The King of Layyia once commissioned a sword from the famed artisans of Naïx. He sent payment in gold, raw materials, and a request for a weapon that “none could equal or surpass” besides himself.

Accompanied by the smith and a retinue of Layyian sailors, a dhow from Naïx departed to bear the completed sword north. But along the way, a terrible storm arose and the dhow was sunk, with the loss of all but one man who was found clinging to wreckage the next morning. Hauled before the king, the man, a Layyian, was accused of sabotaging the sword’s journey and threatened with death over its destruction.

“Let me ask you, your majesty, is the sword truly destroyed when it lies on the bottom of the sea?” the man asked.

“What good does a sword do me on the seafloor?” the king replied.

“Ensuring that none can equal or surpass it,” the sailor said. “The smith is lost, and no matter how fine a new blade may be, it cannot be compared to yours. Thus it is impossible to surpass.”

The king thought on this. “But what if I choose to sell it, or bestow it as a gift to my heirs?”

“Then your majesty may do so! You have but to say the word and the sword will belong to someone else. Who is there to dispute you?”

After another moment’s thought, the king nodded. “Yes, I could not have thought of a neater arrangement myself.” The sailor escaped execution, and to this day the Aquatic Blade remains a treasured heirloom of the Layyian kingdom, wherever it lies.

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