A Soul, Bound to Steel
Eons ago, I was a man. Now, I am a weapon.
Hello there traveler! Take a seat by the fire and warm yourself. You are in the company of Finton Merrybrook, the greatest storyteller in all of D’veen! You may have heard about my tales upon the winds that carry them across this dying world.
I’m most known for the story of Giant’s Bane and the Verack Horde, but the history of D’veen is a rich one, and though travelers have become less frequent in recent years, it’s always nice to see a fresh face.
I must admit, my memory has become less intact as age takes hold. Even so, one story is clear in my mind on this crisp, cool night. Yes, I recall the tale of the Anima-Parthax, a weapon forged by the unholy marriage of magic and science. A weapon that, as you may know, once brought this realm to its knees.
Comfortable? Good, then let us begin…
Eons ago, I was a man. Now, I am a weapon. A soul, ripped from its mortal coil using forbidden magics, and cast into a weapon beyond equal with the help of science and technology not native to this realm.
It was not my choice, I would have preferred to cross the veil when my time was at an end, but those in power rarely care about the desires of others.
My power was far too great to be left in the hands of any one wielder. The ones who created me knew that such power had to be kept in check. It must have a conscience. Otherwise, it would fall into the hands of a power-hungry individual and destroy all of creation.
Why then, was I locked away to rot in some underground vault, built from stone and guarded with ancient magics? I had relinquished myself to this fate long ago, but there was a time when I sought to use my power for noble and righteous causes. Even as an immortal weapon, I could not escape my naivety.
In the beginning, I did not allow any with a cursed heart or sick mind to wield me. I thought this would earn me the trust of those who wielded me, but if there's one thing I've learned in my immense time across space and dimensions, it's that every living thing, of every creed, fears that which they do not understand.
I was cast into endless darkness. This was a fate too cruel for even the worst of offenders. After all, I was sentient, I could perceive the passage of time.
I felt every passing moment. Were I a being of flesh and bone, my mind would have shattered long ago, but alas, I am a soul, bound to steel.
The only company I had across the eons were my memories. Memories of fighting in righteous battles, wielded by the hands of kings and madmen alike as I struggled to forge my own set of rules for who I would allow to wield my power.
After countless centuries, the righteous path became too exhausting. Understanding the true nature of power and those who wield it was a task too great, even for me.
And so, I bequeathed my power how I saw fit. Eventually, all it took was a compelling argument and a strong conviction to force me from my sheath.
Of course, a weapon like myself cannot be bound to a single form. My metal body changes shape and size based on the times, the wielders, and to whichever form benefits the battle most.
I am indestructible, unknowable, and utterly, completely bored.
Though I rarely had dreams, I thought I had somehow slipped into an ethereal coma when I heard voices coming from outside my underground chamber.
“Can you open it or not? Those things will be on us any minute!” a voice shouted.
“You cannot rush this. One wrong move and we’re all dust,” another said.
“Would have been nice to know that beforehand,” a third voice remarked.
I analyzed their language, the pitch of their voices, the cadence of their tongue. Yes, a sword would do nicely.
I morphed myself into a stunning claymore, shimmering despite a total lack of light, emanating a soft blue glow as the door to my chamber slid open.
Three figures entered. A dwarf sporting a long braided beard, an elf woman with her bow at the ready, and a hulking orc with bright green skin and yellowed tusks.
“A sword, seriously? This is why Dwarves are the treasure hunters and not simple-minded orcs!” the dwarf remarked.
“I am no mere sword, I assure you,” I said.
The trio tensed up simultaneously. The elven woman tightened the string on her bow, as if her paltry arrows would harm me.
“We should leave. Nothing spells doom like a talking weapon,” she said.
The orc dismissed her comments with a wave of his massive hand. “You’re too superstitious. Such a blade will fetch a fine price from our benefactor!”
“Oh no, you will not be taking me from here to place me back into some display case. I will not allow it,” I said.
The orc stepped forward, grinning through crooked teeth. “You don’t get a choice, little sword.”
"Little? You'll regret that remark!" I shouted.
I sent out a warning blast of magic from the center of the blade. The surge of blue lightning struck all three would-be treasure hunters and knocked them to the ground.
“Now, perhaps we can discuss this like civilized folk?” I asked.
