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The Sword

Delzie Leigh

       He ran as fast as those stumpy legs would carry him, Jerim kept going, running from the onslaught of feet closing in behind him, swerving this way and that, trying despairingly to outrun those hounds behind him. They were closing in from the sides as well. Those hounds were unlike any thing he had ever seen. Why they were chasing him? Seeing two ways to go, he chose the steep path in hopes that the things would not follow him, He scrambled trying to reach the top, where if he had to he could make a stand for his life. The top it opened into a clearing with a single tree standing toward the back, and brush on every side thick enough to hide anything. He couldn't hear the hounds, he dropped to the ground. Maybe they can't pick up my scent up here, he thought to himself, as he looked down the thick brush-covered mountain side.

      "Why in the world did I leave my knife behind with the horse." he said to himself.      "Because if you had stayed there, you would have been killed." someone said behind him.      Whipping his head around to where the voice came from, he couldn't see anyone, except a large brown tree. Jerim thought he must be losing it, trees don't talk. He started to turn back around when he thought he caught something moving in the corner of his now blood shot eye. When he turned back to where he had been looking he saw a tall brown haired woman, at least taller than he was, that wasn't there before, or was she, he couldn't even think straight anymore let alone see straight.

     "Hello my name is Tresa Strakand, I have been watching you for some time while you ran from the hounds." she said to him in a voice that sent shivers down his back.

     "My name is Jerim. Why didn't you help me if you saw them chasing me?" he belted back at her.

     "I know who you are Jerim and I am the one that sent them after you in hopes that they would chase you to me, and they did." Now he noticed why he had not seen her the first time, it was because she was wearing a cloak that resembled the surface of the rough tree behind her.

     "Why did you have them chase me to you? What could you possibly want with a blacksmith?" he asked her with his black eyes trying to bore through her sky blue eyes.

     "You are important to me, I have to have you do something for me. Will you do it?"

     " I don't know what it is, so why would I want to do it?" Jerim snapped back at her. He couldn't help but think this woman was insane.

     "If you don't, I guess I could release my hounds on you again, you remember the ones right behind you." as she pointed with her long slender finger.

     Afraid to look, Jerim slowly turned his head to see a dog's head as big as an anvil with flames dancing where eyes should have been.

     "What are these things any way, and how did you come to acquire them?"

     "That is not important. What I need is for you to do is go to the Dwarves Cave and bring me back a sword that is made of gold and has a ruby encrusted scabbard. Can you do that for me Jerim?"

     "Yes, but what is in it for me?" Jerim asked slowly in a sly kind of way. "And why do you need me to go get it anyway?"

      "I need you to go get the sword because no one but your ancestry can take it from its resting place in the Dwarves Cave. It contains a power which I wish to posses, so that I can destroy those that killed my father. It was your ancestry that built the sword for a wizard and are the only ones that can take the sword from the cave. Everyone has died trying to get the sword, and I can give you that same option now if you don't do as I ask. Now, will you get the sword for me?"

     Jerim couldn't help but stand there dumb founded staring at her strikingly beautiful face and at what she had just said, "Why would I want to give it to you if it truly contains the power that you say it does? I could benefit greatly if I kept it for myself."

     "That you could, but it will probably destroy you if you try to use the power inside it, you don't even know how to access the power it contains, so therefore, the sword would be useless to you."

     With hearing it put that way, Jerim thought that it would be a good idea to take his chances with the sword rather than stand here and have this stubborn woman kill him for not doing as she asked.

     "I will agree to go to the Cave, but I need to know if I make it," if I make it... what the hell am I thinking. I am going to die, he thought to himself, "that you will not decide to use the sword on me. " he told her in a deep voice.

     So, he left to find the Dwarves Cave, but he didn't know where in the world the cave was. All she had told him was to follow his instincts and he would be led to a cave where only a blacksmith can enter. He walked for what seemed like days, searching everywhere in the thickly forested countryside. Finally one day, he found a cave in the west, just as the horizon was being painted by the setting sun. When he went in it was dark, so he took a torch, that he had, so that he could light the cave. Jerim walked throughout the cave and when he found nothing, turned around to leave but could not leave. Where he had just come from was sealed. There was no way he was going to get out.

     "What is going on? There was a path here a second ago. Where did it go?" he said out loud in a baffled voice. Then it was like the cave came to life and he could hear in the distance a clamor of metal hitting metal, like in his forge back home. He kept walking and the cave abruptly expanded revealing a huge forge, with lots of little men working. In the middle of the room he saw a statue of a knight holding a sword in his hands that gleamed as brightly as the mid day sun. At its stone belt he also saw the ruby scabbard.

      "That has to be it! Now how do I get it and then how do I get it out of here?" he whispered to himself. As he walked in revealing himself to the Dwarves, they stopped to see who the stranger was. He was wearing a leather vest, and big brown baggy pants with boots pulled up over the bottoms. He was young yet, but the years at the forge had built a large frame on him.      One of the Dwarves came over to him and asked, "What can we do you for you stranger?" in a slurred voice.

