This story is another piece from the Silver Sword Saga continued from Forging which I posted here a few weeks ago.
The Silver Sword's Unworthy Wielder:
Let the praise of God be on their lips and a two-edged sword in their hand, to deal out vengeance to the nations and punishment on all the peoples.
Psalm 149: 6-7
Great wailing songs rang across the Emerald Mountains, echoing back from their rocky peaks. The elderly chieftain of the Rovin people had died leaving his fiery son Silvanus to lead the clan. Silvanus commanded that the clan observe three days of mourning in honor of their dead leader. The funeral ceremony came to an end as a few members of the clan placed small gifts on the burial mound and recited a prayer that the Lord of Light would take the soul of the chieftain to His kingdom. As the sun dipped behind the peaks, casting the mountainside into shadow, the Rovin people returned to their huts where stories of the old chieftain would be told late into the night.
Silvanus returned to the large hut of the chieftain. There he wrapped himself in furs and sat up late welcoming the members of the clan who came to offer condolences for the death of his father and assure him of their family's loyalty to him. As one such group of well-wishers moved exited the hut, Silvanus noticed the dwarf Balamus standing in the shadows near the door.
"Ah, my old friend. I suppose you've come to offer sypathy from the dwarves," said Silvanous rubbing a hand over his tired eyes.
“And to tell say that I believe he left the clan in good hands,” Balamus replied stepping forward and placing a large cloth wrapped bundle on the ground near Silvanus’ feet. “You have the strength of the mountains and you have always been open to learning the secrets of metal. I have no doubt that you will lead your people to great things. I have brought you a gift to help you lead and protect your people.” He gestured at the bundle before walking to the door of the hut. Over his shoulder he called, “Use it wisely. Its purpose is protection and justice. May the Lord of Light bless you and your clan.”
Curious, Silvanus leaded forward, picked up the bundle and pulled away the cloth. Resting on the roughly woven cloth lay a gleaming yet simple looking broadsword. Silvanus grasped the hilt and stood, leaving sword’s wrappings on the floor of the hut. He swung the Silver Sword through the air experimentally. A sudden flow of energy sang through his body radiating from the sword. Feeling exhilarated by this sudden rush of power, Silvanus grasped the sword in both hands and brought it down on a metal pitcher resting on a nearby table. As the blade struck it the pitcher split in half, the pieces clattering to the floor as the Silver Sword buried itself in the wood of the table. With an effort, Silvanus pulled the sword out of the table and examined it with gleaming blue eyes. The dwarves had given the Rovin people many gifts in the time the clan had spent with them but this gift topped them all. This sword would make the Rovin clan invincible.
About a month later the dwarves watched from perches on the jagged rocks of the peaks as the Rovin people broke camp and wound their way down thin paths towards the yellowish green plains far below the mountains. Once the period of mourning for his father passed, Silvanus had announced his intention to move the clan back to the plains where they had come from three years ago.
“Our time spent with the dwarves has been time well spent but it is time that we returned to the lands of humans,” said Silvanus. “Thanks to the dwarves we know how to make weapons and armor of metal so we do not need to fear other clans. We are brave, fierce warriors and the plains are our lands. Let us take our place in them.”
Preparations for the move to the plains had begun immediately but Silvanus would not allow the clan to leave the mountains until everyone of his warriors was equipped with weapons and armor of hard metals. Once all was ready Silvanus led his people out of the Emeralds with the Silver Sword hanging from a sheath on his belt.
As warriors bringing up the end of the procession rounded a jutting tower of stone, a group of about five dwarves approached Balamus. The old dwarf stood apart from his comrades staring after the vanishing figures of the humans.
“We saw what the young chieftain was carrying,” snapped the lead dwarf, without preamble. “How dare you give him the blest silver without speaking to us about it first?”
Balamus bent his neck and hunched up his shoulders as though to protect himself from a cold wind.
“The Lord of Light brought these humans to us so we could teach and protect them,” Balamus said at last. “I thought it would be only right to give them a chance to protect and care for themselves. I think the blest metal was meant to go to humans.”
“Even if that is true I think you picked the wrong human to trust with that sword,” said the spokes-dwarf. The other dwarves scowled at Balamus making it clear they agreed. “All that boy wants is to bring down every clan who has ever attacked his people! He made that clear by the way he fitted out all his warriors.”
“Silvanus is strong and clever,” Balamus replied. “He will make a great leader to his people and wield the sword well for their sake, you will see.”
“I certainly hope you’re right,” the spokes-dwarf sighed. “Because if you’re wrong I fear all Irowasa will pay for your mistake.”
The deadly Rovin warriors swept across the plains shining like stars fallen on the face of the earth. They were like an unstoppable wall of fire, scorching everything in their way. They burned a path through the plains, leaving rival warriors dead in their wake and taking the unprotected clans prisoner. In all the camps on the plains frightening stories were told of the shining warriors. Their leader, it was said, carried a sword as white as the moon which could fell the mightiest warrior with a single touch. Even when enemies of the Rovin clan discovered the secrets of metal armor and spread the knowledge to the other clans no weapon was a match for the Silver Sword.
