On this vast, barren battlefield, I stand alone.
With nothing but the chainmail on the body, I stare at the army advancing over the distant horizon.
Behind me, the city wall mountains over the rising sun, surrounding the home that I oathed to protect.
The morning breeze carries the valiant cries of the enemies across the land.
Soon, the deep rumbling of the earth reaches my feet.
Five thousand men clad in iron armor raise dust clouds behind them as they charge toward me.
I feel nothing, not fear, not remorse, not excitement, only the sense of duty.
The army is nothing but an obstacle between the Eventyr Kingdom and salvation.
When the men are close enough for me to clearly see the flag of Himmelvann they are carrying, I slowly raise my right hand to the side facing down.
A small, bright, yellow magic circle appears in my palm.
Responding to my movement, the ground under my hand begins to shake.
Rocks scatter and cracks form.
A golden, engraved hilt rises from the earth.
Slowly, more of the sword emerges.
The sharp blade that looks to be able to cut by just looking reveals itself.
Without taking my eyes off of the incoming army, I wrap my hand around the handle of the sword still birthing from the ground.
The magic circle disappears as I pull the sword out.
The army is within a hundred meters from me now.
I whip the sword to shake the dirt off, creating a strong gust of wind that blows to the side.
My sword, Loitsun Vera, glimmers under the sunlight.
The charging men show no sign of stopping.
With a kick of the ground, I start sprinting forward head-on toward the army.
A magic circle forms at the crossguard and the blade is set ablaze. The metallic edge is wrapped in a crimson fire that flutters in the wind.
As I come into contact with the first row of soldiers, I swing my sword and a wave of flames shoots off in front of me, cutting through the army and setting them on fire.
My actual blade catches a couple of necks and sends heads flying. Screams break out from the crowd, but I continue swinging. Blood fills the air and drenches my sword.
Waves and waves of fire devastate the soldiers. Those who are lucky are decapitated in an instant, those who aren't are slowly burnt to ashes.
Some who dodge the fire attempt to counter-attack, but my speed is on completely another level. I easily parry their attacks with loud metallic clashes and slice their bodies in half. Their wounds are immediately charred from the fire.
Their iron armor is non-existent at the edge of Loitsun Vera.
I zoom through the army like a tornado, laying destruction upon anything and everything in my path.
Not long after, the five thousand soldiers were decimated. Only a handful remain, who all lost their will to fight.
Standing beside a burning pile of dead bodies, I shoot those alive with a gaze. At the sight of my eyes, they tremble and collapse in fear.
Since they no longer pose any threat, I decide to spare their lives. I thrust my sword into the ground and conjure a magic circle in my palm, after which the sword dematerializes and seeps back into the earth.
I walk back to the city walls, through the battlefield that is now silent, completely devoid of the screaming and cries that echoed throughout mere seconds ago.
The gates open as I approach. On the other side of the wall is the training grounds for the soldiers, which is an open field surrounded by large barracks. Armored knights scurry around the field, tending to their battle posts. One soldier dressed in slightly more decorated armor jogs toward me and calls out.
"Commander Ferson, what's the outcome?" (Soldier)
"The enemies have been defeated. The western wall is now safe." (Ferson)
"Astonishing as always, commander." (Soldier)
"They didn't put up much of a fight. How are the other walls holding up?" (Ferson)
"Thanks to you taking care of the entire west side, our soldiers are doing well. The enemies are starting to retreat. It looks like we are able to survive another day." (Soldier)
"Great work, officer." (Ferson)
"It's all thanks to you, commander. Also, his majesty has summoned you. I believe he has matters to discuss regarding the war." (Soldier)
"I understand." (Ferson)
My heart is instantly filled with worries. I have a vague idea as to what the King has to say. Our Kingdom, Eventyr, has fallen. Only the capital city remains. With me, we won't be completely wiped out, but there's no chance for us to recover our former glory as the strongest power on the Western Continent.
With those thoughts in mind, I walk to a nearby horse and jump on. I pick up the bridle and leave for the royal castle.
As soon as I exit the training grounds and enter the city, I hear the citizens cheer.
"Look! It's the commander!"
"Lead us to victory!"
"He's so cute!"
I am not very great with people, so I just wave and smile awkwardly. That last one was a little odd to hear, but it's not their fault.
My age is 35, but 19 years ago, I obtained Loitsun Vera, one of the 2 Immortal Blades. As the name suggests, it grants me the power of immortality. However, I regret not waiting a couple more years before obtaining it, since my appearance is now frozen as a 16-year-old. Moreover, I was a late bloomer, making me look even younger than my biological age.
I continue to return the citizens' encouragement as I ride past the taverns and the shops that I visit so often. It pains me to think that my home is currently under the threat of doom.
Soon, I arrive at the entrance to the royal estate. The guards take a look at my face and immediately open the gate with a slight bow.
The castle is huge and magnificent, the estate is even more so since it houses the castle in its center.
Because the city is currently under attack, all the servants and the members of the royal family have been told to stay in their rooms, so the estate is empty, with the exception of a few guards here and there.
I jump off my horse and give it to a guard to attend to.
It's not particularly a hurry, but no one wants to keep a king waiting, so I pick up my speed and jog up the stairs leading into the castle.
