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 Training Montage: Crafting

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Psyre Dragnil
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PostSubject: Training Montage: Crafting   Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:31 am

The heat from the fire was enough that he could feel himself sweating, even as he stood in the gently falling snow. He had already taken off his shirt and robes, but even so, he felt as though he was being roasted alive. The hammer rang out on the metal. Psyre pushed the bellows. The fire flared. Psyre felt like his face was going to melt off. The usual cycle, just as it had been for the last eight hours.

“Oi, boy, work those bellows harder! I’m tryin’ tuh make a sword here, not cook some soup!” Psyre groaned as he continued to heave away on the bellows. “I’m… doing… exactly… what… you… told… me… to.” He hissed between the pushes on the handles of the bellows. He had started out doing well, after all, he had become strong through the time he had spent fighting, but the smiths got to rotate every two hours, and he had been working steadily for four shifts. By now, he was exhausted. The smith laughed at him and said, “No, you’re doing what the last one told yuh tuh do. I’m tellin’ yuh that yuh need tuh work harder.” A wicked grin had spread on the man’s face. “I’ll bet that’s the last time yuh say that job looks easy, eh?”

Psyre groaned as he recognized the man. This was the one that he had asked to teach him how to make weapons and armor. Clearly a mistake. The man had told Psyre to start by working the bellows, and Psyre had said that didn’t seem to be something he would need to learn how to do. That was another mistake. They had begun at dawn, and the sun had almost set. He hadn’t even had any water. “I think I might have figured out how to push down on the gigantic fan by now,” Psyre muttered.

“Oh, so yuh think that now that yuh’ve been working the bellows for a few hours, yuh understand it, do yuh? Yuh think smithin’ is that easy a craft, do yuh? I studied smithin’ for twenty years before I even touched a hammer, I did. I think yuh’ve earned yusself another day at the forge tomorrow. Maybe the day after, if yuh haven’t given me any lip, I’ll let yuh start learnin’ how to forge in earnest.”

Psyre started to say something witty, but thought better of it and just continued pumping away at the bellows. The smith looked at him and a small smirk flashed across his face. “See, yer learnin’ already.” Up. Down. Psyre breathed in time with the bellows, his breath matching the forge’s, and tried to keep his mouth shut the rest of the day.

“Well, kid, yuh did a fine job. Come back in the mornin’, and I’ll keep teachin’ yuh. Who knows, maybe I won’t just make yuh work the forge all day.”

Psyre woke with the sun. Ah, crap. I overslept. I’m going to regret that soon… As he climbed out of bed, he felt a fire race through his muscles. His entire upper body was in agony. And today, he would probably be doing the same thing. He steeled his resolve, clothed his body, and exited his tent. He started running to the smithy as soon as he had stepped outside. The later he was, the worse his punishment was liable to be. When Psyre made it to the smithy, he was shocked to find that the smith wasn’t waiting for him. No one else was there, the forge wasn’t lit, and Psyre was confused. Then, a foul stench assaulted his nose. The smell reminded him of deer, particularly those that were field dressed. His nostrils burning, he walked around the smithy to see what was going on. There, over a small fire, he could see a brain cooking in a small pot over a fire. From the deer carcass and hide laying on the ground nearby, he gathered that it was most likely a deer brain. He still wasn’t entirely sure why it was being cooked.

“Ah, boy, yuh made it. I was startin’ tuh worry that yuh’d run away out of fear or summthin. Today, we’re tannin’ hides. The process isn’t a quick one, so we’ve skipped a couple steps, any that involve waiting more than a few hours. Quit just standin’ around, git over here and help.” Psyre nodded, braced himself for the smell, and walked over to where the smith was.

After hours of scraping, stretching, de-hairing, lathering in brain, softening, and smoking hides, Psyre’s hands were raw and his body was beyond exhausted. He was just about ready to fall over and sleep by the fire when the smith said, “Alright boy, well done. Yuh did some good work today. Yuh can sleep and eat here. Tomorrow, we’ll start tuh work on how yuh can make weapons. My name’s Avlan, by the way.”

