The Return

by Dino the Dark Dragon

(Note: The original form of this story can be found here at Daniel D'Agostino's homepage.)

The wind whistled, as leaves were blown with it. The dark night sky was lightly lit by the pale moon. The village was not as silent as it usually was, and voices could be heard from every house. In one of these wooden houses, a robust man, in his thirties, stood up from his chair and tucked it neatly under the table.

He opened his voice to speak, but his throbbing heart silenced him. His weapon lay by the wall beside him, and although he was reluctant to use it, he was duty-bound to do so. He walked over and clutched the silver sword. “You see,” he told the two smaller figures still seated at the table, “this sword is a family inheritance. It belonged to my great grandfather, and is several generations old. It hath always served out family well. Should I return, I will in turn leave it to Geoffrey.”

“Why? Where art thou going, father?” the young boy, seated beside his mother, inquired worriedly. His mother started to sob silently, to hide her grief from her son.

“War rages on the mainland, my son. I am bound by duty to answer the call to battle.” He fastened the scabbard around his waist and sheathed the glittering sword. “I am loath to leave thee, Geoffrey, but the king has called the men of Britannia to defend it from the invaders, and I must answer the call. This sword has never failed my ancestors, and I hope it will serve me just as well.”

“Be strong, my son, for one day I will return to Skara Brae. Take care of thy mother in my absence.” The child jumped from his seat and embraced his father, putting on a serious, determined yet sorrowful and concerned look. “I will, father.” Hearing that, the man smiled and left.

Thirteen years later, a dark figure, bruised and scarred from the war, made his way to the islands where the village of Skara Brae once lay. Once he arrived there, he realised that the village was no more. Only a young man remained.

The man turned to the youth and asked him what had happened. “The village hath burned for days on end,” he explained, “as the enemy raided, pillaged and razed it. Sorrow swallowed my heart as the wind slowly blew away the ashes of what once was our village. My mother was slaughtered, as were all the inhabitants of the village. They spared me, taunting me that my father would never return because he had died in battle. But I never believed them, and am still waiting for his return.

The elder man took out a sword, dented but still glittering. “Let’s away from here.” he told the youth, “Despite the sacrifice that hath broken mine heart, the enemy has been routed.” He handed him the sword. “My son, thou wilt inherit this sword at the time of my passing, as have I from mine father. There is naught left here; we will start a new life elsewhere on the mainland.”

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