It still rankled at times. To have the lowly quill dance forward and place itself in my sword hand? The fates were mad! The hand I had trained relentlessly for years. The hand which I fought with from the time I could first drag a weapon around behind me, trailing in the sand, and snagging in bushes as I walked around the village. My father was the greatest leader the army had seen in over a century and my mother a fierce warrior herself. But no, the dancing saber, deadly in battle lay flat on the table as a quill danced forward and inserted itself in my hand.
The laughter and hoots of derision which followed echo in my mind as I sit contemplating the sheet of parchment before me. My parents disowned me. They called me a changeling and wondered when the strong miniature warrior they had trained since I could first walk, vanished.
“I’m here, I’m still here, I can’t tell stories. I don’t even know how to write many words!”
My screams were ignored. The weapon’s choice was final. Guided by the whim of Gods, there is no argument.
In the years following my fateful fifteenth feast day, I lost every friend I had. I was scorned by all except the historian. She took me into her life and home. She taught me to write in the neat flowing script each scribe who Is chosen must perfect. It wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined. The control required to wield an epee, was soon translated into my own unique version of calligraphy. The village elders chose me to listen to their stories and record our history.
Now I needed to record the tale of my own father’s birth. How ironic! His mother the daughter of a long line of gentle healers and yes, scribes. Their line told stories. Not even the honorable tales of battles and government. They were those who only received a coin if they made a crowd of drunken warriors laugh in merriment. Comedians, jesters, frowned upon as dependent on the quill so they could remember their tales.
I chuckled and dipped the quill into the inkwell.
“This is not my job! This is the exact opposite of my job!” screamed the Grim Reaper as the human went into labor.
I looked at the statement in bold black against the stark white of prepared sheep skin. My grandmother, the richest of the comedians, was about to give birth to my father. She had out witted the messenger of death. The Grim Reaper was her midwife. Hardly a wonder the great Magnus Bloodletter had never spoken of his family.
And I will reveal the truth to the world.
A Battle Lost and Won
Alcott Hewitt held a pen,
called “crazy” by his brethren.
Abaddon Morte held an axe
big enough to turn the earth to wax.
Many champions tried and failed
to best this hellish beast, to no avail.
every time they stepped up, their plan went askew
that vile axe cleaved them in two.
But one man stood convinced
he could face the beast and never wince.
“Hey look, it’s crazy Alcott Hewitt, trying to face the fiend”
the crowd said, amused as they convened.
Abaddon laughed with glee,
he said “Young man, you’d better flee.
Your comrades think you nothing but nuts.”
Alcott retorts, “This pen may not be sharp, but it cuts!”
Abaddon responds with a grin,
Some poor fellow's blood staining his chin.
"Fool, you've made your last gaffe!
With this axe, I'll cut you in half!"
And so he made good on his promise
Abaddon for once, was honest.
Alcott, now gone from this joint
Unbeknownst to Abaddon, had already proven his point.
People wrote of his deed for years to come
When they spoke his name, they banged a drum.
And soon came the day that Abaddon was done:
A battle lost, a battle won.
Swing your sword, all day long, and you might cut my heart open.
But swing your pen, in a fancy way, and you may yet win it over.
And I'd say, if I so may, that a servant is better than a trophy.
A sword may kill, but words allows a person to live long after they have gone through their readers...
The pen is the sword. The sword is the coward's way out. The pen is the arguement no one makes unless they are sure. The pen is tmeless. The sword is simply murder.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words do permanent damage."
I heard this line in a movie once, and it stuck with me. I was only a child, but I recognized its poignancy even at my young age. Probably because I was already intimately aware of the power of words.
I broke my arm when I fell out of a swing. It healed within weeks. I barely remember the incident. But what I do remember is every insult, accusation and threat my father ever hurled at me. And these were just fleeting spoken words. Written words have a permanence to them. As such, they have the potential for far more harm.
Words can lift you up, or drag you down. A rousing speech can incite a riot, a rebellion, a revolution. A thought-provoking poem can move you to tears. A good book can change your life, and a bad review can ruin it.
The absolute worst a sword can do is kill a person (and only once). Written words have the power to kill. But they also the power to heal. Is the pen mightier than the sword? The answer is yes.
Yes! yes, you see with a pen much like a sword you need a hand to wield it. Had the young lad been given a chance to employ his pen i'm sure others would agree, unfortunatly a man from an enemy kingdom had brandished his sword far before the boy could weild his pen. Now he doesn't have hands to wield his pen with, let alone a head to think of the wonderful thoughts he'd write. So yes, the pen is mightier than the sword and because of that; Time became the swords cruel mistress.
I actually wrote about this in my book, "A Collection of Short Stories" because why not. In short, no, they each have their own uses. One would night go to war with a pen nor write an essay with a sword. I encourage you to go read my "story" though. The book cover for the ebook is also my pfp.