Daily Prompt: Craftmanship (War Fiction)


‘Metal forging is a craft, a skill that one in every 100 men have. Sure, anyone can heat up metal but how to mold it into a sword or an armor: that is a skill. When to cool a metal and how much to beat it, these things can be only done by instincts. You have the knack for this kind of craft. So promise me Pete that the only time you pick up a sword or a hammer is to deliver it. Battle is better off for others.’

Pete remembered that particular conversation with his grandpa. He could never forget it, he has trouble remembering his grandpa’s face at times but that conversation was easy to recall. It shaped his life.

He deeply breathed, trying to steady his speeding heartbeat. He was scared. He has never stepped out on a battlefield before and now the battle was outside. His brothers, the soldiers with whom he has grown up were getting slaughtered outside and he could hear women screaming. Houses were aflame, horses were running wild and the world sounded like it was about to end.

Maybe it was.

He looked at around his armory: he had a hammer, his favorite, a sword and some knives. Enough to fight with, enough to die with it. He knew a little about fighting but he was prepared: he threw his sword into the flame to heat it up. Nothing burned more than seared flesh and he was going to use the heat. His hammer had a long shaft which would be perfect for swinging and gave him reach. Knives would be perfect for arm to arm combat.

Let’s go.

He could hear some men standing outside his hut and swords clashing. He was not sure but he could hear someone cursing in his native tongue. There was a squeal and the swords stopped ringing. One final curse in his native tongue and someone fell down.

Pete ran outside his hands on the heated sword with his hammer on his back. In a second he had swung his sword and had cleanly decapitated a soldier. The heated metal had sealed the wound so no blood came pulsating out. Maybe it was the lack of blood that gave him an advantage as no one turned towards him until too late.

He cut off another soldier’s sword hand, sealing the wound. He turned his attention towards to the other soldiers standing around him: three more, four if you count the maimed soldier. He screamed a battle cry his friends had thought him a while ago, his voice eerily strong.

The soldiers were ready and were able to deflect his swings with ease. However, the sword’s heat threw them backward. He was bigger than all three of them, so he swung again this time putting his full weight on the swing. It worked as the soldier made the mistake of blocking the swing rather than deflecting it. Both the swords were thrust into the soldier’s chest and locking them together. Pete tried to pry loose his sword but to no avail. He had two more to kill for now but he couldn’t do it.

One soldier was at arm’s reach so he did just that, he grabbed the soldier’s neck and squeezed while he kicked the other. With only one soldier to focus on he grabbed his knife and thrust it in the soldier’s eye socket.

With one soldier and one maimed soldier left, he grabbed his hammer.

He could see another group of soldiers in the distance, they had noticed him as well. No matter, he will get to them soon enough. He swung his hammer low and blew the maimed soldier’s knee out. He kept the momentum of the swing and turned around to aim the hammer on the soldier’s head.

It was just like beating a metal into shape. Only this time blood came out.

More soldiers, none of them had any long range weapon. They would die soon. That day, the village was Pete’s forge. All the soldiers were infantry it was a while before any archers made contact with Pete. By the time they did, at least 50 were smashed and the hammer was glistening with blood.

An arrow through Pete’s heart put him down.

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