For the TBC June Challenge
We first saw the Stranger as he walked up the dirt road past the Morrel farm. He wore simple brown robes and a hood to keep the sun off his head as he trudged along. There had been a terrible storm the night before, and although the day promised to be warm with late spring sun, the ground was still wet and the mud sucked at his leather boots.
Visitors are rare in our small town, and so farmers stopped in their fields, wives stopped in their cooking, children stopped in their chores to watch the slow, almost leisurely approach of the Stranger. As he neared the town center, several of the men including the village hetman, Jogen, strode out to meet him. Some carried long-tined hay forks or adzes, but the Stranger merely smiled at these precautions.
The Stranger came to a halt several man-lengths away from the village men and pulled back his hood. He was a handsome youth with lightly tanned skin and sandy hair. Nodding politely to the greeting party, he spoke loud enough for all listening to hear. “I am not here to cause you trouble. I am looking for the Sword of Light.”
Old wives, watching from behind fences, nodded sagely. Why else would a Stranger come to our remote village?
The story of the Sword of Light is an old one around these parts. In my father’s father’s generation, another Stranger had come to town, injured in some battle and sick with infection. He carried the Sword and claimed to be a Knight from a distant land. At the time, our village was troubled by bandits who lived in the hills where now we graze our sheep, and upon hearing of this the Knight, despite the fever that wracked his body, took up his Sword and made his way to the camp of the bandits. When my father’s father and some of the other village men worked up the nerve to follow some several days later, they found the Knight surrounded by the bodies of the bandits. The Knight, miraculously, still lived long enough to give his Sword to the village hetman at the time, and swear him to keep it safe until one would come along to claim it, one who could prove himself worthy of the blade. The Sword has lain in hiding, the location only known to the current and former hetmen, until the Stranger came to claim it.
“We know of what you seek,” called our current hetman, “but you must prove yourself worthy of the Sword. We’ll not give it to any random stranger for the asking.”
The Stranger nodded and spoke. “I seek only to honor the Knight who bore it here. As for proof of my worth…” Reaching into his robe, he pulled forth his own Sword of Light and the pale blue glow that surrounded it wrung a gasp from those assembled.
“Very well,” the hetman nodded. “The Sword is yours Sir Knight. If I may, we never learned the name of the Knight who fell here, but might we know yours?”
“Of course,” smiled the Stranger. “My name is Luke Skywalker.”