Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Sword Gods," A Test, pt. 2, 372 words

The smith bit back the retort waiting on his tongue, instead taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. “Very well,” he said after a moment. “Then can you at least bring me some extra layers so I might handle the blade safely while it's still hot?”

The knight shook his head a little. Damn him, he wasn't even sweating. How was that even possible in this closed-up room barely suitable for smithing? “That is also your problem. If the same tools as you keep in your own forge are insufficient to the task... Or is it your insufficiency, perhaps?”

Gaping at the complete leap of non-logic, the smith realized the knight had to be goading him intentionally. Nobody in his position in life could be that – no, no, check that. They could be that stupid. He'd met more than enough who believed the vagaries of steel and fire could be bent to their private schedules. One could tell them that It doesn't work that way until your voice was gone, but they'd just respond every time with Can't you make it work that way?

The smith turned his back on the knight and closed his eyes. A headache already blossomed right along the line of his brow. After a moment, he opened his eyes once more and looked around the room, doing a silent inventory. His life was at stake here – he couldn't forget that – and he had to do what was demanded of him if he hoped to live.

If his captors could be even remotely trusted to let him live.

The room he was in had been used for storage, at one point, and not all of its materials had been cleaned out when the forge was installed. Included in those leftovers were some sheets of leather, cut and bound for easy storage. He took up a small knife and went over to the leather, cutting a piece loose from its bindings. Under the knight's wary eye, he cut the leather into strips and wrapped them awkwardly over his gloves. He sliced a hole into another sheet to make a thicker work apron, and so encumbered, took up the still-hot sword blade.

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