My warriors are the most feared on all Irowasa and I intend to keep it that way, thought Silvanus as he stared at the bruised woman bound and kneeling before him.Strands of dirty brown hair hung over her face. She from a darker plains clan, Silvanus mused.
Out loud he said, “So you’re the rogue who told my enemies the secrets of metal. I must say I was very displeased when I learned that other clans had weapons to match those of my own warriors. I’ll admit I never expected a woman from a captured clan to attempt to be my undoing. I shall have to watch my prisoners more carefully.”
The woman spit at his foot in response earning her a slap from one of the warriors standing guard.Silvanus drew his sword and took a step closer to her.
“No weapon is a match for the Silver Sword,” he told her. “I still have the upper hand.”
He nodded to one of his warriors who stepped forward to hold the woman in place. Silvanus lowered the sword toward her neck. The woman’s nostrils flared and she stiffened but made no effort to struggle.
“In the end all the people of the plains will subject themselves to the Rovin clan or be killed,” he added when the blade was an inch from her skin.
Without warning the Silver Sword shot backward, clipping Silvanus’ right cheek. Silvanus cursed and pressed his left hand to his face.
Seeing his warriors staring at him in surprise he ordered, “Kill the filthy spy!”
As his men moved to obey his order he lifted the Silver Sword and regarded it. The sword was getting stronger and it no longer seemed to want to answer to him. That worried him.
“Have you heard of the latest atrocities committed by your precious chieftain?” asked an angry looking red faced dwarf.
Balamus took a deep breath and let it out very slowly.
“What do you want me to say?” he asked in a weary voice. “You were right. I made a terrible mistake.”
“Well at least you admit it,” snorted the other dwarf. “I was half afraid you’d try to defend his evil actions.”
Balamus shuddered. He had never guessed Silvanus could be so ruthless but the news brought by fairies and dragons flying over the plains left no room for doubt.
“We want you to fix this mess,” said the other dwarf. “After all, you’re the one who started it. Now it’s up to you to end it.”
That was how Balamus ended up at the edge of the camp of the Rovin people one moonless spring night.He crouched low to the ground as he slipped past the pacing figures of the guards patrolling the edge of the campsite. Once Balamus tripped on a patch of loose gravel causing a nearby warrior to pause and cock his head, listening. Balamus froze and held his breath. After a few long seconds the warrior decided the noise must have come from an animal and went back to his patrol. Balamus resumed breathing as he crawled deeper into the camp.
At last he reached Silvanus’ tent which lay in the center of the camp. Seeing yet another guard standing at the entrance, Balamus slipped around the side of the tent, drew a knife and cut through the tough fabric. He smiled at how easily the knife tore through the cloth. The dwarves hadn’t taught the humans all their secrets. Dwarf knives were still much sharper than any the humans carried. Balamus slid through the hole, into the interior of Silvanus’ private areas and immediately saw the Silver Sword lying in its sheath beside Silvanus’ sleeping form.
With his heart beating fast the dwarf reached out and grasped the sword, sliding it under his cloak. He glanced at Silvanus but the chieftain remained fast asleep. Perhaps the other dwarves would want him to kill Silvanus, but Balamus knew he could never do it. Deep down he was sure that the loss of the Silver Sword would be a harder blow for the Rovin people than even the death of Silvanus would be.
Moving like a shadow, Balamus exited the tent and stole toward the edge of camp. Just as Balamus moved onto the open plains an angry wail rang out behind him followed by Silvanus’ voice crying, “A thief has been here. Find him and bring him to me!”
I’m sorry my old friend, Balamus thought. He ran southwest as Rovin warriors thundered after him on horseback.
A few days later Balamus found himself standing beneath the deep green canopy of the forest the fairies had claimed as their kingdom. There he related the tale of the Silver Sword to the fairy queen, a tall woman with white-blond hair, large gauzy wings and intense blue eyes.
“I think it would be best if you kept the sword for now, just until you find a human worthy to wield it,” Balamus concluded.
“Why me?” asked the fairy queen. “Why not have your own people keep it?”
“You are much wiser than I and I have already made the mistake of giving it to the wrong person once,” Balamus explained. “I wouldn’t want to risk it happening again. Besides, your people are the guardians of all Irowasa, it seems only right that you should guard its most powerful weapon as well.”
The fairy queen nodded and held out her hands to take the sword. Balamus smiled in relief as he handed it over.
The Rovin people became rulers of the north-eastern plains of Irowasa, an area which was later named Rovinien in honor of the ruling clan. They were, however, unable to take control of the sea coast from the clans living there. Eventually a great city was built in Rovinien which became its capital. The city was named Silivar and there is a legend that it was so named in honor of a magical sword whose existence is still in question.
The fairies, meanwhile, kept the Silver Sword hidden in the heart of their forest kingdom waiting for a time when a worthy hero would arise to claim it.
Silver Sword Saga continued in Swan Warrior Part 1.