The Artefact - play through 10-27-22
I was forged by the high priest of Leng. He wore a purple robe. His beard with intricately braided and ran down his chest. He wore no rings on his hands. He used no fire or anvil. Instead, he pulled me fully formed from a well of moonlight and sorrow on the nights of the brightest stars.
My rude form hid my true power and potential to the unknowing eye. To those without insight or wonder, I looked like nothing more than a rough iron rod, bent in the middle, seeming to have no use, even as a simple tool.
I was rough. I was proud. I was secretive.
THE FIRST KEEPER
My first keeper was a callow noble youth. His father, knowing that the had no worth of his own and would need a mighty boon to survive, bought me from the temple with a coin from a dead man’s mouth, a memory of a lost summer day and a promise that he could never keep.
The boy had no idea what my potential was. He was embarrassed by my crude form, despite the fact that he could win any battle against even the most dire foe with me. He longed for the gloss of gold and jewels, not the power of life and death I offered.
A foolish popinjay, he took to wearing a sword that was more gilt than steel, a sword he never learned to use for I could win all of his battles. But, in his pride, he forgot that.
Could I have saved him from that wretched urchin who stabbed in the kidney and left him dead in a ditch, naked with no purse and no blade? Of course I could have. But why would I have bothered?
I do not remember his name and nor does anyone else.
And with his death, I lost my pride and became cruel.
THE SECOND KEEPER
For a full span of the seasons, I lay in that ditch. Rain, snow and wind. They meant nothing to me. Then, one morning, a farmer picked me up.
His name was Jules. His hands were as rough as my iron. He had thought to mend a fence with me but as he picked me up and turned me over, his eyes could see I was not mundane. The eyes that could tell the weather at a glance or the difference between a sick cow and a recalcitrant one could see that the lines of my form were impossible ones.
The callow youth that first wielded me only knew that I could break apart anything. Jules could see that I did not break. I created distance . And if that distance was in the middle of a living creature, they would die.
But Jules did not use me for death. Instead, he used me to plow fields in a single breath. For distance meant nothing to me. A warrior close at hand or an entire field, they are all the same. And Jules was willing to aid his neighbors and so all prospered.
But the nobles of the land, they could see no friendship or prosperity. They only saw farmers who they could tax without ending, whose lives they could despoil for their own pleasure.
Jules could have used me to end them, to shatter their manor houses and their families. But he chose not to. Instead, he created a span of a hundred miles between their farms and the nobles’ manor houses.
And he left me in the middle.
Thus I gained a name: Path Breaker
And my cruelty gave way to peace.
THE THIRD KEEPER
Full moon after full moon passed above me. Grass and brambles grew over me. I looked like part of the land. Ten years passed.
Then, I was cut free.
John Malcom had been told of me by a prophet. He knew where to look for me in the wilderness. He knew my name and my nature.
He was a proud man and a stern man. He was a leader of men who led with iron fast conviction. And he brought me back to war.
His greatest battle was against his own brother. With my power to change distance, John Malcom literally controlled the battle field. Hills and valleys, rivers and forests, all moved and changed. Neither man or the land will ever forget that battle.
But John Malcom eventually learned that the people that he fought for were not what he thought they were. In fact, he was unknowingly the general for the Cult of Yig. When he learned of this, he fell to a cup of poisoned wine.
The cult feared me and buried me in the cellar of one of their temples, hoping I would be forgotten.
But I was not.
Iron rusts. I grew red and even more rough than before. Eventually, I was dragged up by slaves of the cult and they used me to fix a wagon. Their masters knew me but they did not.
Thus, after centuries, I saw the world again.
THE FOURTH KEEPER
Ah, Captain Apollo Heartsblade. A scoundrel and a pirate. His men destroyed the wagon but, from the wreckage, he knew me for what I am.
Although his crimes were many, in his heart, he and his men were explorers. They sailed the ocean in the hopes of finding new lands and new treasures. Even now, their journals and maps and charts are wonders. Yet, they never could find enough treasure to forsake their pirate life.
Until Captain Apollo used me to cut away the distance across the ocean. In that manner, he and his men found Krys-Tacis, child of Yig and keeper of a vast horde. The great sea serpent fell to my power and its wealth was theirs.
Apollo never used me again. Instead, he hung my bent shape in his quarters, never to forget me but never to be at ease with me either.
All of my Keepers viewed me as an item of good or evil. But, in truth, the good and the evil was ever their own.
I was only power.
THE FIFTH AND FINAL KEEPER
An age of reason came. Artifacts and ancient mysteries had no place in a world where people desperately long for dull answers. I was passed from museum to museum, my name remembered but no one dared test my power.
Shippers broke me, something that could not have happened in ages past. I was welded back together. Iron pulled from the moon and sorrows connected with solder.
But not everyone had given up on mysteries. The cult of Yig remembered me. Now lost and desperate in a world that cared not for magic and mysticism, they stole me away.
They had made pipe dreams to end the world, the world they no longer fit. Perhaps bring the moon to the Earth. Perhaps to divide the globe itself.
Could I have done it? Perhaps. Distance has power for distance is simply another word for space.
But they were mad fool and I had not forgotten John Malcom. So I created distance within them and the cult was no more.
And now I am but rust and memories.
And that is enough.