Ironhelm: A Tale of a Dark Swordsman

Prologue

It’s been three years since Darkness has risen in Wilderness. Darkness wound its way into warrior-tribes and magic tribes too weak to fight it. The living things that it corrupted became more powerful and reckless than before. 

There are two main forces living in Wilderness – The Wilderlings and the Imperiums. Wilderlings are native to Wilderness, but the Imperiums invaded long ago, hungry for the wealth in Wilderness. Wilderlings wear animal furs and a feather dress in the hip area for clothing.  The Imperiums on the other hand were soldiers and wore bronze armor. There are three different troops used by the Imperiums – Gunmen, Polearmmen, and Spearmen. However, there was little conflict between those two forces, and when Darkness came, both of them had unorganized assaults. Nobody could defeat Darkness, and in the end, Darkness prevailed.

Chapter 1

Deep down in a cave there awakens a dark swordsman – Ironhelm. He has been sleeping for three long years. Ironhelm yawns, studying his new surroundings. Metallic dark gray stone form the cave walls.  A sliver of light peeks through the entrance. Life must be around the corner . . . He smells the moss around him and tries to remember how he got to this cave. It had been a normal day for young Ironhelm, but it would go all so wrong. . . 

“Great stroke!”, congratulated Ironhelm’s father. Ironhelm’s father walked towards his humble abode. Ironhelm gazed at the house, it was a thatched roof hut. It was a very minimal building with a small kitchen and a bedroom. Ironhelm’s father had added one thing though – a workshop where he made swords and armor. Ironhelm kept practicing strokes with his blade – he was aiming to be a better swordsman than his father. 

After one hour of intense training, Ironhelm walked back home, sweating profusely. He looked for his father, but he was nowhere to be found. Ironhelm peeked around the workshop door, scanning the room for anyone. His eyes caught on his father. Ironhelm’s father was a muscular man, with broad shoulders and cool grey eyes. Ironhelm tried to make out what he was doing. He could hear incomprehensible words coming out of his father’s mouth. He was chanting some sort of spell to a sword which lay on the ground in front of him. The sword started glowing bright with dust swirling around it. Ironhelm’s father rubbed his hand together with excitement.

Suddenly a horrible beast appeared in front of Ironhelm’s father. Ironhelm’s father tried to grab the magical sword, but it was too late, the demon mauled him. The demon started chanting spells. More creatures like the first demon appeared in the workshop.    

Ironhelm backed off, knowing something bad was happening. Was his father dead? Did his father remember that any time you use magic, evil magic would be created? That was the whole point of training to be a fighter! Ironhelm had to run away before these ruthless demons discovered him. He dashed out of the house. He had ran and ran until he found the cave. The last thing Ironhelm remembers was immense sadness. How long have I been asleep?

He looks around and spots his weapon of choice – Viper. Viper was originally a basic carbon steel sword that Ironhelm found in an old heap of junk armor and weapons his father onced used. He had made Viper magical by whispering magical runes. Ironhelm is half human, half elf. He is of medium stature. His face is pale, and emotionless. He wears a black hood, covering his bald head. On his shoulders, he carries steel armor, a graphene breastplate on his chest, black pants and on his knee-caps, steel armor. 

Ironhelm steps out of the cave. Light floods his vision. He is momentarily blinded by the intensity of the sun. When his vision returns, he looks around, studying the scene around him. Tall fir trees tower over Ironhelm and autumn leaves cover the ground.   

He is wandering around in the forest, when suddenly, he hears somebody scream. He whips out Viper, from a sheath. His sheath is strapped on to his belt loop. He sees a wizard running towards him, closely chased by a pack of Screamers. The wizard has a long silvery beard and gray eyebrows. (Screamers are a hybrid of hedgehogs and wild boars. Extra tip: if there are Screamers chasing you, you stand in front of them and stare into their eyes, and they will stop in their tracks and lose interest in you.) They are called Screamers due to the fact that they scream while attacking you.

The wizard runs behind him and panting, says, “Those Screamers are consumed by Darkness!” Ironhelm realizes the dreaded truth – Darkness has arisen. He feels a pang of guilt remembering that his father caused all this trouble. Ironhelm is determined to fight away Darkness, and goes on an epic quest to banish Darkness forever.  He rushes forward and brings his sword down on the first Screamer. Boy does the Screamer scream! One by one he smites his enemies with Viper. Ironhelm walks back with a grim smile. “Those Screamers will be resurrected when Darkness is banished,” he says. 

The wizard is very grateful and replies, “I know that Screamers usually don’t attack Wilderlings, but in case anything else is consumed by Darkness, could you accompany me back to my hut?”

