“I’m glad to see you doing better, you had me worried yesterday.” Mom fuses over me as we stop running.
“I’m sorry I made you worry,” I apologize profusely. The last thing I want to do is give mother a reason to worry about me.
“You can tell me anything, you know that, right?” Mom looks me in the eye while trying to catch her breath.
“I know,” I tell her. “And I promise to tell you everything after I finish the arrow for the general.”
My reassuring tone helps alleviate some of the worry I see in mother’s eyes. “Alright, I can wait for a few days. But if you have another bad day like yesterday, you better come to me immediately,” mother demands, putting her foot down.
“Of course, mom.” I give her a smile. “Listen, I need to go to work; I’ll see you and dad tonight.” Leaning in, I give mother a big hug, hoping the gesture relives any worry she may still have.
“All right, be safe.” Mother tells me while letting go. She watches me walk down the path leading to Del’s clearing, I know she won’t move until she can no longer see me.
I run towards Del’s house with a smile on my face after talking to mother, but just because I’m happy doesn’t mean I don’t keep my senses trained on the woods around me. I might not have had to relive the bandit attack last night but I’m not to the point I’m no longer paranoid about my surroundings. Baby steps, I guess.
I quickly make it to master’s clearing and scan the surroundings before stepping past the tree line.
Master is sitting on his bench examining the kaglese ingot we made yesterday. He shoots me a quick glance before turning his attention back to the metal. When I get close enough to him master holds up the ingot for me to see. “Do you know how much this is worth?”
“I don’t, Mr. Grey only told me the price of the ore.” I inform Master Del.
“Kaglese is a well know magic metal, there’s a mine close to Olebert’s capital. It’s common to add it with steel to make a decent magical alloy. You only need 20% kaglese, some steel, and a little mithril to produce a decent sword. I’d say this is worth at least 15 gold coins,” Mater tells me while holding the tannish metal up to the sun.
“Well it’s a good thing I got the ore for 7 gold coins then.” I can’t help but brag a little, but I see what master is trying to get at. I grabbed the best ore samples I could, if I was purchasing a random assortment of ore it would have cost me three times as much to produce the same amount of refined kaglese.
“Are you sure you want to make the arrow shaft out of pure kaglese and mithril?” Master sends me a questioning glance.
“I think it needs to remain pure,” I explain to him. “Diluting the mixture with steel will take away most of its flexibility.”
“It’s good to see you with your head on straight today.” Master gives me an encouraging smile and gently tosses the ingot at me.
I catch the kaglese and tell master how my night went. “It was still hard for me to fall asleep but I didn’t have that dream again. I think our talk helped me a lot.” Maybe even more than I thought possible. Based off of the different times I’ve relived memories in my soul, I’m starting to think my emotions play a part in which memories I see.
Last night I was reminded how many people support me, and the memory I experienced in my soul was back when I was three and mother had me on her lap rocking me to sleep.
“That’s good to hear. It would be a shame if you ruined such fine materials because you weren’t rested enough.” Master’s eyes look me over head to toe in search of any weakness. I’m sure he wouldn’t let me touch the materials if he thought I had even a sliver of doubt.
“I’m ready,” I puff out my chest and stand tall, looking master in the eye.
“So you are,” Master nods his head in approval. “I’ll get the forge going while you prep the mithril.” Master is quick to leave the math portion of the work to me.
I run inside Del’s house and grab an old scale he keeps for just such an occasion. I could eyeball the amount of mithril I’ll need but I won’t take any chances concerning the arrow’s composition.
First, I weigh the kaglese ingot by shifting different weights to the other side of the scale. I have exactly 826 grams of kaglese. With 826 grams being 78.3% of my final alloy, I do some quick algebra to calculate how much mithril I need to add.
I’ll need to add 228.9 grams of mithril to the kaglese ingot for a total weight of 1,054.9 grams. I carefully shave off slivers of a mithril ingot and place the shavings on the scale until I match the weight I need. Setting the mithril shavings and the kaglese off to the side, I move onto the…
I still haven’t come up with a good name for the black ore yet. I should bite the bullet and just ask master for his suggestion.
I look over my shoulder at master who’s getting the forge ready. He already has a small fire going and is adding regular logs to the blaze with his bare hands. Master might be as tough as the ore.
A light bulb goes off above my head, that’s not a bad idea. I can name the rock after Master Del!
Delarite could work.
Maybe delium? No, that name sounds a little short, I sinker to myself.
Dellinium. Yeah, that sounds good; noble and strong, a perfect name if I say so myself.
I grab one of the nine dellinium ingots we smelted yesterday and bring it over to my work station. Moving the weights around on the scale, I find out the ingot of dellinium is 51 grams, slightly bigger than I thought it was.
