Edited by menedhyn on September 4, 2016 3:02PM
"The clan gives us our strength. The Code gives us
Those words, spoken at they had been with a hint of sadness, acceptance and pride, were still clear in her mind. She carried them around with her as if to serve as a constant reminder, a validation of sorts, to the decision she had made years ago, a decision to forego the life she knew. Yet there was still deep regret. Many an evening had been spent under canvas, alone in her thoughts, wondering whether she had chosen wisely. That regret only ceased when working a forge.
our values. But to us blacksmiths, the forge gives us
heart and purpose. It defines us as Orsimer."
"YOU NEED MORE HEAT!" roared an impatient voice from behind her.
Strong, calloused hands responded by gripping the blackened, gnarled handle of the bellows. She pushed it down, fighting against the resistance, the timbers creaking under the pressure. The forge responded as if in a fierce temper, flames crackling and snapping and roaring in it's belly. As the wheezing bellows breathed life into the fire, each exhalation sent cinders and sparks up the chimney, and the flames burned brighter and more intense, lighting up the soot-covered, massive stone walls of the smithy. Shielding her eyes from the glare, Gobha quickly put on thick, leather gloves and, using a set of long iron tongs, carefully lifted several ore-laden crucibles into the fire.
"NOW, KEEP THE BELLOWS WORKING. EASY THERE! KEEP THE RHYTHM..." roared the voice again. The forge-wife was obeyed without question. The noise from the smithy was almost deafening as by now several sets of bellows had fired several other furnaces back into life, though the repetitive pattern of sounds that filled the air — roaring fire, hammer striking anvil, the hissing of quenched hot metal — had its own strange, musical character. The song of the smith, Gobha called it. It was a dark and brooding sound. More often than not it spoke of craft and industry, of need and practicality. But sometimes it spoke of war. She listened to it for what seemed an age as she maintained the hearth and the temperature within.
And then... it was time. With help, the heavy crucibles were lifted from the forge. Beneath a thin layer of charcoal, the yellow liquid, pure and silky, was poured very carefully and with incredible finesse into clay moulds. The casting was done quickly, for it had to be, but was made more difficult by now aching limbs and the ever-watching eye of the forge-wife. Very little of the liquid metal was wasted; the ore was quite rare and highly prized.
It would take a while before the casts would cool and the metal could be worked, but the next task awaited her. Wiping her hands and face with a dirty, wet rag, she set about finishing the shaping of the seasoned, dense wooden handles that would take the newly cast axe heads. A finely balanced hand axe was, in her opinion, a much more versatile weapon than a sword and she much preferred it to a mace or a maul. Few Orsimer shared her view, but that didn't matter to her.
Darkness had fallen by the time she had finished. Tired, hungry and in need of a few tankards of ale, followed by a few more for good measure, Gobha downed tools and headed for the inn. She felt pleased with her work. The forge-wife, watching her from the threshold of the smithy, was inclined to agree.
'Pure rains make sweet rivers'