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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No Story For the Wicked

It wouldn’t be long now before I met the final bitter moments of my short, pathetic life. What an ending–such a tragedy. I never got to be rich and famous for the sake of my mother’s smile. I patted at my pockets weakly–Out of cigarettes, too. What a uselessly cliche picture. Cue the noir music already, would ya?

That’s better.

Blood dripped from my busted lip, down my neck as I chuckled. I tried to move my legs, but couldn’t. The old man had proven to be more of a challenge than anyone I had ever  killed before. Someone that had gotten real attached to my character would say I’d won. Thankfully, there’s no chance of that. You can see as plainly as I can that this–this is no victory. This is a sad, sober man, bleeding out on a beautiful artisan rug in the rain.

Did I mention the roof had been blown out? Well, it had. I’m not exactly known for being less than showy. Especially not with such a big target.

Sometimes, people want you dead. That’s normal. People are assholes. Not a one that passes me on the street can say they truly deserve to live. Ha. They’ve all said some shit or pulled some shit that solidifies their soul as pure, brown and black, lifeless and smelly shit.

Maybe it comes with the territory. I’m sure folks are nice somewhere out there.

Anyway. This guy, laying right over there? Yeah. People wanted him really dead. They wanted him so dead, his sorry excuse for a spirit couldn’t even take a step towards the pearly gates to ask forgiveness. He didn’t deserve that. No one who ever shook his hand did either, but that’s just me. I made sure none of them would ever get that chance. Especially him.

Now I’m no saint. You might think I’m a good guy for at least ridding the city of this asshole, but trust me when I say this rain-ridden evening is witnessing the departure of two villainous scumbags.

Probably why I don’t have a cigarette. God hates smokers, I can tell you that much about the big guy.

I cough and gag as the cough causes the blood in my mouth to choke me. I cough some more, half on blood, half on laughter.

“This…this right here…” I gurgle out a few useless last words.

“This…sucks.”

Sirens. Naturally. The last thing a criminal wants to hear before passing on. Such bullshit. The hell is this body doing, not bleeding out faster? I punch at my chest, but my arm doesn’t have the strength to expedite the process like I was hoping. With my last bit of energy, I grab my signature hat, and lay it at my side. For all the good times and the terrible, rain-ridden nights, this hat was there. You’d know that, if you knew my story.

I gave one last look to the lighter across the room. Etched with the runes of passing, I could still see the bastard’s soul in there, trying to escape. Trying to keep this tale alive, to be told another time.

Sadly, there’s no story to tell. Not anymore. It dies with me, rotten and alone. Shame, really. There were a couple funny parts, and you would’ve…you would’ve liked em…

 

 

Art is an edited piece from thelocksmith.me, and is not my original work.

The Broken Moonlight

A boy lived in the woods. It was alright there. Anywhere else was much worse, so the woods had to suffice. Though it was oft dark and cold, he learned to love shivering and lacking sight. No stray beast came to devour him as of yet, as they only seemed to look upon him with passing curiosity. It could be assumed his frail frame did not delight the eyes of nature, in that he could never make for more than a light snack. Even the moon’s all-loving eye strayed from his being. He tried to court it, building small homes where a gap in the tree tops allowed for light. The small warmth of the moon might allow him some respite from the shadows he so desperately clung to. When he tried this, the moon would call the clouds to mask her face from him, leaving him all but the faintest of glances from the eye of the night. Even those did naught to sate his need for heat, as he knew they were but miniscule mistakes, and it would only hurt him to take them as anything more.

When the sun would wake at the outset of each day, the boy would disappear. He would retreat into himself, to become one with his own inner lightless nature. He knew the inhabitants of the sun would poke fun at him. He knew they would ask at his pale skin and feeble stature. The boy became weakened by every trifling thought of negativity that crossed his path, until the path was gone and he remained, stranded.

Now, he sits. He breathes. Water is near and he thinks about drinking it. He wonders at the point of going on and, realizing there is none, continues to sit. The boy believes this darkness to, at least, be more comfortable than the endless void beyond the land of life-full beings.

Air is not so thin to one who is himself shaved down to but a pale and broken beam of mistaken moonlight.

Nora: Below (Fiction)

Nora felt the Earth beneath her feet crumbling. It was unlike dreams she had had in the past. She felt her hair dripping past her cheeks, free floating in front of her eyes. She looked around, seeing land below her, leagues away, far enough that only the large details could be made out–a mountain range with a river through its middle, trees to either side, a lake of monumental size shrouded by clouds right below her feet.

It was the sky crumbling.

She tried to move, and it made the sound of shifting and crackling louder, more widespread. It was as if she were on a frozen body of water, trying to escape its icy clutches at the expense of falling through to the cold depths below.

Now though, “below” wasn’t so clear.

