Blacksmith

Remy had relied heavily on each and every member of their ragtag mercenary crew, for on his own he could never have explored the depths of the ruined woods without perishing, or becoming otherwise indisposed for eternity.

As a blacksmith, Remy’s work occurred at the outset of their journey. He forged the tools and weapons necessary for the others to carry out their various skills without worry for the quality of craftsmanship. Any blade Remy forged lasted longer, held its sharpness far beyond the average lifespan of what one could purchase from a generic smithy, one whose main goal was to provide endless quantity, with little care for quality.

But these adventurers, along with a handful of others, had found Remy. His work was slower, and his prices were considerably higher than his competition. Though this resulted in some colder nights and an occasional empty stomach, Remy cared not. He would not sacrifice quality of materials or patience in labor just to line his pockets. His work was all there was, and it had to be done right.

This is why he was out here with them, this time around. His work required something more. Something many other blacksmiths has long since forgotten, or cared not to speak of it beyond hearsay and faerie tales.

Remy knew better. He could feel it out here. It called to him.

It had been an uncomfortably long stay in the ruined woods, the tattered forest. Thankfully, his party understood his need for their continued support. He helped where he could—using his skill with tools to administer needed repairs, his strength of arm to collect what wood could still be touched by the heat of flame. Occasionally he would stand alongside the warriors of the crew with his forge hammer, crushing the foul creatures that pursued them in the deepest hour of night.

But even without all of this, even if he did nothing, he believed these brave few would yet stand by his side. His work had lengthened their lives, saved them countless times. The armor he forged caused death strikes to glide off of their chests and shoulders, leaving them light enough to then counter with a definitive blow. The pots and pans he made were crafted specifically for adventuring parties, his signature light iron holding fast and cooking cleaner than other, more crude brands.

They trusted him. Their gold never went to waste, and if he felt his best work had not been done, he would quickly and easily apply a discount. “Fairness of friendship, to all that arrive, and thus may all friends, in darkness survive.” The very thesis of his being, branded into his shop’s outer wall.

And so they were six. Remy the Blacksmith, forger in flame. Terrin the Quick, tempest with blade. Aerin of Way, seeker of light. Denter the Bludgeon, boaster of might. Then comes Sayrin, the silver-tongue dagger. Last along, Vane—hunter, trapper.

Together they journey through forest grown thick, against all foes and shadow-borne tricks. As one in pursuit, for hammer and anvil—they seek Remy’s fame,

the glamour, Mythril.

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Lost Pup

The pup barked, its voice bouncing between the willows. It strained itself, attempting to morph the shrill yipes into a strong howl. None such howl resulted, and the pup shivered.

A breeze came from behind, causing the young creature to stumble. Whistling through the wood, it caught the attention of a large, full grown wolf. She cocked her head at the odd sound of the twilit wind, and only then noticed she was short one child.

She released a frightful whine, leading it into a distressed howl. Echoing, it died out, falling and dissipating among the dusty underbrush.

She swallowed…waiting…

A strong, high pitched howl rang out in return.

The mother took off in the direction of it, the pup’s kin stumbling along behind her, playful still in the autumn chill.

Telemarketer

James couldn’t stop pacing, couldn’t resist viciously attacked his right arm with his left hand, rubbing it vigorously as his breath came in and out through anxiously gritted teeth. Too stricken to sob, he merely repeated “no, no, no,” over and over again.

Everything had gone wrong. There was no way he could salvage a single ounce of happiness from this life. His money, his family, even his fucking dog…all torn away from him, faster than he could react.

He had to do something, but all he could manage was this. The pacing. The frantic panic. He needed something real to latch onto, something peacefully normal, anything, anyone. If he could just—

His phone rang. He paused mid-stride, breath catching in his throat.

He reached into his pocket and pulled the device forth. An unknown number. Still, it could be him, reaching out at long last…

“Hello?”

“Hi there! I apologize for that pause, is Randal available to speak?”

James took a half breath. “Uh, sorry this is his phone but, I’m not him…”

It helped so much to speak at all. He could feel himself unwinding, little by little. If he could just listen to this person’s awful sales pitch, maybe he could—

“Ah! Our deepest apologies. Well it’s nothing important, we can try back another time. Thank you!”

“Wait! I—“

Click.

That sound. That empty sound of immediate abandonment.

As James replayed the sound over and over in his head, he withdrew back into himself, and crumpled. He slowly sank down onto the pavement, his hopelessness giving way to violent, wracking sobs.

Interview

Bernard walked, delighted.

He had finally secured a job. All the years of being an utter disappointment, finally behind him.

That interview had gone far too well for there to be any other reasonable outcome, at least. That interviewer LOVED him! They were joking around by the end of it.

