Everywhere was dark, the only movement the gentle sway of tree branches in the soft night breeze. The young boy was unafraid, moving stealthily through the trees. Surrounded by the quiet hush of night, he searched for the warrior. He had followed him from the castle fortress and out into the Glades. They had come some distance and the warrior was on horseback. The boy had run through the trees, tracking the horse. He was well used to travelling this way. Most Gladesmen were brought up to move at fast speeds through the Glades on foot. He had been intrigued, wondering where the warrior could be going at this time of night and to tell the truth, he wanted a little adventure. He was a fair distance behind the warrior but eventually he caught sight of the horse, standing with down bent head and the reins loose. Puzzled, he slowed down to see a dark shadowy figure, lying still on the ground. He panicked then and ran with his heart in his mouth. The warrior lay with blood dripping from a dagger protruding from beneath his shoulder blade. A scabbard still lay across his back with the great sword half drawn. Hastily, the boy bent over him and the man struggled to turn over.
“Unbuckle the sword belt boy,” he gasped.
The youth struggled to obey, laying the scabbard down. The Warrior was bleeding badly from a second wound in his side. The blade that made it was completely buried in the flesh with just the handle visible.
“We haven’t much time boy, so listen,” the warrior said, wincing at the pain his words brought. He went on to tell the boy who had wielded the daggers that were killing him.
“Bring the sword boy,”
The youth grasped the sword and pulled it with ease from the scabbard. He gazed at it in wonder as he took it to the dying man.
“How is it I can draw it? I never could before.”
“Because it’s yours now,” whispered the dying warrior. “Read the words written on it.”
The boy obeyed “I am the sword hammered and wrought for the Lord of the Glades.”
“Now you must claim your birthright boy,” he said, his breath labored. “I must leave you to tread a hard path without me. You are Lord of the Glades now. Swear you will deal justice to Carthak.” He went on to whisper some more words into the boy’s ear as he bent over him. “Swear on the Sword to keep these words in your heart. Swear to obey my last command, swear to keep this promise.”
“I will do as you command father,” the boy said horsely. “I swear on the Rune sword.”
Tears were running over his cheeks as he watched his father die. Even as he rose to go for help, he heard the sound of at least two approaching. Carthak came into view and beside him, one of the devil’s spawn from the Deep below Belgatan, the Mountain of Darkness. They were startled to see the youth but the sword Carthak coveted was there in the boys grip.
“Carthak,” the boy said contemptuously. “You are the one who killed him.”
“Nonsense boy! Give me the sword and I will take it to Lady Belitha.”
“Why didn’t you take it when you killed him?” the boy spat, his eyes narrowing. “It wouldn’t let you would it? You weren’t able to pick it up.”
The boy smiled at Carthak and it was a most unholy smile for a youth of his tender years. He lifted the sword and Carthak gasped at the ease with which he did it.
“Did you seek to take it and so remove the power from the men of the Glades? Did you really believe you could take the Deathsinger from the warrior line it was made for?”
He stood still watching them both. “You are deluded Carthak. The only thing to negate the sword’s power would be if the Lord of the Glades broke an oath made upon it and I intend to keep all mine.”
The other creature had inched its way to the other side of the boy, and now they both moved slowly toward him. The boy raised the sword and began quietly to speak all of the runes that were inscribed on the blade. The runes were written when the sword was made, at a time when the world was beginning. The Enchantment of them was linked for all time with the Lord of the Glades. Each Lord learned from the cradle to recite the runes against such a day as this. As the boy uttered them, he whirled on his feet. Both sword and boy became one with the chant as the utterance became a crescendo of sound and the boy’s movements were guided by the sword. Carthak and the dark one with him turned to run too late. The sword slashed through one, then two in one movement of the boy’s arm. Carthak lay dead in the same place as the warrior he had murdered. The boy stopped to look down at them.
“I told you I would keep the oaths I made Carthak.” He put his head back and looked up at the stars above him. “I kept the first oath my father. Carthak no longer breathes the air of the Glades as you decreed.”
He bent over his father’s body for the last time and kissed his brow. “I will bring my mother now, and we’ll take you home.”
A boy had gone out that day to follow a warrior, a boy seeking an adventure, and a man returned to mourn his father before taking up the mantle of the Lord of the Glades.