Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to the Phoenix Fire, just to see it has a completely different look. When it used to be an open room, full of beautiful swords, it now had many more displays around the room, filled with different swords - nad not all of them were meant to be only pretty. And what was even more surprising - all the overly expensive sword prices were cut down by at least half.
What used to be a lonely reception, was now filled with 6 dwarves, stronger drinks in front of all of them.
“I still remember his drunken eyes when he saw all the haul we brought in,” one of them said, making everyone laugh once more.
“‘Nobody hasn’t been in abandoned mines for ages,’ he said,” mimicked someone else's voice.
Kutrin looked at me, a wide smile appearing on his face. “Hero! Welcome to my humble store!”
All the dwarves looked at me. One’s beard was longer than the other. But they all were fat - which was pretty normal for dwarves. Interestingly enough, Kutrin was least so.
“So, that’s the bloody Hero?” the shortest said, looking at me.
“Yes, Dardir. This is the one who we owe our thanks,” Kutrin said, nodding.
I laughed weakly. “I’m slightly confused.”
“Ah. Yes. Let me introduce you to my old and new friends. These two are Dardir and Banrum. They are brothers. There aren’t many better fighters than those two. At least that’s what I believe after what I’ve witnessed these past three weeks.”
The shortest and the fattest nodded. “Pleasure is mine,” the fattest, Banrum, said. But it was slightly funny, as his voice was a lot higher-pitched than one would expect.
“Bloody hell, you’re too drunk, brother. Stay silent!” Dardir murmured.
“Okay,” -- hick -- “brother.”
I smirked, looking at Kutrin again.
“This is Darren,” Kutrin continued, pointing at the dwarf, who definitely had the longest beard of them all.
“Fucking well met! This is a fucking honor,” he said, stood up and reached out his hand. I took hold of it, squeezing it. Instant regret. He squeezed my hand so hard I felt like my bones wanted to break.
“Bloody hell, sorry. I’m a blacksmith like him. Can’t control meself,” he said, beginning to laugh, loudly.
As I recovered my hand, Kutrin continued. “That’s Bendan. He’s the one who enchanted your sword, and he’s pretty good at it.”
Bendan gave me a nod, but didn’t even say a word, just looked at me, seriously.
Kutrin leaned slightly towards me. “He’s fun when he’s drunk. Trust me.” He coughed and finally looked at the final, youngest looking dwarf. He barely had any beard, and it wasn’t even that thick.
“And that's my new apprentice. It’s thanks to him that we even got into mines as fast as we did. Melnom!”
Melnom did a quick bow. “Oh, damn. I-I’m truly honored, Hero!”
“And that’s the whole bloody crew! We had a wonderful adventure. The greatest. We went to Kul Tarum, went to the abandoned mines, managed to get the purest spyglass one has ever seen - all thanks to Darren.” -- Darren gave a quick nod. -- “- and almost dying multiple times in the process. And then we made it back and made your beautiful sword! The greatest work I’ve ever done. And only thanks to these guys.”
I chuckled. “I’m not going to pay more because you involved more people,” I said, seriously, but with joking voice.
All of the dwarves looked at me, for a moment. Serious. Almost as I had broken a promise. Then they burst into laughter. I followed them with my super fake and nervous laughter.
“I wouldn’t even ask a penny. Hero, thanks to you, I gained something more valuable than the coin. I recovered my old buddies, and I gained some new friends. I finally understand what it's like to be Goldsmith. I was born for this. I never want to make even a single fake sword again. I want to get rid of all those pointless swords around here. And I want adventurers to come to me. I want to make swords of many.”
“And you won’t rob your new clients from every penny?”
“Well, they still have to pay. But no. Creating a sword that will be used for good gives me the greatest pleasure! And they will get what they pay,” Kutrin said. He released a long sigh, sitting back on his seat. “I wish to tell you the tale of creating this sword one day. But I don’t think today is the day!”
I nodded. “I’m interested, for sure. But sadly I have more places I have to be, and today."
“Melnom! Get the sword!” Kutrin said.
Melnom stood hastily up. “Yes, master!” He rushed to the back room.
“I and my company are going to move to the lower town,” Kutrin said as small talk. “As soon as possible.”
“We need more room. We need to set up a proper forge. And we need everyone to have the opportunity to visit my shop. The Phoenix Fire died the day you came. But it has risen from the ashes. Phoenix Fire shall be no more. It will be known as Phoenix Forge.”
I smiled. “That’s a wonderful name!”
Melnom rushed back to the room. A sword-shaped object in his hand, except packaged into a lot of clothes.
“Ah. Here it is!” Kutrin began to slowly remove clothing until a sword handle and sheath was revealed. The sword’s grip was black, just like the scabbard. But the Pommel was white. The hilt was filled with black and white. It was designed as a butterfly. But it wasn’t too fancy either, just like I had asked.
“The handle and Scabbard are made of obsidian. But not the same obsidian many know of. A slightly more special one called Enhanced Obsidian. It has the power to keep magical essence locked in, not letting it escape. It is used for prisons, meant for powerful mages. So, even if the blade is as pure spyglass as it is, the sheathe will make sure that even the tiniest amount of element can’t escape. And the handle is made of obsidian because… well, it looks beautiful, mostly.”
