Hello readers! Welcome to the seventh day of this daily writing prompt I’m doing with my friend from work, Danielle, and today we did something a little different: We each created a basic character for each other to work off of with the following information: Name, occupation, and social class. Here’s what Danielle gave me below:
From just that information given, we had to create a story around the character, so here is mine below:
“Forged in Deception”
The finest steel must go through the hottest fire, and those have been the words Elswyth has gone by ever since he’d begun his apprenticeship with Gondlyn Wachovic, perhaps the greatest craftsman and blacksmith the kingdom of Cresthaven has ever seen.
“Those swords ready for molding?” Elswyth asked his master as he looked inside the furnace at the claymore’s they’d been tasked to commission recently.
“Aye, can you get started on that, lad?” Gondlyn nodded his head towards the front door, where three figures blocked the way, barely allowing any sunlight past their silhouettes. “I got some business up front to take care of first.”
Elswyth wiped sweat from his brow, and pushed his chestnut hair out of his dark eyes, darkening his skin with coal. He put on thick welding gloves, his welding mask, and grabbed a sledgehammer. One of the large swords was already placed on an anvil; the one his master was about to forge, and began to pound away to give the weapon a more defined shape.
The labor had been something to get used to, especially the heat, but Elswyth has never been exceptional at anything other than his crafting. He did carpentry before becoming a blacksmith’s apprentice, but wanted something that felt more substantial to him where he felt like he was making a bigger difference for the good of the whole realm, and not just the locals who adored his handcrafted furniture. Luckily, Gondlyn had been looking to take someone on under his wing, so when Elswyth had visited the shop one day to have his carving tools sharpened and learned about the opportunity, he’d decided then and there to take him up on the offer.
Lately, there’s been a small group of men in cloaks that had been showing up more times than any other customer, and usually their visits required closing the store momentarily with Gondlyn taking them back into his private office. Elswyth was never allowed to join in, and usually just got a dirty look or two from them; silently telling him to mind his own business. Knowing his role, he learned to keep his head down and continue his work. He knew the Captain of the Guard, Sir Charles Hainswright, was the client looking to purchase new swords for him and whom he’d considered his top men.
Not too long later, Gondlyn came back to join Elswyth and work on the claymores. The cloaked men were already gone as if they were never truly there, but left a look on Gondyln’s face that sent a chill down Elswyth’s spine despite the blistering heat emanating from the furnace. It was a look that he’d never seen cross his master’s face before. What did those men want?
Elswyth took off his mask. “Sir, who were those men?”
Gondlyn ran an absent-minded hand through his scraggly beard, his pale eyes miles away. When he still didn’t reply, Elswyth dropped his sledgehammer and walked over to tap him on the shoulder, the air getting chillier by the moment.
Gondlyn jumped back as if brought out of trance. “Wha?…Oh, sorry El. Just thinking about the next supply run, and what else I need.”
His master chuckled at himself, but Elswyth wasn’t buying any of it.
“Is everything alright, sir? What do those men want?”
Gondlyn sighed, and he glanced at his office door as the lines of his face deepened. “Nothing you need to worry yourself about. Tell you what, I need to go into the market and pick out a few things. You mind watching the shop until I get back?”
“Of course, Sir.” There were so many questions on Elswyth’s mind, but knew his master wasn’t going to answer a single one of them. He knew he’d have to get any answers on his own.
Gondlyn left in a hurry, and Elswyth waited a few moments after he heard the door close. Sure enough, the man returned in a huff, forgetting his money pouch like usual, and barely nodded a farewell as he left once again.
Now, Elswyth snuck into the back office, and made sure to wipe his darkened hands on his work trousers. Inside, nothing seemed out of place or strewn about; Gondlyn may be scatter-brained here and there, but one thing he always made sure of was that his workplace was tidy without hardly any piece of parchment or tool out of place. Nothing was on his desk, but then again, whatever those men wanted surely wouldn’t be left out in the open. None of the cabinets hid anything out of the ordinary; just a lot of documents keeping records of all transgressions and specific orders from all their clients.
After peeking at everything twice, Elswyth was about to give up when he remembered about the secret compartment right where one was to sit in a chair.
Eyeing the door one last time, Elswyth sat down on the chair he’d crafted for Gondlyn almost a year ago, and pushed the secret compartment open and another stack of parchment lay wrapped between a thick, woven cloth and tied with black twine.
What lay within the wrapping was something Elswyth would never have imagined. He couldn’t believe his master would be a part of something quite like what was drawn out on the pages of parchment, and all the infamous names of noblemen that were somehow involved. This alone could get them all hanged for unspeakable crimes it’d be committing.
Elsywth’s blood ran cold, and his heartbeat was rapid while his hands shook in terror. What should I do? Do I go to the guard? Request the presence of the king? Who else can I trust with this?
Elyswyth shot out of the chair as movement at the door caught his eye. Gondlyn stood there, peering down at the diagrams in his hands. He walked into the office, carefully closing the door and locking it behind him, all the while there was murder in his eyes.
Personally, I was pretty happy with how this daily turned out! The idea popped into my head almost immediately after I read the word “blacksmith” when Danielle sent it to me, and from there, these short stories just flow out of me! Are they any good? I don’t know, no one’s really said much about them or reached out and commented, but whatever! I enjoy doing it, and that’s all that should matter. I’m trying to tell myself that one shouldn’t do anything just to seek out glory, and I’ve always just been someone who needs acknowledgement from others in order to feel happy. I know I will end up being happier if I learn to veer away from that way of thinking
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell