Jennifer opened her eyes, a smile adorning her face. She hadn't levelled, but she'd gained not one but two new skills. Any mage would roll over in jealousy. Just gaining a single skill outside of a level up was rare.
Seems anything but rare, recently.
Jennifer rubbed her eyes, stretching her arms as a yawn escaped her. The sound of her master’s hammer striking against metal still rang out. But now, she could see the magical waves that dispersed throughout the smithy in the process, waves of runes carried within. An entire symphony of mana she hadn't been able to sense before.
But now I can. And I even have a skill that works with it. I should probably ask Master if he knows anything. But before I do that...
Jennifer checked her pouch. The Mithril glass remained there, safely tucked away. It had turned tiny, little more than a fleck instead of the pearl like bead it had been before. She triggered her new skill [Affinity Glass Creation], sending mana into the bead urging it to grow.
The glass changed easily with her skill, turning into a large smooth sphere and then into a crude blade. She tried to sharpen its edge but the blade refused to take anything beyond a blunt surface, her control over it failing.
I can probably create around two dozen normal glass shards of this size, with the amount of mana that went into this single metal shard. And that's with [Affinity Glass Creation] reducing the mana requirement. Let’s see if Sharpen or Harden work.
She traced her hand over the naked blade, floating it above her hand. The blade twirled in the mage light, shining with subtle wavelike patterns running across its surface. She inscribed a simple sharpening enchantment over the blade, tracing the rune with her fingers.
Jennifer clapped her hands together and then activated the enchantment. The glass blade vibrated, as blue lines of mana flowed through the contours of the metal. Jenn held the blade up, ready to test it, but the spell dispersed soon as the matrix completed.
Jennifer floated the glass back to her hand, frowning. Maybe if I adjust the spell matrix to flow around- but that would violate the mana exchange law. Perhaps if I can bounce the mana back through the contours then-
“Ya awake lass?” Her master shouted from the smithy. Jennifer looked up, putting the metal-glass in her pouch before pushing out of her cot.
“Coming!” she shouted, taking a moment to brush her fuzzy hair. When it was somewhat contained and cleaned, she walked out.
“Ah there ya are. Well, I couldn’t sit still. Not with all the things ya dumped on me, so I decided to make something for ya,” Haireth said, beckoning her closer.
Curious, Jennifer walked over, peeking at the counter, seeing little mechanical devices she knew to be of gnome make sitting on his desk. Her master rarely brought those out.
“What is it?” she asked and her Master pulled out a little ring shining with a bronze color.
“See lass. I am gonna try to prevent this invasion as best as I can. Ye may go back in time, but I don’t. And I wouldn’t let a child of mine die before I'm dead myself. But... I’ve seen the world, and death isn't something we can always avoid. So the question was, how to make a weapon for someone who cannot carry it beyond death.” Haireth said, as he held the ring in front of her. His face was set in a smile, as he paced around his table.
Then he spun back to face her, his hand still clutching the ring. “I thought and thought. Perhaps a time jumping contraption that could mimic the magic yer mark may be pulling. Or a [Blade of Eternity] that time could not touch. Perhaps a [Divine] Weapon. But all these are relics of Ancient class or above. I'd have to sell my shop, fortune, everything I own. Probably my very body and soul to have a chance to obtain even one. And there'd be no guarantee it’d work.”
Jennifer stared at her master, noticing how he waited for her to ask the obvious. “Then how'd you do it?” she asked, getting infected by his excitement herself.
“I didn’t! That’s the thing lass, I didn’t have to! You did it. You had the answer all along!” Haireth exclaimed.
Jennifer stared at her master, wondering if he was alright, or if everything she’d shared had unsettled him too much.
“Don’t give me that look lass, yer worse when the desire to create bites ya. Don’t pretend ye don’t know it. Closing yerself off in the workshop for three days straight, only coming out to drink when someone threatened to destroy your runes. I had to fight yer parents for that one, with how worried they’d been.” Haireth snorted while Jennifer blushed.
“Well you locked yourself off for a month!” she shouted back.
“And I’ll damn well do it again. It’s my smithy lass. Ye can shout at me when ye get yer own shop. Ye ain’t old and tattered like me, ye get no excuse,” Haireth said, flicking a small bead at her forehead.
“Anyways, the answer was in the end very simple. Yer blood glass. It’s a part of ye, and it’s something that stays with ye across time. Ye don’t form it over and over like yer glass do ye?” Haireth asked, to which Jenn slowly nodded.
“I still don’t get how that solves anything?” Jennifer asked and her master smacked his lips.
“Be patient ye dumb brick! I’m getting there. So, see how yer blood glass stick to ye? Well that means a soul bonded weapon will too. There are still issues, o'course. It can’t be physical. Can’t be connected to a physical core like most ethereal devices. Twould rather have to be an artifact made purely of mana. Which sounds insane. But then, the more I looked, the more right it felt. This won’t be any weapon lass, yer master is gonna be making his first artifact today,” Haireth said, a fire burning in his voice.
Jennifer felt his aura trembling, and she felt her own aura resonate with his. She nodded, her heart pounding as she watched her Master set up the devices they'd need on the table.
“Now come here, and bring out yer blood glass. I need to check a few things.”
Jennifer walked over, summoning her blood glass blade. She watched the glass shard that had slowly but surely been morphing into the shape of a blade. Perhaps because she used it as one so often, and it followed her subconscious intent.
Jennifer handed the blood glass to her master, who held the blade in his hand. She could feel him pouring mana through the glass, poking around within.
“Wanna see the appraisal of this?” Haireth asked, holding the silver and black appraisal bracelet toward her. Jenn nodded, taking the bracelet from his hand while calling her blood glass back to her before she started the Appraisal spell.
Blood Glass (Growing)
A glass shard formed out of blood. While the glass may lack the blood affinity, it has traces of blood magic present in it. A glass shard bound to its user and capable of growth alongside the user.
Jennifer stared at the appraisal spell result before her gaze returned to the blood glass in her hand.
“Curious isn’t it? That there is living glass my girl and yer one strange enchanter. Nevertheless, I’ll start my work.” Haireth said, taking the shard back from her and turning to his bench.
“Oh also, master, I gained two new skills. [Affinity Glass Creation] and [Resonant Mana Runes]” Jennifer said, causing her master to pause with the shard still in hand.
“Ah ye gained that one did ye? I’ve never heard of [Affinity Glass Creation] but it sounds simple ‘nuff. [Resonant Mana Runes] though… that’s my skill lass. One of my older skills. It lets you form runes out of the mana lines that naturally form in things. Lets you sync them together and resonate them as well,” Haireth replied, nodding.
“Aye, if I forget and the Artifact fails, then at least yer skill will live as proof. Though Elphion damn me if I've any intentions of failing a all,” Haireth said, prompting a smile from Jennifer.
He returned to his arcane tools, setting his ring at the centre of an arrangement of runes forming a circle. Turning around, Haireth walked to his forge, tapping the runes to start a fire as he pulled out some metal ingots. He inspected each of them before choosing a particularly large piece. He waited for the fire to reach the set temperature then started to work. “Watch carefully lass. Few get to witness an Artifact being made. Even a failed one would be worth gold just for the chance to watch,” Haireth said, as the metal began to glow.
“[Dh’voruk’s Flame]” her master muttered as the flames turned purple, a wave of mana gushing forth. The metal was suffused with the purple flames, casting violet shadows throughout the room as her master brought it out and started to hammer.
“[Arcane Touch]” he said and Jennifer felt the mana in the air turn to fire. She walked further away as mana pooled all around him in a frenzy, his aura thickening as licks of flame erupted on his body.
Jennifer watched in awe as her master worked, her heart thundering. The mithril he'd moulded before felt insignificant in front of whatever he was doing now. There was magic here. There was mastery. And she could feel her master pouring everything into the metal as he stood amidst fire, his hammer ringing, blow after blow.
She felt the magic turn, resonating with something within her. Jennifer summoned her blood glass, watching as the blade thrummed as if wishing to leap into the flames. She felt her core shuddering at the power, her glass mana churning of its own accord as her aura mingled with her master's while thin glass shards started to form at her feet.
Jennifer sucked in a sharp breath. But she dared not speak as she watched the magic form and take shape.
Her [Resonant Mana Rune] skill thrummed as she felt her master activate the same skill. Waves and loops and runes within runes spread across the metal. The piece was shifting, taking the shape of a blade now. Yet something was different. The runes didn't just resonate, they sang. They sang a song of mana. Of time and eternity. It drew her in, almost causing her to take a step forward before she remembered herself. It was so similar to what she'd heard in the trial of her mark. There was powerful magic here, strong enough to shake her very core as it revolved in a blazing fire around her master.