Psyre gratefully followed Avlan inside, ate the meat and soup he was offered, and fell asleep in the chair at the table. Avlan smiled at the boy and muttered to himself, “Strong lad. He’ll make a fine leader one day. The only question I have is who he’ll decide tuh lead…”

The smell of meat cooking greeted Psyre as he woke, and he looked around at the inside of Avlan’s house, confused for a moment about why he was there. When he remembered, he sat up in his seat and tried to make sure he looked presentable. “Don’t worry about tryin’ tuh make yusself pretty, boy, we’ll be workin’ hard all day. We start with how to make the fire. After we have a hearty breakfast, of course.” Avlan guffawed at his own remark, and Psyre smiled gently. He was warming up to the harsh master of the forge, and quite looking forward to learning how to make weapons.

Breakfast consisted of deer meat and water, but the meat was well-cooked and Psyre was hungry and tired enough that it tasted wonderful. They ate for a solid half hour, not talking at any point, but continuously wolfing down food and then getting up to get more. After they had eaten, Avalan cleared away all the dishes and said to Psyre, “Alright boy, go out, gather some wood, and bring it back here. We’ll need a lot of wood. Just keep going until I tell yuh tuh stop.”

Though he was confused about why they would need wood, as the forge didn’t even use wood, Psyre didn’t question. He had learned his lesson about that. Instead, he set off to find wood. Tired though he was, Psyre was still much stronger than the average person, so when he found small trees, he sometimes simply pulled up the tree and brought it back. After more than an hour of gathering wood, he had made a pile almost five feet in every direction. He looked up at Avlan expectantly. “Not yet, boy. Yuh’re gonna need a bit more’n that.” Psyre turned back to the woods and set off again, having to go a little farther each time.

Finally, when there was enough wood that Psyre thought he would be able to build a small house out of it, Avlan told him to stop. Then, Avlan showed him a huge stone bowl with a lid that had a small hole in one side. “Cut up some of that wood so that it’s small enough tuh fit in here, fill the thing up, put the lid on, and then build a bonfire around it. Once yuh’re done with each step, I’ll make sure it’s good.” Psyre looked at the size of the bowl that could likely fit him, if he curled up, and then up at Avlan.

“Can I have an axe?” As Psyre asked the question, he saw Avlan was holding one out for him. He took it, feeling a little sheepish, and set to work on the wood. He chopped for another hour or so, making pieces that were barely small enough to fit inside and cramming them in. When he had filled it with these pieces, he looked at Avlan, proud of his work. “No, boy, yuh need smaller pieces. Not one of them should be longer than from base of palm tuh tip of middle finger.” He gestured as he spoke, showing Psyre exactly what he meant. “We’ll use them in the forge later, so they need tuh be small enough tuh use easily. Those’ll barely fit. Make them smaller.”

Psyre poured everything he had done out of the stone bowl and started chopping it all into smaller pieces. He was almost relieved to be doing this, as he felt like he had been slacking from his training for combat, so he welcomed the opportunity to hack away. It seemed over almost too quickly, and he loaded the new, smaller pieces of wood into the bowl and looked up for Avlan’s approval. “Aye,” he said with a nod, “looks good. Now for the bonfire.”

Psyre hauled the stone bowl a bit farther from the house, his muscles straining, put the lid on it, and then began to set the wood around it. It didn’t take long before he had a pile of wood roughly five feet in height around the bowl, with plenty of wood to spare left by the house. He looked up to Avlan, who nodded and gestured for him to stand back. Then, Avlan lifted his arm, his palm trained on the pile of wood, and a small jet of fire launched from his hand, igniting the fire with almost no work. “Avlan, you use Runes too?”

“Of course I use Runes, boy, I’m a Northerner. Anyone worth his salt learns a couple of Runes tuh make it so he can do everything more effectively. I also just like them. I take nature and harness it. I turn ore into metal, metal into weapons. Nature gives me wonders, and I turn them into marvels.” As he spoke, his accent seemed to slip away, making way for powerful, dignified speech. “Nature gives me everything I need, and I honor it by transforming those things. Nature, guided and shaped by the human mind is a force with which one cannot reckon. It is simply too powerful.” What had looked almost like a gleam in his eyes faded away, and he smiled at Psyre. “It never hurt anyone tuh learn a couple of helpful Runes, now did it.”

