The Earth-Fire Forge – Prentice Pieces
In the Smithy of Caldring the Elf
The evening of the 14th Day of Ches in the Year of the Sudden Journey.
Caldring slammed the door of her own smithy firmly shut behind her, striding over to her anvil. Her cheeks hot and flushed, she beat her fists down onto the smooth metal for a few moments until her anger had dissipated. The turn of events on this evening had turned her world upside down.
She was mostly angry with herself for acting so rashly and embarrasing herself in front of the Council and the new adventurers. She was also quite confused and doubting her own knowledge and feelings.
Earlier in the evening the adventurers from the mainland had brought with them some goods from the Tower of the Mists. They had briefly told her their story of the forge within the basement of the tower, and just the thought of such a place had filled her with excitement. Then, they had unwrapped an unfinished mail coat and asked for her thoughts.
They had left her to spend some time examining the mail. It had not taken her long before she had realised that the exquisite workmanship and strange metal was something worthy of mention. The books that they had brought from the forge also depicted methods of manufacture and ways to alloy metals that she could have only dreamed of.
With haste she had read what she could and headed to the Council chambers with the folly of the thought that the mail coat, albeit a prentice piece, had been made from metal forged in the ‘Feywild’ – a place that was just a fairy story to most people from the Islands – or at least by someone, or something, from there. She had blurted this out without thinking in front of both The Council and the adventurers, and now felt both childish and foolish. Yet, in her heart, she knew her thoughts to be true.
She recalled the speech she had spilled out to the Council.
Amongst the elves we believe there is another plane of existence, one that mirrors this one but is more verdant and wild. One that can be crossed to at certain points from this world. Towering forests sprawl for a thousand leagues. Perfect amber prairies roll between pristine mountain peaks soaring into the flawless clouds. Emerald, turquoise, and jade green seas crash along endless beaches. The skies are a perfect blue, not seen in the mortal world – until storms come, coal-dark thunderheads boiling with fierce winds and torrential rains.
In this world, arcane power thrums through every tree and rock. All existence is magical. Our elven cousins live there, the Eladrin, and they perform great works or art from architecture, to music, to smithcraft.
My head cannot explain the smithcraft that has gone into this mail, but ever since I have touched it my heart has known the answer, it has been constructed by Eladrin hands.
She shivered uncontrallably at what the Council might think of her now.
Caldring needed something to take her mind off her foolishness, something that would keep her occupied. She had the mail and weapons of Tradden and Khalin to look at – they had been tainted by rust from whatever strange beast had lain in wait within the cellars of the tower, but they would be fairly trivial to clean and repair.
She decided to take a look in the other sack that Khalin had set down in the smithy.
A lot of the items were apprentice pieces for a smith – a jeweller by the looks of the style and shape of them, and a good one at that, although the pieces were mainly unfinished and basically worthless. The metals were light and obviously some form of alloy, but Caldring was unsure of what sort. One piece did catch her eye, however, more for it’s unusual shape than anything else. The piece was made up of exceptionally thin wires of metal that to Caldring’s surprise were extremely strong and rigid. These wires, twelve in all, formed the outline of a block, each wire representing one of the edges. The block in total was about two feet wide, by one foot high, and one foot deep. Excellent craftsmanship, but an unusual shape.
Caldring set the piece on top of the anvil and retired to a nearby chair to stare at it and think for a while. Her heartbeat had slowed and she felt more in control of herself, now – the challenge presented by this prentice piece distracting her from her embarrasment. She spent nearly an hour in contemplation.
All kinds of thoughs had passed fleetingly through her mind for the use of the strange contraption, but none of them stood up to any thorough examination. It was neither a weapon, nor a piece of armour, not even a shield. It’s strange shape did not lend itself to either of those, nor to decorative adornment. It was only when she cast her net further afield did she begin to sense the truth.
She rushed outside of her smithy for the second time that evening, heading to one of the town’s walls where some of the stones from the ruins of the central keep had been moved. The stones, with their dweomer of protection, had been moved some five or six tendays previously and were now firmly ensconced within the growing walls. However, their size was easy to tell in the gathering gloom of evening. It seemed obvious now – the stones were two feet wide, by one foot wide, and one foot deep. Caldring had no doubts – they would fit exactly inside the wire frame sat on her anvil.
Whoever, or whatever, had made the piece was responsible for the stones within the walls now of Blackengorge, and perhaps those of the gorge wall. Caldring was certain.