Sword of Eternal Peace Chapter 1- Hunger
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
"Sword of Eternal Peace"
Chapter 1: Hunger
Narena wiped the sweat from her brow before it could drip into the vat and taint her tears. It took far too much pain and trauma to acquire them, and the Demorik warned her any impurity would destroy the effect. She wept for weeks over the lives of every man, woman, and child, that monster Breln took from her village. Every name recited, every atrocity recalled, all so she could open the gates of her grief to fill the vessel.
The bloodletting was the worst part of the preparation and required a much larger container. The process left her arms a measuring board of scabs and oozing lacerations. Even after three days, the cuts still burned from the salve the Demorik instructed her to use to prevent clotting. Despite the trial of the acquisition, Narena faced it all bravely.
Her entire plan began with bravery when she climbed down into the dead wizard's dungeon to speak with the very creature the prison was built for. They called it a Demorik. She called it a chance for survival, no matter how horrifying it might be. Nothing Narena would ever see could be as awful as the death she’d faced recently, brutal unpreventable death. So she did what no one else left alive in Paroma could do, seek help from a demon.
“Never trust the Demorik,” old Grunkel used to warn. “It will promise you magical gifts, but every gift takes a hefty price.”
Narena remembered the aghast look on his wrinkled face when she asked, "Do you get the gift still? If you pay the price?" She was young then, likely thinking about asking for a unicorn or some other nonsense, but he took her question seriously anyway.
"By the time you pay the price, you won't want it anymore." Grunkel was dead now, so his wisdom couldn’t have been that remarkable. He was just one more of Breln’s victims for Narena to shed tears over. Grunkel was right about one thing, however. The Demorik's price was steep.
“The cost must be equal to the ask,” the demon had insisted, its voice like the rasping of a serpent’s scales. It never showed itself to her, choosing instead to skulk elusively in the shadows of that bizarre rune bound prison chamber. “If you wish a gift from the Demorik, you must earn my blessing. You must be willing to give of yourself."
It took Narena every ounce of courage to tell it what she wanted, a weapon capable of killing a god. It laughed. The Demorik cackled at her request for several minutes before it answered. “Even puny pretend gods take power to kill. Are you willing to offer such power to craft this weapon?”
Narena thought she was and told the thing so. Then it began to whisper instructions for the forging of her god killing blade. It was the first time her confidence faltered in her quest. Each step seemed more horrific than the last, each increasingly more impossible. But somehow she did it.
She cried her tears and bled herself dry to fulfill the requirements. The tears would have fallen anyway, but the pain of forcing so many so fast left her emotionally hollowed out. Narena’s eyes felt dry and ached. Her wounds still wept in scarlet beads. The muscles in her arms trembled from the repeated concussion of the hammer as she forged a weapon untouched by any other. Her hunger for Breln’s death grew with every act.
Tears quenched the gleaming length first. The grief which made them was an outpouring of her soul, and all that pain frothed and bubbled violently around the cooling metal infusing it. A ghostly haze gathered in the steam, her boiling tears emitted. Memories of other sadness welled up unbidden to play out in misty visions within the vapors.
Narena wiped her eyes habitually, but there was no moisture left to dampen them. No matter what tragedies danced in the hellish lights of the smithy, she had no more tears to shed. When she drove the blade back into the heat, the flames enveloped it hungrily licking at the salt left behind. The fire fed upon her sorrow turning a deep shade of red. It was the sign the metal hungered at last.
"When the blade makes even flames bleed, you must quench its thirst with your offering." The Demorik’s words seemed to float in the air amidst the haunting visions of childhood heartache.
The blade flared an angry red as Narena drew it from the furnace, like no other metal she’d seen worked by her blacksmith husband. There was more than heat and alloys at play. The sword felt alive in her hands, dancing with an eager tug towards the vat as she tempered it in her blood.
The metal sighed as it was plunged in, the fury of the heated blade suddenly quenched in a hissing rush. The sticky red liquid did more than cool the metal; it fed the hunger in the sword. When Narena drew it from the vat, not a single speck of scarlet remained. The god-killer drank to the last drop.
It gleamed unnaturally in the light of the forge, unlike any weapon ever crafted in that place, perhaps anywhere. It was more than just a weapon; it was, in some ways, an entity. It was given a purpose, one single driving force, to kill, and the blade radiated that need like an aura.
Narena wasn’t’ sure who named it thus: an echo in her thoughts, the Demorik calling from its prison, or the ravenous fury imbuing the sword. Perhaps it was all of them. There was little chance of denying its nature; it hummed through the hilt and up her arm.
"Hunger," the weapon whispered.
Continued in Chapter 2- The Price of Peace (Link Below)
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