Royce Grant

The smell of ash and metal wafted through the air, originating from the fire-pit next to me. I dipped the malformed piece of metal into the fire, allowing it to stay there for a couple of minutes. I was a blacksmith, working 24/7 to make weapons to supply the guard force that protected the village. I had lost my parents when I was younger. Thankfully, I still had my sis to guide me a bit, even though she was two years younger. I noticed that the piece of metal that would soon be the blade was glowing red and starting to melt. I quickly turned around, careful to not step on the mess of tools on the floor, and put the dripping soon-to-be blade on the anvil, grabbing my hammer. It was an incredibly heavy, at least 30 pounds, cast-iron hammer, encrusted with jewels of dendril, allowing it to be dipped in even lava and not drip a single drop. With much effort, I heaved it upwards, then slammed it into the dead center of the blade, sparks falling like a golden waterfall, landing everywhere. I quickly lifted it above my head, bringing it down a second time – this time with more force. Now, there was an explosion of sparks flying everywhere. There was so much that I had to shield my eyes for a second, the light created reached such an intensity that it rivalled that of a flame's. Once it had stopped, I looked downward, examining what I had done. I had created a sort of very thin plank, able to slice through many substances but not without difficulty. I repeated this process several times, reaching the more sword-shaped form I had wished for.

I was making a ceremonial greatsword for the high-priest. That meant that I would be working with much posher materials. I grabbed a wedge-shaped cast-iron tool from the rack on the wall, settling it on the left end of the guard (the part of the sword that protects your hand), which was still glowing red from the heat stored within the metal. I made sure I had the right angle, then slammed the wedge into the iron, separating it into two separate decorative curves. I did the same to the right side, paying great attention to making sure that the two sides were exactly the same. I had started working on the blade, falling into blacksmith mode, until a voice startled me. "Hello, Mr. Grant," said the male voice. It sounded smooth and like a young man's. I turned around, expecting another customer, only to find an alchemist. He had maroon robes going down to his knees, with large sleeves that hung down from his arms. He was in the 30 – 38 range, looking surprisingly young. He had a bandolier of potions strung across his chest, with three smaller potions dangling from his waist-sash, attached by a thick rope. "Greetings," I responded, sticking my hand out. The alchemist took it, shaking it with a firm grip. A confident one, yet not arrogant. "I see you are busy," he said, looking slightly impressed at the greatsword I had been forging. "Very much, though I always have time for a customer," I said, wiping my hands with a piece of rough cloth on a table next to me, using it to clean the grit and ash off my face. The man gave me a kind smile, his dark brown hair flopping over on eye. "I am not a customer, as much as I am a recruiter," he said, clasping his hands behind his back like those politicians I'd seen at major cities. He didn't give off a pompous air, though. More like a wise one. "Recruiter for what?" I asked, my interest piqued.

"For a very important mission. The exploration of the Ushad region," said the alchemist, pulling out a piece of paper from one of the pouches on his waist. "Pardon me, sir, but I am merely a blacksmith. My battle skills are… less than lacking," I grimaced as I thought of my pitiful sword skills. You might think that one who makes weapons for a living would be at least decent with them. But no, I had never been good with weapons. The first time I had tried wielding a wooden sword, I nearly impaled a passerby, then conked myself in the head with the fuller (the central part of the lower blade), knocking myself out. I had also tried out two-handed weapons, like war-hammers and battle-axes, but am extremely lacking in those as well. "Ah, but you are mistaken," he said, raising his pointer finger upwards to emphasize what he had just said. "I beg your pardon?" I asked, believing I hadn't heard him right. "You are not merely a blacksmith, but the best one in the region," he said, a twinkle in his blue eyes. I had been told that I had the finest forging skills in the region before, though I had always thought it was lip service, something to make me feel special and nothing more. I knew that my dad had been one of the best blacksmith's in the country's history, but never really though much about my blacksmithing abilities. "Okay, so about the expedition?" I asked, still slightly confused. "I extend to you the invitation to join our team. We are currently missing a blacksmith, and you'd be perfect for the job," he said, gesturing towards the ceremonial greatsword laying unattended on the anvil.

"I'm flattered, truly, but I can't just run off on a mission all willy-nilly. I have responsibilities to attend to, and my sister. She can't look out for herself and we need the money I get from blacksmithing," I said, grimacing at how my sister would react if I just disappeared. "I have thought about that and managed to let the advisor allow your family to not have to pay any expenses that your sister cannot pay herself for as long as you are gone," he grinned, making gestures to help me understand. "And would I get paid for my efforts in this expedition?" I asked. "Very much so – 500 buckles per week," responded the alchemist calmly. This was very tempting, as I made 100 buckles per month doing blacksmithing, and I would receive much more money if I took this opportunity. "I will have to sleep on it. Come back… say, eleven in the morning?" I asked, slightly overwhelmed. "Very well. Godspeed, Mr. Grant," he said, walking out of the small area I called my forge. "Farewell," I said, watching him off. I then turned to the greatsword, finding that it had cooled down during my talk. "Oh, goddamn it."

AN: So, I'm trying fantasy now. Whatcha guys think? X3

Anyways, as always, review! It really helps motivate me to sit on my ass and put pen to paper (more like finger to key in this case)! :D