Rorac's Stupid Axe

by Eric Drewes

One day, the infamous Anti-Hero Rorac decided to call it quits.  He had had enough.  He was going into retirement.  Maybe he would marry Miss Oni and settle down; maybe he'd become a farmer.  Through all the uncertainty, one thing was clear: he'd never need his axe again. 

For this story to make any sense at all, you'd have to know a little history of this axe.  This was no ordinary axe.  It was handed down from God's hands to Rorac himself.  Wars had been fought over this axe; hundreds – nay, thousands! – had been cut down by it.  This axe and Rorac were bonded.  It was a part of him; he could not just give it away.  If someone else had it, they would have a part of his soul. 

He could not just give it away…

There was only one solution.  In a small port town, there was a well.  This well, if legends were true, was bottomless.

Rorac decided to throw his axe down the well.  It was his axe, and he'd be damned if anyone else wielded it.  By throwing it down the well, it would never be found again.

Of course, his comrade and sword brother, Isen, told him not to.  Isen said, “Come on!  You know you'll get bored of retirement!  Don't be dumb; you'll regret throwing it in.”

Rorac shook his head.  “No, I am done for good.  I won't regret this.”

Isen signed.  “Fine.  I'll go with you.”

The two traveled to the small town and found the small well of legend.  I’m not sure if it can be called a well, for wells have water and this had nothing but the blackness of the VOID and OBLIVION.

They arrived at the well and looked down.



"You're sure about this?"


He stood there a moment, staring at the axe in his hand – his trusted weapon that had gotten him through a thousand fights.  He sighed with resignation and said, "Goodbye, friend".

He tossed the axe into the well and it disappeared into the darkness.



"No regrets?"


The two warriors stood at the well for a moment, looking down, waiting for a splash or some sound from the axe.  There was nothing but silence



"I have regrets.”

Isen sighed.  "It’s too late now…"

"Maybe it snagged or something?"

"Rorac…" Isen shook his head.
"I’m serious.  Think about it.”


A moment or two passed as the two stood there, watching the darkness of the well, lost in deep thought.  Finally, Isen glanced up at Rorac.



"You might be right, Nothing is bottomless."

“Your axe… it is probably down at the bottom.  We both know better than to believe this is a bottomless well.  It’s probably just a trick with sound or something."

"So what are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking we get some candles, some loot sacks, some rope, and then climb down the well.  You can't be the ONLY person to have thrown valuable stuff down there so that it’d never be found again.  We'll climb to the bottom, get your axe and snag whatever other treasure is down there"



"That is brilliant."


The two went to the general store and bought 30 candles and plenty of food supplies.  They also hired one of the lackeys there to hold the rope for them.  They returned to the well with their help.

"Listen," Rorac said to the lackey, "keep lowering rope down.  We might be down there for days, weeks, months, or maybe even years, but do not stop lowering rope.  If you stop, when I get back, I will cut off your leg. Do you hear me?"

The lackey just nodded, petrified with fear.

The next morning, the two friends began their descent down into the well.  After a days climb, they had still not reached the bottom. 

"Light a candle and toss it down," Rorac told Isen.

"Okay," Isen said, getting a candle from his pack, lighting it, and tossing it down.  They both watched it fall…





…until it faded into the darkness. 

No end in sight.


"You think it really IS bottomless?"



They slept and woke up the next day, and began to descend again.  The light above them got dimmer and dimmer until they were in complete darkness.  They had gone so far down the well they could no longer see the daylight coming down the hole. 

That night (or what they assumed was night) they tried another candle.  Again, there was no end in sight.  This pattern repeated itself, day after day, until there were only a few candles left.  Hungry, tired, and flat out beat, Rorac and Isen decided to take a break.  Isen went through his pack, checking their food and water supply.



"This is it."


"The point of no return."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, if we climb even a foot further, then we will not have the food, water, or energy to climb back up.  Either we stop here, or we continue down the well until we meet our demise."


They both paused for a second, thinking, contemplating the possibilities.  The silence and darkness around them was incredible.



"Want to keep going?"

Isen paused for a moment, just a moment.  Then, in the darkness, he shrugged.  "Sure."

That night, they slept well and began descending again the moment they woke.  They spoke very little.  An indeterminable amount of time later, the rope stopped.  Rorac, annoyed, gave a mighty tug and the rope gave a little bit and then went lax. 



"I'm pretty sure I just broke whatever the rope was attached to." 

"So, what are you saying?"

"I'm saying we're going to be in freefall soon."



"Oh well, we had a good run," Isen said, grinning.


Not to sound corny, but between these two, nothing else needed to be said.  They were sword brothers, true comrades.  They had fought back to back, saved each other too many times to count.  It wasn't a shame they were going to die; the shame would have been if they had died separately in old age, rather than together on some insane quest.  They both knew these truths, and didn't need to speak.