“If the 51 grams of dellinium is 87% of the alloy, than that means,” I talk myself through the math. “The total weigh of the alloy will be 58.6 grams, meaning I’ll need 7.6 grams of mithril for the arrowhead.” I owe my high school math teacher an apology, you can use algebra in your everyday life, even if it’s your second life.
I shave off more mithril and set the pile next to the dellinium. I’m using 236.5 grams of mithril on this project which is a little over half a pound of mithril. When the whole project is said and done the arrow will weigh a massive two and a half pounds, thirty times the weight of a normal arrow.
I would be concerned about the weight if it wasn’t someone possibly stronger than master firing it. At what point does a bow and arrow tun into a ballista? I can only imagine the forces behind an arrow launched from a bow tailored to someone with over 300 in Strength and that isn’t even factoring in skills.
This arrow may be heavy but I’ll sleep better knowing it won’t disintegrate in the general’s hands when she fires it.
“Ready?” Master asks, walking over to me.
“Yep, yep, yep,” I quickly chant. “I have everything set up. I calculated the amount of mithril for both the Kaglese and the dellinium.”
I smile as I watch Master Del’s face scrunch up at hearing the name I decided on for the black rock. “The what?” He asks in mild shock.
“Dellinium,” I say again with a large smile. “That’s the name I decided to call the black rock,” I cheerfully tell him.
“No,” master instantly rejects the name.
“Too late, it was already decided,” I inform him.
“By who?” Master asks, taking a step closer to me, trying to look intimidating. Too bad I know he would never hurt me so his posturing is all for not.
“The naming committee,” I notify master.
“And who in Tarrow’s forge is that?” Master asks with a look of suspicion on his face.
“A group of your peers who you work with,” I tell him.
“You’re the only person I work with!” Master snaps at me.
“And it was decided with a majority vote. You should be quite proud, to have such a sample named after you.” I try to keep a straight face but I can only hold in my laughter for so long.
“Why does it need a name in the first place? You told me it was the only sample recovered; we’ll probably never encounter another like it.” Master huffs in annoyance.
“That may be true but we’ll be working with it for the next month or so, and I refused to spend the whole time referring to it as ‘that black rock’.” I raise my eyebrows giving master the chance to argue otherwise.
“Don’t you want to name it after your mother or father perhaps?” Master tries to get me to reconsider the name.
“Sorry, but it matches perfectly with master. An incredibly strong lump of ore that refuses to break unless you hit it really hard, withstands incredible temperatures and comes out of the fire more beautiful than it went in, I’d say this rock resembles master to a tee.” I proudly tell master.
Del turns around and stomps over to the forge, trying to hide the blush on his face.
If only dellinium was that easy to work with.
I give master a minute to collect himself before I join him at the forge. He’s already placed some blacksmithing logs and magicite inside and I can feel the heat rolling out of the forge and clashing with Mana Skin’s barrier.
We won’t need to add chameleon spider carapace to add the mithril to the mixture but who knows if we’ll be able to work the dellinium with the temperature the forge is at now.
I decide to start with the kaglese. Using tongs, I move the ingot into the forge’s flames. I don’t take my eyes or mana sense off of the metal while it’s in the forge but I notice master move off to the side from the corner of my vision. Usually master would lie down on his bench and let me work by myself but this time he stays close in case I need his help.
When the tannish metal heats up enough I pull it out of the forge and swing it over to the anvil. I pour half the mithril shavings onto one side of the ingot and use Double Strike to help the metals bond easier. While the metal is still hot, I flip the ingot over and sprinkle the other half of the shavings onto its glowing surface.
I move the kaglese back into the forge and let it heat up again. When it’s hot enough, I pull the kaglese out again and inspect every millimeter of the ingot to make sure the mithril bonded correctly and hasn’t messed up the internal mana structure.
I sigh in relief when I confirm everything bonded correctly. I only get one chance to make this arrow and I don’t what to imagine what would happen if I mess up at any point.
No, if I dwell on everything that could go wrong, then I’ll definantly screw something up.
I set the kaglese alloy off to the side and pick up the small dellinium ingot and place it into the forge. I poke at the logs and magicite in the forge and arrange then to create a hot spot around the dellinium.
I’ll need to be fast, this time.
When I notice the dellinium starts to slow down on its fire mana absorption, I pull the ingot out of the forge and quickly sprinkle one side of the ingot with mithril. I don’t have enough time to inspect the metal before I place it back into the furnace.
As soon as the metal is hot enough, I again remove it from the forge and use Weighted Strike on the side I applied the mithril. I get a better look at the metals structure as I put it back in the forge and I’m happy to see everything is bonding as it should.
I repeat the same steps with the other side of the dellinium and confirm the ingot’s internal structure took to the mithril as it should’ve.
“The materials are ready,” I tell master.
“Which do you want to start with, the arrow shaft, or the arrowhead?” Master asks, looking at the two completed ingots sitting on the anvil.
“I think I’ll start with the easy one first,” I pick up the kaglese which has cooled enough I can pick it up with my Mana Skin covered hands.
“Is there a third ingot I’m not aware of?” Master jokes. That small bit of humor was enough to make me laugh and release some of the tension I was holding. “Take your time and everything will be fine,” he tells me.
I move the kaglese ingot back to the forge and wait for it to heat up. I go over what I need to do to the ingot in my head. I need to turn this rectangle lump of metal into a thin circular rod. Ronald taught me the length of an arrow has to do with the length of an archer’s arm, and how far back they draw their bow.
Sadly, I don’t know General Pitz measurements, so I’ll have to improvise and make the arrow shaft 26 inches. I’ll have to ask Kervin to get more precise details from the army before I make the next one.
Here I’m planning for the next arrow and I haven’t finished the first one yet. I focus back on the work in front of me.
The kaglese’s tannish color starts to fade to a white luster as it reaches its desired temperature. I quickly shift the hot ingot over to the anvil and give it a few test strikes to see how it moves under my hammer. It might not be as hard as the dellinium but the kaglese is still an earth attuned magic material and I have to put my full force behind my swings to get it to move.
I follow the ingots internal magic structure and slowly start to shift the metal. It’s a juggling act as I constantly shift the metal back and forth between the forge and my anvil.
Time quickly becomes meaningless as I focus solely on my work in front of me. I work in a trance, trying to craft my best work to date.
I don’t stop until I have a basic arrow shaft in front of me.
Though it looks just like the hundreds of other arrow shafts I made before I plan to go over every millimeter of the metal before I decide to quench it.
I hold the shaft up to the sky and try to spot any bumps in its surface. It looks straight to the untrained eye but I notice several uneven surfaces. I switch out my heavy hammer to a smaller one for a series of Precise Strikes.
After I think I’ve hammered out all the flaws I grab the most important tool I use when testing my arrow shafts. I go over to the shed I keep the state-of-the-art devise in.
I pull out the wooden rack I made when I first started making arrows for the army. The 22-inch rack has two raised sides that you can rest an arrow on top of like you’re trying to display it. The stand works by holding a spinning arrow shaft. If you spin the shaft and one of the sides wobbles it means the shaft isn’t straight.
I study both ends and see a little bit of wobbling on the right side of the shaft, meaning it isn’t perfectly straight yet. When I make a bunch of arrows for the army, I can’t take the time to make sure each is perfectly aligned, but I can’t use that standard when the arrow I’m making is over a hundred times more expensive.
It’s a good thing I gave myself enough time to craft this arrow.
Del-Razen’s Point of View:
I can’t help but raise my hand to my chest, my heart is pounding like a war drum.
Watching Aaliyah working on the arrow brings a tear to my eye. I can’t contain the overwhelming sense of pride I’m feeling right now.
From the way she worked the metal to how she finds even the smallest flaw in the arrow shaft, I couldn’t be prodder of her. She’s completely engrossed herself in the project and I’m sure she wouldn’t notice if I left right now.
I’m sure the arrow Aaliyah is making will impress the general.
And once she does there will be no more hiding for her.
It’s only a matter of time before a noble walks into my clearing demanding her cooperation. A part of me wants to walk over and destroy the arrow before it can ever be finished but I could never do that to my student. She’s putting everything she has into this project.
She’s managed to incorporate her ridiculous magic skills into her forging, allowing her to craft well above her skill level. Crafting with both the inner and outer structure in mind, she forges just like master smiths do back in Truest.
Her technique is hers alone and it would take an equally monstrous talent to copy her. Any mage would sacrifice their entire family to poses her skill in magic.
Her talent will shine brightly to those who know what it looks like. Like a torch in the deepest caves people will be drawn in by what her light offers.
And it will be my job as her master to swat the insects her light will inevitably draw in as well.
But I can’t do it alone, I’ll need to work with her family. Her mother is extremely smart and calculating, I’m sure she’s already aware what this job for the general entails for Aaliyah’s future. It’s one thing to make weapons for the army, it’s another to make something personal for one of the strongest people in the kingdom.
I look up at the sky and watch the sun slowly move across the horizon. The sun will start to go down in a few hours. I’ll leave her to her work and only step in when dusk arrives, then I’ll send her home even if she wants to keep working.
