Swords

(Excerpt from Friar Tumnus’ Recollections of the Destitute. He was a contemporary of the Nameless Hero, and, though he never draws an exact connection between this story and others like it—albeit, he mentions legends—it is believed by most scholars that this account is a testament to the deeds of the same.)

As if from heaven he came, appearing upon the land without a history. There was no trail of which anyone could attest that lead him into our midst, but just as we had given up hope—as those three witnesses, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had faith to go into that Babylonian furnace, so was I prepared—He was there between us and our bloody captors.

I thought he was but a legend. They say King Alexander had in his services men, trained from birth in mystical eastern arts, who could slay a thousand men with the drawing of a sword. But say they more that after the war, one of these sought penance for the blood he spilled, and roamed the lands he had conquered. Seeking redemption, he traveled without fanfare nor entourage, but trekked by foot, visiting the lands made miserable by the aftershocks of war.

So, conforming to all the legends, our savior came. There were poles, sticking up out of the ground, round which we were, three to a station, chained, our arms held aloft. I could see, by straining and pulling, two of these criminals. One, pumping the bellows, made the coals glow like hellfire, the other turned a long rod, the tip of which was in the heart of the flame.

Our shirts had been torn from our backs, and in the midday sun we sweated, our skin red and glossy. Lifting the white hot branding iron into the air, the larger of the two jerked his head. The one who had been at work on the bellows jumped up, scurrying to our courtyard prison. But leaving the shelter of the forge, he tripped, falling into the dust. Coming after him with the iron, the other laughed, and then was quiet.

It was so sudden, his silence seemed to quell all the sounds of nature around us. I was watching, and even then did not yet see the hero. The knees buckled under the large man, and the head rolled off its neck and into the lap of his fallen comrade. As the great bulk fell, dropping the instrument of torture to the earth, a figure was revealed, standing behind him.

He was clad in all black, and wore a cowl covering his face. A short and lean figure, but such smallness did not disguise the power he held. There was something unsettling in it, the stillness of his body, how not one of us—I questioned them—saw him before that point, and the strange sword he bore. It curved like a sickle, was bright like a polished mirror, and sharp as a razor.

He seemed to salute the man holding the head. At this the bandit touched his forehead like something had hit him, and looked up from the cranium he held. Gazing at his executioner, he dropped the head and dived for the still glowing brand. Holding this out in front of him, he tried to circle the stranger.

Sheathing this strange weapon, the man in black simply stepped backward into the shadows of the forge. Though I was watching him, once he passed that threshold I could see him not, like he had melted into the shadows. It didn’t take the surviving bandit long to follow him, and he held his glowing tool aloft like a club, ready to bring it down upon the head of his enemy.

The long rod, with his hand still clutching it, flew out of the entrance into our midst. I waited to hear screams, the sound of a fight, but there were none. And out of nowhere, next to me was my savior. Now this may seem strange, but from the folds of his shirt he produced what looked like a nail, with just a bit of the tip bent squarely. Shoving this into the lock binding our chains to the pole, he sprung the mechanism as if he were merely turning a key.

Moving from pole to pole did he likewise, setting the captives free.

(The rest of Friar Tumnus’ Recollections of the Destitute the reader may find in the royal archives, and many universities hold a copy. This selection has been edited, removing the genealogies of the men saved—an interesting exercise not citing first born, but the first born after their rescue—and among the families is the well-known name Tinker. The Tinker family history holds that their namesake was saved by the Nameless Hero. Other noted families believed saved in this episode: Hinkleton, Braxton, Charleston, and my own family, the Sextons)

Compiler’s note:

Though it is generally accepted that the above narrative was an actual account of one of the many feats of heroism attributed to the Nameless Hero, some critics, believing the character a fable, hold that this and similar histories are either disingenuous or regard multiple persons. This editor has chosen to add the above story to lend weight to, as the writer puts it himself, his confession and will, seeing as Friar Tumnus’s writings are the major basis for our nation’s early histories, and are on par with the royal records.

But, as these writings, written presumably by the very hand of the Nameless Hero, which have graciously—but only recently—been afforded to the public records by the Crown, are already maligned as forgeries as part of a growing tide of sophomoric scholars holding the tales of our fathers to be but pleasant lies, I see my duty clearly to set forth an argument for the truth even though ears nowadays only hear what they want to.

So, Friar Tumnus bears me witness, and a more trusted historian I cannot find. I do not intend to make this primarily a collection of the Nameless Hero’s feats, better authors have paved that road with works like, Shadow Justice, The Unseen Sword, and The Nameless Hero. Yet so many of these works lend credence to those who want to disbelieve, by their including of unhistorical obvious fantasies. To separate the wheat from the chaff seems a Herculean task, and so, presenting this unmuddied text I hope will provide a groundwork for honest students to learn about the greatest hero our people ever had.

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