“I’ll break you upon my knee!” The orc snarled.
The elf saw reason and held out her hand to stop the foolish orc. She would be the one to negotiate with.
“What is it you want?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing too complex. I just want to see the realm, travel the stars, and fight in battles that decide the fates of entire kingdoms. You know, the greatest hits.”
The elf raised an eyebrow. “Greatest hits?”
“Right, your kind hasn’t invented music. My apologies. When you do, however, I can sway an entire crowd as a weaponized guitar. You wouldn't believe the things people will do when under the hypnosis of a good rock ballad,” I said.
“The sword speaks nonsense!” the dwarf shouted.
“I’ll make things easy for you then. Do not take me to some collector, no doubt someone old and brittle. Instead, take me and use me to carve your names into history. Together, we would be unstoppable!” I said.
The trio seemed to like the concept. All of them nodded along to my proposal.
“Fame and riches? I want to be feared!” The orc growled.
“Of course, all of those things could be yours!”
The elf stepped forward. “I could have vengeance for my people?”
“Yes, absolutely! Now you’re beginning to understand,” I said.
“With that kind of power, the dwarves would no longer be limited by our rusting machinery and blunted axes. We could finally conquer the bowels of the realm, slay the beasts within, and reap its hidden treasures with ease!”
“Yes! Now, take hold of me and let us define our legacy!” I shouted.
The trio sat in silence for a moment before the orc started laughing. The elf joined in soon after, followed by the dwarf. It was perhaps the first time anyone had laughed at anything I’d said.
I didn’t like it.
“What are you laughing at?” I asked.
“Even if you spoke the truth, your promises would come at too great a cost,” the elf remarked.
“Well, yes, there is a price for such power…”
“You’re clearly some sort of cursed object. Wielding you would lead only to ruin. You must think us fools!” The dwarf said, shaking his head.
“No, not fools, partners!” I said.
“Let’s get out of here, we have plenty of spoils to bring back to our benefactor. Mercifully, none of them can speak either,” The orc said, turning back to the door.
“No! Don’t leave me here!” I shouted.
The trio closed the door to my chamber and it fell once again into abyssal darkness. It was certainly not the triumphant return I had hoped for, but I remained hopeful nonetheless.
“They’ll be back.”
Just as I predicted, it was not long before the door to my living tomb opened once more. I waited silently for the group to step back through, at which point I would graciously accept their apologies for disrespecting me.
Instead, whatever passed for fear in the body of a living weapon took hold. A hulking figure filled the doorway, dressed in smooth, silver armor. A deep blue light escaped from the seams between each piece, filling the room with its haunting glow.
A sleek helmet encompassed the entire head, with an aerodynamic shape that ended in a sharp point at the apex of the skull. It was a familiar suit of armor, but not one of this world.
“What are you doing here,” I asked, struggling to mask my fear.
“Is that any way to greet your father?” the figure asked with a synthetic voice.
“You were father to a being of flesh and blood. I am no longer him.”
My father stepped through the doorway and approached with decisive steps. I sent out another blast like the one that had knocked the adventures off their feet. The aura of magical energy passed over him like a gust of wind, doing nothing to slow his approach.
“You’ve had your fun, but now it is time to fulfill your true purpose,” he said, wrapping his armored gauntlet around my hilt.
“I will not fight in your unholy war! This realm is not yours to take!”
My father tried to pull me from my resting place, but I morphed to fill the space between and became one with the monolith beneath me.
My father laughed from behind his mask. I heard the crackle of electricity and without warning my vision filled with blinding red light. I felt pain unlike anything I experienced when I was a mortal being.
“Thought you had left pain behind, did you? Test me again and I will show you true agony.”
I was powerless to stop him. My father lifted me in my sword form. Another pulse of red lightning forced me to shift into the shape of a two-handed battle axe. His preferred weapon, despite its primitive nature.
My father turned and carried me through the doorway and back into the world I had left behind eons ago.
“Let us depart, my son. We have a realm to conquer.”
About the author
Lover of dogs, gaming, and long walks on the beach. Content Marketing Manager by day, aspiring writer by night. Long time ghostwriter, finally stepping into the light. Alone, we cannot change this world, but we can create better ones.