I’m sure she would conjure a light to keep working if I let her.
No, she needs her sleep. When I saw her this morning, I could tell with a quick glance that she finally managed to get some decent sleep last night.
She’s strong for her age, stronger than most Stone Kin I used to know. Locked deep in their cities, without so much as seeing what lays outside their stone walls. I remember seeing young stone kin my own age in the army break down for weeks after their first kill, rambling about the blood.
She’ll need time but I’m positive Aaliyah will overcome it just like she’s done with every other challenge placed in front of her.
I sigh to myself and watch her work.
Ever so slowly the sun starts to dip out of sight and I’m forced to intervein just like I thought I would have to. I walk over to Aaliyah who’s still carefully shaping the arrow shaft, even to my enhanced senses I can’t spot a single flaw on it. “Hey,” I put my hand on her shoulder. She flinches and stares up at me like she doesn’t know where she is. “It’s getting late, go home.”
“What? No! I’m…” Aaliyah fumbles her speech and starts to look around. It takes a minute but it finally dawns on her why I’m stopping her. “The sun’s going down already,” Aaliyah sounds more like she’s trying to convince herself what’s happening rather than asking me a question.
“Yeah, you’ve been working all day.” I tell her in a levelheaded tone.
“But I’m not finished yet, I don’t have the time to stop now!” She says in a panic.
“Aaliyah!” I get her to stop talking by calling out her name. My apprentice looks me in the eyes. “Remember, a blacksmith needs to use their time wisely. You can spend the next two days fussing over the arrow shaft but you’ll never finish the arrow if you do. You need to rest and come back tomorrow to work on the rest of your project.”
“But, the forge?” She looks at the tools scattered about and the fire in the forge that’s still roaring.
“I’ll handle it,” I tell her.
“I’ll handle it!” I leave her no opportunity to disagree. Aaliyah nods her head in understanding. “Good, now go home and have dinner with your family,” I tell her in a softer voice.
“Ok, have a good night, master,” I can tell how tired she is by her subdued tone. If only it was this easy to get her to listen to me all the time.
“Good night,” I tell her as she makes her way back home.
As soon as she leaves the clearing, I pick up the arrow shaft she put so much work into. I’m once more tempted to break it, but instead I hold the arrow shaft up and examine it closely. Perfection is a rare adjective to use in our business, but I can’t think of anything else to describe the kaglese shaft. The surface is smooth and doesn’t look like it was struck by a hammer even once.
I glance around the clearing, taking note of everything I need to clean.
At least I have something to do now.
Aaliyah’s Point of View:
“Good morning, master,” I carefully call out to Del as I enter his clearing.
“It appears you had a good night,” master watches me stroll over to him.
“I did. Thanks for taking care of the cleaning last night, I wasn’t aware how tired I was until I almost fell asleep at the dinner table.”
“I figured as much,” master gives me a self-righteous look. “I watched how much effort you put into the arrow shaft. I knew if I didn’t send you home, I would have to carry you back and I have no desire to do that again.”
“Well thanks again,” I offer Del a little more praise for his foresight. “Did you perhaps get a chance to look at the arrow shaft after I left?” I ask while looking around for aforementioned piece.
“I did,” I hear master say behind me.
“And?” I ask, turning to face him.
“I put it in my house, I doubt the weather would have any effect on it but I put it there to be safe.” Master Del points over his shoulder with his thumb at his house.
“That’s nice to hear, but I was more curious if you could spot anything wrong with it? Do you think I should work on it a little more today?” I anxiously ask him.
Master gives me a disappointed head shake. Was it really that bad, do I need to redo it?
“I don’t suppose you remember what I told you last night, you’re focusing too much on the individual pieces. You’ll run out of time if you don’t start on the arrowhead today.” Master berates me.
“But what if there’s something I missed?” I ask.
Master gives me an exasperated look, “I examined your work last night and I couldn’t spot anything wrong with it. Even if you had a whole month to work on it I’d bet you’d probably keep second guessing yourself. You need to move on and accept you put enough time into it. Now go and start up the forge while I bring more fuel over. You’ll be working with the dellinium…” Master pauses after saying the name out loud. He shakes his head in dissatisfaction before continuing, “and you’ll probably need to use more of the spider carapace if you want to work it properly.”
Master doesn’t give me any more time to second guess myself and goes to grab everything I need for the day.
Master is probably right; my nerves are causing me to overthink every move I make. I need to make the arrowhead today and who knows how much time that will take.
I move over to the forge and quickly get it going for the fourth day in a row. I think about how I only have today and tomorrow to finish the arrow before Kervin will arrive to pick it up.
