It had been a week since Bregna had watched Dagmar Steelsong kiss his wife and hug his children as he bid them goodbye. He had walked away with an air of purpose, wearing a suit of crystal armor with a shield slung on his back and a very large unadorned sword hanging from his belt. She walked to the Stonehand Forge that morning as she had every morning since meeting the strange craftsman. She didn’t understand why she was drawn to the place, but every day she would sit in the same place in the alley across from the forge and watch the smiths go about their business. She had learned all the faces by the end of the second day and had a pretty good idea of where everyone fit in. The old Dwarf was in charge, he didn’t have to yell or bully his men, like a leader in the Ratway would. He would speak quietly to his charges, or convey his desires with little more than a glance. A Dwarven youth who had the old man’s face imprinted on his own followed him around, learning his way around the forge.
Lost in her thoughts, Bregna was almost upon the Forge when she was brought up short, hearing a deep gruff voice which she immediately recognized as Dagmar’s. He was speaking to the old Dwarf, with his grandson in tow, “We found the Captain alive and well, as well as the scum who took me as a slave, and we have some other things to discuss when there aren’t so many ears around.” Bregna thought she had been found out, but the conversation carried on as she walked out of hearing range and took up her customary place in the alley. She watched as Dagmar and the old Dwarf shook hands, then Dagmar clapped the youth on the shoulder and the two of them started off to one of the forges.
Bregna watched Dagmar teach the youth the ways of smithing, showing him what each tool is used for, how to get coals to the right temperature, what color the steel needed to be before quenching. Over the next week Bregna learned right along with the Dwarf, taking in all she could from a distance and playing it over and over again in her head as she wandered the ratway in the evenings with Roni. She found herself dreaming at night, the dream was always the same. Dagmar working on a blade with his back turned toward her, giving her instruction on the ways of the Weaponsmith, it always ended when he turned around to look at her with the eyes of the craftsman.
Then one morning the Dwarven youth was working with an Ork smith. Bregna knew the Ork was one of the Elders of the Forge and deferred only to the Dwarf. Dagmar was working by himself at the Forge, pumping the bellows then working the steel, pumping the bellows then working the steel. Bregna watched this for quite some time, trying to work up her courage. She knew she could do this and believed that Dagmar could use the help. Settling the internal debate she walked out of the alley, walked across the street into the forge yard and quietly approached Dagmar’s bellows. As she reached out and grasped the bellows Dagmar gave her the briefest of glances then went back to work on the same blade that she had seen him carrying the week before. She began working the bellows rhythmically as she had watched the Dwarf lad do. After a minute or so of this Dagmar spoke, “Slower, make your movements more deliberate.” She understood what she meant and slowed her cadence. A minute later one more word, “Good.”
It went on like this the rest of the day, Dagmar never questioned her presence and gave her short instructions upon which she picked up almost immediately. She noticed that occasionally Dagmar would go to one of four containers made out of material that she thought might be the same as the coin that the craftsman made her, which currently rested in the bottom of her boot. He would carefully take something out and work it into the blade he was smithing, sometimes with his hammer, sometimes his eyes would focus on a point she couldn’t see and he would weave his hands in an intricate pattern.
“What are those containers made from?” Bregna asked as they took a break to eat lunch. Dagmar had given her half a sausage and a small loaf of bread. “Orichalcum.” He responded. Upon seeing the blank look upon her face he continued’ “It is a substance made up from all the true elements and ounce for ounce is the most valuable substance known.” She sat stunned for a moment thinking of the small fortune tucked away in her boot. Then she asked, “Are you very rich then to have four containers made from the stuff?” He smiled the first one she had ever seen out of him. “No, they are the forges and I am borrowing them to make a very special sword, they contain true elements that I am weaving into the blade.” Again she found herself speechless, she was helping him make a magic sword.
They started back to work and Bregna watched very carefully learning more from watching than asking. As Dagmar hung up his apron and tools he looked to her, “Come eat with my family and I, we have plenty and you need some meat on you bones.” It sounded more of an order than a question and he followed Dagmar around the corner to the cottage where she had dropped the tools off. Upon entering the house she was immediately set upon by twin miniature trolls, Dagmar gave one of his rare small smiles, “That,” he said pointing at the boy “is Agnar, and she is Rena.” Bregna giggled as Rena pushed her brother out of the way to get in a better position. “Ysilla set another place for dinner.” Dagmar’s wife came around the corner and shooed away the children, “I already have, Vunar stopped by earlier and we talked.” Dagmar’s wife looked closely and Bregna.” Child you need several good meals in you, let’s go.” Bregna could only mutter a quick “Yes ma’am” before she found herself being led to a table with more food than she had ever seen. Apparently trolls eat a lot.
She felt warm and safe, both sensations being somewhat foreign to a ratway native. As Dagmar walked her to the door he handed her two silver, “Come back tomorrow if you want more work.” She responded before thinking, “I will.” And so it went on like that for a week or so, Dagmar quietly teaching Bregna the ways of the Weaponsmith and Bregna soaking it up like a sponge. One morning a somewhat unbalanced looking Dwarf with a shock of unkempt black hair on his head and face with piercing blue eyes barged into the forge, “Where is it.” This was a demand, not a question. It’s right here Urgral, and I wrote down all the information, you hold a powerful blade.” Dagmar said as he handed the Dwarf a longsword. The dwarf’s only response was a curt nod. As he turned to leave the dwarfs eyes settled on Bregna, “Who is she?” he barked. Dagmar looked at Bregna, studying her for a moment. Her heart soared with Dagmar’s response. “That is Bregna, she is my apprentice.”