Ironhelm nods, and with Viper in his hand, he sets out with the wizard to return to his hut. When they get back, the wizard reveals his name – Old Grey. Old Grey blesses Ironhelm so that his armor will protect him better. Ironhelm sets out on his journey.

Chapter 2

Ironhelm continues on his ongoing quest to rid Wilderness of Darkness. The next few hours, he walks among trees, occasionally seeing boars. The sound of rustling leaves and the rhythmic snoring of the boars quiets him. These boars have not been consumed by Darkness, because even though they see him, they don’t attack. Ironhelm is nearing one of the many Wilderling tribes. This is a warrior tribe, so the Wilderlings know little to no magic. 

But Ironhem doesn’t need magic, because in swordsmanship, nobody can defeat him. He’s quiet as he walks towards the camp, because the tribe might be consumed by Darkness. As he walks closer, he hears them in conversation and one of them says, “Remember that group of Screamers that Darkness helped us corrupt?” 

Ironhelm walks no more, he might just need that elvish magic after all! A vague thought that there might be innocents crosses his mind, but he can’t afford to lose any time before the tribe strikes again. He draws out Viper and whispers the magic runes he learned growing up. Viper starts to glow seething hot orange. The spell works. Ironhelm closes in on the group. He is not going to assault the tribe outright, as the fortifications are almost impregnable. Instead, he wants to sneak behind the camp and burn the camps. Ironhelm picks up a few fallen tree branches and touches the branches to Viper. The tree branches start to burn. Hot, magical fire. Ironhelm starts to close in, and then, with a flick of his wrist, throws the burning tree branches into one of the closest camps. He holds his breath. Will it work? Suddenly the camp catches on fire – the hottest fire ever made. 

Dancing flames light up the camp. The camp is in a riot, running from the spreading fire. The Wilderlings try to use water to put out the fire, but because the fire is magical and the water the tribe uses is not, the fire grows even bigger eating up everything in its path. Then Ironhelm jumps in, and with Viper still glowing orange, slashes the leader’s head clean off. Blood stains his armor. The leader’s head rolls to the ground. Most of the tribe deserts. The remaining warriors try to fend off Ironhelm with spiky clubs, but he slices them in half before they can even move. He touches Viper and Viper turns to a cool gray hue.

Ironhelm sheathes Viper back in a slick figure-eight pattern. He ventures onward . . .

Chapter 3

Ironhelm feels overwhelmed from his last battle, so he sets out to find an artificer and blacksmith to make him weapons and armor. The most powerful kind of swords are magical swords. Ironhelm walks and walks, until he hears a teenage girl crying. His heart races and he sets out to rescue her. Ironhelm almost walks into the hostile camp.  He retreats back to a ledge, as he has no intention of charging onto the spears of his enemy. He holds his breath, not daring to make a sound. He is well hidden, blocked by bushes. The ledge he is watching from is a place that his enemies will never suspect. From his view, he can see the magical tribe and that the Wilderlings are torturing the girl. The servants of Darkness are trying to burn her at the stake. Ironhelm draws out Viper and whispers the magic runes, sa la pray to Reaper. The blade begins to glow hot orange and Ironhelm jumps up into the air, and at the last moment, slams his sword to the ground. The impact is so great that the ground quakes. The Wilderlings around him are thrown off their feet, and Ironhelm kills them one by one. He is so deep in battle, he doesn’t realize that a Specter is looming in the air above him. An Ancestral Specter is the revived spirit of a Wilderling. A Specter possesses incredible powers, including being able to cast lightning out of his/her finger-tips. Specters are usually glowing light blue with the same Soulmask as the living form. They are made by whispering magic runes to a dead Wilderling’s Soulmask. Specters have to be made by experienced sorcerers and even for them, it takes a long time.  Soulmasks are how Wilderlings identify each other. And also, most Wilderlings and Imperiums alike know that Specters are basically indestructible. But Ironhelm is no regular warrior – you could say he’s Iron Ironhelm. 

Ironhelm gets ready to fight the Specter. Ironhelm charges, aiming his sword at the Specter’s head. Ironhelm leaps at the Specter. The Specter barely dodges the blade. The Specter shoots lightning out of his fingers at Ironhelm. Ironhelm blocks the lightning with his sword. The lightning bounces from his sword and strikes the Specter full force. The Specter falls out of the sky and crashes down, dead. Ironhelm cuts the ropes that are binding the girl. “Thanks, but I didn’t need your help”, she says in a bold tone, “My name is Miko”. Ironhelm almost never likes anyone, but he can’t resist Miko, because she is so feisty. Miko takes a deep breath and starts talking, “I was collecting branches to expand my workshop, when one of those annoying Morka warriors caught me. Apparently I was using their wood. I retorted, saying that the filthy crappers couldn’t do anything about it. He flew into a rage and attacked me. He brought me to the camp for all to see. The leader tried to burn me, but I defended myself with an anti-fire artifact. The Morka know deep magic and countered it. I was just running out of time when you came.” Ironhelm and Miko journey to her workshop.