Master helps me add more material to the forge and works the bellows while I grab the dellinium ingot I infused with mithril yesterday and place it in the flames.
“Which type of arrowhead are you making?” Master asks me.
“I’m going with my helix design, or do you have a better idea?” I ask for master’s opinion.
“No, I think you picked the right one. This arrow is a combination of your skill, it only makes sense you use the design you came up with. I was merely curious. If you’re using the helix design are you going to make the tip detachable?” Master asks me another question.
“I don’t think that will be a good idea,” I explain to master. “This arrow already needs to deal with a tremendous amount of force and I don’t want to have any weak points in its structure. I’ll weld the two pieces together to insure it’s as structurally stable as possible.”
“Alright, I’ll stay off to the side keeping the forge hot, you focus on the dellinium… no chance you’ll change the name?”
I laugh as I pick up the tongs and my smaller hammer. “Not a chance,” I tell master as I retrieve the glowing ingot from the flames.
I don’t waste any time and quickly swing the hot metal over to my anvil.
I start hammering, trying to move it in the way I need it to, but after five rapid strikes the metal doesn’t so much as have a dent in it. The ingot is rapidly cooling and I’m forced to put it back in the forge.
I don’t let the first failure get me down and pull the dellinium out again after a few minutes and try again, working then same area I was before.
But again, the metal doesn’t budge. I’m forced to put the metal back into the forge.
Holly shit, this metal refuses to move, I complain in my head. I’ll need to use my skills and if that doesn’t work, I might need to ask Del to do this part.
I cast a sidelong glance at master and see him focusing solely on keeping the forge as hot as possible. I’m aware master wants me to be the one to forge this arrow and I won’t ask for his help unless I absolutely need to.
I won’t let a tier 4 metal stop me!
I grab the ingot out of the forge and raise my hammer above my head, Weighted Strike! My hammer comes crashing down onto the ingot and a crisp ringing reverberates through my ears. I pull my hammer back and am relieved when I see my strike finally moved the metal a little. It isn’t a big change but this means I can work the dellinium by myself.
I start the grueling task of forming the ingot into a working arrowhead.
Strike after strike.
Minute after minute.
I labor over the slowly forming arrowhead. More than once I’m forced to take a break due to the strain on my Stamina. Each time I swing my hammer I need to have Weighted Strike activated to have any effect on the metal.
The arrowhead is a fraction of the size and the weight of the arrow shaft but it’s multiple times harder to work with.
It takes me half the day just to get the general shape of the arrowhead hammered out.
I wipe away all the sweat accumulated on my face as I pull the dellinium out of the forge for the three hundredth time today.
Now that I have the general shape I want; I need to do the more precise work. I switch out to the smallest hammer we have and this time activate Weighted Strike and Precise Strike together. Activating two skills simultaneously will burn through my Stamina even faster but it’s the only way I can finish the arrowhead.
I spend the rest of the day making small changes to the arrowhead, trying to make it as perfect as I can for tomorrow.
As the sun starts to go down, I’m told once again to go home by master.
“Again, are you sure? I can help,” I offer to help master tidy up the mess I made.
“You’ve done all the work today; you need to go home and rest. If you want to be at your best tomorrow listen to your master.” Master shoos me towards the tree line with one of his hands.
I grudgingly agree with master, I’m way more tired today than yesterday. My arms are so sore I can barely lift them. I don’t think I could help master even if I wanted to.
Standing next to me, Master Del tells me, “Let’s go.”
I give him a blank look, not understanding what he means. Master walks past me heading towards the village.
Before he passes the tree line, he turns back to me. “Come on, I’m walking you back to the village.”
“Why?” I ask as I make my way over to Del.
“Could you even defend yourself against a goblin in the state that you are in now?” Master asks in a stern manner.
A shiver runs up my spine. What would happen if something actually did attack me on the way home?
Before I start panicking master puts his hand on my shoulder and gently guides me forward. That’s right, I have nothing to worry about with master at my side.
We don’t talk to each other as we slowly make our way down the forest path leading towards the village. It isn’t until I see the buildings in the distance past the tree line that master stops and wishes me a good night.
“Thanks for walking me to the village; I’ll see you tomorrow.” I smile and manage to give a small parting wave to master.
Master Del shows me a smile before turning around and heading back to his home to clean up my mess.
Walking towards my own home, I think about how helpful master has been ever since I got the general’s order. I should figure out something to do as a show of appreciation.
By the time I reach my house the sun has all but disappeared into the distance marking the end of day four. “Everything comes together tomorrow,” I tell myself as I pull open the door to my house.
Let’s hope I can use my arms again by then.