The Adventures of Sir Rupert the Bold: IV
The Gnomish Smith
The Unlikely Tale of How a Knightly Mouse Obtained A Sword Worthy of Himself
A Faerie Romance
Joseph S. Ray
Having been made a knight by the Elvish King Arvid of the Faerie Alliance of Charm, Rupert found out that his difficulties were only beginning. You see in those days a knight had to have some sort of weapon, usually a sword, but Rupert or Sir Rupert as we must now call him could not find any smith in all the Fairyland of Charm that would take a mouse as a knight seriously. Most thought that it was some sort of joke, and when Rupert would speak about it, they would laugh like mad men.
First Rupert went to the gnomes, the best smiths in all the land of Charm. However, even though the gnomes themselves are in fact quite short, they refused to make Rupert a weapon. The lead gnomish smith, Kibik, who was as to them a king, said, “You’re just too short to have a weapon of any use.”
Next Rupert went to the undine, but the undine said absolutely nothing to him for they are a quiet folk.
In frustration, Rupert turned next to the sprites. He knew that this was undoubtedly a hopeless cause for the sprites were far too busy dancing and planning the next Spring Dance along with the Fauns of the neighboring Faunwood. Besides, they were not particularly well known for being fine smiths. The sprites also refused to help him, but one of them did give him a little twig to use as a sword.
Then he turned to the wisps, but wherever he went among the homes or as they call them the hives of the wisps, he found them all far too busy talking all at once to each other to give him an answer. This is the way wisps regularly carry on conversation among themselves. Do not ask me how this works for it would take a far wiser man than me to explain it to you.
Finally, Rupert turned to the pixies. He hoped that they being small like him would understand and sympathize with his plight, but alas, they did not. Even worse was that when Sir Rupert returned to the Elvish Kingdom, he could find no Elvish smith willing to forge him a blade for they were all too busy forging blades for other, bigger knights, like the soon to be famous Sir Amund the Dragon-Slayer. So it was that a dejected Rupert turned his back on Charm and began to walk the long distance back to Verde Wood.
Here this tale might have ended, but for one little unexpected thing. Walking along the road back to Verde Wood, Rupert felt like crying to himself. All his visions of knightly glory and honor had vanished away like the morning mist, but as he sat down on a small stone to weep, he heard another person crying and weeping. At once, he rose to his feet and dashed to the sound of the one in trouble. This of course proved his knightly spirit.
Coming into a clearing, Rupert found a gnome sitting on the ground and weeping. Now, I should note here that gnomes are not the most beautiful of the Faerie races of Charm. In fact, they are most likely the least beautiful. They are a short squat people with gray skin, bulbous noses, strange eyes, and large bat-like ears, but as you will undoubtedly discover in your life, you should not always judge a book or in this case a person by his or her cover. This gnome was no exception to the general rule of gnomish appearance. He also had bushy red eyebrows, quite a bit of hair on his head, and a braided red beard. He was also as stated before weeping.
Rupert slowly approached the gnome and asked, “What is the matter?”
The gnome turned and looked at Rupert. Then he muttered, “Go away, mouse.”
“I am no ordinary mouse,” Rupert replied. “I was knighted by King Arvid of the Elves himself for saving his daughter Sigrid’s life from an ogre.”
“You beat an ogre?” the gnome said in shock as he looked at Rupert.
“Indeed, I did,” Rupert replied though he did not feel at the moment as though he needed to go into the details of his victory over the ogre. If you wish to know more of that story, I would suggest you read “The Unlikely Tale of How A Mouse Became A Knight.”
“I was transporting a rare metal, orichalcum,” the gnome said with a sad shake of his head, “and I was set upon a group of three goblin brothers, Bagob, Gagob, and Sagob, who stole it. They are camped nearby, but I cannot defeat them by myself.”
“I shall look and see if they can be beaten,” Rupert said in a heroic tone of voice.
Slowly, Rupert approached the fearsome goblin camp. He saw the creatures with their pale, sickly skin and their wrinkled brows. Their teeth were sharpened like fangs. They all sat around a fire and conversed openly about their theft. Then one of them said, “What’ll we do with de metal.”
The brother that seemed to be the leader and brains of the troop laughed out loud. “Of course, we’ll sell de metal,” he replied as he took a swig from the bottle that lay next to him.
The third goblin laughed as he picked up a chalkboard. For some reason unknown to me, the goblins of Somnii think that chalkboards are musical instruments, and therefore they run their fingernails over them to make that hideous sound. They often use this in battle as well. Goblin battlebards combining their screechy singing with the fingernails on the chalkboard have been known to route whole armies by themselves, yet Rupert was made of sterner stuff than most.
The goblin ran his fingernails across the board and began his awful screechy singing. It was at this very moment that Rupert realized his chance. He was already near to Verde Wood and knew the land quite well. Scampering forward as only a mouse can, he snatched up a small bag of the orichalcum and began to run out of the camp. The goblins let out screeching sounds and pursued the scampering mouse as he ducked and weaved through the underbrush. He came at last to the great cliff down which the waterfall of Baruin runs.
Dancing to the side, he waited for the goblins to come dashing out. Now whether or not the goblins simply did not know the terrain or they were not thinking, I do not know, but they had not prepared themselves sufficiently for a cliff. Seeing the long drop off. Bagob, the leading brother, tried to come to a stop, but Gagob ran into his back, and then Sagob ran into Gagob’s back. So it was that all three goblins went teetering over the edge down to the watery depths below.
Retrieving all the metal, Rupert returned to the gnome, who introduced himself as Krikik. At this point Krikir realized that Rupert was missing what every knight must have, and he asked, “Where is your sword, good sir knight?”
“None would make me one,” Sir Rupert replied with a sad shake of his head, “for they think me not a true knight.
“Then they are silly,” Krikik said. “Come back with me to my forge, and I shall make you a sword that shall be the wonder of the world.”
All that night Krikik worked the orichalcum and forged a mighty but thin and small blade for Sir Rupert the Bold. With tools of such precision, he inscribed on the blade with gnomish runes the words: This is the sword of Sir Rupert the Bold. Then he gave the blade to Sir Rupert, and Sir Rupert the Bold as he was thereafter called, returned to the court of King Arvid.