Faith in the Forge

by Joe W

The ringing beat of hammer on anvil cut off to silence as the master blacksmith looked up from his work.

“Back already, Jake? I thought you said it would be a week or two this time.” The hulking trollblood eased himself through the doorway, answering the question with a non-committal grunt. “Well there's not much for you to be getting on with; the only order we've had today is apprentice work, and the boys can handle that. You might as well head home.” Jake's thick eyebrows rose as he peered down at the object Mastersmith's anvil. “Oh this? Just playing around really- had Marcello Cristofori in earlier, silly bugger has bought a pair of those horse's, half bankrupted himself I don't doubt, and apparently I'm supposed to be making them some sort of shoe to protect the family investment. Gods only know how that's supposed to work.” Meaty fingers closed around the disk of steel, and Jake eyed the metal plate a moment before setting it down with quiet clink. “Needs a hole in it. I did one for a centaur chieftain once. 'Course the stupid oaf decided he wanted them done in gold so it was a bad idea to start with.” With that the trollblood gave a respectful nod and stomped over to his own corner of the workshop. The Mastersmith watched him for a moment before turning back to the puzzle in front of him. “A hole, eh?” * Jake whistled quietly to himself as he unpacked his bags. He wanted to work out some sort of hymn, but he was rapidly drawing the conclusion that he had not been blessed with musical talent. Perhaps the Lord of the Forge didn't have hymns, perhaps the rings, clanks, hissing and grunts of the workshop were all the music he desired. Something to think about anyway; perhaps once there were more worshippers then someone else would find the right tune. Reaching deep into the backpack his fingers tightened around the object of his search. Pulling forth the smith's hammer he cleared a space on his bench and reverently laid the tool down. The hammer was old and worn, with hints of rust setting in around the handle; he smiled, it had been well used if not well cared for. Slowly, almost ceremonially, he brought out oil and a clean rag from amongst his tools and placed them to either side of the hammer. Holding his hand over the instrument he spoke a few words of prayer and black fire leapt from his hand to engulf the hammer; as the flames abruptly guttered and vanished he looked down with some pleasure at the now cleaned tool, its dirt and imperfections scoured away. He took the hammer and hung it on the wall next to a dagger marked with the coins of the Cristofori. Two times he had left the city now, and twice he had returned bearing a relic of the fallen, first a brother in arms and now a brother in trade. How many items would line this wall before the Temple of the Lord was build? And how many more would rest in that temple before the Lord himself was Forged? He had seen in clearly back in the cave; every detail clear as he drew on the grimy cave wall with his own blood. The Lord stepping out of the Forge fires, his body gleaming steel and his eyes burning brightly from a fire within. A hammer clasped in one hand of course, and the other held a great book with pages of black iron and writing in gold. The picture wasn't his own, the spirit had drawn it as it pillaged his memories, looking for inspiration. The picture wasn't his, but he had seen it, and now he had to make it real. *

The Mastersmith glanced over at the corner where Jake stood, seemingly lost in concentration. He was an odd duck that one. Oh no doubt, the lad was a hard worker, and he knew his craft, but it was damned uncomfortable to work around him. He seemed to think that the smithy was a shrine and the anvil an alter, and if you weren't careful you'd end up thinking that work was worship; he'd already caught the apprentices chattering about it. Eventually the brutish journeyman let himself out with a grunt of farewell, probably heading off to whatever shabby inn had agreed to take him in. The Master worked a time longer, until sweat poured in rivers across his forehead and his arms ached from the labour. Hanging his apron upon the wall the man turned and looked at Jake's corner again and almost reluctantly inclined his head, mouthing a silent benediction. Then he turned and left. He didn't believe in all that nonsense of course, but it didn't hurt to hedge your bets.

misc/fiction/faithintheforge.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/05 19:33 by osj01
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