This is the story of a folk who lived far away, but not only in distance but so in time. They believe in God and truth and goodness and honor, yet superstitions, shadows and sinister powers too, accompany their walk through life.
The folk herein seem at first common enough, like so many others who live within and without the town walls and castles across the lands, but a few of them within these pages stand out amongst all the rest, and this is their tale.
One of them is Giesbert. He is close enough a typical youth of this day and age, living his life the best he can and struggling with problems common to a boy his age. Giesbert is apprenticed in his father’s smithy, working hard to ultimately follow the elder’s footsteps. One day he is offered to be journeyman armorer in the lord’s castle. Although Giesbert is greatly honored by this extraordinary proposal he harbors other desires. The youth’s greatest wish is to one day become a knight. But Giesbert has enough wits to know of the significant obstacles that bar his way, and although this desire burns hotly within his heart, he keeps this yearning locked up a secret.
Helmut is another one of those who stand out. He is the father of Giesbert and a blacksmith by trade. But he is not an ordinary one, no; he is a blade smith and the finest one about, renown across their land. He too harbors a few secrets …
To the townsfolk, Giesbert’s mother is known as a woman with certain talents. Some merely call them dubious, while others might want to see her burn at a stake. Adelgard is her name, and she knows the Old Ways. Some people believe that she is behind her husband’s extraordinary blades, using magic spells or other such trickery. But Adelgard no longer follows the ways of old … openly, for she must be guarded if she does not want to find herself bound to a stake to die in a blazing bonfire.
There is Henrik too, son of Horsa the coppersmith and Giesbert’s best friend. One day Giesbert learns that his friend supposedly knows about the secret metal Helmut uses in his best blades, but Giesbert does not believe him, for not even his own father will share the mysteries that surround it, so how should Henrik know?
Then there are the miscreants the folk call Wild Men, but they are known by other names too, from thieves to highwaymen to murderers to trolls. They are an awful lot; filthy, rough, tough and evil enough to earn all these names and more. Hither and thither they are the scourge of the lands, and they have plans to spread their dread even further yet.
And then there is Ansgar. He is a knight who lives in another land, ruled by a great lord. His is a dismal lot, so he thinks, for his fiefdom lies mostly within a large and gloomy forest, supposedly full of strange creatures. One day his lord learns of an extraordinarily made weapon which is partially composed of an unusual material. He gives the knight the task to go on a journey to the land from whence it came, and find the mysterious secrets surrounding the Rune Ax.
There are many more whose lives we will behold, like Rosalinda and Sunna, the two girls in Giesbert’s heart, and Conradin, his newest friend from the castle, and the Lords Arbogast and Edwin too. There are the bullies known in town as the Tinklerettes, and the charcoal makers who dwell in the ominous forest of Grimwood.
Will Giesbert follow his father’s footsteps, or will he pursue his true desire to be dubbed a knight? Or does fate have other paths in store for him?
What are the smith’s secrets? Is his wife the true reason behind the powerful weapons, with spells and trickery? Or are they really made by dwarves as many believe?
What is Henrik’s knowledge about the secret metal? Does he really know the source? Will he show Giesbert?
And will the knight be successful in the quest to learn the secrets of the Rune Ax? Or will he capture a dwarf instead?
What creatures prowl in the forests?