To many the Lake was a place of legend, spoken of in whispers behind shuttered windows, or else proclaimed to multitudes in the retelling of epics with blaring trumpets and ceremonial heraldry. To one, it was home.
In the centuries-long stretches between the Lake’s tranquility being interrupted by heroes stumbling onto its shores in the midst of personally righteous quests, its Lady spent her time lounging at the Lake’s center, surrounded by weaponry and aquatic weeds, her only companions the fish who swam its enchanted waters. The Lady called each by name, for even if their lives were brief, especially compared to her eternal assignment, they were wholly devoted to her.
In her solitude, the Lady would walk the length of her domain, surveying rows of blades sunk into its mire, like the strangest of crops springing from the earth. No wheat, barley, or oats grew here. Her fields were full of cutlasses, dotanuki, and scimitars.
Each was labeled, according to its foretold recipient and the date of his arrival. Though time’s passage was difficult to track at the bottom of the Lake, the Lady would become very cross if more than what she gauged to be a decade passed beyond a hero’s prescribed arrival.
During one of these periods of melancholy, when it seemed that her collection would become nothing more than private signposts for failed campaigns, the Lady sensed the approach of an individual who was not only expected, but early. Hastily she donned her crown of reeds, draping its veil of moss across her face, and retrieved a sword exquisite in its simplicity.
Her companions lifted her to the Lake’s surface, and she approached him by pacing on the backs of submerged turtles, noting with irritation that he already had one magical weapon strapped to his belt. In his beautiful haughtiness, the Lady could read his whole future. She knew he, too, would someday understand her solitude, locked in a beautiful prison for ages upon ages. But it was not hers to tilt his ear with these truths, so she merely performed her sole duty and returned to the bottom of the Lake to wait for the next doomed champion’s arrival.