Psyre paused for a moment in awe. He had revered Nature as some foreign but beautiful power, something far beyond him, but what Avlan had said was true. Some of the most impressive things he had ever known came from a human mind shaping and guiding the countless gifts that Nature offered. Food, houses, weapons, armor, they were all just human reason shaping and repurposing Nature’s gifts. Nature gave gifts in order for them to be used to the best of their potential. Rocks are only rocks, but if one were to smelt out the ore, one could use it to make armor and weapons, hinges, horseshoes, and more. Perhaps revering Nature was not the best thing to do… “Oi, boy, keep the fire goin’!” Psyre was startled from his reverie by the command. He looked at the fire, which was beginning to look more like a campfire than a bonfire, and couldn’t help but wonder how long he had been thinking.

Psyre fed the flame, tossing more and more wood onto the pile. The flames licked up around the edges of the bowl, and parts of the stone were beginning to glow red. “We’ll need tuh keep that fire going for a few hours,” Avlan said, “so yuh’ll want to stand by and be ready tuh feed it.” Psyre looked at the sun, already getting low in the horizon, and then back at Avlan. “Believe me, yuh’re gonna be glad that you had the chance to rest up a bit before tomorrow. When we start the real smithin’, yuh’re liable to wish yuh’d never been born. Yuh’ll fail time and again, so relish this chance tuh do only the easy stuff.”

They kept the fire going until well after sunset, and the bowl glowed for some time after the fire was out. The fire had burned for some time around 5 hours, and Psyre was sure that they must have burned all the wood inside the stone bowl. When it was finally cool enough, they pulled off the lid, and at the sight of the blackened wood, Psyre was sure he was right. However, when he looked at it, it didn’t look like the burnt wood. Not quite. Something was different, but he couldn’t tell what. “Ummm… Avlan? What did we just do? It’s like we burnt the wood, but not quite.”

“Yuh purified the wood. The fire sucks out all the imperfections, leavin’ yuh with this purified wood. It burns hot, for a long time, and doesn’t make much smoke. Some people use it for writin’ as well, but that seems a damn shame tuh me. It’s one of the only good ways tuh get a fire hot enough tuh forge well. What yuh’ve got here should last us through the next couple of days, maybe it’ll even be long enough for yuh tuh finish a piece that doesn’t suck.” Avlan chuckled at the last part, as though it were some clever inside joke that Psyre simply didn’t know.

They unloaded all the wood, stacking it up by the forge, and Psyre started to head back to his tent. “Boy, where do yuh think yuh’re going? Yuh’re tuh stay here until yuh’re done. That way, yuh’ll be on time. And yuh can’t just learn the life of a smith without livin’ the life of a smith. So yuh’re tuh stay here. Unless yuh don’t want tuh learn anymore?” Psyre shook his head and followed Avlan into his home, ready to eat and pass out. What he had hoped would consist primarily of watching and learning was instead a full-on process in which he was learning every step of the process. He supposed it was good, as he wanted to be able to craft without help from others, but he was sore, exhausted, and still almost entirely clueless about smithing.

Psyre was woken up in the middle of the night by Avlan cursing. “Ah, sh*t. Boy, I forgot that I ran out of the ingots that yuh’ll need. If yuh want tuh keep what yuh make, yuh’ll need tuh go buy some. I’d suggest yuh go soon, as we’ll want all the light we can get.” Psyre groaned and stood up. He had the money, having recently received pay from Cedric, but he wasn’t looking forward to having to run to town and then back, the second time carrying blocks of iron. Nonetheless, the whole point of this was to start crafting, and he knew he was going to have to spend on it at some point anyway, so might as well do it while there’s a master there to provide assistance and make sure it turns out good.

Psyre ran down the road, his mostly bare skin in harsh contrast with the freezing air. Over the last few days, he had always been working hard and near a fire, so he had taken to wearing only his pants and a shirt with the sleeves torn off. In the frigid morning air, he was starting to see why that might have been a mistake. He was glad that he had worked so hard over the last few days, because compared to that, running a few miles seemed like nothing. The road wasn’t burning him, he didn’t have to beat any hides, he wasn’t hauling trees, and it seemed like no more than a little warm-up for the day that was ahead.

