The Legendary 12
The Legend of Melana's Arrow
A woman named Melana was walking one day when she came upon a strange sight. There before her stood two men, both unlike any men she had known. One was as slight as a child, graceful of limb and face, with flowing hair, a smooth chin, and large eyes. The other was as stout as an oak, with a long beard and heavy brow, and small eyes gleaming like the moon. The two were arguing and seemed not to notice as she drew near.
“No true hunter could fail to use a bow,” claimed the first, gesturing, and Melana saw that in his hands was a bow, tall as himself and beautifully carved. “Any other weapon in useless, and foolish is the creature who bears it.”
“Stone is strong, and shatters all before it,” the stout one replied, hefting a strangely shaped club. Melana could see that the weapon was made from stone, and carved into a handle at the bottom and a wide head at the top. “Wood breaks easily, and only a fool would consider it for a weapon.”
Now close enough that she could have tossed her head and struck them upon their chins with her long braid, Melana observed that these two strangers stood shorter than her by a head. This eased her fear, and she spoke to them.
“What manner of men are you,” she asked, “and whither do you come? For surely were you from my village I would know you.”
Both turned, astonished, and regarded her.
“And what village is this, that breeds women so tall and strong?” The slight one replied. “Surely I have never seen your like, though I have traveled this wood many times.”
“Nor have I,” the stuof one agreed. “And I would remember, had I seen a lass so tall and slender, with hair so long and cheeks so smooth.”
“Why do you argue so?” Melana asked them. “Are you rivals, determined each to be better? You speak of stone and of bow, yet surely neither apart is as strong as the two together.”
“Together?” The strangers scoffed. “Stone and bow cannot mix – what do you mean?”
Melana turned aside then, and, drawing her knife, cut a thin branch from a nearby tree. Quick strokes stripped its bark and notched its ends. Next she knelt and, locating a small shard of flint and a larger stone, she began striking the flint against the stone, shaping it. This she affixed to the branch, sliding it into one notch and fastening it there with vine. At the other end she added leaves lifted from the ground. Finished, she presented this to the strangers.
“Behold.” She handed the item to the bowman. “Here is an arrow fit for you bow, yet crafted with a head of stone. Now, truly, stone and bow can work together, and both are the greater for it.”
The strangers each studied the arrow in turn. Finally, they turned to one another.
“Indeed, she is correct,” the bowman commented. “This arrow, with its head of stone, will pierce more deeply than my own wooden shafts, and survive the impact to fly again.”
“And, propelled by you bow, it will strike farther than I can reach with my mace,” The stouter one replied. “Clearly we are the both of use fools, to be arguing one side and the other, while this towering female beside us sees both sides together.”
Turning then to Melana, the bowman addressed her. “Remian am I, from the land of the elves. I would know your name, mistress, who does see more clearly than I can can so easily settle such an old dispute.”
“Norabun they call me,” the stout one added. “Among the dwarves I am not without fame, yet your wisdom astounds me. Name yourself, that we may call you friend and thank you.”
“I am Melana,” she replied. “I know naught of elves and dwarves. My home lies there, beyond the hill, where humans gather in the village of Whylis. I would know more of you and your kind, and will gladly call you friend.”
And thus humans met elves and dwarves, and the three races found themselves able to speak together and to agree upon several things. Yet always humans were at the center, for elves and dwarves rarely agreed, yet both found common ground with humans, and so humans were forced to bridge the gap between them.