Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chapter One: Silverflame

I've thought about this for some time. I've decided that I will post my first chapter. The book is in the midst of another rewrite, but I want to share.

So here is chapter one. The current title is Seven Silver Swords: Heirs to the Throne. That may change as I work through all of this, but for now that is what I am using.

So here is my first chapter. Comments welcome.




Sparks flew as the hammer struck the glowing metal. The hammer rang again. Torches flickered on the cavern wall casting dancing shadows in the dim light. The forge’s fire crackled and roared. Steel glowed red.

The hammer sang. The smith’s strong arm raised the hammer yet again, perspiration dripped from his bulging muscles. His bald head glistened with sweat. His bare chest and back gleamed in the red light of the forging fires and the heat they generated. He swung mightily and again the metal clanked as it was wrought in the smoke filled cavern.

Kroft stood against a wall watching the Mastersmith work. The figure leaned on his staff, his interest riveted on the workings of the sword. The fate of the kingdom rested this sword. He was waiting for the moment in the reforging when his talents would be melded with those of the Mastersmith. But there was to be a third member here, someone who also had a part in this. The question that was on the cloaked figure’s mind was – where is Prince Edwind?

# # #

Edwind rode to where Kroft had instructed him to come and dismounted. He could hear the sounds of hammer strokes from the cave. What was being forged in the middle of the night? He wondered why Kroft wanted him at the Mastersmith’s cavern at such an unusual hour.

The cave opening was not overly large, but he didn’t need to stoop to enter. His slight frame allowed for that. The aroma of the pines was replaced with the odor of wood smoke and hot metal. The slight breeze as it whispered in the pines was drowned out with the sounds of the crackling forger’s fire and the pounding of the hammer. The fire’s glow illuminated the Mastersmith as he raised his hammer. Edwind watched as the hammer came down and struck the glowing metal. The dull clank of the blow filled the chamber. It was hot. Edwind almost turned around and went back outside where the night air was cooler. Already beads of perspiration were forming on his forehead, and he could feel sweat begin to trickle down the small of his back. Edwind saw Kroft standing by the torches. How could the wizard tolerate the hot cavern? Shaking his head in disbelief, Edwind crossed the dirt floor stirring up soot as he went. Kroft nodded a silent greeting and returned his gaze to the Mastersmith. Edwind turned to regard what the smith was doing. A silver blade shone in the lights from the torches and forging fire.

Edwind turned to wizard Kroft and asked, “Isn’t that Silverflame?”

Kroft nodded as he leaned heavily on his staff. He looked tired to Edwind. Kroft watched the smith intently. Edwind returned his attention to the Mastersmith and watched as the craftsman poured his very being into the weapon. Clad only in loincloth, he was sweating from both the heat of the fire and his own exertions. The Mastersmith stopped swinging the hammer, picked up the sword, and inspected his work. The dim torch light reflected off the silver blade.

“Why is he doing that?” Edwind whispered to the wizard.

“I’m adding a spell to the blade,” Kroft replied. “I need the double full moons for that.”

Kroft was the master of magic, and if he needed the blade reforged on a night of double full moons then Edwind couldn’t question that either. What he did want to question was why.

“Doesn’t Silverflame already have spells?” he ventured.

Together they watched as the smith placed the sword on his anvil again and took up his hammer to work the edge of the blade.

“Silverflame already has a powerful arsenal of spells woven into it, such as a spell to strengthen the wielder’s arms and thus deliver a more powerful sword thrust or blow.

“There is also a spell to help the wielder be aware of the location of danger, a sixth sense if you will. You hear a sound and know from which direction the sound comes. Silverflame works the same way. In a sense the sword ‘hears danger’ and warns its wielder.”

“What other magic does the sword need then? It sounds as if Silverflame already enhances the talents of the wielder,” Edwind wondered aloud.

The Mastersmith stopped pounding on the metal. The red glow was gone, and he made no move to return the weapon to the forging fires. He was closely inspecting his craftsmanship. Satisfied with the result of his night’s labor, he motioned for Kroft to inspect the sword.

“Excuse me a moment.”

Before Edwind could reply, Kroft began to walk away. His footfalls were muffled by the slag and soot on the blackened dirt floor. Small dust clouds puffed as he stepped towards the Mastersmith. Now that the hammer strokes had ceased, Edwind could hear the gurgle and babble of a brook as it flowed over pebbles as it followed its bed across the cavern before joining with the stream outside.

Kroft didn’t reach for the proffered sword. Instead, he motioned for the Smith and Edwind to follow him outside. Together they walked towards the cave opening. The burly smith had to duck as he exited the cave. Edwind eagerly stepped to the opening, anxious to be out of the suffocating, sulfurous heat of the cave and out in the cool night air.

Once outside, Kroft lead them towards the pine trees. The layers of pine needles on the ground muffled their footsteps. The murmur of the brook faded as they walked deeper into the trees. Edwind glanced up and saw Bidol directly overhead and Neada, the smaller of the two moons, lining up to be directly under the larger moon. Kroft strode into a stone ringed clearing and stopped in the center of the moonlit area. The smith handed the mighty sword to the wizard hilt first. Kroft grasped the jeweled hilt of the great two-handed broadsword with both hands, raised the sword over his head, and pointed the tip at the moons.

