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 The Spirit Blacksmith

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DarkKnightCecil
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PostSubject: The Spirit Blacksmith   Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:44 pm

The heat of the forge intensified as Adrian stoked the flames. His eyes squinted as he gazed into the ashes at the base of the flames. His body was covered in a thin layer of sweat and soot. Adrian reached down grabbing the metal tongs on the ground. Turning the large hunk of metal in the ashes over he shifted it around, covering it in another layer of ashes. When it was coated again in the embers and ashes at the base of the forge he returned to stoking the flames. He was heating the metal from all sides, readying it for the anvil. This was his first day working under his teacher, and he wasn't going to disappoint. He was going to have to be careful if he were going to continue. The spirits this deep in the woods didn't take to most humans, despite the backing he had with the demon's he was working with.

"Don't let that fire get too high boy! Insure that it stays balanced! That is the only way your materials will make what you desire! Blacksmithing is all about balance! Pour your soul into the materials and whatever you forge with them will have your soul as well. That is the way you make a weapon only you can use." called the smith spirit that watched him.

"I heard you! I'll make sure it's balanced." the masked human responded.

"And why the hell do you wear that mask all the time?" the spirit asked.

"It's a long story. Does it matter or should I just keep working this metal?"

"Bah."

With that Adrian picked his tongs up once more. He hauled the block of hot metal over to the anvil near by. His 'master' took the tongs and held the metal in place before picking up a small hammer. Adrian's fingers curled around the handle of a sledge hammer while raising it up. He watched the small hammer strike the anvil before he brought his heavier hammer down on the hot block of metal. He breathed slowly as he followed his master's unspoken directions. It took a lot of repetition to forge anything small, but with what they were making, it was going to take a long time. A few weeks of working from dawn deep into the night. He wasn't expecting much sleep but when he wasn't working on the material he could rest for the part he was currently working on. With his master's help he flattened the block out into a longer thiner piece of metal.

When they were done Adrian took the towel from around his neck and wiped his upper body down. Once that was done he slid it around his neck once more before he sat down to watch his master work. The spirit grabbed a chisel as Adrian held the tongs. Adrian watched him hammer the chisel into the half way marker on the metal. The smith then moved half of the hot material over the edge of the anvil before he began hammering it downward slowly, bending it over the edge of the anvil. Once it was bent, Adrian turned it over. letting the smith finish folding the block. It was once more just a hunk of metal, but after being forged once it was thinner than it had been before.

Taking the material back to the forge Adrian buried it in the coke and ashes before he began pumping the air back into the forge once again.

"So how many times do we do this?" the swordsman asked.

"As many times as it takes to build the metal I want." the spirit responded as he cleaned the hammers. "No no no! Not that fast! Long and slow, boy. It keeps the air flow even with the flames, to keep them from getting to big or too small. That's better..."

Adrian continued the long slow motions the air causing the flames to grow and die with the motions of his arm. The flames of the forge were very important, but not as much as the materials. Folding them was also very important. Folding them made them stronger, though that was only up to a point. It was dependent on the skill of the one making the weapon how many times it could be folded. Legend had it the great blade smith Masamune folded the Honjo Masamune, the blade commonly accepted as "THE" Masamune, one hundred times. But even then nobody knows how it would hold up.

Legend had it the Honjo Masamune was created from a challenged that Masamune received from his apprentice Muramasa. In the legend both blade makers created their greatest weapons and brought them to a river. Each drove the swords into the stream, with the blades facing the currents. Muramasa's blade, the Juuchi Yosamu or ten thousand cold nights, cut everything that passed it's way. Fish, leaves floating down river, twigs, even the very air which blew against it was cut. Masamune's sword however, did nothing. Not a leaf was cut, the fish swam right up to it, and the air hissed as it gently blew by the blade. After a while Muramasa began to scoff at his master's apparent lack of skill and began to belittle him for it. Masamune just smiled to himself, drew his sword, dried it, and sheathed it.

