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Staameral was the strongest Argandarr in all the lands – he stood at least ten feet tall, and it was commonly agreed that was at the shoulder.  He was also clever (for an Argandarr) and had as many wives as there are stars in the sky, for his virility was immense beyond question.  He was a blacksmith and beyond that he was a weaponsmith.   One day, a traveller from a distant and mysterious land brought Staameral a piece of metal.  It was strange and peculiar stuff, being not quite like silver and not quite like gold, and yet shiny and stronger than steel.  This piece of metal was only the size of Staameral’s little finger, yet he bought it off the traveller for a handful of rubies (Staameral was immensely rich too).  When questioned, the stranger was stubbornly mysterious, and would only admit that the metal had come from a strange land across the sea to the south.  He would say no more and left, never to be seen again.  Staameral took up his huge blacksmiths hammer, and powering up his forge, crafted a dagger from the piece of metal.  He made it perfect and unique and it took him and his five apprentices fifty days and fifty nights to craft it, and then Staameral went home, because his many wives were impatient at his absence.  He left his five apprentices to guard the dagger, because he had a gut-feeling that it was IMPORTANT in capital letters.

Now, Staameral’s apprentices were all fine young Argandarr and they had been told not to touch the dagger, and so they did, all except for one.  His name was Garrukh and he was the boldest and bravest and most foolish of all the five.  He took the dagger and began to show off with it, a-tossing it in the air and catching it and flipping it and whirling it hither and tither and all about.  He gave a fine show too, except when he caught it for the last time he misjudged and the dagger pricked his finger.

From this wound a single drop of blood rolled, and then Garrukh’s eyes rolled up in his head and he fell flat on the floor.

At first his fellow apprentices laughed and joked, thinking that Garrukh had fainted from the sight of his own blood, but when he didn’t move when they threw water in his face, they tried his pulse and wiped his brow and checked his breathing, and they found that  Garrukh had turned to stone.

Then they were frightened, and the next boldest of them, whose name was Zuddak, took up the dagger in a fit of rage and threw it into the sea where it sank below the waves and was never seen again.  At first the other apprentices applauded, but then, after they had thought for a while, they began to bellow and wail and tug on their horns.  “What will Staameral say?” they cried.  But being brave Argandarr lads they all waited for Staameral to return in the morning.

When Staameral arrived and heard the story his apprentices told he was very angry.  He broke both Zuddak’s horns off, and lifting him off the ground with one hand he threw him into the sea and let him drown.  Then he bade his wives farewell, took his three remaining apprentices, and set off for the south in search of more of the strange metal.

Now Staameral owned a mighty ship which he sailed in pursuit of wealth and plunder.  It was called “The Ship of the Stars” and it was made entirely of jade.  Staameral was a skilful sailor – the best in all the lands – and he sailed his ship with a crew of fifty of the best Argandarr sailors who came as soon as they heard his call.  They voyaged across the sea for five hundred days and five hundred nights, and during this voyage they had many strange adventures and found strange new lands that no Argandarr had ever set foot on before.  Everywhere they went, Staameral asked  the people about the strange metal and where it could be found.  He heard no word of it until one day The Ship of the Stars came to a tiny island made of rock, and on this rock sat a human dressed in a white robe.  He wore a belt of golden rope about his waist and there was no hair anywhere upon his head or body.

“Ho! Stranger!” called Staameral across the water, “I am looking for the strange metal that is not quite like silver and not quite like gold, and yet is shiny and stronger than steel.  If you know where I can find it you had better tell me at once!”

“I know what you are looking for.  It is called Starmetal, for it is what the stars are made of and that is why they shine yellowy-silver in the sky at night!” said the man.

“Then where can I find this metal, and how can I get there?” bellowed Staameral.  “Tell me quickly, stranger!”

“First you must give me something!” said the strange little man, in a cross voice.  “I am very hungry for I have been sitting here waiting for you to come and ask me stupid questions for a very long time.”

