Tyrfing: a Magic Sword in Norse Mythology

a Writing Exercise

Today's tale was prompted by a series of writing exercises from "Birch House Writing Prompts". This exercise said to pick a random Wikipedia page and then go seven clicks deep through pages and then to write a story about whatever came up. The chosen topic was Tyrfing, from Norse mythology. Enjoy.

What would one do with a sword that was previously cursed? The curse had been fully fulfilled, yet the magic of its original purpose still held - that the sword be sharp enough to pass through stone and iron as if they were cloth, that it would never rust, and would have a hilt of gold.

Useful and pretty, but dangerous in the wrong hands.

Perhaps this sword would find itself passed along from owner to owner, until it reached one who became so paranoid after his great conquests, he would slaughter anyone who would come near - for fear they would take his precious sword.

Some curses aren't magical at all... even the blessing laid down upon the blade could be twisted into something terrible, even more so than the limited curse that had come with it.

This last owner would find himself alone, in the dark, clutching onto this sword, his precious Tyrfing, as it was his only love in the world. Nothing else remained for him... and it would not be long before he perished by the hands of time, leaving the blade to age within the ruins all on its own.


"This doesn't seem right at all." A freckled woman squinted at a page in her journal, the dark markings made a valiant attempt at being the directions on a make-shift map, but the owner was coming up short in her interpretation. "Blast... all this way with nothing but nice scenery to take in."

Adonia looked around yet again, trying to make heads or tails of where she was trying to go. Thick trees nearly overtook where any shrubs were trying to grow. Ferns formed a false floor to the woods which one was forced to wade through, with no paths to be seen created by larger wildlife. She was unsure if it was beneficial to her or not.

With a sigh, she picked a direction and moved onward, her boots snapping unseen twigs beneath. It was a warm day, so her flannel shirt was tied around her waist, leaving a plain dark green tank top over a pair of loose cargo pants. Her brown hair was simply tied back in a low ponytail and swished back and forth every time she would look around to try to get her bearings.

"I'm not lost. Certainly." Her pack's contents rattled with each step, one of the few sounds she realized her ears were picking up, besides her footsteps.


Usually there would be some form of bird or bug to create the ambient noise of any nature-filled environment such as this. But in this case... there was nothing. The occasional breeze would rustle the canopy, but that was even so high above her head the sound waves were largely muffled.

A shiver moved down her spine.

"No... this is going to be fine, Nia. You've waited years to be able to come here and you are so close. You are NOT stopping now."

She slammed her book shut and trudged on, toward where she saw the foliage grow more thick. It seemed like nature liked to overtake things, especially man-made objects, and luckily her thinking paid off... as soon her boots fell upon hard stone instead of uneven turf. Ahead of her was a large mound, largely covered in vines and brush, but dotted throughout were crumbled stone walls and columns which no longer bore any weight.

She stifled a gasp as she found what looked to be a former corridor, running along some breaks in the ferns. Her fingers traced along the ancient stones, which were relics to her. And knowing she did not have a lot of time, she paused and flattened a hand along the cold surface, wondering what stories it could tell if only she could speak to it.

But then it gave.

The brick moved and the wall swayed. Before she could react, it dropped away from her, crashing down into an underground room. Barely any light gave her eyes assistance in seeing what could be down there, and against any common sense she lowered herself and shuffled down where the ruins led.

She looked up, it wouldn't be too hard to get out - what rocks fell were enough to form an unsteady path back up. But down here, she was surrounded by darkness and the smell of dust that had long since gave up being removed. Nia coughed and untied her flannel, bringing it up to shield her mouth and nose. With her other hand she brought out her phone and turned on its flashlight feature. The thick dust hung in the air, almost acting more like a fog than dirt, so the light mostly shined right back at her.

But, for a brief moment, she caught a gleam.

She shone the light to the side and used the softer, ambient light to navigate towards what she thought she saw. There was still rubble to trip over, which she did, but after catching herself a few times she managed to make it - to a golden hilt which stuck out from the rubble.

"Tyrfing... this has to be it!"

Nia's hand gripped around the smooth gold and easily pulled it from the stones, slicing some apart along the way.

"You poor thing... having been used for so much greed and hatred. Now... you worry about that no longer." She wrapped her flannel around the blade, looked to her exit, and climbed up the make-shift unsteady staircase. Her arms cradled it like the precious cargo it was.

"My father told me many stories about you. How you were created, all the terrible things you had to do, then buried and forgotten in the arms of one who did not know how to care for you." She emerged from the lower room and followed the path she had made through the ferns. "You will be treated well, now. No more blood. No more suffering."

It sounded as if she had a crush on this weapon, and if pressed, she didn't think she could deny it. There was a certain love that was grown from stories about things and to come across that particular thing later in life, well... there wasn't a feeling quite like it - to be so enamored with what one could finally hold after hearing so much about it.

The blade felt tired in her hands. Tired and heavy. Or was that just her own feelings she was projecting upon the item? Either way, she held it close, protectively, imagining all the ways she could give this blade the good life it never had the chance to have.