Sword pulled at my hands, so I plunged him into the ground facing his runish stone.
A wondrous sound in this silent world. Tonal call and response between the half-finished runelets circling Sword just below the hilt, and the ancient runish stone, carvings more visible to the touch than to the eye.
I stepped back, stretched out on the ground, using my arms as a pillow to rest my head against a large rock. Perhaps it was the hypnotic rhythm of the intertwined voices, or an enchantment in the river. I did not realize I had slept until I opened my eyes to what passed as day-light.
Sword was by my side, glinting like the day my Great-Grandfather took his first swings with him at the forge. The corresponding runish stone’s runelets so clear, the master carver had just left with his tools (lovingly carried in a dark leather roll).
Sword hummed a quieter version of last night’s song cycle. I picked him up, and sliced through the air, his weight more substantial and yet more ephemeral. It was then I noticed that the runelets on Sword were now complete. Looking at the stone, the missing halves were now carefully carved.
The second stone remained forlorn; dull, imperceptible runelets. Sword’s scabbard matched: burial dirt; tarnished metal; dents and scratches. Redemption only for two.
I assumed this had been Sword’s quest: to be made whole. Had Great-Grandfather, in haste for quest or battle, scooped up the sword before the runelets were finished? Or, was there a purpose for two sets of markings that completed each other through song?
Recovery from a mortal wound was my Great-Grandfather’s gift to me. Sword’s gift, a quest. What gift had I given? Providing legs for the journey? I hoped it was a more integral, special role.
Sighing, I placed bright Sword in dull scabbard, pushed them into the cord sword belt I had fashioned, and wondered what next. Still a quest to the fine green line on the southern horizon, or had destiny changed?
I waited for a sign from Sword. The still, suffocating air suddenly vibrated again. The runish stone sang a bittersweet tone. A song of death and rebirth. At it’s base was a tiny green shoot. Life in a world of death. To the south it was then. A quest to continue. . . .
Written for MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Fairy Tale Friday #38, the Gift.
*These posts. taken together, do not form a traditional story cycle.