The Law of Blades

The Law of Blades

The Arbiter strikes the call, announcing a judgement to be made.

Forward the proxy’s come, their swords for justice’s aid.

The quarrel explained, a duel commenced.

A dance of death, a dance of honor, an argument waged in steel.

One will fall, one will stand, the accused tested by blood.

Justice triumphs, the dispute won by the clash of blades.

Victory ends the fight, the price paid in flesh.

by Nicholas Byrley

I have another story fragment of mine turned poem tonight. This one is more of a fantasy lean, with a medieval feel and flavor. Its a simple idea, just a society who’s laws were entirely decided by contests of steel. Naturally a proxy would be the preferred choice in settling disputes, and you create an excellent basis for characters with that setting. I’ve been toying with it for awhile, trying to get the right feel for it to start writing. For now, I’ll sum it up as a poem, but I’m going to keep working towards turning it into it actual story. I think I love fantasy because it allows for absolutely any background or world setting, no matter how fantastic. The bizarre is expected and welcomed, it is welcomed rather than rejected. It may be a bit too easy to take shortcuts in a world who’s reality you control though, so it’s important to be aware of what actually adds to the setting.


The Last Berserker

The Last Berserker

Rage. All there is, is rage. Blinding, all-encompassing, red-tinted rage. I feel the sword in my hands and the pounding of my heart in my ears. All other sounds are blotted out. I move not with skill but with animalistic instinct. I crouch low as an enemy approaches, ducking under his clumsy swing and driving my sword through his side. Blood spills and he begins to fall, but I have already moved on. There are more to fight, more raw anger to unleash. A handful of archers spot me, their long daggers at work on one of my men. What is his name? It does not matter. I am on them before they can rally. My sword falls upon them indiscriminately, carving gashes and shedding life’s blood. In only a few moments they are fallen or fleeing, my blade dripping crimson.

The rage continues to pound inside my head, threatening to consume even these basic thoughts.I fight for control. I am a warrior, I am a berserker, I am- Who am I?! This thought ends as another foe approaches, calling out a challenge as he charges my stationary figure. It does not matter who I am, I realize. I am rage and this is my world. With this resolved I give myself to the fight, meeting the warrior head on. His spear against my sword, our weapons clash, the metals cling. We dance back and forth his skill a match for my fury. In the end his spear pierces my side and he snarls in triumph. I roar my own triumph in his astonished face as I force myself along his spear, driving my sword into his stomach. The warrior falls with a gurgle and I rise back up, looking for the next foe.

Through the smoke and the blood I see the fight is ending, the enemy routing. My rage sated for the moment, it fades from my body. The pain of my injuries and the realization of the battle come washing over me in a flood, and I know. I am Geoffri, I am the Last Berserker. Pain is an old friend, and glory my constant companion. I try to ignore the pain as I snap the spear haft off, looking down at the fallen warrior. Frederich, the name comes to me at last. He is the third son of Wilhelm I have killed, there are still three more. I toss the remnants of the spear onto him and spit, disgusted.

A half realized vengeance is no vengeance at all. There are more battles to plan, more fights to win. Within me the rage lurks, waiting for its moment to be unleashed. I think it is lonely now that I am the last. It fights its own urge to burn me up in its terrible embrace. But the old gods are not dead yet so they still bind its fury. I made my bargain on the shattered plain, the rage can take me only once Wilhelm and all his sons are dead, not before. Leaving the fallen warrior I turn to search for whatever remains of my own soldiers.

by Nicholas Byrley


First attempt at flash fiction, written in about twenty minutes. Let me know what you think.