Edwind tried to recall if double full moons were supposed to increase magical properties. He watched as Kroft tilted his face towards the moons his dark hair a contrast to the pale light of the moons. Edwind strained to hear the words, but all he could hear was the rhythm of Kroft’s chant. Kroft begin to weave the words of his spell like a tapestry on a loom. The pines whispered in the breeze adding a counterpoint to the rhythm of the wizard’s words. The wizard’s spell rose to a crescendo as he intoned, “Silverflame, sword of the Just King!”

It was finished.

The clearing was silent. No sounds of scurrying small rodents in the underbrush. The sentinel pines stood silently watching the trio. A cloud skirted across the face of Neada. Edwind felt a chill run up his spine.

Kroft turned and handed the sword back to the Mastersmith. As the sword passed from the wizard back to the muscled smith a blue arc jumped from both pairs of hands to the hilt of the sword. The larger callused hands grasped the hilt of the sword below the smooth hands of the wizard. Before Kroft relinquished the sword back to the smith, a fire swept down the sword's blade – a silver fire that lit the entire night sky with its intensity.

Just as suddenly as the fire appeared, it flashed out. Edwind blinked and waited for his eyes to readjust to the darkness. As the afterimage faded, he noticed a silver tint on the blade which did not dim in its intensity nor leave the fine edges. Kroft’s spell must have added the edge to the new blade since the smith couldn’t have honed the blade just yet.

Silverflame was ready to do its task – to root out an evil that was growing all too strong in the land. The spell was now a part of the mighty blade.

Kroft and the Mastersmith both turned to face Edwind. Wordlessly the smith presented the blade to Edwind. Reverently, Edwind grasped the hilt and lifted the sword from the gnarled hands of the powerful smith. Looking at the smith, then at the wizard Edwind asked, “What is going on? Why have you done this to Silverflame?”

“The Pretender has had a spell woven around him to protect him from all weapons. Silverflame has just been imbued to nullify that spell,” Kroft explained. “All spells can be countered. Silverflame has a counter spell to allow Peregrine to kill Taun, the Pretender, when they fight.”

“When will they fight?” Edwind asked.

“Just as soon as you take the sword to him. Peregrine is waiting for you near Whisper Lake. He will then challenge the Pretender to a duel.”

“Will the Pretender fight Peregrine?” Edwind questioned.

“Pride is a strange thing,” Kroft explained, “The thought that the King’s champion is willing to fight him combined with his arrogant assumption that the spell woven around him will protect him should cause him to fall. The Pretender is also massing his troops near Whisper Lake. Now is the time to end this.”

Edwind pondered that for a moment and smiled at the idea of riding with Silverflame strapped to his back. He nodded in anticipation and placed the great sword in the sheath designed to keep the edge on the blade. He strapped the large sword to his back, fighting with it for a moment to ride comfortably, and turned to go.

“Go directly to Whisper Lake. Don’t go anywhere else. Peregrine is waiting for you there. Taun wants this sword; he is afraid of it. You ride in secret, no one knows what you have and what you are doing. You are the prince, no one here will notice you riding out, you ride a lot, so this won’t draw any attention.”

“So Peregrine is expecting me?” The prince asked.

Kroft nodded, “Take care, and may the wind be with you on all your journeys.”
“It is time to put an end to the Pretender’s bid for the throne of Rea. I’ll deliver the sword to Peregrine at Whisper Lake.” With Silverflame on his back, he felt as if nothing could stop him. He walked carefully through the trees as footing was treacherous. Double full moons casting double shadows made it hard to tell where low spots were in the ground.

Edwind mounted his horse and nodded to Kroft and the smith and turned his horse and rode away. He rode over the rise and saw Rachel sitting astride her horse. Edwind rode up and stopped a few paces from her.

“What are you doing here?” He questioned.

“Your excuse for not being in the castle was lame, you don’t lie very convincingly.”
“That still doesn’t answer my question,” Edwind persisted.

“We’ve done a lot together, so sneaking off in the middle of the night made me curious, so I followed you. What is going on?” She countered.

“I’m to take Silverflame to Peregrine.”

“We are leaving tonight?” She asked.

“I’m leaving tonight. I’m riding in secret.”

“No, you are not. I noticed, others will too.”

“I ride often,” Edwind pointed out.

“We ride often; with us both gone suspicions of your departure will be lessened.”

Edwind knew she had a valid point. He also knew he would enjoy her company. He always enjoyed her company so he capitulated the point saying, “Your father won’t approve.”

“That hasn’t stopped us before.”

“Yes, but,” Edwind began.

“But what?”

“But we’ve never gone anywhere dangerous. We will be riding to Whisper Lake, the part of the kingdom that the Pretender claims to be his kingdom. If we are caught –”

“We won’t be caught,” she interrupted. “Besides, riding the horses together will be fun. I want to help, and I can take care of myself, Your Highness,” Rachel argued back.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without you anyway,” he said. “Shall we ride?”

“I thought this you’d never ask.”

“This trip will be dangerous, but danger is best met with a friend at your side.”
Rachel thought about that for a moment and nodded. “Life is best met with a friend
at your side. Let’s ride!

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