There was once a kingdom; a kingdom of peace and prosperity, for all were dearly loved so served their King with complete loyalty. Yet as with all kingdoms this land was victim to a deadly blight, each year at the turn of winter a hate-filled dragon would rise into the sky and ravage the kingdom. From where this dragon came no one knew, only that his coming heralded heartache and despair; for he would steal the gold, kill the livestock and destroy the land. The bravest among the people tried to fight the beast but were all killed, no man-made blade could pierce through the impenetrable scales.
The King, grief-stricken over the misery of his people, could not bear to see this happen any longer; he slaved away day and night for forty years until he had created a legendary weapon that he knew could pierce the dragon’s armour. With this sword in hand, the now frail King rode out alone to face the dragon. It swept down upon the King, his claws ready to devour the royal flesh. For but a moment the King was filled with fear, yet strengthened by the eternal cry of his people he cleaved the sword into the dragon striking the beast with both fear and pain that sent him fleeing into the darkness.
Victorious the King returned to his palace, but he was weak and soon grew ill – he had given his life to the creation of the sword and his time in this world was coming to an end. Before he died he bestowed the sword to his son telling him to use it to against the dragon. When the King later died, the whole kingdom joined together in mourning over his passing yet also rejoiced as his son was crowned his successor.
The year passed, winter came and with it the dragon returned. The King’s son immediately mounted his horse and charged out to face the dragon trusting that with the sword he would be victorious. The dragon did not however attack, from fear of being cut once more he fled instantly at the sight of the sword, and although he returned each year the dragon would always flee when he saw the sword. This continued generation after generation with the sword being passed down from son to son, and every year the dragon continued to flee.
The dragon only grew in his hatred of the kingdom so sent one of his servants as a spy into the kingdom. This servant was well trusted within the palace and eventually gained access to the treasury where the sword was kept. He began to do unspeakable things with the sword all in service to the dragon, and all under the nose of the current king. Spurred on by his own cunning the dragon’s servant became arrogant and one evening was caught performing a despicable ritual with the sword.
In a desperate attempt to destroy the sword the dragon’s servant set the treasury ablaze. The king charged in, killed the servant and quickly located the sword; yet in the corner of his eye he also saw a small child; likely a street urchin who had broken in to get out of the cold, trapped by the fire. The king, knowing that he did not have time to save both sword and child before the treasury burnt down, chose to save the sword. He would later argue that without the sword he could not hope to defeat the dragon – without the sword the kingdom would be destroyed and the child would have died anyway.
Later that year the winter came, and so the king marched out with his armies to fight the dragon. This time the dragon did not flee, he swept down and battled the king face to face. Unsure what else to do the shocked king swung wildly at the dragon and was struck with horror when the sword deflected off the dragon’s scales. The dragon seized this opportunity and unleashed a blast of searing flames that burnt the sword to ashes, leaving nothing but a burnt and blackened hilt. The people of the kingdom watched in horror as the king fled and the soldiers around him died in a parade of fire and blood.
Year after year the dragon would return bringing with it a new wave of destruction, death and misery. After his defeat the king was never seen again, and with no new king crowned ruling the kingdom was left to the king’s old advisors who only bickered endlessly amongst themselves. It had been decided that the dragon’s servant had cursed the sword making it useless against the dragon, and whenever the dragon came the only chance anyone had, was to hide and hope.
Each winter the kingdom was rebuilt, yet slowly the wealth ran out – not every building could be restored. Those who considered themselves more worthy than others stole what wealth remained; like a fire, mistrust spread throughout the kingdom and the people lived in as much fear of each other as they did the dragon.
There was however one who still loved the kingdom, a slave girl held in her heart the stories of the first King and how he had given his life in service to the kingdom. She grew angry of what this dragon had done to the kingdom; to her kingdom. In desperation, she journeyed out to face the dragon wielding nothing but a feeble pitchfork, her man-made weapon did nothing to the dragon who in arrogant pity brushed her aside. As she fell to the ground, she felt something hard against her back. She rolled over and saw the hilt of a sword poking out of the dirt, having lost her pitchfork she grabbed the sword and swung it at the dragon only then realising that it had no blade.
The dragon roared with laughter at her pathetic attempts to fight with a useless sword. The slave girl, thinking only of her kingdom, charged forward and was greeted by a blinding flash of light. A shimmering blade had emerged from the burnt and blackened hilt; it shone as majestically as it had that day the King first wielded it against the dragon. The laughter of the dragon’s eyes was replaced with sheer terror as the slave girl drove the sword easily into his heart. Never having felt such terrible pain the dragon riled around in agony, and it wasn’t long before he collapsed onto the ground, dead.
Many tried to explain the sudden reappearance of the sword. Some argued that it had been magic, while others insisted it was simply a different sword. However, the wiser among the people would say that her bravery had broken the curse upon the sword, the wiser still, knew that it had not been the dragon’s servant who had cursed the sword. Yet only the servant girl truly understood, and when asked she would reply; all swords can do evil but when used correctly only this sword can defeat it.