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Thread: SAGA Of the Bladesmiths

  1. #1
    member Samurai Stu's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    SAGA Of the Bladesmiths

    Before the forum closes I thought I'd share a story I wrote while on the ABS Course in the style of a viking saga. Everything that follows is an accurate account of what we experienced (Though extremely exaggerated for the purpose of story telling." Enjoy.

    Timorous and fearful, six hopefuls enter the den of Hephaestus. This Nirvana of fire and steel is to be our home for a fortnight. Mistress and master with their keen eyes, are ever watchful. Are we worthy or are we worms? The fierce warriors cower before their might and beg to be taught in the ancient and noble art of Bladesmithing. So our chance is given by the grace of the smiths so that we might elevate ourselves in the eyes of the gods.

    The masters start us with toil. One commanding and one ever watchful, an all seeing eye ensuring the hopefuls do as they are bade. Sweat and frustration are our nourishment and only labour to slake our thirst. No worldly temptations to keep us alive, but greater knowledge.
    About us creatures of cunning and artifice prevent our escape. Foul fowls and equestrian enemies keep us at bay. But oh….. the forge hounds, for tis they that sap our strength every day. Our physical beings drained of life force leaving only will and determination for us to endure. If we waiver, the best at the gate, an ancient creature of nefarious intent, unleashes his foul breath to subdue us. We toil on.
    Night falls and we huddle together in a brief respite. As we sleep the curse of the forge takes one of our number and he begins snarling and groaning. Not to the harm of any, but to the detriment of our souls. And so it was his burden to bare this most terrible of curses each night of our stay.
    The sun greeted us the next day full of false hope. A task to rival those of the mighty Hercules awaited us. The cruel master thrust upon us a path few travel. Nary a straight road could be followed as we tripped over our own incompetence. Even the more bold and experienced warrior found himself a simpering child in the face of this arduous challenge.
    Our masters, devious of intent and crisp of purpose, allowed our struggle, to a point. For grand as they are, they are too, merciful. Stern and benevolent they guide us along the winding journey to our destination. The fierce hounds begin to warm to us as well.

    Sadly the curse strikes yet every night.

    Days flow easily now under the studious tutelage of the master and the vigilant eye of the mistress. Our blood boils, slowly being replaced with fire, our muscles turn to iron and our will to steel.
    The iron we bend to our will as we subdue it under hammer and anvil. What we feared has turned to music that echoes through the house of Hephaestus. Yet our greatest journey lies ahead, for only our bodies feel the fire. Soon it will consume our souls.

    A brief respite was ours to have as the masters granted us leave. Some remained to toil in perpetuity, refining their skills rather than resting their bodies. Others left for far off lands to ensue in adventure and test their mettle. Long and hard did they travel, but to the house of Hephaestus they would return, for the draw of the fire is too great to resist.
    I, myself, left for paradise, to be hosted by a fellow hopeful of eons gone by. Deep was his wisdom and keen his advice that I returned, rejuvenated and ready for what may yet come.
    The hopefuls assembled for the last meal, in a blaze of brimstone in a cave of fire where meals were served fit for gods. Yet fate shadowed this joyous time and unleashed the deluge to quench our jocularity. Yet the fires were strong and our spirits high. The deluge abated but not us. On we charged regardless of consequence. The earth shook, threatening to swallow us. Our feast flung asunder for the hounds to devour. Our test was done and the feast concluded. The master served us but once - a dish of such saccharine delicacy that the sirens themselves would have fallen to its embrace. And so ended our respite.
    Brooding clouds beckoned as dawn approached.

    Short lived was our rest, for on our return the masters had good news. To our labour the study of ancient tomes was added. Forbidden texts from all of time were ours to learn. We embraced sacred mantras of the masters gone by and gleaned knowledge long forgotten by the world. In them spoke the words of great seers of ancient recipes for heavenly steel. To them was given the greatest gifts of Hephaestus, and through them and the masters it would pass to us.

    We chanted the mantras to each other and so our minds grew and our skill and our souls.
    Some chants lasted well into the night with the hopeful fully immersed in his story. We listened in wonder. Each sunrise brought new and powerful alchemy to us. Secrets of the soul of steel was imparted. Techniques passed from master to hopeful, master to hopeful, ad infinitum. We, the next generation, would take into the world the power of this knowledge that we may better understand the world and the steel that it is made of.
    And now our test is nigh. We feel the eyes of Hephaestus himself watching us. He has struck us down twice. The cruel machinations of the god of the forge, to remind us of his divinity and dominion of steel. Humbly we cower before his might and pray that he accepts our failures as sacrifice to his whims so that we may suffer his indifference.

    We pour ourselves into the steel, becoming one with the iron. As we work it, it bleeds into our skin and we take on its hues. Are we becoming the steel or is it becoming us? We laugh and struggle together, a brotherhood of fire. The masters push us so, that we begin to push ourselves, hearing the master’s voices in our heads, even when they are afar.
    The final test is high and we forge our souls into the steel. All our knowledge is hammered into its grain. The ancient seers foretold the continued lineage of the smiths.
    And so our blades are born, shimmering with the aura we have imbued upon them. They vibrate in anticipation of the final hour.

    Bodies strong as trees, edges as keen as starlight. They sing in unison as we worked. Our bodies tired but souls strong, we rest before our trial.
    Hephaestus is ever watching, waiting to take our steel for his pleasure.
    Trepidation seeped from our pores for the test was at hand. Our souls laid bare for the pleasure of mighty Hephaestus. Even the master felt the keen sting of the divine. Though we joked and laughed, the pressure of ages, of the old masters and hopefuls gone by, clouded our joy. Should we fail, our journey may have been for naught. We abandoned our lands and our people to better ourselves. How would we face them as failures, shamed in the eyes of the masters?

    We hewed mighty trees and flensed angel’s hair. Each task more extreme than the last.
    Each blade is put to the test in the final hour. We could feel Hephaestus’ gaze draw near. Our steel bore its final trial on the fulcrum of the world. Atlas himself stepped down as our blades and souls bore its weight. One by one, soul by soul, each shining with the light of the great smith passed the ordeal.
    And Hephaestus smiled! Our efforts rewarded, we celebrated together, bound by the fire and steel that for so long was our tormentors, we, now the masters of steel, go forth into the world. Our families will greet us with pride and joy, for our journey, though difficult and testing is now at an end.

    By Stuart Smith

  2. #2
    member Chui's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    - sent a shiver through me, that did...........utterly brilliant, really, brilliant.

    Glad you enjoyed the experience so much.

  3. #3
    member RudolfH's Avatar
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    Oct 2013

    I read that in the voice of Ian McShane, it's epic!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Windy City, Port Elizabeth
    Thanks for that Stu--- brilliant, Might put some fear and intrepidation into the next six hopefuls!!

  5. #5
    member MadRookie's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Goodwood - Cape Town, Western Cape - South Africa

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Stu you proberbly make some money writing books aswell

  7. #7
    Knifemaker Member Beau BDeyeForge's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Slowly I prepare, so that I may one day also approach great Hephaestus and his mighty Queen.

  8. #8
    member 2Tim215's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Richards Bay
    Nice one Stu! There's words there that I haven't seen in a long time You still busy with that sci fi? If this is the way you write I'll be a big fan.

  9. #9
    member RickA's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Fish Hoek, Cape Town
    Some amazing writing there Stuart - well written.
    Sheds some light on what awaits ABS hopefuls

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