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The Bow of Petra

by Donald Eric Kesler

Amongst the many items that Petra invented with her divinely inspired wisdom was the bow. She was very proud of this creation. Now, one could hunt either the high flying bird or the fleet footed deer with far greater ease. Petra was very pleased and the Immortals smiled upon her work.

In this brief period before the war with the Beast-Men, it was Petra's habit to venture forth daily into the Dymrak Forest to hunt. Naturally, this helped provided food for the people of Krakatos. Also, she took great delight in her ever growing prowess with a weapon that she had created with her own hands.

It came to pass that Zirchev heard of Petra's many accomplishments. Zirchev was also aware of her reputation as one who was just and brave. Hoping to find a kindred spirit, Zirchev decided to seek out Queen Petra to discover for himself if she was as remarkable as he had been lead to believe.

As has been related in other tales, it was never in Zirchev's nature to be overly trusting toward others. He knew all too well that things are not always as they may seem. With this thought in mind, he decided to first spy upon Petra in secret.

"If I look upon this Queen of Krakatos and know her to be as good and just as I believe her to be, then I will reveal myself. If it turns out that she is cruel and dark, then I will slip away quietly without ever being seen."

Such were the eyes of Zirchev. He could but gaze upon any man or woman and immediately know what lay within their heart. With but a glance, he could tell if one were petty or noble; he could tell if one were brave or cowardly; he could tell if one was just or cruel.

Petra's daily excursion into the Dymrak Forest was no secret. For this reason it was in these woods that Zirchev decided to conceal himself along a route that Petra was sure to take. So well hidden was Zirchev that a rabbit chewed peacefully upon the tender leaves at his feet. There he waited.

Before too long, Petra came within Zirchev sight. With but one glance, Zirchev knew that the legends were true. Here was one who would fight with honour and courage in the war to come.

So delighted was Zirchev to meet such a honourable soul that he leapt forth boldly to greet Petra. This startled Petra who, in the heat of the moment, mistook Zirchev's furry cloak for the hide of some wild woodland predator. Without a moments hesitation, Petra had pulled back an arrow and let it fly toward Zirchev. The shaft of Petra was sure and true and Zirchev fell bodily to the ground. His very life blood was seeping out of his body and into the soil of the Dymrak Forest.

"What have I done?", lamented Petra. Now that the moment had passed, it was clear to her that noble Zirchev was no wild beast.

Among the many skills that Petra had mastered was the sacred art of healing. This was fortunate for Zirchev's injury was most grave. Petra cleaned and dressed Zirchev's wounds and she prayed to the Immortals to spare the life of the one that she had so recklessly attacked. Throughout the night, Petra tended to the feverish Zirchev who was suffering grievously. Zirchev's very life was in great peril. This was something that Petra could not accept.

Holding aloft her bow, she cried out to the Immortals. "Hear me, Protectors. I, Petra, offer up my greatest creation to you. This is the bow that I fashioned first in my mind and then with my hands. This is the bow that has provided food for many in Krakatos. For all of the good that it has done, I can no longer bear the sight of it. I do not find it repulsive because it is flawed. Indeed, it is not. It is a marvellous and potent weapon, but now it will only serve to remind me of my own failure."

Once more, Petra gazed upon fallen Zirchev.

"I have used this bow to strike down a good man; one who sought only to become my friend and brother in arms. I beg you, Immortals. Take this weapon away from me, and make my friend whole once again."

The Immortal's were so impressed with Petra's impassioned and heartfelt plea that they did allow Zirchev to recover from his injury. True to her word, Petra foreswore ever using the bow again. As for Zirchev, he was quick to forgive Petra. As a sign of this, he adopted the bow as his own sacred weapon.