Epics of Gāng Tiě
By:Ce Yuan
Story 1
The Best Archer the World Has Ever Know.

Okay, so this is my first installment of the tales of Gāng Tiě, my native homeland. I hope to record all of the stories and epics from my native culture. I also encourage others to add to this collection, for I myself know only a small amount of our rich tradition. I decided to start out with one that is very close to me, since I'm from Xu Xuang and I'm an archer. This story is very close to me, so enjoy!

Long ago, in the lands that would one day be united to form Gāng Tiě, there lived a young Charmeloen. His family was quite poor, considering that most of their crops were taken by soldiers to feed the army of the local warlord of Xu Xuang, so one of the first things he learned was to hunt. His father, who was the best archer in the village, carved him a bow and taught his son everything he knew. It was soon apparent that the son could out do the father.

"Son," his father said on the day of the son's 15th birthday, "I think you should join the army."

"Hmm, why dad?" The Charmeloen asked.

"You are the best bowman I have ever seen," his father said, "and your potential would go to waste here."

"If you think it's best..." the young Charmeloen hesitated.

"How about you enter the upcoming archery contest and we will see if you have what it takes." The father said. "But for now, enjoy your birthday!" The father then presented his son with a masterfully carved red short bow.

"Wow, thanks dad!" the young Charmeloen said, taking the bow and immediately going out to practice with it.

And week past and the day of the archery tournament had come. Archers from all over the land came to the fields outside of Xu Xuang for the greatest display of archer in the know world. Champions from different cities and regions all did amazing tricks and impressive shots. Eventually it came down to two who were the most impressive, the reigning champion from Yuzan-Dou and, to everyone's shock, a Charmeloen from a local farm.

The crowd cheered as the reigning Champion took position. He aimed and fired, hitting the target from an impressive 150 yards away.

The Charmeloen was able to hit that target as well.

The Champion just smiled and set the target at 200 feet and made his mark.

So did the Charmeloen.

The champion grumbled a bit and they moved to moving targets, and then onto multiple moving targets, then onto smaller targets, and then onto horseback archery, but the Champion and the and the Charmeloen made all of their marks.

"Listen kid," The Champion said in frustration, "I'm tied of this, so I'll let you make the next challenge.

The Charmeloen just smiled and motioned the Champion to follow him. The crowd followed them to a hill over looking the city, a good mile away from the front gate. "Could you hit the gate from this distance?" The Charmeloen asked.

"Ha, no one could make that shot." The Champion said.

The Charmeloen smiled and said, "Then I propose a bet, if I hit the keyhole of the front gate then I win, if not, you win."

"Sure thing kid." The Champion said.

The Charmeloen closed his eyes and concentrated. He the reopened them as he pulled back his arrow and let it fly. Everyone held there breath as the arrow soared. It eventually logged itself into the keyhole of the main. The assembled crowd was to stunned to speak.

The former champion hung his head low and admitted defeat. The young Charmelon let out a roar of victory. The Warlord of the city came up and handed him the medal, proclaiming him the best archer in Gāng Tiě.

"Truly," The Warlord said, "you must be the best archer in the world. How did you get so good?"

The Charmeloen smiled and answered, "Just as anyone else becomes the best at what they love, practice and giving it my best."

The young Charmelon would eventually become the best general in Gāng Tiě and would marry the Warlord's daughter and eventually become Warlord himself. Unfortunately his name is lost to the dust of time, but his story lived on, forever immortalizing him and his archery skill.

And that is why it has become tradition of the people of Xu Xuang to give their sons a hand crafted red bow, to signify that they should always try there hardest at what they love to do.

Story written by: solomansky
Original post: EGT: The Best Archer the World Has Ever Know