Chapter 4

When they get back, Miko takes her most beloved spear, Gungnir, off her massive collection of armors and weapons. Ironhelm gapes at the wall. Every kind of sword he can imagine is there. Gungnir is a magical spear made from the strongest metal in Wilderness. On one end, it has a crescent hook shape and on the other end, just a sharp point. There are many runes carved into the leather handle of the spear. Miko asks, “Can I join you on your quest?” “Sure, but I need stronger weapons and armor”, was the reply. Miko selects one of the finest blades from the rack. It is a dark sword with the runes that Reaper (the god of all swordsmen) used, carved into the blade. It is ancient and ravaged by use. She presents it to Ironhelm. Ironhelm is not insulted by this, because, to him, this sword is a hallowed antique. Ironhelm trys out the sword, whispering the magic runes. The sword begins to glow dark purple. He swings it at some wooden logs. The wooden logs cleanly split in half. “I know that sword is powerful, but I have never seen it being wielded so well”, says Miko. Ironhelm shrugs, takes Viper out of his sheath and gives it to Miko. Miko looks at it wistfully. “Wow, I didn’t know that Wilderlings still know these runes,” she says, “and now, for the armor.” She pulls out a suit of magical breastplate. It is decorated with the face of Reaper. Ironhelm strips off his old armor and replaces it with the new armor. As soon as the armor touches his clothes, it seals itself on Ironhelm. He feels much safer. Miko takes her spear and sheathes Viper onto her belt loop. Before they go, Miko gives Ironhelm essential battle artifacts. The two warriors continue their quest.

Chapter 5

Ironhelm is walking with Miko, when they hear a cannon and then a scream. Ironhelm draws out Dark Shine (his new sword’s name) and Miko takes a defensive position, with the right foot forwards and the left foot back in a crouching position. They see a tank roll towards them. The strong hull supports a rotating turret. This is one of the new tanks that the Imperiums are building. It is called a Panzer. They know it is an Imperium tank because of the marking. The marking looks like a double pointed spear with two C’s next to it.  The driver of the tank, a heavily armored gunman, breathing deeply, tells them, “A ferocious bear attacked our fortress. He wreaked havoc in the place.” Ironhelm, Miko, and the soldier set out to kill the bear. 

When they arrive at the camp, they find it deserted. The bear is nowhere to be found, but suddenly, they hear a terrible roar behind them. The bear stomps into sight – a big hairy ugly beast. Miko jumps up and thrusts Gungnir at the bear, but the bear merely throws Gungnir with Miko still holding on to it, at a tree. Miko smashes into the tree, then slides down. Ironhelm glares at the bear. He and the soldier close in on the bear. The soldier sprints here and there, in front of the bear, then suddenly behind. Ironhelm leaps up into the air and slams his sword at the bear, the bear falls down as his body splits in two. Everything around them is soaked in blood. Miko wearily gets up, but when she sees the remains of the bear, she lets out a triumphant war cry. The soldier pays them lots of gold and promises to help them whenever he can. Miko and Ironhelm continue their journey. Dusk is rolling in. They need somewhere to stay for the night. As they walk forward, they see light in front of them. They quicken their pace as they are weary and tired. 

 Chapter 6

The light becomes brighter the closer they get. Suddenly the whole sky turns dark purple. Dark clouds loom overhead and thunder crashes on top of them. Ironhelm knows what this means: Darkness is possessing the great spirit- Femor. Femor is a Specter. The corrupted Femor shoots lightning from his hands.   

Every living thing around Ironhelm and Miko fall silent. Femor targets Ironhelm and Miko, Ironhelm shouts to Miko, “Run! Run!” Femor’s lightning nearly nails Miko on her foot. Deep inside, Ironhelm feels that something is wrong. He looks up at Femor and gasps, the Soulmask is his father’s. Suddenly he realizes the truth. He shouts at Femor, “Stop possessing my father!” 

Irohelm rips off his hood, everything is tranquil, he whispers the magic rune that makes the user ultra-powerful, but it can only be used once every decade. He doesn’t hesitate, he must save his father. Ironhelm feels the power coursing through his veins. Ironhelm creates an energy ball, he throws it at Femor, but Femor strikes the energy ball with a perfectly aimed beam of lightning. Ironhelm flies up into the air to face Femor and throws another energy ball at him, it hits Femor this time, but Femor absorbs the attack. 