      "I need a sword, and was told that you could help me. Is it true?"

     "It might be, but what kind of sword are you looking for, and what do you want it for?" he retorted. Not wanting to lie to the little man, because they were both in the same trade, he told him.

     "That one." pointing right past the man to the sword that the statue clutched in its hands at the center of the yellow rocked cave.

      "That one," the little man laughed, "if you think that you can take it from the statue, and you do then it is yours, but I must warn you no one has been able to take it, and if you don't then you will die at the hands of it." The man thought that absurd and walked straight toward the sword. Jerim climbed up on the rock platform where the statue sat while everyone gathered around to watch. The statue stood in the middle of the rock. Now he could see that the blade was inlaid with silver writing that he could not read, a script from a time long ago. Taking both hands and placing them on the sword as if he were going to tear a tree from the ground, he pulled up on the sword with all his might. It slipped out of the statue's hands a little bit, and then a chill ran through his body bringing a sense of fear to him. The statue seemed to come to life, or at least it looked that way. He kept pulling, and the statue knocked him down of the platform. As it did the Dwarves eyes looked as if they were going to pop out, all of them runnning and hiding behind their billows. A greater sense of fear spread through his body, and the desire to quit, right before the sword hit to the left side of his head, that was covered in brown shaggy curls. He rolled and came up to his feet, searching everywhere with his eyes, desperately trying to find something to protect himself with. When he saw a hammer laying on the ground near by, he jumped toward it, and saw another slash of the sword land where he had been. The statue was a deep gray and looked like a knight from long ago. It didn't look human at all. Jerim grabbed the hammer and swung it as he sidestepped the next blow that was sent at him. He caught the statue in the leg, but it didn't seem to phase the thing. Jerim took another swing with the hammer as the statue lunged at him, slamming it in the head before it had a chance to bring the sword through. He watched as the stone cracked under the pressure of the blow, and blood poured from inside the rock. Jerim wasn't sure what was going on now, his arms were getting tired and those little legs of his could never out run this thing. The statue stopped and dropped to its knees, and started to fall apart, crumbling, rejoining the earth that it was made of. As the statue broke, it drove the sword into the ground, in a desperate hope that is would not be taken from that spot, and fell completely apart. The hilt of the sword stood out of the ground, and Jerim stood there dazed, not sure what had just happened but he did realize that the thing was finally dead.

     Walking over to the sword he placed his hands on the hilt and pulled as hard as he could to free it from its new prison. The sword slipped out of the ground slowly, and finally came free with the blade burning bluish white instead of the gold it had been. As he started to lift the sword, a bolt shot from the end and the rock below him shattered, sending him flying through the air. He hit the ground and felt as if every bone were broken. As he got up, he realized that the sword in his hands was pulsating with life, then it turned to gold again. He looked at the Dwarves who were all picking themselves up of the ground, and walked toward the one he talked to in the first place.

     Jerim looked down at him, "Had everyone else died at the hands of the statue that came in search of it?" he asked with a sad voice.

     "No. That is the first time any of us have seen that happen. It was you who the sword waited for to destroy one of the best swordsmen I have ever seen in my life time, so it must be you who leads us from the forges and become our king once again." the man said in a slightly surprised yet humble manner.

     "I don't want to be a king and I must leave. If you would be so kind can you please show me how to get out of here so I may finish what I started to do."and hopefully be left in peace he thought.

     Jerim started to walk past the Dwarves and heading back toward where he had come from. Where he couldn't get out before there was a hole, and light from outside poured through.

     Upon reaching Tresa a few days later, he looked at her and asked "Tresa, I have destroyed the one that killed your father, your father was one of the swordsmen that tried to take the sword."      "You are right, and that is the reason I sent you. I knew you were the only one who could defeat the statue and obtain the sword, and I want it for the power it contains, and to see the thing that killed my father dead. You were my last hope and I thank you." she said as tears streamed down her face.

     "Then here. You answered what I was going to ask you." as he handed her the sword.

     "Actually, I wanted to kill the ones that built the sword, namely your ancestry, and since you are the last left then I will destroy you with it." she said as she brought the sword above her head to strick him down. The tears had quit and the rage could be seen in her eyes.

     When the sword was directly above her, Jerim opened up to the power he possessed, and that the sword did not, her eyes bulged and it seemed as though she could not breathe. Jerim watched and remembered what the old Dwarf had told him, and then released the power through the blade. As he did, Tresa burst on fire with white flames that came from the blade. She stood there with the sword above her head screaming an endless silent scream, right before the flames consumed her and she disappeared. As she did the sword fell into the ground from where she had been holding it up to the sky, point stuck in the earth once more.

     At seeing this he turned and walked away, knowing that the sword would never be found up on the mountain where the quest to find out what he was had begun. He thought that one day I may return to pull the sword again. As Jerim walked away, he knew that he had finally found the missing piece of his life, the power that now made him whole.
 

Acknowledgments

Thanks to all the people in my class, to the inspiration I receive from my favorite author Robert Jordan and to my friends Nips and Whizzer who helped me develop the story into what it is right now.



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