A swing and a grunt splits through the stillness of the frozen sky. Sweat drops amidst the ice and snow. A mans shout of frustration, a time worn echo that bridges the gap of memory. He stands now a great blacksmith of his tribe. A warrior of the highest honor of his clan. A husband, a provider, and still… his fathers son.
Vilson the strong draws back his hand against his forehead sweeping the now freezing particles of saltwater into his hairy face. He stares tirelessly, since he was never taught another way, at the greatest hatred in his life, and his best friend. This loathsome thing was, is, and has been since before the tribe; the rock of might.
For generations the sons of Vil would break the metals loose from this hundred foot stone, just off of the near mountain, and craft the weapons with which the tribe had subdued the waters of the world. Once, every first winter during the coldest, a son of Vil would approach the rock with the pick of might and break the metal from the rock. Every generation has been able to break metal from the rock except for this one, and it angers him with every waking minute as if he has brought shame on his family line.
His father would go out, as far back as his memory would allow, and every first winter he would return with the metal, with which the next summer the tribe would claim more water. Vilson before, as their fathers were known, was immensely strong to him in his early years, and at the point of 20 winters Vilson after had surpassed him, but couldn’t break the metal from the stone. Why?
He would train in the mountains with the pick of might and bring back metals so heavy that the ten greatest men in the tribe, known as the men, would have to give every ounce of might that they had to drag it down to their ground. Vilson would further go out to break the weaker sons of the world with his tribe, claiming waters and testing the mountains as he went. He never went for glory, goats, or girls, but for pride. He stayed up at nights with stones strapped to his pick, swinging around on the deck of their ships. Screaming with every blow, dreading every blow. What was holding him back? Why was his father able to break the metal?
Another spark, another swing. Anger seethed through every vein. Red hot fires burning through his body. His muscles engorged with blood trying to push him even further than his mind can conjure, but also drained and damaged from overuse which further drove his compulsion. Yells, anger, misery, shame all swirl in his mind when he recalled every word that his father told him his very first year up to the rock.
Just over 6 winters and Vilson before dropped the great thirty pound pick of might into his small, but steady hands. Unlike all of his ancestors before him, he grabbed it into his hand without dropping it, making his father smile. They dug through the five foot snow and honed in on the stone. It stood a daunting giant amongst the mountains, a dragon amongst the snakes. He reached back, leaned forward and smote with everything he had, and left the slightest of scratches along the metal vein. His father laughed, loud, carrying down the rivers to the tribes others homes, and so long that Vilson after wondered the meaning. He grabbed the pick from his son, and with one hand struck a piece of the metal out of the stone. Every year it was this way, and every year Vilson after grew stronger, until his father wasn’t there any longer.
Along the waters of the red haired, Vilson before was caught in a battle of a hundred warriors. He broke seventy two of them before winning his place. Even the red haired honored him with a war-song of his might, and the might of his weapon. This day broke a sadness to VIlson after, and after a three day campaign his revenge was fulfilled as he broke their 12 foot chieftain who wielded the stolen hammer of his father. The desire to draw metal grew even further from that day on in.
Another swing, and the impossible had been accomplished. A snap sounded around the waters causing the goats to jump and the people to look in its direction. The wood that held the metal pick of might, had broken. As he held the two pieces in his hands he recalled all the generations that had held it, that had used it, that had won glory with it.
Something else had broke as well that day, a dam holding his emotions inside. Tears poured out onto the pick, the ground, and his father. In a rage he ran to the rock and repeatedly punched the metal until his hand were bloody, so he resorted to his fathers hammer at his side. He pulled it, tears clouding his vision, and anger in his step, and he slipped as he struck the rock, breaking the whole the giant in half.
The largest chunk of metal sat in front of him, snug between the fissure, with scrapes and scratches from the many years of attempts that he had left against the metal. What had happened? Why now? Was it the sword, it couldn’t have been. Was it his strength, he wasn’t any stronger than yesterday. Then he remembered his fathers words every year from his birth.
“If you cannot break the metal, break the rock.”
No relief, no exuberance, no joy, just empty success. He lifted the hundreds of pounds of metal unto his back, walked to his home, and showed his wife. Seven years later he gave a new pick to his first son, and laughed as he, too, didn’t drop it on the ground.