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Import Duty  by DADGAD

Forms and Complications

'I happen to have the forms here, so we can look at them together'

‘So, the first document is the ‘End-user’ Certificate’ ENC2480/R’, Thenweg continued, ‘and that briefly describes the weapon, the owner, and a few other details. As I understand it, Master Angren, Anduril is essentially a straightforward two-handed sword, of supreme quality perhaps, but no other physical function? It does not glow in the presence of soldiers of the enemy, Orc, or suchlike?’ So, we can fill out Box C on the ENC form’.

‘Of course’, muttered Angren, ‘I never believed that nonsense about glowing swords, I can’t think how you’d get any sensible steel to do that.’

A thought crossed Aragorn’s mind ‘You described Anduril as a two-handed sword, and so I have used it, but I believe my ancestor Elendil may have used Narsil, from which it was remade, single handed, which he could do, on account of his great height.’

‘Thank you, Your Grace, we should put in a comment in Box B that the sword could be used either as a one or two-handed weapon. Now I believe that you yourself are the sole owner and end-user, so we can put that into Box A, and put your signature and seal into the space below it?’

‘Am I to be described as merely an ‘owner’?!  I am the rightful heir of Elendil, and this is Elendil’s sword! It is written that death shall come to any man that draws Elendil’s sword save Elendil’s heir!’ Aragorn was trying not to lose patience, but he had never thought of himself as something quite so prosaic as an ‘end-user’ before.

‘Sorry, Your Grace, could you repeat that? Did you say that death shall come to any man that draws Elendil’s sword save Elendil’s heir? Can you tell me what you mean by that? 

Isn’t it obvious? Death shall come to any man that draws Elendil’s sword save Elendil’s heir! Draw the sword and your death will result. That’s clear, isn’t it?’

‘Well, Your Grace, my question relates to the exact nature of weapon, which we have to accurately describe in these forms. There are at least three possible interpretations of your statement. Firstly, there is the literal case that all men are mortal, and thus any man drawing your sword will eventually die of old age. In which case the sword has no extra power and we just need to complete Box C. But presumably that is not what you are suggesting. I believe that you are saying is that any man, who is not an heir of Elendil, will die an untimely death if they draw Anduril? So is the sword coated with something poisonous to all men, excepting the heir of Elendil? In which case we need to stipulate this in Boxes A and B (section 3.2 dealing with poisoned weapons), possibly adding a codicil at the end of form ENC2480/R.’ 

‘I also note that you specify ‘any man’, so does that mean elves, dwarves, or other races could use the sword and not die in an untimely fashion? Your current wording would not prohibit an Orc from using the sword, or even, unlikely as it may seem, a woman? Or as another possibility, that it should be considered a capital crime if anyone other than an heir of Elendil draws the sword? Are there any exceptions where a non-heir may wield the sword with express permission of the heir, perhaps in an emergency?’

In which case not only do we need to specify that in Box D (permitted usage and exemptions), but we would need to write an entirely new statute, separate from the Import process, as I am not aware of any existing statute of that nature.’ Master Angren, are you familiar with any such law?’

‘Only that one back from 2985 about not interfering with the Stewards’ possessions. And that didn’t say anything about swords, and everyone just thought it was just because the Steward was jealous of Thor - anyway, no need to go into details.’  Angren was suddenly conscious of another disapproving stare, only this time strangely from the King rather than Thenweg.

‘No, Anduril is not poisoned, but it does have elven runes engraved that give it special effectiveness against creatures of the enemy’, commented the King. ‘And I should say that death was the penalty in Numenor for anyone trying to steal or misuse the King’s sword, and that penalty was carried on into the early years of Gondor and Arnor. If there was a statute it may well date from the end of the Second Age, and probably won’t have survived the years. Pardon my impatience, Master Thenweg, I suspect we may have to draw up a new law to cover this and all the possible exemptions you mentioned. Anyway, does that cover everything in the, hmm, ‘end-user’ form?’

‘Well yes, I expect we can add something about the elven runes and defer the death penalty statute for now. Talking of penalties, there is one related stipulation. Since 2985 there has to be a ‘Criminal Records Check’ (form CRC 5732/2985) on the owner of the weapon. Apparently, Lord Denethor was adamant that imported weapons should only be accessible to people of the highest reputation in Gondor. No ‘wanderers, vagrants, or low-born beggars’ would be allowed to import weapons, he insisted, and no-one of Gondor or elsewhere who had broken or disregarded the laws of Gondor in any way.  It’s very detailed, almost as if Lord Denethor had someone in mind when he wrote it.’

‘Well, that shouldn’t be a problem should it,’ laughed Angren ‘His Grace is of the highest birth, and far from being a vagrant wanderer! And he’s hardly been here long enough to have a criminal record, even if he had been a complete reprobate. Which he’s not, of course’ he added hastily.

‘Your Grace, you have never visited Gondor before have you, so there can’t be any criminal records relating to you, can there?’ asked Thenweg

The King looked duly thoughtful ‘I have been to Gondor, many years ago, but the name of Aragorn, or Elessar, will not be found in any Jail or Court records here’ he replied.

‘Thank you, Your Grace, perhaps we can move on to the next requirements? We need a Certificate of Quality provided by an independent weapons testing body, and a Certificate of Origin countersigned and validated by an official representative of the country where it was manufactured. Can you tell me where and when the sword was made?

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