Story 10 - A Weapons Mythology.
"You are a scoundrel, a cheat, and a liar!" his royal Lordship bellowed. "You came to me boasting that you could produce gold if I gave you a laboratory. Well, I have given you all that you asked, and more. Where is my gold? Are you withholding it from me?"
The lad replied by shaking his head.
"Search the smithy," his Lordship commanded the guards.
"Nay Milord," the lad answered almost imperceptibly, his body trembling with fear, "there is no gold in the smithy." He raised his head shyly and looked up. "I have combined every substance on earth with every other, the formula for gold should have emerged, Milord. Maybe it can't be done."
"So, so, it can't be done?" his Lordship mocked him in front of the assembled court. "You, scoundrel, I wasted a fortune on your wild dream!" His Lordship called the guards back. "You pay for this!" he shouted to the lad. "Off with his head!"
His Lordship's voice still echoed through the room as the guards took hold of him.
"No, not so hasty, Milord; I have served you well," the lad cried and struggled against the guards. "I have done better than create gold. I have created steel, a metal tougher than any metal known. If you forge swords out of this steel you can conquer every kingdom near and far. Then, gold would be like sand in Milord's hands, and Milord will have power over the nations."
These words must have sounded like music in the ears of his Lordship, for the king stepped down from his royal throne and caused the guards to release the lad, while he personally lifted him up and praised, and rewarded him.
While he yet spoke, the court armorer stepped forth and confirmed that the plan was a good one.
"Every fighting man in my kingdom shall have a sword made of steel," the king proclaimed in a royal degree. And, within a moon's span it was done as he had spoken.
However, on the other side of the forest, far beyond the borders of Greenfield, in the great castle of Gourdland, three spies stood before their master with frightening tales of the new swords; "Our swords are like they were made out of firewood compared to those..."
Before they even finished the chief sorcerer, Merdy, was called.
The sorcerer bowed. The spies were ordered to repeat their story in his presence.
"Your highness, let not the swords worry you," the sorcerer answered the king. "Let your spies return and discover how this new metal is made. We'll simply duplicate the process. Except we won't just make swords out of this steel. I have seen in a night vision a sword fly through the air like a bird. I will interpret this dream into a weapon that shall make your armies infinitely greater than any army has ever been. I will fashion this steel into an armor-piercing spear that will enable your warriors to cut your enemy down from a save distance, so that their new swords won't be of any use to them."
Merdy was richly rewarded for his advice. Before the month was out a royal command was given to mass produce the new weapon that Merdy had designed.
Now, in like fashion, long before two moons had passed, the royal spies of the land of Greenfield stood before their king and all the noble assembly that filled the reception hall. Everyone was speechless by what they told. They were gripped with fear as they listened to the spies' account of the new super weapon that penetrates armor from a distance. The king became wroth, and as it was tradition, he tore his own clothes in a violent rage of anger, so much so that his servants feared for his sanity and prevailed on him to have the lad Vico brought before him in that matter.