When he reached the stores, Psyre looked around for a general store or one that specifically catered to smiths. He saw a sign for a general store and rushed in, surprised to find that the store was open this early. He ran up to the man at the counter, put 14 gold on the table, and said, in a rushed pant, “I’ll uh.. take some iron please.” The man looked at Psyre as though he were deranged, but handed him several pounds of iron (14 gold for the costs of making 2x hand and a half sword, 1x chain mail, and 1x battle axe (1/10 x 40 = 4, 4x2 = 8, 1/10 x 25 rounded down =  2, battle axe has same cost as hand and a half, so 4 + 4 +4 + 2 = 14)). Psyre nodded, thanked him, and took off running back down the road. The way back was harder, as the iron was heavy and cold in his bare arms, but he was determined to learn how to harness the gifts of Nature. When Avlan had spoken about using and shaping Nature in order to harness its full potential, it had really struck a chord with Psyre, and now, he was determined to learn as much as he could as quickly as he could.

Back at the smithy, Avlan was waiting for Psyre with a bowl heaped with food. “We don’t want tuh waste more time than we have tuh, so I’m gonna get started now.” Psyre scarfed down his food and watched as Avlan slid the lengths of “purified wood” into the forge. Then, Psyre lit some kindling, used it to start the forge, and started working the bellows. “Naw, boy, today, yuh’ll be forgin’. I’ll take the bellows and tell yuh what tuh do.”

For the next four hours, Psyre followed directions and hammered away at the metal, gradually shaping it into what looked vaguely like an axe head. “Well, it’s progress. We’ll have tuh come back tuh that one later. For now, let’s get started on swords.” Psyre pulled out some of the other ingots and began to hammer them out into a long blade. After another four hours, the light was almost gone, and Psyre had what looked to be a very crude axe head and a four foot long bar of metal. “We’ve got a ways tuh go yet, but at least yuh’re strong enough tuh keep goin’ the whole time. Most beginners have tuh take a break or three. Yuh’ll be making real progress in no time. Also, tomorrow, we can start when we’re supposed tuh, no runnin’ around tuh get the materials. Might need tuh start making more fuel though.”

Psyre was almost too tired to hear what Avlan was saying, but he nodded. He wanted food. And sleep. And for his arms to stop aching. Those would all be nice. His meal was devoured in about three seconds, and within mere moments of that, he was asleep in his chair. Avlan had prepared a bed for him, but he had yet to have the energy to move from his chair to the bed. Avlan smiled at the boy again, perpetually impressed by his resolve and stamina.

The smell of cooking meat was once again the first thing to which Psyre awoke. He was certainly happy about that. Avlan brought the food to the table without speaking, and both ate heartily. When both had eaten as much as they could while still being able to work, they cleared away the bowls and drank a few mugs of water. “Alright, boy, today, I’m gonna demonstrate for a bit, and then I want yuh tuh do what I did. So yuh’ll start on the bellows again.”

That day was much more productive than the others, as Psyre learned relatively quickly from watching Avlan at the forge. Avlan took the bar of metal that was Psyre’s sad attempt at a sword, quickly fashioned it into a sturdy blade, and then undid all the work he had done. He did the same with the axe head. “Yuh see? Not so bad. Now, let’s try tuh teach yuh how to make chain links.” Psyre watched in amazement as Avlan deftly fashioned a series of interlocking circles, small enough that an arrowhead wouldn’t have been able to penetrate any of them. “That’s a lot easier than it looks. It’ll just take yuh a lot of time tuh do. Okay, yuh go ahead now.” As Avlan worked the bellows, Psyre started with the sword. It took him the next three hours to do what Avlan had done in about thirty minutes, but when the sun was setting, Psyre had what was clearly a blade. Perhaps not a particularly fine or sharp one, but a blade nonetheless. And one of which he was quite proud.

The following month was a blur of activity for Psyre. Some days, he was hauling backs hundreds of pounds of wood, others, he was hunting or trapping food for them to eat. Mostly, though, he was working on the blades and armor. He made the most progress on the chain mail, as it was the easiest, but also took the longest. When the individual chains were long enough, he had to learn how to connect them, and then how to make the next chain on top of that. It took him more than a hundred total hours of work, but at the end, he had fashioned himself a full set of chain mail. He donned it, proud of his work, and felt the rings, strong against his chest. Avlan beamed at him, clearly proud of this growth. Then, Avlan insisted that they test it out. Psyre was bewildered for a moment, unsure of how exactly they would do that, and when Avlan wheeled around, Psyre was not expecting what he saw. Avlan was holding a sword, and he had stabbed it toward Psyre’s chest with far more speed than he had been expecting. Psyre flew backward a couple feet and fell onto the floor, but the rings had stopped the sword. He was sure he would have a huge bruise to show for it at some point, but he didn’t have a hole in his chest, which was the more important part.

