Everything: The Incredible Sword of Jeromer Romery
by S.D. Smith, illustrated by Joe Sutphin
There twice lived a boy in the land of Boint Lee, a boy named Jeromer Romery. Yes, he lived twice. You heard me right. For once he had fallen hard out of a tree, and landed as hard on the fell enemy. They were all of them knocked senseless. When he emerged, confused and victorious, from the pile of bad guys, his fellows called him the boy who had died, but lived once again, and that very luckily. But this was too long and dumb of a title, so some people just called him “Lucky.” The only harm that had come to himself was he had nicked his chin on one of the bad guy’s spears, so several people called him “Nick,” and not Jeromer Romery, or “Lucky.”
Jeromer had, upon falling into the gaggle of enemy invaders, actually and accidentally thwarted an attack against Boint Lee, turning certain defeat into almost-certain defeat. The next day, after the battle and before the next battle, the king came and gave Jeromer a sword.
“Here you go, Nick,” King Con Lee said. “Try not to kill anyone with it.” I’m sure he meant not to kill any of his own fellows of Boint Lee, otherwise what was the point of his army? The king hustled off with a royal flourish to plan the upcoming retreat and surrender.
Jeromer “Nick” Romery loved the sword from the king with all his lucky heart. He cherished it like it was his everything. In fact he called the sword, “Everything,” because of how he felt like the sword was his everything. The truth was that a lot of really nice swords were being given out because the previous owners, or previous few owners, didn’t need them now that they had been killed in the hopeless war against Lessteer Valley.
Lessteer Valley was always fighting wars and usually they won, leading to lots of jokes about how they actually caused, you guessed it, “More Tears.” Some people groaned about this but I’m not one of those people because you take what you can get in life.
Anyway, Jeromer loved his sword and he called it Everything. If he ever got a shield for being clumsy and accidentally heroic, he was determined to think of a name for it as well. He began to be sad about not having a shield and how hard it would be to block things, but he tried to focus on the positive. He could stab, for instance. For now, he just focused on enjoying Everything.
“What a sword,” he said looking into its bright, reflective, slightly-rusty face. “You are Everything, Foe-Cutter.” He thought about just switching the name over to Foe-Cutter, but then just stuck with Everything because it’s a huge pain when everyone keeps changing your name all the time.
Lots of stories have young people struggling to be able to lift a new sword and then later they can lift it pretty easily. But Everything was perfect for Jeromer from the start. That probably means this story is the best one ever, though I’m not sure.
He had a few hours of rest. Then the battle/defeat resumed and Jeromer joined the Rear Guard with Everything in his hands. It was pleasant enough at first, but the sun came out like an idiot and started blazing like it was his full-time job. The battle became hot, but not super hot for Jeromer, because not enough people had died yet for him to get any armor. But still, it was hot and the battle was going pretty bad, as expected. The Captain of the Rear tooted his signal and that meant Soldiers of the Rear should sprint up and join the defeat, or the “fight,” as it was sometimes called.
Jeromer ran up, but he wasn’t really sprinting. The sprinty guys always got slaughtered first because, hey, yeah, they’re pretty fast way out there, but guess what else is up there, Turbo? That’s right, the enemy. So, Jeromer did a speedy jog and stayed with the main body of men. Other than the certainty of failure and death, he was pretty lighthearted. He’d never had a sword before and now he had one and sure, it wouldn’t last long, but hey, what a cool sword. These were his thoughts as he speed-jogged up to the fight.
He passed a lot of soldiers coming back from the battle, soldiers from Boint Lee (his side), who had a real self-esteem problem. One was saying, “We’re all gonna die!” and another said, “Despair is the only answer!”
Jeromer thought, ‘Hey, ease up on the negative energy, fellows. The other team can probably hear you and that’s just going to boost their confidence right up.’ Sure, it was OK for the guys running away, what do they care? But here Jeromer was speed-jogging up to the battle and he wished they would put a brave face on it. So that’s why he thought self-esteem was pretty low on his side. Also, there were other more body-related injuries. I won’t go into details. This was a little discouraging, but Jeromer tried not to dwell on it. He also had a headache from allergies. There were flowers everywhere –mostly trampled down and blood-stained, but boy do battles kick up the pollen everywhere.
Soon, he was near the edge of the battle and he didn’t want to be childish, but he was pretty excited. He had his lucky sword, Everything, and he had plenty of people to try it out on if he was lucky and, as we have already said, some did say that about him. He could see the Lessteer Valley King and boy did he look happy. His giant, eagle-symbol flag waved above him and –this is crazy– but he had a real eagle perched on the top of the flagpole thing. You know sometimes those are gold eagles, but this time it was a real eagle and Jeromer thought that was quite a sight to see. He admired the eagle and also wished he had a slingshot.
Then Jeromer looked back at the battle situation. Big mistake.
Wouldn’t you know it, but the first fight he had was with a really huge guy with layers of armor and a massive, steel helmet. He was like, “I can’t believe this,” and then he just tried to fight him anyway because there weren’t a huge amount of other options.
The fight was going badly, but on the bright side looked to be very short, when the giant enemy in front of him had to sneeze. Pollen! He didn’t have one of those mousy sneezes, but the kind that wakes up old people who are trying to sleep in the field next to the battle. So the sneeze went ker-ker-ker-blewy! and the guy couldn’t get his helmet off in time. It was kind of hilarious to watch him try. Needless to say, he had a mess on his hands. Or, on his face. Apparently he couldn’t see out the helmet now, so Jeromer thought about offering him a handkerchief, but then remembered about the war and his sword named Everything and tried to kill him really fast. He swung Everything right at the giant man’s head. He made contact, but the metal helmet was so strong that the tip of Jeromer’s blade simply broke off. He just really got discouraged at that point and was looking at the old man in the field nearby just going like, ‘What do I have to do to catch a break?’ and the the old man was nodding like, ‘I know, I’m just trying to take a nap and everyone’s sneezing their heads off,’ and Jeromer was like, ‘I know, so crazy.’
Well, Jeromer sat down on a nearby rock and examined Everything. The end was snapped clean off and he was really starting to regret even swinging it at the Lessteer Valley guy.
But if he had looked up instead of looking down, he would have seen the tip of his sword, which had sailed away after breaking off, stick in the eagle perched on top of the Lessteer Valley flag. He would have then seen the flag-bearer lurch from the shock, knock into the king of the Lessteer Valley and send him tumbling over a hill. Then some guy, probably not even from their team, shouted, “Retreat! The King is dead!” and some kind of mayhem ensued. The Boint Lee army won a victory that day on the field. And Jeromer’s sword point had done it.
But Jeromer just stared at his broken sword. People kept coming up and clapping him on the back, rejoicing, but he wept bitterly.
“What’s wrong, Lucky?” a guy said.
“I’m so very, very sad,” he said. “Everything is pointless.”
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When he is not drawing and writing stories, Joe spends as much time in nature as possible, looking under rocks and catching critters.
His Instagram account is a steady patter of brilliant, story-laden art you can follow at: https://www.instagram.com/joesutphin/