Fate Comes to Call
Axe was always the quiet sort, but then again his farm life never gave him much reason to
speak. I could always do enough talking for the both of us, and as such Axe stayed quiet and
did his work.
I feel I should clarify. My parents were not so evil as to name their youngest child Axe, but he never uses his real name anymore. He himself has told me as such, and I respect my brother’s wishes. If he wants to be called Axe, then I will call him Axe. He certainly deserves the name.
As I have previously mentioned, Axe was always a quiet child, and a hard worker. One of the
neighboring farm’s children who fashioned himself an academic said it was because my
constant chattering scared him. Personally, I think he didn’t see the need for talking much. He said what he needed to say nothing more. I didn’t get that, not really. I was the excitable child, always dragging my taciturn younger brother into my adventures. Oh, the tales I would tell at the few gettogethers the locals had. I was the dashing, but bumbling hero, and he my stalwart companion, always managing to save my rear when I managed to plant it firmly in the fire.
Of course, I wasn’t Axe’s only friend. He had another, a woman named Elm.
Elm was a dryad, who had lived on our land since before my grandfather settled it. Still, she
acted much younger than her advanced age would suggest, and she often conversed with the children in the family. She helped keep watch on our land, and blessed us with good crops. My father didn’t spend much time with her, but Axe would spend hours, sitting by her tree, quiet. She appreciated that. Axe had patience, and he liked silence. I could never stand to be around that I wasn’t much for silence, as you can probably imagine.
Oh, if you’re wondering, Elm is why you won’t find a scrap of wood in our tools or weapons.
Even most of our house is built from stone, and we used dead wood for most everything else. It made her more comfortable, and it’s become a tradition for us. Instead, we hunt and use the bones from our kills. It’s a little inefficient at times and it’s probably creepy, but I think it adds charm. Most of my siblings are great hunters, but I think Axe could beat them all at this point.
Our days went mostly the same as the last. Oh, sure, Axe and I had our adventures, and I made more stirring tales, and we grew Axe more than me. Farm labor builds you up strong,
especially if when your tool breaks you have to go kill something to fix it. But things changed.
A drought hit. It was short just one season, but it hit some of our neighbors hard. Not us,
though. Elm saw us through. There was one neighbor, Roland Erikson, who was a drunk. He
grew incensed at us, yelled at my father about “that damn treewitch.” No one thought he’d try anything, though. That is, until he showed up on our farm in the middle of the night with an axe.
Axe had been sitting up with Elm, quiet as usual. He had been spending a lot of nights outside with Elm lately. I’m not sure to this day if he somehow knew, deep down, that Roland was going to do what he did. It didn’t matter. In his drunken rage, Roland managed to knock my brother to the ground, nearly rendering him unconscious. Then he started in with the axe on Elm’s tree.
She had been using a great deal of her power to help our crops, and she wasn’t able to put up a fight. I came running when I heard the screams.
Roland wasn’t really using the axe too much, thank the gods. He was spending too much time gloating. I tried to tackle him away, but he shoved me off, and swung the axe at my leg. They say he broke the bone and severed several muscles. All I know is that I haven’t been able to walk right since. Still, I have this fancy cane, so it’s not all bad! This is actually my second one.Dire Wolf bone if you can believe it. It was a gift from Axe.
But I digress. I don’t know if it was my screams of pain or Elm’s that motivated him, but Axe
gathered himself once more. There was no roar of or rage or verbal challenge. That wasn’t his style. Instead, he charged, knocked Roland over, and wrenched the axe from his hands. The next thing I knew, it was buried in Roland’s head.
Elm was scared, and so was I. I can’t say I had never seen dead people before we had all
seen what happened when those bandits attacked our farm and ran into dad just as he was
getting ready for a hunt. But this was the first time that it had been someone I knew.
There was a huge fuss over the whole thing of course. Roland’s family accused Axe of being a killer, but the judge intervened. I testified, and Axe was declared innocent. Still, things weren’t the same. Elm was scarred, and Axe kept the axe. I once heard her ask why.
He said if she was scared of it, then he would change it. It wouldn’t be something used to
destroy, but something used to protect. Not the most words I’ve ever heard him use, but definitely the most poignant. Axe eventually left the farm. He joined up with a mercenary core afterwards. That’s where he got the name. The captain said he was so good with that bonehandled axe that he might as well be called Axe. Obviously, my brother grew fond of the name.
He came back, eventually, and told me his stories, but he didn’t stay long. He had to find more strong companions, and get better and better. He says he’s going to come back and show Elm what his axe is really for. I hear he’s headed to Siendart now, looking for adventure.
Don’t give me that pitying look. He’s coming back. And he’ll definitely have plenty more stories to tell.
Unknown village storyteller