…if the goat gets pissed off, everybody loses
The Doclopedia #1,192
Bad Swords: Heartbreaker, The Sword That Destroys
Yung Ki was the greatest swordswoman of her time, perhaps one of the greatest ever. She had fought battles beyond counting, against both men and demons. She had saved lives, villages, cities and entire kingdoms over the last 35 years. If she had wanted it, she could have become Emperess.
But what he really wanted, she could never have, for the love of another was denied her. She was cursed by the very sword whose power had helped her attain her legendary status.
She had been a good, but not great student under Master Shen. He told her she had the heart and desire, but her reflexes and senses would always slow her down. He advised her to walk to a shrine high in the mountains and meditate upon her future as a warrior.
The road to the shrine had covered over a hundred miles and given her much time to think. By the time she was halfway back to her home town, she had decided that she would give up her dream of mastering the sword and instead study the way of the healer. But when she came to a flooded out bridge and had to take a little used detour, her life took another turn.
Walking through the forest, she came to a ruined village. Curious, she poked around for a few minutes, trying to discern what might have lead people to leave this place. She was looking into what had been a meeting hall when she saw a sword on the ground. It was very finely crafted and oddly free of tarnish, despite being here long enough for debris to cover much of it. When she picked it up, she felt a thrill run through her, along with the desire to test the sword out.
And test it she did. First back at school, where she quickly rose to the top of her class. He master was impressed with her and with the sword, which they learned was named the Heartbreaker, first used two centuries earlier by the swordsman Li Kung and later by General Zao. It had been lost for 50 years before Yung Ki had found it.
It was not long before she had left school and begun making a name for herself. It was only slightly longer that the sword began to show it’s curse. Although it took decades, she eventually realized just how bad the curse was.
The first had be Tsung, the handsome young archer that had won her heart with his kind ways, only to be driven away by her outbursts of rage fueled by jealousy that had no basis in fact.
Then had come Master Wu, he equal with a sword and a loving and virile match for her in all other ways. After three years, they had parted violently, she attacking him with both her sword and false accusations that he was with her only to ride on the coattails of her fame. He had run across a footbridge, then cut it loose, telling her that he would not kill her, for she was crazed.
Much later, there had been Ahn, the man who brought her some measure of peace before she began to untruthfully resent him taking her away from a life of battle. He had left one night after a bitter argument. The next morning, she found the letter he had left. It told how he had spent the last few months researching her sword and had learned that anyone owning it would forever be denied love or peace. He advised her to go to a very desolate place far to the west, near a ruined city, to learn more. She had laughed at that, until her servant brought her her breakfast and she drank her tea.
Upon drinking the tea, Yung Ki was filled with an inner peace, which allowed her to think more rationally now than she had in years. Yes, she would go to this place and learn more about Heartbreaker, despite a tiny voice inside her telling her not to. She got her pack ready and set out on horseback before noon.
She is here now, in an ancient place that the desert will cover within another human lifetime. The tiny voice has been kept tiny by the drugged tea she drinks, a gift from Ahn. Likewise, she has read his final gift, a second letter left here only hours before she arrived. It tells her that the sword will try to get her to kill herself somewhere in a civilized area, where it can later be found by a new owner, but if she dies out here, the sword will be lost for centuries, perhaps millennia. A small vial sits near her. Fighting the urge to take up the sword and leave, she drinks down the poison. As a warmth spreads through her, she pushes the sword into a crack in the ground and watches as it falls several feet. Smiling, she lies back and welcomes the peace of eternity.
Later, when the moon rises, I shall make a large fire to burn her body and the letter. In the morning, I will leave and let the desert claim her.