The first room that greets me is the throne room. It's exquisitely decorated and very spacious, but I have visited this room so frequently that the details no longer appear in my mind.
King Eventyr, an old and fragile man, sits on the throne. There is a weariness apparent on his face. No guards are beside him, which is a little unusual. We are the only two in the entire throne room.
"Your majesty called," I say as I kneel down on my knee and lower my head.
"That's right, commander. Please raise your head." (Eventyr)
I stand back up. My chainmail armor rattles as I move.
"As you might know, we will lose this war," the king says bluntly.
It's a fact that I truly do not want to believe, but a fact nonetheless.
"Commander Ferson, you, as the wielder of an Immortal Blade, will survive the war no matter what, but we will most likely perish very soon." (Eventyr)
"That alone is my greatest regret." (Ferson)
I drop back down to my knees. Indeed, this is my greatest regret, the fact that I can not die for my country, but to watch it crumble while not being able to do anything.
"Raise your head. It is not your fault and no one blames you. However, please allow me to humbly ask for a request." (Eventyr)
"I do not deserve your majesty's modesty. Please go ahead, I am willing to do anything in my power." (Ferson)
"Then, are you willing to perform the Overføre ritual?" (Eventyr)
The name is unfamiliar.
"Yes. But I do not know of the ritual." (Ferson)
"Understandable. It's a ritual only accessible to the wielders of the Immortal Blades, which makes sense that information regarding it is not widely known. I shall explain it. It's a spell that takes the life force of the wielder and distributes it to the people in the surrounding vicinity, granting them a temporary boost in their conjuring and manipulation abilities." (Eventyr)
"I am willing to perform such a ritual even at the cost of my life, but will it save our country?" (Ferson)
"That will depend on you. According to past wielders who had their blades seized, the more life force you give up, the longer and stronger the effect will be." (Eventyr)
So it's a ritual that has been performed before by my predecessors. They were all once Immortal Blade wielders, but since the sword chooses a wielder it has deemed worthy, the power has corrupted them for the blade to be seized from them.
"I understand. I shall perform the ritual right away." (Ferson)
"Commander Ferson, you have my utmost gratitude and respect. I will personally make sure that your accomplishments which allowed the survival of this very kingdom to never be forgotten." (Eventyr)
"It is I who holds the gratitude. Your majesty has saved me from the fate of witnessing the crumble of the Eventyr Kingdom." (Ferson)
"Thank you, Commander. You will be forever remembered as the warrior of the highest honor." (Eventyr)
"I don't deserve such a thing. Please, instruct me on the ways of the Overføre ritual." (Ferson)
The king nods in respect. His eyes are full of hope and gratitude. He slowly stands up from his throne and walks toward me.
"Unsheath your blade." (Eventyr)
I bow slightly as I raise my palm which has the yellow magic circle shining within. The ground shakes as Loitsun Vera emerges beside me from the castle floor, leaving a hole in the ground. I grab the hilt and hold it up.
"Now cut yourself and let the blood drip onto the blade. The more blood you give the stronger our soldiers will become, but remember, the more life force you will also lose." (Eventyr)
I am determined to give my life, but since possessing the blade doesn't allow me to do that, I shall give as much as I can, so I slit my wrist. A sharp pain immediately shoots up my arm, but it's nothing compared to the suffering of war. Red, hot blood spew out of my hand and drench the glimmering blade.
"I believe that's enough," King Eventyr says while looking away from my wound.
"Pardon my presumption, but I can devote much more," I stare into the King's side eyes with determination.
"...I understand." (Eventyr)
Soon, I am beginning to feel dizzy from the blood loss. It won't kill me but I reckon that I will faint if I let it go on any longer. I create a magic circle with the sword and conjure fire from the blade. With a movement of my finger, the fire shoots toward my wound and seals it by burning my exposed flesh.
"Ehm," I grunt from the burning pain, but the blood has stopped flowing.
"I am ready." (Ferson)
The king turns his head back. He looks at the sword which is dripping blood and furrows his brows in concern.
"Great. But you seem to have given a bit too much. No past record has stated wielders slitting their wrists." (Eventyr)
"This much is fine. However, if I may ask, what will happen to me after the ritual?" (Ferson)
"I believe you go in a state between life and death until your life force is recovered, when you will be reawakened." (Eventyr)
"Then I shall serve the kingdom once more." (Ferson)
"I am sure we will be glad to have you back. Now, raise your sword high up and chant 'overføre'." (Eventyr)
With no hesitation, I do as the king says. My blood drips from the blade onto my head. Before I can say the word, the king speaks up.
"Let's save the kingdom." (Eventyr)
For the first time in my life, I see the king as not the ruler in his extravagant robe and crown, but a comrade whom I have fought alongside for decades. I smile at him, and he smiles back.
The blade that was covered in blood now shines as if it had been forged. The blinding white light floods my view and I close my eyes. Immediately afterward, I lose all my senses and feel like I have been lifted from the ground, detached from gravity.
After what I feel like is 5 seconds, my senses return to me and I can once again feel the floor beneath my feet. I reopen my eyes.
I find myself back in the exact same place in the throne room. Worries about whether the ritual has actually worked rush me, but then I realized that something is different, very different.