Naothlan Vignette #6 (2019)

Ding ding.


Ding ding.


Tobias felt the connection and contact between hammer and metal, more than seeing it.  The repetition and act of feeling out the hot steel and coaxing it into shape was, he’d always thought, relaxing.  He had always been able to fold spells into the metal as he molded it with more ease than other magicians he’d known.

But, there was something else he was supposed to do . . .

Oh, yes.

“Feel the metal, sense what it wants to become, and how,” Tobias intoned.  “Just like casting a spell.  If it doesn’t want to be what you want, see if it can be coaxed, flattered, or convinced to change.  But, above all, do not force it. Better to start over with new metal than to bespell a piece of steel, iron, or bronze that doesn’t want to be what you’re making.”

He slid the lengthened bar back into the forge.

His eyes remained on the metal even as he kept awareness of the half dozen hopeful apprentices around him.

“Yes, ah, Diane?”

“What about deadlines?”

“Crafting, with smithing, is an art,” he said, rolling the bar a little in the coals.  “Any patron who does not understand that the process cannot be rushed is not worth your time.  Otherwise, you get crap items and magic that’s more dangerous to its owner than to anyone else.”

Now would come the resentment.  The desire to have instant wealth and, possibly, fame.  The belief that it was fine for him to say such things, to do such things, because he was an acknowledged master, but that beginners out to make their mark had to take anything that came along.  That would weed out about half of them.  Skill would settle the rest down to the one he would take and teach.

“Everyone to a station.  Begin the basics with Kazuo, and we’ll see who stays for tomorrow.”

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