Psyre was overjoyed. He still placed sentimental value in his robes, but mostly because of the stripes of fur. The stripes he had put there out of reverence for Nature. Well, he had a different way to revere Nature now. He took his robes and cast them into the bonfire that was burning in order to create more fuel. Avlan watched with a single eyebrow raised, surprised by Psyre’s change. Little did he know that it was simply the first of many to come.

The next week was mostly focused on finishing the sword, and, with the experience he had garnered from long hours working on the chain mail, Psyre found it much easier than it had been. He finished the blade and worked it over once more, ensuring that there were no significant imperfections, and then set it aside. Once he finished the axe, he would craft handles for the weapons and sharpen them together. After working on the axe head for a day, Psyre felt confident that it was ready. He did, however, have quite a bit of iron left over. With it, he started another hand-and-a-half sword. He was shocked by how far he had come, because his rate in making the blade was easily twice what it had been. Soon enough, he had three weapons, all ready for the finishing touches.

The next two days, he and Avlan worked on the hilts of the swords and the haft of the axe. They used the hides they had tanned for leather, and found and treated wood from the forest. Soon enough, the three weapons were ready. They had beautiful grips with spiraling leather, blades crafted by Psyre’s own hand, and nothing left to do other than sharpen them. Avlan showed Psyre how to use the grindstone, and Psyre set to it. His first thought was to make them as sharp as he possibly could, but he quickly learned from Avlan that such a thing was not what wanted to do. Were the blade that sharp, it would quickly wear and become easily broken, so there was a middle ground that he had to find. The blades had to be sharp enough that they could easily rend flesh, bone, and armor, but they also had to be dull enough that a hit wouldn’t break the edge. Psyre worked at it tirelessly, wanting to perfect his ability to use the gifts of Nature to fashion marvels.

After just over a month working with Avlan, Psyre was done. He had made three weapons and a suit of armor, but, more importantly, he had grown. He had learned how to fashion gifts into marvels, he had learned his new way to honor and revere Nature, and he had learned how much it meant to him to make these things with his own hands. “Avlan, I… I don’t know how to thank you for all you’ve done for me. You took me into your home and taught me so much. Thank you.”

“Don’t yuh go and get all sappy on me, boy. I let yuh live here because yuh wanted tuh learn and I wanted tuh teach. We’ve done what we came here tuh do. So now, go on, run home, take the stuff yuh made with yuh. When yuh want tuh learn more or feel like yuh can teach me a thing or two, then yuh come back here, and we’ll make more marvels. Until then, go on, live life, eat well, and remember what yuh learned here.”

With tears in his eyes, Psyre hugged Avlan and thanked him once more, then set off for his own tent. His chain mail glistened on his chest and his swords and axe chimed softly against one another as he moved. He was leaving the place behind, but the physical location had no value. The true value was what he had learned and that which he carried with him. These days would be with him for the rest of his life, and for that, he could not be more grateful. He hoped that one day, he would find something worth showing Avlan. The man was too stubborn to accept money, Psyre knew that, but maybe, just maybe, Psyre could one day pay him back with knowledge.

[Exit]

Total IC words: 4359 (87 attribute points)

Requesting:
+ 78 craft (100)
+ 9 strength (130)

Craft:
2x hand-and-a-half sword
Chain mail
Battle Axe

Psyre loses 14 gold buying materials

tl;dr: Psyre has an epic blacksmith training montage and grows as a craftsman and an individual.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Montage: Crafting   Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:35 am

Jeeeeesssus. Approved. Why all these posts....why
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PostSubject: Re: Training Montage: Crafting   Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:39 am

I'm getting 4,413 words from my word counter, so you could get one extra attribute point if you want. In any case, this sets the new record for longest post.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Montage: Crafting   Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:40 am

There's a 54 word long OOC explaining costs in the middle, that's why there's the 54 word difference. Jeez, didn't you read the post?

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