She wondered idly what would be better: an eternity, held tightly within the embrace of the cold, crackling sky, waiting for the final and inevitable break that would lead to her quick demise…or to decide for herself, here and now, that she would not be held prisoner by anything, no matter how big, how powerful.

Perhaps looking over the preceding of the world below would suffice, as an existence. Maybe it would be altogether better than sheer nothingness, or whatever resulted from one’s departure from the world of the living.

She breathed. Her exhaled breath formed a cloud. It began to shape itself. To Nora, it seemed a fox, orange and playful in the light of the rising sun.

Or was it setting?

Nora: Discovery (Fiction)

Nora stepped along the path of the just-pink meadow, the odd sun of Aeth casting its first color through the strangely alive trees. The light swathed her leather and steel armor in a small warmth, causing her body to shiver a bit at the prospect of a change in temperature. She stretched her toned arms above her head, the leather sleeves she normally wore tucked away in her pack. She enjoyed feeling the chill breeze of morning passing over her naked skin, and sighed at the touch of its refreshing embrace.

The Aeth meadows that had come to house her were now a bit more familiar, more homelike. She had two separate camps, both outfitted with reasonably sturdy shelter and neatly hidden supplies, the first slightly moreso that the second. The nameless blade, who had become her greatest ally of late, bounced casually at her right hip, the silver hilt and guard absorbing the color of the sun. She knew that if she were to draw it, the sword’s length of uncertain metal would hold the pale pink of the sun’s equally uncertain light. The only sure thing she knew of both was their bond; when one’s color changed, the other followed suit. Even that was a stretch. She knew only that both changed. She knew not which was leader, or follower.

Nora glanced about for what she always searched for these days–any sign of sentient life. The land had challenged her survivability to the brink of death and back, never letting up and always ready to render her nothing more than fodder for the creatures of the woods, fertilizer to the trees. She knew there had to be some intelligent life, and that it had to be somewhere in the vicinity of this meadow. Her meadow. It provided all she needed to live, but that might not mean much. She had no idea of other forms of sentient life needed the same things she needed. But they had to exist. They just had to. No evidence of this claim came to light, but Nora felt it in her stomach. She simply hadn’t looked hard enough, or in the right manner.

She also didn’t know exactly why she felt this need. It hadn’t come about until she had settled in, found her sword, and gone through the motions of building herself a second camp. Maybe it was simply time to up the anty of her adventure, get to the point where she needed to communicate with another being who didn’t understand her words or ways. Perhaps she wished to conquer whatever other secrets might lie in the meadow, before she herself became conquered at an inopportune moment.

More than anything, she felt it in her blood. It drove her towards this path, the purpose in the tight muscles of her arms, legs, and stomach too stubborn and direct for her mind to fight the forward momentum with uncertainty.

At that moment, she saw it. One with an untrained eye and a lack of knowledge concerning the workings of the woods could surely miss it.

An opening to a cave, adorned on each side with moss-ridden, ancient looking poles of living wood.

The blade clinked at her hip lightly as she came to a stop, frozen.

A Not-So-Fair Faerie’s Tale, Part II: Moon and Rabbit (Short Fiction)

The weary travelers all sat among the brushed dirt, unconsciously plopping down along the borders of a circle Dreyma herself created, just for such an occasion. Their armor, leather and iron, smelled awful as its scent wafted up her petite nostrils. She did not approve of them bringing such a smell into her midst. Still, they looked delightfully full of determined energy. She meant to work her way slowly into their circle, then–

“Have you heard, Fendin?”

“What?”

“Of the tale,” the first speaker said with a sly grin.

Dreyma’s forward motion paused, like the moon choosing to stay full, if only for a moment more than usual.

“Oh come off it with your stories,” the second replied with a hint of true anger outlining his syllables. He took of his helmet, revealing thick, light brown hair. It looked as the sun would, if it had burnt itself a little. Dreyma adored it. “I’m damn tired, and I won’t have any of this!”

A third spoke up. His hair was short, black, and matted to his oddly small skull. Dreyma disapproved. “Oh, let Caldun have his story, Fen,” he said wearily. “Can’t be steppin’ out all the fun just ‘cuz you’re not havin’ any.”

The one called Caldun nodded towards the third. “Worry not, Reil. He has yet to tamp out my embers!” Turning back to Fendin, he lowered his voice. “Though, I should say, for I know this sweetens the deal for you…” the voice lowered further, rabbit beneath rock. Dreyma decided that perhaps the moon would wait an additional minute, just for the sake of politeness. It does not bode well for one who rudely interrupts a story at birth.

This story…” Caldun looked to the left, then the right, and back into Fendin’s eyes. His own, grey as the iron upon his shoulders, seemed to double in weight. His gaze gripped all who were in range of it, shackling ears to attention, rears to nearest seat. Dreyma felt a small power in it. While it would have been easy enough to resist, she decided to see what this tale-telling rabbit had to offer. She sat.

This storyis true.”