The Calling – Prompt #155 –

The Spirit of the sword

There was a war on, Darius had known about this for centuries, however, it kept largely to itself and didn’t bother him too much as they tended to kill each other and usually didn’t leave too much collateral damage in its wake. This was about to change though.

Darius had been taking care of business in Boston when he first heard the news about an atrocity in New York. The authorities had found a school bus with a dozen children in it. That by itself wouldn’t have peaked his interest. Just to be on the safe side he did make some enquiries and found that one of his contacts got hold of a copy of the original incident report. After hearing about the way the kids had been left, it sounded to him more like the kids had been put on show. Darius packed up that same evening and left Boston.

Goodbye Boston, Hello New York

Here he was now, in an empty warehouse somewhere in Ridgewood, New York. Having ruffled some feathers already he found his first clues who might be responsible for this heinous display. While he continued with the age-old ritual of sharpening a katana before using it to kill, he remembered how his life had changed when he found his purpose, his Calling!

This sword wasn’t any old sword, it was a Japanese Katana, forged in the town of Dan-no-ura by a samurai centuries ago. If it hadn’t been cursed it definitely would have broken years ago. Katanas were made to last, but even the best sword would fade into nothingness after centuries of being used to fight the good fight.

Darius had been on the wrong side of the sword when he first met the previous owner. He and his brethren didn’t know the guy’s name, one of them decided to call him Ultor, which apparently was Latin for ‘he who punishes the guilty’. He and his brethren were on the run from the authorities, and the man with the sword! Darius had only found out about that his brethren found the family of the Ultor and brutally murdered each and everyone, indiscriminate of gender and age. One of his so-called friends had made sure that he was tasked with something else while they went and did the deed.

Standing at a crossroads

We all have, at one point or another, an inner conflict where light and dark are at odds and we come to a crossroads. With Darius, in particular, that was a daily struggle. A struggle that he had lived with for many years and at times had mostly under control. There was a certain line he would not cross whatever the cost to himself or his brethren. He had endured plenty of hardship and ridicule because of this.

That fateful night this line had been crossed in a spectacular way. Which left him in a really bad place. The darkness inside of him wanted to rejoice, to join the others and partake in this indiscriminate gratuitous violence. The part of him that still clung to the good inside him, the bit that new right from wrong, that part of him needed to atone for not trying to prevent it. To be fair he couldn’t have prevented the others going off the deep end like that. There were too many of them, but he couldn’t just do nothing. If he did that he might as well end his existence there and then.

When Darius finally caught up with ‘Ultor’ and his brethren, or so he thought, the man with the sword had been ambushed and then they had run off to murder and pillage a nearby town. Darius was left with the Ultor lying in the grass. He thought he was dead, but when he went near him he suddenly sat up and started mumbling in Japanese. As he seemed to have finished his speech he presented Darius with his sword.

The spirit of the sword

Darius noticed that the sword bore the same Japanese symbol that the Dying warrior bore on his chest. As Darius accepted the sword the symbol on the chest of the Ultor started glowing and a strange light emerged which then took the form of a Dragon. While The Dragon took flight, the warrior that moments before had seemed animated and talkative slumped back to the ground. The Spirit of the sword, now in the form of a dragon, burst into flame and used the air as its canvas to draw the symbol that had been on the warrior’s chest and on the sword that Darius was holding. Once it finished drawing its meaning into the air, it flew directly towards Darius and entered his body.

This spirit of the sword had encountered plenty of beings such as him before, but they all had one thing in common, they all died through its power. Now this creature before it was supposed to be worthy?

It recognised that Darius was different to beings, such as him, it had encountered before. There was a certain nobility and sense of right and wrong to him, which the others sorely lacked. It was one thing to kill another so you may carry on, but quite another to slaughter a whole family or even a whole village without a care if the victims were male, female, old or young.

Drawing on Darius’s memories the spirit noted that he had never before willingly or unbeknownst to him caused the death of a child. That was until the previous night. He could not have prevented the slaughter that happened without sacrificing his life in their stead. But the spirit suddenly realised something, it felt the burning desire within Darius to atone for this and bringing, who he had called friend until then to justice. The demon within him though was actively encouraging him to forget about it, to leave it be or to join in the mayhem. The spirit then decided justice should be dealt out.

Becoming one with the spirit of the sword

Darius suddenly screamed and became engulfed in a blue flame. The spirit was merging with him and the demon within, even though it would not be able to completely banish it, the spirit of the sword would try its utmost to not only balance things out but to try and give Darius’s sense of right and wrong the upper hand.
Once Darius emerged from the symbolic blue flame that had engulfed him, he was one now with the spirit of the sword. His chest and the sword itself bore the same symbol. On his chest, it was a strange mixture of tattoo & scar. On the sword, it seemed to have been edged into the sheath and the blade by fire. It was a symbol from his homeland, simplified it meant ‘protector’.


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