Femor counter-attacks, striking lightning from his splayed fingers. Ironhelm dodges the attack, realizing that he can’t beat Femor in physical attack. He needs to attack Femor’s soul, his inner self.                                                                              

“Show me your true self!” shouts Ironhelm. 

Femor pauses, seemingly thinking about how to answer the question, “Here’s my true self!” He blasts Ironhelm out of the sky. 

But Ironhelm’s magical words actually work. Femor remembers that Ironhelm is his son and has no impulse to kill him.  Ironhelm smiles for the first time in his life, he had his father back.  

C`hapter 7

Ironhelm, Miko and Femor keep on walking (except for Femor who glides) through the forest towards the End of The Wilderness. The End of the Wilderness is a portal that leads to space. They are trying to stop Darkness on other planets as well  The party spends the night in the dangerous woods. 

In the night, two shadows loom over the sleeping party. Ironhelm wakes up only to find that everyone else is gone. He is alone in the forest. Dark, gloomy trees loom over him and evening dew covers leaves. He stands up in a fright. He feels the cold hands of the wind gripping tight on him. The two shadows close in on him. Ironhelm draws out Dark Shine and takes a defensive pose but the shadows jump behind him, Ironhelm is looking around when he suddenly feels a cold stab in his back, “Arggggghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!”, he screams. His brain freezes and he falls into a coma. He wakes up to find that he is not in Wilderness, no pine and maple, no sounds of tribes fighting. Only black. He looks around, seeing stars. He shakes himself, then looks again, those are the stars, winking at him. He is floating, light as a feather. He looks underneath him and then realizes there is no direction in space. He looks around spotting the End of the Wilderness and yearns to get back to Wilderness so he can find the rest of the group. 

He holds the magical artifact in his hand and whispers the runes. To Ironhelm’s delight, the artifact glows a hot orange. He whispers, “Bring me back to Wilderness”. The magical artifact faces towards the End of The Wilderness, bestowing its master with speed. Ironhelm flies towards the End of The Wilderness. He nears the portal. 

As soon as he touches the ground, he runs into a sprint, he needs to find Old Grey for spells. He stumbles onto the front step. “Old Grey!”, he screams. No one answers. “OLD GREY!”, he screams again. There is no reply, only the rustling of the trees. He faces towards Miko’s blacksmith workshop. He is desperate, running so fast he almost trips on top of himself. No one is there. He looks for an artifact that will allow him to find a specific person. He hopes that Old Grey is with everyone else. He finds the artifact. He says, “Find Miko”. The artifact drags him all the way towards Miko. 

He arrives at a fortress. Ironhelm tiptoes nearer. He hears muffled voices and occasional screams. He recognizes the screams as belonging to Miko. Madness overcomes Ironhelm. He charges through the wooden gates and proceeds to kill every Wilderling in the fortress complex. He forgets all the fighting tactics he learned, and cuts blindly at his foes. He feels the hot boiling anger well up inside of him. He dashes to the place where he hears voices. He rams open the door, looks around the room, and gasps. 

Miko is consumed by Darkness, and Femor is nowhere to be seen. Miko charges at Ironhelm with no recognition at all. Ironhelm stands in defense position. Miko leaps into the air and slams Viper at Ironhelm, but at the last moment Ironhelm slides underneath her. Ironhelm takes the offensive position, barraging Miko with steady attacks. Miko parries each blow with perfect strokes. Miko counter attacks, cutting recklessly at Ironhelm. Ironhelm is overwhelmed by the ferocity of the attacks, and Miko takes advantage of this. 

She slides Viper between the spinning Dark Shine and strikes Ironhelm in the chest. “Arghh!”, Ironhelm falls to his knees, he feels the icy cold blade rip through his chest. Dark Shine clangs on the floor. Miko lifts Viper and tries to deal a final killing blow, but another sword blocks the attack. Both look to see who’s sword it was. Femor appears out of the shadows and rounds on Miko. 

“What are you doing Miko?”, shouts Femor. “Are you crazy?”

 “No”, says Miko calmly. In a lightning fast movement Miko raises her sword and cuts Femor in half. The movement is so sudden that Ironhelm has to take a moment to digest it.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”, Ironhelm screams, feeling like the whole universe is screaming in agony with him. The rage makes him forget all remorse he had for Miko. He grabs Dark Shine, leaps off the ground at Miko and jabs his sword into her stomach. “Stopppp……. I don’t….. want … to… go…”, Miko splutters with her last breath. Miko dies. Ironhelm realizes what he has done, and backs off. No, noooooo, NOOOOOOOO! He can’t believe what he sees. Tears well up in his eyes. The swordsman who stops Darkness, the swordsman who helps everyone, is left heartbroken, with no friends. 

The End

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *