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If there was one weapon known for its use in grinding blacksmithing, it was none other than the iron dagger. A simple item, it was. But it was that simplicity that meant that somebody could make hundreds of them to take blacksmithing from zero to a max level in no time at all.

That was why Tabitha decided to make one. Plus she figured that starting off with something simple like that would help her ease making more advanced types of weapons. And if she messed up, it wouldn’t be too big of a deal since it didn’t require much material.

Joseph was there to guide her through the process, too. Though, she always tried to figure things out on her own first. She knew enough from watching videos to get started on her own at least.

First was taking a rod of iron and heating it until it was red hot. That allowed Tabitha to hammer it into the shape of a dagger, putting it back in the fire every time it started to cool down to keep the metal easy to work with. The process took her a lot longer than she thought it would, too. There was a lot of heating the metal, hammering it, and repeating. It didn’t help that she already felt her arms getting tired again, and she had to remind herself that the only reason they weren’t already in pain was because of the numbing potion.

I’ll be fine as long as I never run out of that potion for as long as I’m alive, Tabitha thought. But the moment I run out… that’s gonna be a lot of pain.

Until she felt said pain, though, she continued on with hammering the dagger until she had the blade more or less shaped. Hammering the part that would serve to be the tang came next. She ended up needing to use a hammer and chisel to cut some of the metal away again or else it would have been too large.

Tabitha now had a dull blade with a tang. What came next, though, she wasn’t too sure about.

“Do I sharpen it first?” Tabitha asked Joseph. “Or should I get a handle for it?”

“Doesn’t matter too much,” Joseph said. “But let’s get it a handle first. That’s the more complicated part. Doubt you’ll need my help for sharpening it.”

Tabitha nodded and watched as he brought a block of wood, a couple of long nails, and a vial of thick liquid over to the table.

With the wood and a nail in hand, Joseph looked at Tabitha and got to explaining. “Here’s how I like to do it. Now, if you’re in the city and see how they do things, they’re more precise, but we don’t need all that fine precision out here. All I do is take a nail and hammer it into the wood where we’ll slide the tang into. I make a few different holes with the nails first, making sure they’re as close to the width of the tang as I can get, and then use the same technique as before with the chisel to carve out the rest of the space and turn all those holes into one, wide hole. If the hole needs to be thicker, I’ll file it until the tang just barely has enough room to slide in. Then I use a bit of this paste here just for good measure. The friction alone should be enough to keep the tang held in there, but the paste helps in case you make the hole a bit too large.”

Tabitha nodded along with every part of his explanation. “Think I’ve heard of that before. Friction fitting, right?”

“Right. People usually expect the tang to slide right out when they see how easily it can slide in, but they’re always surprised when it takes some abuse to actually get the thing out afterward.”

“Think I watched a video about that. They think it’s how the Vikin’s gave their knives handles.”

“A video? Vikin’s?”

“Oh. Right. Uh, not sure how to explain the video part that’ll make sense and not sound like impossible magic, but the Vikin’s—well, the Vikings, were a group of folk who had beards, sailed around in longships, and pillaged coastal places. Now their descendants make some of the best metal there is.”

“What’s so special about their metal?”

“Oh. Metal as in music. Not this kind of metal.”

“Metal… music? How’s that work?”

Tabitha looked Joseph up and down before grinning at him. “Ya know, Joseph, you’ve got the look for it. Especially that beard. Yeah. I could imagine ya in a mosh pit or on the stage itself with a guitar. A drummer? Nah. You’d be a guitarist. Swingin’ your beard around in circles while jammin’ out.”

“I don’t have a single idea what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t worry. It’s all good. But listen, if I ever start a metal band, I’m comin’ here to recruit ya. You’ll get to be one of those guitarists with a giant beard who takes a group of ladies backstage with ya.”

“I’d have a wife if I wanted to deal with women.”

“Ya know, I’ve got a feelin’ that ya wouldn’t be able to even if ya tried.”

Joseph turned his head to Tabitha and crossed his arms over his chest. “I could if I tried.”

“Come on, are there even any single ladies around who’ll accept your grumpy self?”

“Don’t you have smithing to do?!”

Tabitha laughed and waved a hand at him. “Sorry, sorry. I’m sure you’ll find a lady someday.”

Joseph grumbled and walked away, letting Tabitha focus on what he described. She first lined the bottom of the dagger’s tang up with the center of the wooden block and made a couple of marks in the wood using the chisel to mark how large the hole needed to be and where it needed to be. Once she did that, she stood the block up and hammered the nails into it to create a series of holes filling up the dimensions she marked. That left her with a group of holes close by to each other. With the holes there, using the chisel to carve out a slot for the tang was easy work.

“Should I pour the stuff here into the hole, or get it on the tang?” Tabitha asked, now holding the vial to examine it.

Item Information

Name

Eyesap Paste

A sticky paste made from mixing together a crushed eye and sap from a tree.

Rarity

C

Quality

63

Element

Earth

“Also… mind explainin’ the bit about this bein’ made with a crushed eye?” Tabitha added on to her previous question.

“You can pour some into the hole, but cover the tang with it,” Joseph explained. “And it’s made with an eye from a rockback. No idea why, but their eyes ooze this… real sticky liquid. Take one of their eyes, crush it up like you would if you’re mashing berries for a jam, and then it’s even stickier. Mix it with some sap and, well, it gets even stickier. Hardens pretty quick while it’s exposed to air, so be quick when you open the vial.”

“Got it!”

First, Tabitha slid the tang into the hole just a bit to make sure that it would fit. It did. Once she confirmed that, she popped open the vial and poured some of the incredibly thick paste into the hole before applying enough to cover up each side of the tang. She then pushed the tang as far into the handle as she could fit it before sealing the vial again and pushing the tang the rest of the way back in.

“Now, bring it over here, clamp it, and hammer the handle down just to make sure it’s all the way in,” Joseph said.

Tabitha nodded and did exactly as he said. Clamping the blade and leaving the handle pointed upward, she hammered the bottom of the block to push it all the way down around the tang.

She now had a dull blade attached to a block of wood serving as a handle.

“Now for sharpenin’!” Tabitha announced, rushing over to the grindstone she saw. It was held up over the floor by a few pieces of wood with a pump mechanism attached to keep the stone spinning by pumping the pedal with a foot.

She sat down on the stool in front of the grindstone and was just about to start before Joseph shouted, “Wait! Take that bucket there and get the stone wet first.”

“I will, but why?”

“You don’t want the metal shavings getting entrenched in the wheel.”

“Huh. Alright. Good to know. Wouldn’t have ever thought about somethin’ like that.”

Tabitha had some random knowledge about various crafting styles, but it was knowledge like that which made having an actual teacher so important.

She got the wheel spinning and started pouring water onto it, being careful not to make too much of a mess. It was only when the entire sharpening side of the wheel was wet that she held the edge of her dagger’s blade to it and started sharpening it.

The sound of metal scraping against stone made her cringe at first. It was a sharp, horrible, painful sound.

But as soon as she reminded herself what she was doing—as soon as she chalked the sound up to being a natural noise of crafting, she fell in love with it. That sound was proof of her work. It was the sound of physically making something. How could she not love it?

Tabitha sharpened away, giving both edges of the dagger a nice, sharp edge before taking her foot off the grindstone’s pump. “Think it’s sharp enough?” she asked Joseph.

“Looks sharp enough to me. For a beginner, anyways,” Joseph answered.

“Sweet. Now uh, I’m surprised a window hasn’t popped up lettin’ me know I made a new item.”

“Then you don’t consider it finished enough yet. The system tends not to mark something as finished and count it as a new item until you feel its finished. It measures your intent. You’ll also find that’s why some items have a damage value attached to them. Anything can be used as a weapon, but only items made with the intent to be a weapon will have a damage value.”

“Huh. Interestin’. Alright. I guess that makes sense. Don’t exactly consider this finished and usable yet.”

“And why do you think that is?”

“Well, it’s obvious. Look at this handle. It’s just… a block of wood.”

“Then use that grindstone to round it out a bit. Can file it down afterward to make it smooth.”

“Good idea.”

Tabitha held the dagger back to the grindstone… and realized that she had a problem. She now had freshly sharpened edges on each side of the dagger’s blade… but had to grind down the handle, not the blade. That meant she’d have to hold the blade. She could already see herself cutting her skin and getting blood everywhere.

She didn’t even need to say anything for Joseph to laugh and say, “Feeling stupid, are you? Hah. It’s what you get for those comments earlier.”

Tabitha grumbled and narrowed her eyes at him. “Did ya let me make that mistake on purpose?”

“You know it. Had to ‘put you in your place,’ as you’d say it.”

“Cheeky, old man. You—” She got interrupted when a pair of thick, leather gloves hit her in the face.

“Put those on,” Joseph said. “You won’t get cut through them as long as you’re careful.”

“Ya didn’t have to throw them at me!”

“I know.”

Tabitha grumbled some more while Joseph laughed, finally earning his revenge against all of her attitude.

As annoyed as she might have felt, Tabitha was still thankful. That was why she slipped the gloves on, which were far too large for her, and got to work grinding down the handle. All that really did was turn the block’s four sides into six, but that was enough for her to work with as long as she could file it down.

And filing it was exactly what she did. Getting the edges smoothed out as much as she wanted to try and make the handle nice and round ended up taking the longest out of everything else, and the repetitive movements needed to smooth it out as much as she wanted to left her arms feeling like they were about to fall off at any moment.

But it was all worth it in the end as she looked her finished dagger over with a bright smile and sweat dripping off her head.

Item Information

Name

Iron Dagger

A dagger forged of iron.

Rarity

D

Quality

55

Element

Earth

Damage

4 - 6

 

Bonus Tag

[Durable]

It was a lot of tiring, hard work for something as simple as a single dagger with only the durable tag, but it was her dagger.

System Menu

Congratulations, you have acquired a new Achievement!

Rookie Weaponsmith

Awarded for forging your first weapon.

Reward: 5 Strength

“Two questions, old man,” Tabitha said. “One, why didn’t ya let me know I could just get these achievements for Strength instead of goin’ out minin’ and choppin’? And two, how come I didn’t get this achievement when I made my spear over there?”

“This is for forging a weapon. All you did over there was put a hair and sticks together,” Joseph answered, starting with the second question.

“And the first question?”

“Slipped my mind.”

“It… it slipped your mind?”

“Yeah. Back in my day, the village’s old blacksmith—my teacher—had me start with gathering achievements to build up my attributes before he ever let me forge something.”

Tabitha sighed and looked at her dagger again. All she had to do was look at it and that was enough to make her smile. “Now… can I make the same thing multiple times to get that blacksmith path? Or do I have to make different items?”

“Different. You can’t just make ten daggers and get the path. But you can make a dagger, an axe, a pickaxe, a helmet, boots, gauntlets, nails, a hammer—there’s plenty you can make. If you get enough different materials for an item to count as unique, such as making an iron dagger and then a steel dagger, those would count as separate items as well. But you’re not getting steel outside of a city.”

A long sigh left Tabitha’s lips.

“What? Getting discouraged? Where’d all that spunk of yours go?”

“Me? Discouraged?” She looked up at Joseph with a smile. “Not at all, old man. Was just thinkin’ about how much my arms are gonna regret this tomorrow. Ain’t quite used to workin’ this hard. But uh, if ya wouldn’t mind tellin’ me eight more things to make that ya think would be nice and easy, I’d appreciate that.”

“It took me a week to get my Blacksmith path once I earned permission to use my teacher’s tools. Do you really think you’re going to rush through these ten items in a single day?”

“Maybe, maybe not, but I do know that I’m gonna do my best to. Oh. And one more question. I feel like everythin’ in here has got the Durable tag. Any reason for that?”

“That’s because of the ore used. Couldn’t tell you why, but the iron from the mine we use almost always has the tag. We end up throwing out any iron that doesn’t have it. Some materials are just like that. The iron ore from one region might have completely different tags than the iron ore from another region.”

“Got it… got it. So, what could I make now?”

“I’m tempted not to give you any easy ideas, but I believe in your spirit. And they won’t be that easy in the first place with how tired you are. So, if you want unique items to forge, you can make a knife—the kitchen kind, a cleaver, a fire poker, a hook, some tongs, a spatula, and—I know. An ingot and sheet. That should be everything, and those last two will be especially easy and can be used for the rest.”

“Sounds like a lot of work. I’m in.”

“I figured you would be.”

The two smiled at each other and got right back to work. Their conversation was all the time that Tabitha needed to rest.

Well, she needed to rest more than that, but that was as much as she wanted to rest.

Her poor body wouldn’t be getting anywhere near as much rest as it needed for quite some time, most likely.

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A note from Barking Otter

Everything but the iron ingot part is probably going to be speedran through since you really don't need to read about her blacksmithing a bunch of random little things. I'd rather save describing the whole process for new/important stuff, and she won't really be learning anything new from those except how to get workable iron in the first place! Now just to see if her body can survive that long!

Also, thanks to Milanda and Deus Vult for the new reviews!

Oh, and I'll post the new Runa art I got next chapter! Why not this chapter? Well, I could. I mean, I literally have it open right now, but I'll be mean and make you wait until next chapter. Plus by saying that I have it and that I'll post it next time, isn't it kind of like a cliffhanger? And readers totally love an endless series of cliffhangers, right?


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About the author

Barking Otter

  • The Otter Who Barks

Bio: You should all be thankful that I'm not punny enough to make up my own dad jokes or else I would constantly include them in my story.

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