The two warriors let go of the rope and began descending on the cobblestone that made up the side of the well.  It was harder work, but they managed. 

A day or so later, a tree flew past them with a long rope attached.



"When you pulled the rope, you pulled a tree out of the ground." 

"Your point?" 

"You're strong." 

"I know.”

They sat there for a minute.  They were completely worn out from what may have been months of climbing.  They were completely sore and neither had any energy left.



"Got any candles left?”

"Just one.  I’ve been saving it.”
Holding on to the side of the well, they both wheezed, trying to breathe in a stronger, more potent breath, both hoping for a second wind, something to rejuvenate them.

That time was LONG past.



"I have an idea." 


"Lets take the last candle and drop it.  If there is STILL no bottom in sight, we’ll…"

"Go on?" peered Rorac.

"I say we drop. That tree you pulled flew by us.  Freefall would be much faster that climbing down cobblestones.  Besides…"


"I can't climb much longer.  I’m… I'm done."

They both thought about it.  By now, the madness of the whole thing had taken them both.  They had been quite mad from the beginning; why else would they climb into a BOTTOMLESS WELL?  Why else would they keep going after the rations grew thin? After they had run out of rope?  Perhaps FATE had called them; perhaps this was their DESTINED END.  Who were they to object to the divine wisdom of Fate and Doom?



"Drop the candle."

With unspoken resignation, Isen lit the last candle.  Holding his breath, he dropped it. 

The candle flickered as it fell into the depths.  As it descended, the two friends spoke.

"Well, this is for the best anyways," said Rorac.

"Huh?"  Isen asked.

"Our muscles will have given up soon enough.  At least now we'll be throwing ourselves into the darkness by our own volition."

Isen nodded.  "True, we'll die as we lived – by our own choice."

"Fitting, huh?"  Rorac grinned.

Isen nodded.  “Yes.  Are you ready?"

"Wait till we can no longer see the candles glow.  Then, on the count of three, we'll jump" 

"Good plan.”

The candle fell…







"It hit the bottom," Rorac said gruffly.

"Yeah."  Isen replied.  "Told you there’s no such thing as a bottomless pit."

Rorac chuckled.

The two climbed the rest of the way down.

"Look at all this treasure!"  Rorac said.


"A thousand years of gold, loot, magic swords, rings, weapons, armor, cloaks, crowns, axes, lances, gems, and all sorts of things!  And it’s all ours for the taking!" 

"If we can get this stuff out of here, we'll be the richest men in the world," Isen said,
glancing around.

"Yeah, but first, let’s find my axe." 

"It's over there,” Isen pointed. "I'll grab it!  Then we can gather this loot and find a way out of here.”

"Good plan."

Isen went to the axe and tried to grab it.  Nothing.  He strained to move it but it wouldn't budge. 

It was stuck.

"Come and help me with this thing.  I think it’s stuck," Isen said.

"Alright,” Rorac replied. 

Rorac took hold of his axe and pulled hard, his muscles bulging.  The axe didn't budge.  Rorac was undoubtedly the strongest man on earth, but his efforts were to no avail.


"Yes Rorac?"

"It’s stuck."

"Hmm," Isen thought.  "Maybe if we both try?"

"Good idea," Rorac said, nodding.

Isen and Rorac stood side-by-side and grabbed hold of the axe, preparing to yank it out with their combined considerable might.  "On the count of three…"

"One…" Isen said.



"WAIT!" Rorac yelled.

"Huh?" Isen asked.

"I have a supposition."

Isen nodded.  “Go on.”

"Suppose for a minute that this well IS bottomless, and that this isn't the bottom at all, but a CLOG.  Then suppose my axe has wedged itself in such a way that it is a lynch pin for the entire thing.  Suppose, for just an instant, that if we pull this axe out, all this loot, all this treasure, everything here, including us, will drain like water into the dark unknown." 

Isen thought about it a minute, and then, in the dwindling light of the candle, he shook his head.

"No way, this is the bottom." 

"What if you're wrong?" asked Rorac.

"So what if I am?" Isen replied.

Rorac grinned.  "Good point."


Rorac nodded.  "Yep."




They tugged, and tugged and tugged.  With a loud pop the axe flew out up into the air, right into Rorac's waiting hands.


The two warriors looked at each other and grinned.  A couple seconds passed before either said anything.

"Hey, Rorac?"

"Yes, Isen?"

"Do you feel anything?"

"Yeah.  The floor is…moving."



"You were right."

"I know."

Rorac’s nod was the last thing Isen saw as the candle was knocked over and flickered out.  In the darkness, Rorac secured his axe and sat down.  Isen sat down across from him, and started to snicker.  Before too long, both were bellowing a rich, strong, gutteral laugh. 

When the world is crumbling beneath your feet, all you can do is laugh.