“[Harmony of Mana]” her master intoned as the magic pulsed, rushing into the blade. With a sudden gust of wind, the fire was out. Even as the fire dimmed, her master threw the metal into the dousing water. The barrel sizzled, steam billowing forth as the metal chilled.
Almost in a blink the blade was back out, as hammer strikes struck it over and over. “Lass, be ready. Fill the blade's core with yer metal-glass when I tell ye to,” Haireth shouted as one powerful strike after another hit the still glowing white metal.
A pristine blade shone from underneath the blows as dizzying waves of magic she couldn’t begin to comprehend wrapped the metal to its very core. Jennifer nodded as she focused, preparing her metal glass.
“[The Final Hammer]” her master said, and the air vibrated with power. A blow sent a gust of wind all around as the magic began to churn.
“Do it lass!” Her master shouted.
Jennifer nodded, pouring all her mana into the blade. She walked closer, her mana circuits crackling as glass mana flooded through them as another wave of magic poured through her. Her bead of metal-glass began to sing, the [Song of Mithril] activating on its own as the notes hung on to the magic. She followed the wave back, pouring her mana into the blade. As more and more mana poured into the blade, it turned to glass, one piece at a time. And the waves of mana changed with it.
Her master continued to hammer as she poured forth her mana. She felt her mark pulsate as a bond started to form.
“Let the blood glass meld, lass. Let it grow, feed the blade to it, make it a part of you,” Haireth said activating another skill. “[Runesmith’s Pride]” he intoned and she felt the skill bolster her. Her attention sharpened like a blade as she summoned her blood glass.
Jennifer closed her eyes as she dispersed her blood glass, breaking the mana lines that ran through it. A wave of blood-red mist formed around her hand and she let it float towards the blade. Her magic met her master's as they clashed with each other. But then a Harmony formed. The white blade turned translucent as veins of red ran through its core, glowing like a pulsating heart. Jennifer tugged at her core, drawing out the crystal affinity. And anything she could find, as she poured all of herself into the blade.
Within the crystalline core grew a small flame, carrying the blue light of the crystal mana. The blade cracked as mana burst forth. Jennifer felt her heart stop as she stared. She turned towards her master unable to draw breath. But he continued to work his hammer.
Jennifer turned back towards her blade, reassured. She continued to empty her mana into the blade without stopping. The cracks spread, as the glass shattered in hundreds of pieces. Jennifer winced as she felt the magic dissipating. Then a dizzying sensation hit her. She stumbled, catching herself without falling as she ran out of mana to invest in the blade.
“Aye, careful there lass,” her master said, grabbing her. Jennifer looked at her master, confused at his calm expression as tears filled her eyes.
“But- I broke it. It was so beautiful, and you used so many skills. And I saw that magic and it was so powerful but I failed and-” she paused as he knocked her forehead with his fist.
“Ye really are a dumb brick sometimes lass aren’t ye? Have a second look. And try to summon your blood glass,” Haireth said, flicking her in the forehead.
Jennifer shook her head, wiping away the tears before doing as he instructed.
Turning towards the shattered glass she called for her blood glass. Something tugged at her mind. A presence. No, a limb. A part of her she hadn’t noticed before. Jennifer continued to extend her mana as a metallic exterior started to form out of her metal-glass.
She stared at the translucent blade that now floated above her hand. Intricate red lines ran through it, twirling in a mesmerising pattern about its outside with little blue motes of light within. She could feel the blade as a part of her, an extension of her magic, similar to her aura.
The blade vibrated, a melodious ringing noise coming from it as it settled into her hands. It called out its name to her, and she heard the word glow with fire.
“[Eternity]” she whispered.
With a slow nod, her master grunted as she turned toward him. “Aye lass. That's yer blade. A blade that won’t dull with time. A blade of magic and glass. A timeless Artifact.”
Jennifer turned towards her master as she hugged her blade to her chest. She walked over to him, giving him a hug as well as the warmth of the blade pressed against her chest comforted her. The low ringing song now bound within soothing her.
Then her mark burned, pulsating, as something shifted in her soul. A single dagger symbol formed on her shoulder as her core shivered.
Jennifer closed her eyes, letting the moment be. Her master may not remember. And she may fail yet again. But the blade would be there. And her skill would be there. It wouldn't be meaningless. As long as she didn’t give up, it never would be.
For time had no edge over [Eternity].