Short Stories from the Elements – Metal

Hi Guys, get ready for Metal!

Sparks flew as the hammer met the metal. Narrowing his eyes against the bright spray, he struck it again. The noise echoed around the great space. Pausing from his work, Baras straightened, slinging the great hammer over his shoulder. His eyes took in his apprentices below, toiling at their own forges. It was tradition to have three and as head of the Triforge, it was fitting he had the three best blacksmiths from the land. Having said that, as the years passed, he noticed that his apprentices were getting sloppier and sloppier. This last batch was almost painful. They believe that just because metal was their element, they could be fantastic at shaping it. Baras knew it took more than magic. And he was in the midst of teaching them this. He spotted one of them start to make their way up to his forge from below. Built into the lava flow, it was the hottest forge in the realm. Only Baras had the honour to forge from it.

‘My lord,’ his apprentice panted, bowing as he approached him. Baras acknowledged him and gestured him closer. Moving up, he held out the fruits of his hard labour over the last week. A glimmering sword. Accepting the hilt, Baras held it up, inspecting it thoroughly. Gold filigree twisted around the hilt, joining the blade above the guard. The blade, long and tapered, had black sheen and silver ruins etched down its length. It was beautiful but…

‘This is worse than the glaive blade you showed me last week. There are two faults in the hilt and three along the tang. This is simply not good enough. Should this blade suffer a blow in battle, it would splinter, break and its wielder would die.’

‘But,’ his apprentice protested weakly, ‘It’s just so… hard. I’m a high metal elemental and you’re not allowing us to use our magic.’

‘Forging is done with muscles, not magic.’ Baras barked back, ‘When you can show me you’re competent without your magic, then you can start to use it. It’s fundamentals. You must get your basics right before you advance. We are in a war. All the armour and weapons produced by the Triforge is used to outfit our finest and bravest warriors. If we show any weakness, any faults, we will lose and that simply cannot happen.’

‘I’m sorry, Lord Baras,’ his apprentice bowed deeply, ‘I will try harder.’ Turning, he scurried away back down to his forge and his team.

Baras watched him go, still gripping the ornate blade in his hand. It was beautiful but what use is a painted mule in a war. He moved back to his own anvil and threw the blade into the red hot lava spewing around his forge. It hissed and bubbled. The metal slowly melted and returned to the earth. As the lava heaved and spat, Baras was enwrapped in a blaze of boiling air. Taking a deep breath in, he covered his face, turning from the glow. A suddenly cool breeze froze the sweat covering his body. Strange. Standing straight, he surveyed his surroundings with a quiet unease. He preferred his forge to this ruined arena. He hated the cold.

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