The Lady of the Lake appears in any body of water to those deemed worthy, a chosen one to claim the Chaos Blade. A naiad fair she appears, undistorted hair distorting in swirled viridescence. At water’s base she retrieves it for this possible conservator so he can defeat the neighboring Beast, proving worthy and sealing the sword in his name. Many visited but none overcame the feat, Blade returning to the water upon their deaths. That was the legend, the myth, the falsehood.
The one truth was of Actaea’s beauty. A shame that bud hadn’t chance to flourish. She cursed the day she’d left her village. A child, she’d been chasing crickets when she happened upon the lake and a glint caught her eye. She couldn’t swim yet somehow she did, twenty feet deep to investigate. It’d slumbered for millenia but now the Blade beckoned, sweet melody resounding beneath. It gave her water-lungs, unnatural sight and agility. She should’ve never touched it. It was no treasure but a shackle, the lake a prison. When she tried to surface, her heart burned relentlessly, too much to bear, only easing when she held this Blade.
Hastily, search parties were sent looking. As they approached the lake, she surfaced and cried for help. The crowd blanched, throwing rocks and fleeing, her parents in tears their daughter was eaten by a water hag. Actaea was a hideous thing, amber eyes, puckered warts and palish skin. Yet underwater, her comeliness leapt bounds, thanks to that wretched Blade. As she grew, the legends began. Throngs of aspiring men rushed to claim this Blade for their own, defeat the Beast, whatever it was. Actaea would’ve loved just that, to pass on her curse and escape. She remained underwater, coaxing them with the Blade. Like sheep they flocked, bleeting dumbly. She’d offer it freely. It’d even respond in viridescent ripples.
But since when did men value women over swords? They’d glance at it if she was lucky, though the extent of their lust deflected to her, the Blade making her more alluring as men approached. Fate had a cruel irony to it. And so the legends continued many tried but none overcame, only there the sword remained, upon their deaths.
Art by: @danielle.ivanova