Silence reigned across the battlefield as the two massive opponents faced one another. Tension filled the air and every muscle was locked, rigidly ready for either fight or flight. All waited for the unspoken sign that would trigger the most epic battle seen since the days of old.
Then suddenly and with no discernable signal, Vulcan and Nex Necis collided and the crashing sound of steel versus steel rang out across the earth. Sparks showered down upon them both as their flaming weapons met repeatedly, hammering against each other and slashing at their armor. Each threw everything they had at the other and a dance of advance and retreat began.
The earth groaned and shook beneath their feet and dust swirled around them. Back and forth the battle raged, one minute Vulcan prevailing, the next with Nex. Nothing was held back and the fury with which each fought filled the onlookers with absolute dread.
Grunting and straining the two pummeled each other, but neither backed down. Coated in sweat, Paul refused to let up, knowing that he had to come up with some sort of plan. Vulcan would not tire and Paul knew that hit for hit, Vulcan had more power. He had to change the nature of the fight; he had to defeat Vulcan not with strength, but with brains instead. He had to outsmart the god.
Desperately parrying and dodging out of the path of Vulcan’s red flame-encased sword, Paul frantically tried to come up with an idea. Sensing that he was distracted, Vulcan advanced and rained blows down upon him. In a frenzy, Vulcan slashed and hacked at Nex’s armor and unable to counter, Paul fell back and crashed to the ground. His sword skittered away from him and the blue flames that had enveloped its blade were doused.
Standing over him, Vulcan let out a triumphant roar of laughter and pointing his sword down at his fallen enemy, Vulcan mocked him:
“You pathetic disgrace, did you honestly believe that you could defeat me? I am a god! My every creation has a weakness that I personally design so that nothing could ever be too great so that I cannot defeat it. The weakness within Nex Necis is you, mortal. I allowed you to remain within the armor; your conscience is my monster’s weakness! I knew that you were not worthy of my sword and so I gave you armor that you could not control. And now that you have served your purpose, I shall destroy you and nothing shall stop Nex Necis from annihilating this diseased world!”
It was with Vulcan poised above him, with his sword raised and ready to deliver the final blow, that Paul finally came up with a plan. Reacting immediately, Nex’s armored shin connected with Vulcan’s left damaged kneecap which gave away completely bringing the god crashing down.
Rolling to the right, Paul grabbed his sword and came to his feet. Spinning around, he took advantage of Vulcan’s surprise and swiped the sword from his hand. Kicking Vulcan onto his back, Paul now stood over the him, his once more blue-flamed sword pressing down on the god’s throat.
“It would seem that even gods have weaknesses, Vulcan. Now admit that you have been defeated and release me. This armor you will now destroy and no longer will Nex Necis terrorize this world. This is what you agreed to and you must fulfill that agreement.”
Glaring up at him, Vulcan allowed his armor to fade and then disappear. Once again clothed in the apron of a blacksmith, he nodded his head and then vanished.
Standing once more in a trench beside some crumbling foundations, Paul blinked up at the sun. He was right back to where he had been before the lightning bolt had struck. Looking down he saw the glint of the sword lying half-buried at his feet. He bent down and for the second time, uncovered Vulcan’s sword.
It felt all-too-right in his grip. The power that Paul had had while being in Nex Necis’ armor had been terrible, but also addictive. He could have that power again; the small piece of paper with its single fate-changing sentence was right there at his feet.
Paul reached down and picked it up. With a heavy sigh, he slid the card into his pocket and then yelled out to his supervisor.
“Hey Steve! I think I found something…”
Waiting for Steve to come running over, Paul started to climb out of the trench with the sword in his hand. One thing he could say about all this was that suddenly history didn’t seem quite so boring. Perhaps Paul the construction worker would try going back to school and become Paul the historian…
To everyone who has followed The Sword of Vulcan, I would love to get some feedback on your thoughts about the story. I am really trying to improve my writing and any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone who has read SoV and I hope you enjoyed Paul's story!
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