Long Night

by John Burman

The Duke's wedding was nearly upon Metamor, and that meant business for a blacksmith in abundance. Squeaky hinges that needed more than fresh oil needed to be replaced, old candelabras that had fallen one to many times needed mending, extra guards in the halls meant the armory's supply of halberd's was dwindling and new heads had to get to the carpenters and weapons smiths as soon as possible, all of which meant that Gordon had a lot of work to do and little time left in which to do it. Facing a tangle of said candelabras, he was glad the walls of the smithy were thick brick, and that the cooper the next building over was nearly deaf.

Feeding a fresh shovel of coal into the forge, Gordon could feel the heat already rebuilding thanks to the magic worked into the very stonework of the forge. Etched into the inside of the stone, it helped amplify the heat from the coal and keep it contained so that the only escape routs were straight up the flue or through the wide doors into the smithy itself.

Carefully arranging several of the bent arms from the fixtures into the forge with just their attaching brackets sticking out, Gordon began to slowly work the bellows himself. Having long sent his apprentice to sleep, he heard the crying of the midnight hour over the soft wheeze of the leather as it fanned the fires.

Giving one last press to the pump handle and allowing the bellows to settle of their own weight, the smith carefully trod to the fiery opening and withdrew a candle holder in the jaws of a long tongs. Feeling the grit of the days work beneath his unshod toes, Gordon turned to the anvil and began to beat the warped metal into a fresh, smooth spiral to match it's brethren.

Bound tightly below his cap, and impeded by the steady clang of the hammer, it was a miracle Gordon's rounded ears could hear anything, but somewhere between strokes it came to him. Sounding like something between the sigh of the bellows and a fresh breeze in a wheat field, it was approaching, and fast. Carefully setting aside the still hot metal and steping away from the fire and steel of the forge, Gordon still griped his hammer as the sound still grew.

Suddenly, and without warning, a white wall, arranged like a web of glowing silk, burst from the wall and sweapt across the room disappearing as fast as it had come. What it did do however, was cause every spell in the forge to burst to full life.

Shielding his eyes, Gordon turned to see an instantanious, though short lived, gout of fire belch forth from the doors of the forge, flashing the tongs still gripping the candelabra arms to a cheary red and intsantly slaging the metal within. Gingerly padding back to the anvil, the smith took a fresh tongs and pulled back the glowing metal and near molten bracket they still grasped. Seeing the ropy strings of steal still bleeding off the cooling jaws and into a puddle already forming in the forge, Gordon sighed and looked over to the remainging candle holders. It was going to be a long night.