Guess what, everyone?
I finally finished my planning projects.
So guess what I just wrote up?
It was cold that night, she thought to herself. The wavering fire in the hearth cast a pale, dying glow. Wearily, it stretched across the dark house, trying desperately to bring life and warmth. But this home, much like the fire, had lost its spark long ago. Outside, the world was silent. Inside, even the shadows were muted.
A single small form lay curled up on a mattress of thick, plush rugs. One little head buried deep beneath a pile of blankets, shivering in the night.
“Come here, Jaranin,” Naomi finally whispered. Her chair and her body creaked as she rose, drawing her seat closer to the hearth.
Immediately, the little face peeked out from the blankets. So he had been awake. Just as she’d thought. His large, brown eyes were wide and sad.
Even he could feel it. The poor, sweet babe. No more than three, yet facing this…
The child slipped out from beneath his covers. His bare feet tapped softly on the wood plank floor. He clambered up onto her lap. Then he gratefully snuggled close to her body.
She wrapped her arms around him, stroking his soft, tousled brown hair. “Shh… shh, child.”
Naomi rocked him gently. She began a sing-song whisper, “Once upon a time…”
Once upon a time, there was a very brave man. His name was Lexirous.
He lived in a city far, far away. It was a city with marble walls, white and smooth, and it glistened in the moonlight every night. But the city’s people did wicked things. All except the brave man, Lexirous.
Lexirous was wise as well as brave. He knew that the wicked deeds of his city would not go unpunished. He warned the people, saying that a great evil would come to destroy the city.
But Lexirous did not want the city to be destroyed. So he forged a sword—a powerful sword—a blade that would defeat any enemy.
He called it the Victor’s Blade.
“Naomi?” came the feeble, hoarse voice of a woman from the adjoining room.
Naomi quickly set Jaranin down onto the floor, then hobbled toward the half-open door of the bedroom.
The patient attempted to call out again, “Na—” but the name was choked off by a violent, wracking cough.
“I’m coming, dear. I’m coming.”
Jaranin sat on the floor for a bit. He watched the half-open door. All he could do was sit and watch. He wasn’t allowed in the room any more to see Mama. Naomi said it was because she was ill. He didn’t know what ill was, but Mama sounded sad. Naomi sounded sad. It made him sad, too.
Jaranin toddled back over to his bed. He grabbed a blanket in a big fist. Then he dragged it over to the fire. He was cold.
He pulled the blanket over his head and sat right in front of the fire. The fire was pretty like this, but also sad. It wasn’t jumping up and happy like when it was very, very hot. Now it was sitting, like him. And it was quiet. It wasn’t popping and crackling.
He heard Naomi and Mama talking, but they were too quiet, so he couldn’t understand what they were saying.
He was sad Naomi couldn’t finish her story tonight again, but that was okay. He remembered the rest. He liked this story very much.
“An’ just like Lyexirus said, evil came to tha city…”
Many years passed. And, just as Lexirous had said, a great evil came to the city.
No one could defeat the evil, no matter how hard they tried. Swords could not pierce him. Shields shattered when he touched them. No weapon could harm him.
But then, Lexirous left the city gates to fight. The Victor’s Blade was in his hand.
The evil recognized the blade, for he had seen it in a vision. He asked Lexirous what he planned to do with the blade.
“I am the protector and rescuer of this world. I was chosen to fight you. I have forged the blade of your bane. My purpose is blessed. And now I will end you forever.
“For only by my blood will the Dark be slain…”
Jaranin rocked back and forth on his heels. He watched the last little coal in the fire. It used to be orange. Now it was red. And soon it would be black.
The house was cold and quiet.
Jaranin looked back at the door to Mama’s room one more time. Naomi had closed the door now. Naomi didn’t usually close the door.
Mama had been in bed for a very long time. Naomi said it had been many, many months.
He wondered when Mama would be able to play with him again. He hoped soon.
She seemed very tired since she coughed so much… He would pray that she slept well tonight.
He looked back at the fire. The little coal had suddenly gotten very bright. It was pretty!
Then it went out. Now it was black, and there was no more light from the fire.
It was so quiet.
[Excerpt from The Victor’s Blade; all content subject to change.]