“It is… beautiful," I murmured.
“Luckily for you, this obsidian is very good for staying hidden as well. I know that your job might require stealthing. It will not reflect much light. Especially if there isn't much."
I lifted it up, holding it in my hand. Just because the room was well lit, I could barely see any reflection on it. “It’s not that heavy, but not that lightweight either."
“Ah. Apologies for that. Obsidian is not that light material. We worked hard on the handle to make it as light as possible, using other materials as well. There’s a very thin line of obsidian on the handle, mostly just for the visuals. The sheath, however, is a different matter. It had to be made entirely of obsidian. But it should still be fine if you just use it as sheathe.”
Just as he said those last lines, I removed my old sword, placed it on the counter, and connected my new sword to my belt. I could feel that there was a slight weight difference between my old sword, and the new - new being heavier. But not a lot. “I can get used to it,” I said, nodding. I finally placed my hand around the grip. It was a nice grip. Not obsidian, but a leather of some kind. “That’s nice," I said.
“Aye,” Darren said immediately. “This fucking leather is from a dragon. There can’t be a fucking greater leather than this.”
I looked at Kutrin. “Did you slay the dragon as well?”
Kutrin began to laugh. “Bloody no. We bought it. Cost a lot. Dragon’s leather is a true rarity to get. Even a tiny bit.”
I thought of Aldrynte. I wondered if she approved it. Or perhaps she didn’t care. But for some reason, knowing her, I assumed the last part.
With a small sigh, I began to pull out the sword. It came out smoothly. The sheathe was perfect. But it was only meant for this sword. Immediately I saw glass, but not the one I had expected. It was more white than transparent. But I could still see through it.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Bendan said. “There’s still a bit of my element in there. We had to test it, after all.”
I could feel it. There was some air element in there. “You’re an air elemental user?” I asked.
“I can release it. Should I?”
“Yes, but not as a weapon. You can weaponize only the elements that you’ve placed in there. Whenever you push your magic in there, it will remember your blood. And only you can use it the way you want. But you can always release the unwanted elements, the ones you can’t control,” Bendan continued. “That’s what I understood after testing it.”
“To be fair, that’s even better. I wouldn’t want my weapon's element to land into wrong hands,” I said. I focused on it, and I could feel how the air element just slowly discharged, disappearing. There was a very slight wind coming from the sword. And the color began to change from white to fully transparent.
“That's something we can’t control,” Kutrin said as he noticed how I examined the sword. “Whatever element you put in there, the sword will take the color of that element. We thought of painting the blade… but that would result in the sword not being as effective.”
I nodded. “That’s fine.”
“But you can always insert the transformed element into the blade without unsheathing it. There’s a very tiny line going to your hilt that you can use. You just need to touch the sword’s grip. This is why we used a bit of obsidian for your handle as well.”
I smiled. “That’s a fantastic idea.”
“We tried to think of everything,” Darren said.
Kutrin sighed. “As I said. This is the greatest piece of work I’ve ever done. And it truly works. Your idea works, Hero. This sword is amazing. It’s… legendary.”
“What’s its name?” Melnom suddenly asked, excited.
I smiled. “I don’t know, yet. But I also want to hear what people will name it, once they see me using it.”
All the dwarves smiled.
“Hero,” Bendon said, abruptly. “There’s one more thing. It’s the sword’s only weak point that I want you to remember.”
I looked at him.
“The spyglass can never be as strong as many other materials. So, the only way to make it strong, and always as sharp as it is, we had to enchant it. Good news is that I didn't have to use anything stronger than just strengthening enchantment. It means that it’s a quite strong enchantment.” He sighed. It was coming… the but.
“However… it can be still only that strong. No normal or usual blades will be able to beat destroy it, but there are definitely many stronger blades. There will be a time when one might destroy your enchantment. When the enchantment breaks, you’ll feel it. But it will not damage the blade, not yet. This is the type of enchantment I have with it. You can still use it when the enchantment breaks. But my recommendation is to not use it as a simple sword. It will break. And if it does, it will never be the same. You might not be able to repair it, ever.”
I sighed, looking at it. “Is there a way to make it stronger?”
“There’s definitely are,” Darren said, sighing. “There are many better enchanters than me. I just don’t know anyone. At least no other friendlies. There are those who are hard to find. And some might or will not help you.”
I nodded, finally pushing the sword back into sheathe. It was as easy to push it back in, as it was to pull it out. I took hold of the other sword, connecting it at the other side of my belt.
“Thank you all. You might’ve saved the world. What is a hero without his legendary sword, right?”
The dwarves laughed, agreeing, and mumbling something.
“You know what... when you have time, and the world doesn’t need saving, come and say hi. I have a wonderful story to tell.”
I smiled. “I will, for sure. One day!” I turned my back to them and began to walk outside.
I stopped, looking over the shoulder. “Oh, and Kutrin!"
“Your shop is now great. It’s finally not lonely!”
We both smirked. And I finally left the store. I was excited.
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- Matthew E. Damson
I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.
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