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    Omnipotent View: The Forging of a Man
    Posted on Sat, April 20, 2002 by taladmin
    Longetalos writes "Where a man learns that a god always grants a second chance to those that served him faithfully - whether they want it or not.

    Author:Richard Di Ioia

    (Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)

    The blacksmith was covered in sweat from the day's labor. A dozen horseshoes and a few bags of nails lay scattered nearby. The blacksmith looked up from the forge and sighed. His muscles ached, he was sticky and he was running low on fuel for the fire. He casually tossed his hammer onto the workbench nearby, scattering a few tools as it slid by. The hammer struck the stone wall behind the bench with a loud bang, followed by another a few seconds later when a pair of tongs fell off a peg on the wall due to the vibration. Without a backwards glance, the blacksmith walked towards the bucket of water in the corner. He was about to pour the cool water over his face when someone rang the bell at the counter in the front of the shop.

    "Can't the idiots tell by the lack of hammering noise that I'm closed for the day." The blacksmith muttered to himself. "It's probably one of the villagers with another broken scythe. After years of scratching the earth, you'd think they'd learn to avoid the rocks in their fields. Bah, maybe they'll go away."

    The blacksmith's hopes were dashed a few moments later when the bell was rung again, more insistently than before. "By Ralishaz's dice, can't a man have a moment's peace!" He cursed as he stormed his way towards the adjacent shop. Standing at the counter, inspecting the forgings, was a young man wearing gray travelling robes cinched with a black belt.

    "Good evening Carsin, I am Brother Hacien."

    "Look, I already gave alms to Father Gellord of St-Cuthbert. Now, I don't know who gave you my name and said I'd give you alms but you can march on back to him and tell him to give you the alms himself." Carsin said with his face slowly turning red in anger.

    "I am not here for alms. I am a follower of Bleredd and came to seek an apprenticeship with you. I have seen your work and wish to further my communion with Bleredd through what you can teach me." Brother Halcien made this request in a humble voice.

    Taken aback in surprise, Carsin was at a loss for words. He hadn't prayed to Bleredd in a long time, ever since his work had become routine unpleasant task. Carsin didn't want an apprentice, the last few he had were troublesome and barely did an honest day's work. Plus, they interfered in his life and were constantly bothering him with useless questions. Then again, saying no to a follower of Bleredd could cause him trouble with his guild. He definitely didn’t want that.

    "Fine, you can be my apprentice. You can have the spare room. I’ll see you at the forge at 6 am."

    The next morning, as Carsin entered the forge, he found the monk awake and eager to begin his day of work. "You’re late, I told you to be here at 5:30. Let’s get started before you waste more time."

    "But…you said…fine, what would you like me to do this fine morning?" asked Hacien.

    "We need more fuel for the forge, the coal is out back. Then you need to prepare the ore. After that……" Carsin droned on the list of daily tasks for the apprentice to do.

    A few back-breaking months later and Brother Hacien had still not quit his apprenticeship. Both master and apprentice were sitting down for supper and discussing the next day’s work.

    "We have a busy day tomorrow. Might have to work late." Stated Carsin.

    "No problem. I will pray to Bleredd to grant us light if we work past dark." Responded Hacien.

    "Guess that would be fine. Save us some money on lantern oil." Carsin said as he scooped a spoonful of beans to his mouth.

    "Celestian rides his chariot tonight. Only happens once every 30 years. Will you be joining me to watch?" Asked Hacien.

    "Not much point. It’s not like he is interested in a blacksmith." Grunted Carsin.

    "True, but sometimes Bleredd strikes with his hammer at the chariot as it flies by. If he connects, he knocks loose some pieces to fall to the ground for us to collect. With the metals fallen we can forge great works." Said Hacien with enthusiasm.

    Carsin looked at his apprentice’s eager face and paused. The boy was a hard worker and it couldn’t hurt to make him happy once in a while. "Might be I’ll join you."

    That night Hacien found himself a clearing on the outskirts of the village to watch the sky. Hacien enjoyed the silence of the night – it was a nice counter to the noisy day working in a forge brought. A few minutes later, Carsin joined him. "Couldn’t sleep. The neighbors dogs were barking."

    "Yes, I thought I heard them." Smiled Hacien.

    "I brought some ale. Might as well make something worthwhile of the evening." Said Carsin as he uncorked a flask.

    "In all the months I worked here, you never asked me why I came all this way to apprentice with you." Asked Hacien.

    "Bleredd works in strange ways. Not my place to question the decisions of his chosen." Said Carsin.

    "It was a spear I saw displayed in a hall of a lord a few kilometers south of the monastery. The workmanship was fabulous and I knew that I had to learn from the man who created that. It took me over a year to find you." Said Hacien.

    "Was a long time ago." Said Carsin.

    "Why did you become a simple blacksmith working on horseshoes and nails? Bleredd gifted you with the ability to make wondrous works!" Exclaimed Hacien.

    A dark cloud covered Carsin’s face as he looked at Hacien. "Don’t ever believe that having great skill is a blessing. I was dedicated to my art. Lords from kilometers around would flock to my forge to peruse my wares. They would pay anything I wanted for an item specially crafted for them. Then the dark times came – the great wars that shook the lands. No longer was I allowed to forge to my pleasure. Only weapons of war would the lords allow me to make. My gift turned into my curse. I grew death in my forge. I felt it in my bones and soul. The weapons I made were not works of art. They were cold and harsh – longing for destruction. Until one day it went away."

    "It went away? What went away?" asked Hacien.

    "The curse, my gift. My skill with metals. I can no longer make anything more complicated than a horseshoe." Sighed Carsin.

    "But…that’s impossible! How can you unlearn something? Were you cursed by wizard or a creature of darkness?" stammered Hacien.

    "Wish I knew. At first the lords would not believe me either. They beat me senseless and forced me to forge weapons. Oh I tried to forge more weapons, but the metal was brittle and shattered. Much like my skill. The lords cast me out into the wilderness, penniless and hungry. Over time, I made my way here - to the ends of the world." Said Carsin in a flat tone.

    "Have you tried again since you came here?" Asked Hacien.

    "Yes, once a few years ago – I failed. I still have the knowledge but my hands won’t listen. They won’t do what I tell them to." Said Carsin.

    "So that is why you have been teaching me but not working at the forge yourself! And that is why I am here!" exclaimed Hacien.

    "What? What are you here for?" asked Carsin confused.

    "I am here to teach you to forge again. This is the task that Bleredd set forth for me. I must not only learn to forge metals but I must also learn to re-forge your spirit. Bleredd will work his will through me to give you back your gift." Stated Hacien.

    Carsin burst out laughing.

    "What’s so funny?" Asked Hacien.

    "From apprentice to all wise monk in but a few moments. Oh what a magical night this is." Said Carsin with a smile.

    Hacien grunted in reply. "Do you have any better plans for the next few months?"

    At that exact moment Celestian’s chariot blazoned it’s way across the sky. Leaving behind it a trail of lights that slowly cascaded their way towards Oerth.

    A short time after the chariot passed out of sight Carsin stood up. Turning to his companion, Carsin smiled and said. "Bleredd works in strange ways. Not my place to question the decisions of his chosen. I’ll meet you in the forge at 6 am, Brother Hacien."

    Note: Bleredd"
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