This was first written on a Psion 3a during commutes between cities to work and was published in “Alarums and Excursions” and later in the C&S “Armourer’s Companion”
This form is the one from the Armourer’s Companion and was edited to fit the space
Rosalie, youngest of the children of Lucas the Smith, was the very
apple of her father’s eye. Alone of his two sons and three daughters,
she had the natural talent and broad back required to be great in his
She was riveting the cuff onto a gauntlet when Alois D’Astogne led
his lame horse into the courtyard of the smithy. What, you do not
recognise the name of Alois D’Astogne, well he is the same Alois
One-arm that is now Lord of the manor of Verloise, but was then Duc
of Perlegne et Brionelle.
Anyhow, where was I, yes Alois. His horse had shed its right forehoof
shoe and of course he wanted it fixed. Lucas along with Rosalie’s
siblings were at the fair in Ville de Tonais so Rosalie offered to shoe
His Grace of Perlegne et Brionelle was adamant that only a Master
Smith or at least a Journeyman of high standing was fit to attend to
his horse, Chasseur, not some untried girl who would be unable to
hold the hoof of a quiet mare, nevermind a war-trained stallion like
He knew he was being unfair for all the Duchy had heard of Rosalie
as she was not only a Journeyman in the crafts of Blacksmithing,
Weaponsmithing and Armoury, but would soon be a master with her
own forge. That is after she had finished the suit of armour she was
making for the younger son of the Count DeLesquilles and persuaded
that miserly noble to part with the one hundred and fifty Carls D’Or
that were its price.
Seeking to humiliate Rosalie, the Duc proposed a wager that, if she
lost, she would abandon the life of a smith and live a life he considered more “fitting” to a woman. So Rosalie agreed saying that she
would pass any fair test and that should she win, she would shoe all
feet on Chasseur that day. Alois then revealed the task he wished
Rosalie to perform. Since the shoe on Chasseur’s rear right hoof
was coming off anyway, she should reshoe it in ice.
Well, Rosalie thought and thought then agreed. She took off the old
shoe, cleaned the hoof and measured it. Then she took some clay
her mother had and made a mould as if to make another shoe from
a cast rather than hammering it in the forge. This she filled with
water and some sawdust from the charcoal pile. Having done this,
she banked the fires of the forge, plunged the old shoe deep into its
heart, pumped the bellows like fury with the other hand and started
chanting in a low voice so Alois could not distinguish the words. The
air blasted through the fire till the shoe was white hot and still Rosalie
held her chant, then, when the shoe started to melt and lose its
shape the chant grew louder and she plunged the shoe into the
Steam roared and hissed as half of the water disappeared from the
barrel in a violent cloud, steam also shot from the water in the clay
as it was instantly turned to ice. Alois brought the horse forward and
turned it round ready for the shoeing.
With the application of the fluids of her body, she then took the ice
shoe and with sweat pouring from her brow, she barked three words
of power, and cemented the shoe to the hoof.
Alois blanched but he could not withdraw now, mounting Chasseur
he told Rosalie that he would gallop five times around the village to
test her work. It took half an hour but Alois was forced to admit the
efficiency of her work, and agree to let her shoe Chasseur properly.
With a sigh of relief, Rosalie spoke a word that unbound her spell
and the shoe melted away.
True to her word she re-shod Chasseur in proper iron horseshoes,
and so well that he seemed restless to gallop some more. Alois
mounted, then said to Rosalie that he anticipated meeting again, for
by now he had conceived a lust for her.
To this young Rosalie replied that was Alois not going to keep to his
bargain. This puzzled him and he asked what she meant by such a
strange question. She laughed, grabbed hold of Alois’s right leg and
dragged him off the horse for her bargain was to “shoe all feet on
Chasseur that day” and, as she told Alois, that certainly included his
Alois struggled and pleaded but the muscles of a master smith are
stronger than those of a seasoned warrior and he found himself hopping behind her to the forge. He tried to strike her with various tools
but she laughed and plucked them from his grasp as easily as taking
grapes from the vine.
Now she did not mean to shoe the Duc in the same manner as a
horse but with that type of metal shoe called sollerets that knights
wear. She had a pair discarded from an old suit that was to be
melted down for steel so she tore his boots off and placed him in
these sollerets as easily as I might put socks on a baby and then she
riveted them shut. Struggle as he might, Alois was trapped. No
twisting or kicking could free him, no plea or entreaty could dissuade
her from her intent.
After speaking some more words, she released Alois so suddenly
that he dropped to the ground like an old sack, but he did not lie
down for long. He leapt up and, as if syncopated to some rhythm
only he could hear, started dancing. He capered and jigged and
pranced all with a look of horror on his face. He skipped and spun
into the woods, bouncing and hurdling over roots and rocks as he
cavorted back to the chateau at Perlegne where the spell finally expired and he lay exhausted for five days before returning to the forge
to humbly beg Rosalie to remove the enchanted footwear.
And that, mes enfants, is why Alois One-Arm never dances and it is
also one reason that Rosalie Smith is now Smith for the Marquis
d’Embrion, the most powerful noble of the land.
What ma petite vielle, you want to know why he is Alois One-Arm. I
think I’ll leave that for tomorrow night. Goodnight.