I woke up, not in my bed like I expected to be in, but in a musty flea ladened pile of straw. I stood up, trying to brushing off the fleas and straw, both unsuccessfully and looked around. It looked as if I was in some sort of hall, the floors were solid oak planks, shined and polished, and the walls were a cherry wood giving off a smell of nature with a small hint of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
I exited the room, feeling the walls as I went, still not knowing if this was a dream or if some one was playing a prank. I yelled out as I walked into a giant room lined with pedestals of swords, knives, axes, and many other weapons, each having something golden glinting in the torches lit throughout the hall.
I walked to the first pedestal and saw a gleaming silver sword with a bejeweled hilt. It laid upon a burgundy velvet pillow, and looking at it, I felt unworthy of touching such a beautiful sword. I looked at the golden plaque at the head of the pedestal and read “Caliburn.”
“Holy shit! This is Excalibur!” I said out loud, my voice echoing down the impossibly long hall.
I reached for it and a voice called out, “DO NOT TOUCH THAT STUBBORN SWORD!”
I pulled back my hand as quick as I could and turned around.
“Who’s there?” I said as I looked around and saw no one.
I walked around yelling out “HELLO?” hoping for a response before laying my eyes on a spear in the jagged shape. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand as I walked closer to the pedestal. I read the plaque out loud.
“Zeus’s Lightning Bolt…no freaking way!”
I went to grab it and the same voice yelled out, “GREAT, THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF YEARS WAITING FOR YOU, AND I PICK AN IMBECILE! DO NOT TOUCH THAT EITHER JACOB!”
“How do you know my name?!” I yell back at the voice. “Where are you?”
“I’M WHERE I’VE BEEN FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE FOREVER! COME TO ME!”
I wandered around for what seemed to be days, with some weapons catching my eye and stopping to admire swords like the Welsh’s Dyrnwyn, the Indian’s Asi, and the Norse’s Freyr’s sword. Spears like Odin’s Gungir and Japanese’s Tobogiri caught my eye as well, but as I was passing by the umpteenth hundred pedestal I felt a tingle run down my spine.
“Whoa, that was weird,” I said out loud, not caring that no one was around to hear it.
“THAT WAS ME! YOU PASSED ME JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE HAS. TURN AROUND!”
I turned around and saw an old, near rusted through sword. It seemed to shimmer when I walked closer to it.
“Where? I only see this rusty old sword,” I said, almost laughing from imagining the sword talking to me.
“I AM THE SWORD YOU IDIOT AND I MAY BE RUSTED BUT I HAVE MORE LIFE IN ME THAN YOU DO!”
I stepped backward and nearly toppled over the spear Gáe Bulg.
“What the hell?” I said, trying to re-balance the pedestal.
I slowly creeped back towards the talking sword and looked at the name plaque.
“Natasha’s Sword…well that’s not really a fancy name like Excalibur or Dyrnwyn.”
“I DON’T NEED A FANCY NAME! I AM NATASHA’S SWORD. PICK ME UP TO BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY!”
“What do you mean? I couldn’t cut a watermelon with this, let alone anything else. Besides, I’m just a programmer, what journey would I ever have?”
“JUST PICK ME UP YOU FOOL. YOU SHOULD FEEL LUCKY I CHOSE YOU. I HAVEN’T CHOSEN A HERO IN MILLENNIA!”
I reached toward the sword, fully expecting a voice to shout at me to stop, but no voices came. Instead I felt an anticipation to grab the worn leather wrapped hilt and pull it from it’s decaying yellowed pillow.
As I grabbed hold of the hilt, a rush of energy flowed through me like nothing I had ever experienced before.
“I JUST NEED A LITTLE BIT OF THIS…”
As Natasha’s sword finished her sentence, a spike came out of the hilt and cut into my palm. Blood seeped into the leather wrapping and something amazing came to light. The sword began turning back time on itself. The rust slowly faded from the brown red to silver and the worn ripped leather hilt became rewrapping itself.
I was able to see the shape of a wolf’s head branded into the sword’s blade and it looked almost as if it was smiling. The tip of the blade came together at a point, but then continued on into a fork. Almost as if the sword had fangs.
“AHHH. FINALLY I FEEL WHOLE AGAIN. LET ME HEAL YOUR WOUND JACOB.”
I looked back down at my hand and saw the wound close up without even the faintest impression that it was cut moments before.
“SORRY ABOUT THE SPIKE, IT’S HARD TO ASK FOR BLOOD FROM YOUR NEW HERO. THEY USUALLY JUST THINK YOU’RE CRAZY.”
“YES, YES. I’M A TALKING SWORD, I THOUGHT YOU’D HAVE ALREADY GOTTEN PAST THAT. NOW, SWING ME AROUND, I NEED TO FEEL THE WIND AGAINST MY BLADE ONCE MORE.”
I followed the instruction of the sword, swinging it around. With each slice through the air, something shimmered briefly where the sword passed through, but quickly dissipated before I could see what was there.
The sword had it’s own vibe, and I was certainly feeling it’s pleasure as I swiped it through the air.
“PERFECT. NOW DRAW A DOOR FRAME IN THE AIR, AND LET’S START YOUR ADVENTURE.”
“What adventure? I must be dreaming.”
“IF THIS IS A DREAM, WHAT IS THE POINT OF DENYING THE ADVENTURE? YOU’LL JUST WAKE UP AND GO TO WORK LIKE NOTHING EVEN HAPPENED.”
“That’s true,” I said, and with that I drew a door frame in the air with the tip of the sword.
A door appeared out of no where, and swung open. Through the door I could see a large green open field, with what looked to be giant boulders in the shape of doors in a circle.
“YES, STONE HENGE. NOW GO THROUGH THE DOOR AND LET’S MEET WITH YOUR GUIDE. HE’S BEEN WAITING FOR A LONG TIME.”
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well, might as well have fun in my dream.”
I walked through the door and landed in the lush green grass, the smell of wild onions filled my nostrils as the wind blew hurriedly around me.
“Wow this dream looks and feels so real! I can even smell wild onions! The wind feel chilly too. I even have goosebumps!”
“AYE, BUT CAN YOU REALLY FEEL THE WIND? IT’S GIVING YOU GOOSEBUMPS…SO YOU MUST FEEL IT, AND IN DREAMS YOU CAN’T REALLY FEEL ANYTHING.”
“Wait…are you saying this ISN’T a dream?”
“DID THE CUT FROM MY SPIKE FEEL LIKE A DREAM TO YOU?”
Just as she finished her sentence, a large rabbit came hopping towards me and stopped directly in front of me.
“Ello Jacob, I’ll be your guide and trainer. Welcome to your Hero’s Journey!”
“This has to be a dream…this has to be a dream, of course this is a dream. Talking rabbits? Talking swords? Magically healing cuts…but it did hurt…if it hurt then maybe it’s not a dream.”
“It’s not a dream Jacob,” the rabbit said. “The sword allows you to hear it’s thoughts and mine too. We chose you specifically to take on the monster that has plagued this land for centuries. The Wiltshire cultists. They seem like normal humans, but every hero we’ve sent to defeat them…well anyway. It’s your turn, and this sword is the perfect fit for you!”
“Wait, what happened to the other people?” I asked
“Don’t worry about them, they didn’t have what you have! You have your sword!”
“TECHNICALLY SPEAKING, THEY HAD MAGIC WEAPONS TOO,” the sword said.
“Don’t discourage the lad. We have to have hopes for him. Now, Jacob, follow me to your training grounds,” the rabbit said.
And with that, the rabbit hopped off, and the sword’s energy begged me to follow.