Chapter III: The Silver Blade, RaptureMature

Alexander Gerard Kahner reached the age of fifteen during the Camelot Wars, the time when King Arthur's rule was challenged by a few jealous nobleman. Alexander's own father, Cornelius, remained neutral in the conflict, partially because he had no idea which side was in the right, but mostly because he was emotionally unstable after his deal with the devil to save his son's life. He never told Alex of his cursed fate, nor of his heritage as a half fey. Still, Alexander always knew he was vastly different from those around him, and thus alienated himself from them, living like a recluse at a young age and avoiding others when he had the chance, preferring to train his skills and reading books of ancient times.

By his eleventh birthday, he had already bested all the other soldiers and knights in the arts of horsemanship and mastery of the sword. Yet he was still not satsified. Like his father, he too had been possessed by wanderlust, and he began to search Britain over for worthy opponents and challenges.

When he reached fifteen, he came across a fey hill, and found a troll, sitting down with a depressed look on his long face, which almost made Alexander feel a twinge of sympathy for the creature. Perhaps it was the fact that he felt a kinship with the troll, being half fey himself. So he approached the troll and introduced himself. The troll, surprised by the young man's courage to begin a conversation with him, and introduced himself as Ethelred Balore. Alex asked him why he looked so depressed, and Balore responded:

"Tomorrow there is to be a festival, and there will be many party games. Now, you may think that sounds fun, don't you? Well, it would be, but I am taking part in a competition that requires a partner, and my partner had broken his ankle. The game is tossing logs, with three teams composed of two. Whichever team can throw the log farthest as an average wins, but since I have no partner, I will be forced to forfeit. There is no time to find another partner, so that is why I am sad. Now leave me before I decide to bite your head off."

Alex listened, and when Balore finished, he pondered what to do. He then looked inside the fey hill and saw a smithy. "You are a blacksmith?"

Balore stared down at the young man. "You can see into my home? You must have fey blood within you if that is the case."

Alex, a little astonished to hear this, did his best to hide it, as he had no knowledge of his own origins or even the name of his own mother. He smirked and answered. "Suppose I do... then I could help you with the log toss. I am willing to be of aid, provided that you forge a sword for me. Is it a deal?"

Balore laughed when he heard this response. "YOU?!?! Help me?! OHOHOHOHOHOOOOOOH!!! You are a funny little mortal, you are! I feel much better now than I have when my friend had broken his ankle! Why not? I'll let you be my partner, but I will not forge a blade for you unless we win. Is THAT a deal?"

"I suppose that could work," Alex smiled. "But right now, I don't think you have much of a choice."

"I like you, little man," Ethelred smiled back. "You make me laugh, and I enjoy a good joke. Alright, throw that log over there."

Alex saw the log he was referring to, and, noting it was incredibly large, began to feel a little worried. Yet, he had gotten himself into this, so all he could do now was see it through. He lifted the log awkwardly, like a javelin, but Ethelred Balore shook his head. "No, no... lift it from the bottom and heave it into the air."

Alex nodded and did as instructed. He threw it an impressive distance for his size, yet clearly it wasn't enough. "No, that will never do." Balore walked over to Alex and placed his hand on his back. "While the distance is impressive from a mortal, it will not do for the competition. It seems I must intervene."

Balore got Alex's attention. "Would you like something to drink? You seem thirsty."

Alex, sweating from his labor, nodded. "If it isn't too much to ask of you."

Balore went inside his fey hill and came back out with a sweet smelling drink. "Here you go. This will perk you up and then some." Balore then sprinkled a magic powder into the drink that would give whoever consumed it the strength of twelve men, but if he were to reveal the secret of that strength, he would gain the appetite of twelve men to compensate.

Alex, being none the wiser, drank the potion and instantly felt revitalized. He grabbed the log once more and gave it a toss. Alex's eyes widened as he saw the log sail through the air like a longbowman's arrow, and landed with such force that it became a pillar in the ground. Not even Balore could lift it out again. Alex asked, his voice filled with amazement. "Did I just do that?"

Balore laughed. "HAHAHAAAAAH! Yes you did, little man! Even I can't throw like that! A single drink and you can tear a tree out by the roots!"

Alex smiled sheepishly. "I guess so. When did you say the competition was?"

"Early sunrise, but come swiftly before high moon, for the competition will not be here, and only the fey know the way to the field. See you at high moon tonight." Balore instructed.

Alex nodded. "High moon it is."


High moon came, Alex came to Balore's place and they went to the festival. The two of them won the competition, but more than that, Alex and Balore became great friends. Balore instructed Alex to bring him the materials he would like forged into his blade as well as the payment for his services. Alex went home and "borrowed" his family's silver goblets, as well as a few gold coins and a beautiful ruby gem. He returned to Balore's with the materials and gave an extremely clear message: "I want a sword the likes of which have never been seen before in Britain. A sword that can sever flesh and bone as easily as a knife through warm butter. I wish for a sword that can compete with King Arthur's sword, Excalibur! Can you accomplish this?"

Balore smiled. "Indeed, I can. I am the best smith in all of the Unseelie Court. You shall have your sword by tomorrow."

Alex bowed low and returned the following day. The sword was a work of art, beautifully crafted, with a single cutting edge and a curved blade. The tip was hooked slightly, and the blade was incredibly thin as well, being forged from the pure Macedonian silver of his family's goblets. The ruby sat in the center of the hilt, and shined like a star in the night sky. Alexander took the blade, and christened it then and there: "I hereby dub this sword 'Rapture', for I am enraptured by its beauty and its power. With this blade, I shall determine once and for all what my father was indecisive about for so long: I shall determine King Arthur's worth as the ruler of Britain!"

And thus, he did swear upon his newly forged blade.

The End

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