“Ask for whatever you wish and we shall give it to you, so long as it is on board this ship” said Staameral gruffly, and he thumped his chest with his fist to show that it had been pledged.

“Then give me one of your fine young apprentices, for they look more tender than those tough wiry sailor-folk!”

Staameral considered for a moment then nodded his huge head, and grabbing the largest apprentice, who was called Korroughmor, he tossed him off the ship and into the waiting arms of the little man below.

Although the man was small he also seemed very strong, for he held the struggling Korroughmor at arms length by one horn so no part of his body touched the ground, and thanked Staameral politely.  He then told Staameral that the only way to get the Starmetal was to fly up to the Stars and take some, and in order to do this, Staameral need only sprinkle a little special Stardust on his ship and then he could sail there, just as easily as he might sail to Flilpansnik or Drensneik or Damarcus.

“What sort of answer is that?” bellowed Staameral.  “I don’t have any Stardust.  You had better give me some!”

“I don’t have any, you irksome bull!” said the old man rudely.  “If you want some, you will have to sail exactly half way around the world to where the Moon Dragon lives.  I’m sure she will sell you some!”

Staameral questioned the old man carefully, but he refused to say any more, so the Argandarr decided there was nothing to do except to sail off to visit the Moon Dragon.

As The Ship of the Stars moved off, Staameral looked back and saw that the little man had suddenly grown very big or that Korroughmor had grown very small, for the stranger had taken the young bull Argandarr and stuffed him wholly into his mouth and eaten him with a crunch.  Then Staameral made the sign against bad luck, for he was sure that the little man was actually a strange god, and when dealing with gods it was always best to be careful.

They sailed for five hundred days and five hundred nights, and all the adventures they had would take far too long to tell here, but at the end of it all Staameral had a fine Moon Dragon skin and a little vial of Stardust.

Staameral took the tiny vial out and sprinkled Stardust all over the ship.  At first he was worried that there might not be enough, but the Stardust seemed to spread out so that all the ship was thinly covered, and when it was so, Staameral looked over the ship’s side and saw that they were sailing up through the air towards the stars high above.

For fifty days and fifty nights they sailed, up through the sky currents towards the stars, and on their way they experienced great danger and had strange adventures.  Once they felt the ship slipping backwards through the sky current, and the sailors all cried out in fear thinking that they were doomed because the ship was too heavy, but Staameral calmly took the heaviest apprentice, whose name was Borrobor, and threw him overboard.  Then the ship was light enough to continue, and they made it to the stars without further ado.

Staameral leant over the side of the ship and tried to chip off a piece of the Starmetal by hitting it with his best hammer, but unfortunately he couldn’t quite reach.  So he took his last apprentice, whose name was Little Clifford, and he held him out over the edge so he could hit the Starmetal with Staameral’s hammer.  But Little Clifford was the smallest and weakest of all of Staameral’s apprentices, and when he was held over the edge he grew so frightened at seeing the world so far below that he dropped Staameral’s best hammer into the void, and it fell into the sea and was never seen again.  Staameral was very cross, but being wise he kept his temper and passed Little Clifford his second best hammer.  Little Clifford managed to break off a large piece of Starmetal, and handed it and the hammer safely back to The Ship of the Stars.  Then Staameral took Little Clifford and threw him so hard that he landed on one of the stars, and he left him there as a punishment when they sailed The Ship of the Stars back to the world below.

Fortunately, the trip back to the world was much quicker because of the way the sky currents ran, and Staameral was able to navigate so that they landed right in the harbour of Staameral’s home town.  Then Staameral took the Starmetal to his forge and worked for fifty days and fifty nights, and when he had finished, he had crafted a great two-handed Starmetal sword that he called Starslayer.

It was with this sword that Staameral had his most exciting adventures, and with which he eventually challenged the Gods themselves and became one of them.