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A Vigil's Ending

A villain's descent or a hero's rising?

By Gabriel HuizengaPublished 2 months ago Updated about a month ago 1 min read
Top Story - February 2024
25
A Vigil's Ending
Photo by Mario von Rotz on Unsplash

Withered purple flowers whispered against the dark headstone.

A notched broadsword was driven into the frost-covered earth beside the grave.

Only five words, hastily hewn into the granite, made up the epitaph:

Otto Frydenlund

Husband, Father, Friend

A still, slight figure kneeled a few steps away.

A ragged breath, made visible by the cold, escaped Björn Frydenlund’s dry lips. His father’s heavy wooden roundshield was tightly belted to his handless forearm; the extremity had been lost in the same raid which claimed Otto’s life. Frigid tears adorned the young face.

The sun crept silently into the pinkening sky. One by one, the surrounding hills shrugged off the shadows to reveal clean white peaks and plateaus. The Frydenlund’s was the only hill not yet touched by snow.

The wind picked up and, like the hand of his father’s ghost, tousled Björn’s feathery hair. The furs and armor bound around his narrow frame kept out the cold well. They could do nothing to contain the blaze within.

Otto never wanted his children to be warriors.

Björn’s one fist clenched powerfully. A rivulet of dark blood ran from a cracked knuckle and dripped to the earth below, just as flecks of snow began to drift across the plateau.

This vigil was over.

The son of Otto Frydenlund rose to his feet. His bloody hand grasped the handle of his father’s blade. He would remind the world that no war song is more great and terrible than the one which follows a requiem.

Short StoryFantasy
25

About the Creator

Gabriel Huizenga

Twas for love of words that I first joined this site:

Poetry, essays, and dear short stories too;

For to live one's best is to read, and to write!

So find me in words here, and I'll find you 💙

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (16)

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  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    Beautifully written and evoked. I loved the sentiment but also your description of the landscape: One by one, the surrounding hills shrugged off the shadows to reveal clean white peaks and plateaus. And the image of the wind ruffling his hair like his dad's hand was a lovely touch.

  • A. Lenae2 months ago

    Your world-building is exceptional and really special, even in this format. I could see this unfolding into a grand saga, but also find this bite-sized epic vignette to be exactly what it needs to be. I'm left imagining what's next, and that's the power of your storytelling. Great writing!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    This is such a cool concept that blossomed into a really good read! I believe I loved everything about it and can easily see this go into a longer format. Congrats on your top story!

  • Salomé Saffiri2 months ago

    Woah, thank you for the trip. I enjoyed the imagery. What struck me most was the brave use of discriptive language- at last, a poet with a vision.

  • olymoolla2 months ago

    You write many beautiful stories, I request you to open my vocal ID

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Beautiful scene setting.

  • Test2 months ago

    Thumbs up for your effort! Keep the outstanding work—congrats!

  • Gerard DiLeo2 months ago

    Beautiful. Even melodic.

  • M. A. Mehan 2 months ago

    That last line gave me chills. Amazing work!

  • Hannah Fraser2 months ago

    I was sucked into this story immediately! I definitely want more, but as it stands, it was so poignant.

  • JBaz2 months ago

    You have a poetic way with the telling of this story. Other may not like revenge as a motive or way of life. But that is the way it was and I felt the anguish.

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    Oh my goodness, I had just begun to read. Why must there always be revenge, retribution and more war. Otto will never be at peace now, the son goes to fight some more. Lovely writing.

  • D.K. Shepard2 months ago

    You really drew me into the setting and emotional rawness of the character. Didn’t want it to end! Great micro!

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    "Otto never wanted his children to be warriors." There is so much sadness in this simple yet profound statement. This piece was beautifully done!

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