A.J. Walker


The Sword of Yneros

Sword of Yneros
Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 264

The Sword of Yneros

There are few who have seen Yneros properly and lived to tell the story. It’s not to say that she has anything to do with their passing. For she is the guardian of the mountains and protector of all who travel through them. Her benevolence is unbound and yet most do not know when they have been saved. She cajoles the winds and the snows. She can stop ice melting or cause it to form a bridge for those in desperate need. If you’ve counted your blessings and crossed your head and heart in a thanks to God, it is more likely your thanks should be aimed at Yneros.

It wasn’t always that way. She was a God with meanness and cunning to go with it: and most impressively unequalled skills for the battle. She had beaten many a God and their lower cohorts for the best part of a millennia. Her prowess in battles with her equals led her to be feared and respected: some would say in equal amounts, but in fact she was mostly feared.

When she defeated the errant Sea Gods of Lancia she was viewed as the most mighty warrior of the heavens and for this she was gifted by those who thanked her for defeating them The Sword of Yneros. It is the most mighty of swords and unlike most great swords it was never named. The Gods told her that no name could do it justice more than being named as hers.

In subsequent times no-one sought to threaten or even irk Yneros. It would be the very definition of foolhardy. And in these quiet times she began to consider her existence. She’d always fought and fought well. But why? Was there no other way? To be gifted a great – maybe the greatest – weapon clearly illustrated how she was seen. She was a God who was feared, not one that was loved. As time passed she considered the sword less and less as a weapon, but more as a symbol of what she was. What she was… before.

Slowly but inexorably she grew into the benevolent God of the mountains. The one who’ll protect those in need. The Sword of Yneros has still never been used in anger. Sometimes when you're high in the hills you may see a glint in the sky. A reflection of the sun on the sword. If you do you will likely see the red of her dress in the same sky. Some say this is a sign that you have just been saved and may not even know you had been in danger. Count your blessings there and then, and when you get home safely raise a glass of wine to Yneros in this phase of her existence. Pray that you never see the sword blooded, for the world will then be in a most desolate time.


Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 263


Willam G. Stephens was a household name. You may well remember him from his classic books and plays. Who can forget his breakthrough epic family saga, ‘Doctor Turner’s Parallel Lives’ or ‘Imperfect Perfections,’ and ‘A History of Bees in Five Movements’? His serial story with Jess the three-legged poodle/Jack Russell cross had a nation rapt and then in tears for months.

Everybody looked forward to his weekly column in the London Gazette. They never knew where his serials would travel to - and his excoriating editorials when he was on duty were powerful pieces to behold. Many a public figure having been lambasted by Stephens had oft to consider their future when his colourful caricatures stuck once out in public. He was scintillating with wittisism and choosing the right crack to lever at with his forthright pen.

In the ‘
For Arts Sake’ magazine interview he famously said he wasn’t a lyrical polymath or wordsmith genius but simply a “conduit”. He claimed to never know what he was going to write from one day to another. That he’d sit in front of a blank sheet of paper and put down a random word then let the following words take him where they wished to. He’d no control of the story and he was as surprised at twists & turns - the endings of them - as any of his devotees. He’d said that he believed that there maybe no such thing as a genius but just right place, right time. Twenty years into his career he’d been pulled into researching ley-lines and he’d even had a woman in his home purporting to be an expert in communication to the afterlife to see if he had someone whispering the words to him. She’d said that there was; but could say nothing more. Stephens later called her a charlatan in one of his columns. A fortnight later he’d struggled not to write “she should have seen that coming” when she died in a bizarre accident involving a spaniel puppy (not hers) and a tennis net.

Several weeks later he went into his office to work on his weekly editorial – he’d expected it could be about Cleanliness Being More Important than Godliness, or maybe something about the Foreign Secretary needing a multitude of very private secretaries to keep him up to date with who he was seeing in a variety of settings – of course, in reality once he’d written the first word down he’d have been surprised by what he’d written. He told Rita, his long suffering wife, that he need never travel as as soon as he was sat at his desk he’d be whisked away hither and thither; without the need of that tiresome travelling nonsense. Rita always put on a rictus grin: she so wanted to see the world (though preferably without William).

“RITA!!” The scream ripped through the usually quiet townhouse. She was genuinely shocked by it. He was usually so sedate even in throws of relative passion.

After running down the stairs as if chased by the devil himself she’d found William under the desk searching the floor and panting like an overheated dog. “We’ve been robbed, Rita. Robbed!”

It took a while to find out what he was talking about. The house hadn’t seemed to be disturbed in any room. The doors and windows were all secured as usual. She told him that there were no signs of an incursion and that all their valuables were still in place.

“No valuables!” William panted. “Pens, the pens. They’ve all gone.”

The police sent a couple of men around, including a senior officer, given Stephens’ celebrity status. They too failed to find any evidence of a break-in or any nefarious activity - other than some suspicious material in what Stephens called his restorative ‘
head strolling paraphernalia.’ Nothing was said about that.

He was asked for a description of the pens and he quickly provided them with an itemised list and detailed drawings of them. The policemen were impressed by his thoroughness. PC Hunt commented to his sergeant that maybe Stephens was compensating for something. “May as well call them a penus instead of a pen, Sergeant.”

In the subsequent months Stephens never wrote a word which made it to print in a newspaper, magazine or book. He tried pens cheap and month wage expensive, typewriters and even tried dictating to Rita and several secretaries. Nothing worked. His muse had gone with his pens. Or maybe the conduit had gone.