He had even joked they way overly-confident people do, “so, I’ll see ya Monday morning?”

She had laughed at that, assuring him he would definitely be receiving a call back.

Definitely. Bernard liked that word. Grizzled middle-aged fool that he was, it was about time he started investing his time into things that were “definite”. “Secure”. “For the long-haul.”

He sighed and smiled, looking up towards the clear, blue, endless sky.

“As definite as the sun above,” he mused aloud.

Suddenly, his phone rang. He reached into his pocket excitedly and…

Continue reading “Interview”

Starting Stories: The Cyborg Who Looked

The streets were a mixture of fog and firmware. Anywhere he looked, he could just as easily have brought the sight to mind and stored the wasted energy for more pressing activities. With so much to do at the factory, any bit of inessential endeavor reminded him of his shortcomings. His attention wandered, where other’s simply did not exist. They did not see a tree, or a street at all. They saw purpose before them, and so they walked. They were strong, and he was weak. He would never hit ^2500, let alone ^1500. Mediocrity clung to him like the day’s birth dew to his cold-steel shoulder.

Morning rose further, and with it, the sun. Its light would power him for the day–he could tell by its brightness. He already knew what it looked like, and knew there was nothing to gain for looking again. If he could just keep his head down, perhaps today…

But, he so enjoyed to look.

The Clouded Sun

(This is a piece about a character I have previously worked with. I believe there are other pieces with him on this blog, but it has been a while. Anyway, hope you enjoy!…Mark pieces are always strange.) 

Mark knew it was time to hang up his coat, but he just could not bring himself to release the fabric nestled firmly between his fingers. Both hands gripped at the shoulders of his medium length brown jacket with the aspiring-to-truly-be-wood buttons. It was unclear to him why he would feel such an attachment to this coat on this particular day, as the snow had finally ceased for the time being.

Mark decided to simply wear it. Then, halfway to donning the oaken fabric, he paused. Mark returned to his previous position–arms in front of him, fingers gripping the shoulders of the coat. The warm coat. The dustless, soft, burdenless cloth…

I am unable to release the one thing in this world capable of shielding me from the least bit of harm. You see them, hung across the mantle of everyone from tall and gray to portly and crumpled up on the sidewalk. What is the average being to do without a piece of fur to call their very own? The sun is the great betrayer, promising us all warmth and comfort, only to leave us without so much as dry land with which to bring about sustenance. The crippling anxiety of the End, creeping up all around us as the trees breath their final breaths and the animals hide away from the world, damning it for all it has taken from them. Why are we so cursed? Why must the crusted ice of the sill spell so much doom in our deepest of hearts? We do not grow from the seed that sprouted alongside the brightest day, nay. We are the forfeiture of a long forgotten failure, we are the final product of what lived through death and kept going despite all signs of the Apocalypse posted around our parking spot. We brush the snow away from our windshields to live our normal lives and forget that we are the seed that held out. We are the cave dwellers and the food hoarders. We are the fearful, the murderers, the intruders. We are the seed that survived by any means necessary. The world tried to tell us our time was up, and instead we devoured each other, we devoured our own kin, and for what but fear? We know not what lies beyond the gates of the dying woods, and so we quiver and tremble and viciously grasp at scraps and tangle with the desperate need to let go, and the urgent flow of blood and marrow telling us “NO”. Thus we lived and what have we to show for it? We tremble yet but subtely so, behind our coats and our cars and our lies of fine days. We do not care for the planet that tried everything in its power to get rid of us, as we are a parasite and always have been. Yet we lived, and now in spiteful greed we strike back, living as best we can even in the seasons of slow demise. We do everything to take from the planet what made it green and lively and great, and we cover it with gray, the staunch and silent gray it tried to silence us with. We are a mean, hateful entity. We do not live and forgive, but try to make this great round beast feel the pain we felt long ago. Some disagree and try to reason with those of wallets aburst, but they are truly the lucky ones. Those with the most look at all their surplus and all they can see is what their deepest heart truly fears–their stockpile freezing over, decaying, leaving them alone and cold and quiet. Thus they are louder, more greedy than ever, and they–we–will not stop until we have the impossible number, the very soul of Terra torn from the flesh of the Earth in our grasp, giving us the sun itself, bottled and tame. All we wanted was warmth and peace, and in taking that from us, with each passing orbit, we became evil. We are born with the knowledge, the silent hatred of powers outside our grasp. You made us this way, and now, though you are stronger, we will make sure you come down with us.

…Mark blinked a soft blink. Through his lashes, he could see sunlight through wetness. Dew, and daylight, with oaken warmth beyond.

With a nod, he put his coat on its respective rack. He made sure it was not touching any other jackets in the area, and made his way to his desk, giving a wave here, a smile there.

Clouded, the sun slept.