Seventh Circle (Chapter 6- Wondrous Metal, page 2 of 5)


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'She gave it to me,' her brother said, 'and I gave her my talisman as a token of my love.'

One glance told Adrina that the cat and chain were very special. Although crude, both were crafted from an amazing metal: one that shone like silver but had the feel of iron. She could scarcely believe that such a humble trinket could be made from something so special.

The cobbler threaded the catgut onto a needle. Adrina watched as the sharp point was dipped into the steaming cauldron to receive the holy blessing. Her brother squirmed as the cobbler got to work. While he was occupied with his ordeal, Adrina prised the metal cat from his grasp. The chain was poorly made. She removed a few links and returned it to Fury's hand.

***

Hammer blows descended on the metal bar. They fell in a regular rhythm, accompanied by the chant of the two old men working the bellows. The anvil was set on a massive block of wood, rough-hewn in the form of a woman on her back. The furnace was similarly shaped to represent the female form, this time in the birth position.

A statue of the goddess stood in a niche. Adrina sat below it. Her long, black hair was tied in a plait. She watched the sword master at work, asking frequent questions about the process. Outside, a group of young men kept a constant eye on her through the open doorway. They wore bright clothes and were heavily armed.

The sword master returned the bar to the furnace and removed an earthenware pot. A piece of metal glowed in the bottom. It was one of the links Adrina had taken from her brother's chain. He removed the link and placed it on the anvil.

'Let us see what the Holy Mother has to tell us about the strange metal that has come into your possession.'

He watched the changes of colour as the link cooled and an expression of wonder appeared on his face.

'Lady. The Holy Mother honours you.'

He reached into a second pot and removed another link.

'What do you see?' Adrina asked.

He held the link to the light. 'It bears no mark. Yet I have bathed it in the strongest vinegar: the sort used to etch the dragon swords.'

He went to the shrine and held up the link before the statue of the goddess. 'Holy Mother.' His voice was charged with emotion. 'Show me the secret of this wondrous metal and I will forge great swords to fight your enemies.'

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