A monk who had been watching the whole ordeal as an impartial judge bowed low to the two sword masters, and gave them his account. The sword that Muramasa crafted was fine by all accounts, a wonderous and sharp blade. However it was a blood thirsty, evil blade, as it didn't discriminate as to who or what it would cut. It was suitable for cutting down butterflies as it was for severing heads. But Masamune's sword was finer, simply because it did not needlessly cut that which was innocent and undeserving. That was the legend that revolved around the 'cursed blade of blood' and the 'blessed blade of heaven'.

Though these days very few people put much into legends. Then again, ever the student of the paranormal and mythological, Adrian would never take them lightly. Most people didn't realize just how true some myths and legends were.

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DarkKnightCecil
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PostSubject: Re: The Spirit Blacksmith   Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:54 pm

Adrian sat beside the forge, pen in hand as he wrote a few things down in the blank pages in the back of his grandmother's journals. His pen worked quickly, filling in the information he felt the next owner would need. And he knew exactly who that next owner was going to be. When he heard his teacher coming he closed the book and pulled the glowing metal bar from the hearth before he moved to the anvil. He let his master take the tongs and he grabbed the sledge hammer he'd be needing for the next few minutes.

"Alright boy, this time you're going to do the same thing once more. We'll fold this bar nine more times and when we're done I begin showing you how you'll make a blade with this metal." the smith head said.

"Whatever you say. I'm here to work the metal like you tell me" the swordsman said as he raised the massive hammer.

He brought the weapon down according to the strikes of his master's hammer, carefully working the material out just like he'd done nearly an hour before. But this time the metal was harder. This was taking more effort. He had to hit harder, but eventually when the metal was too cool they stuck it back into the forge, covering it in the coke and ash. Adrian began pumping the air back through the flames once more. When the fire was roaring mightily he moved to the anvil and wiped it down before taking a cup, dipping it in the near by trough and pouring it across the material. Legend had it that demons used blood to quench the recently made blades. And this sword smith was no different. He poured the blood across the anvil before he put the cup on aside.

"interesting. You've taken to my methods quite well. Most would be concerned with using blood as a quenchant." the smith said, watching his apprentice.

"Blood doesn't bother me. But when I forge my own weapon I'll have to use my own blood." the human said, as he sat down across from his master.

"And why would that matter?"

"Because some believe that blood is where the soul resides. And any weapon I craft I want to be part of myself." he said, watching his teacher.

"An interesting response. I suppose while we wait for that to heat up again I can begin teaching you to make your hilt and scabbard."

Adrian stood with a light grunt, his knee aching as he rose. He moved to the spot his master motioned to and was handed a large femur. He frowned looking at the blood red bone. Shrugging he sat down and began wiping the large bone. It was too big to be a human bone, too round. If he was supposed to use this to create a hilt he would do his best.

"So I'm making a hilt with this? How do I do that after it's been cleaned?" the swordsman asked.

"Not bad. Most wouldn't try to clean it. Ogre bone is a strong material not easily broken. Once you treat it, it becomes all but impossible to break. You could make a very dense weapon with it, but you will instead make it into a handle, and then treat it. You'll stave off using metal to make weapons until this is done, and you are well ready with a wooden one." the master said.

"Why would I make a wooden sword?"

"When you build a wooden sword from various parts you will be able to construct those parts from metal. Then you can put your sword together. All the while you will work on that bone, readying it for use in your final weapon."

"You want me to practice while making the hilt for my real sword?"

"Yes. A swordsman must be imaginative. Must be able to memorize and adapt himself to the battlefield. At the same time he must also be unmovable. Your blade must become an extended limb. It must become PART of your arm and at the same time removable. You're a skilled fighter, but you are not nearly god enough to take on the hordes you think you can. You fight creatures out here that hold back. But even the most skilled fighters can learn lessons from seemingly mundane tasks. Why do you carry water up here from the lake below? Why do we use blood to quench the metal and the anvil? Why must you work with such a weighted hammer?"

"You're helping me with my swordsmanship. Carrying the buckets of water increases my strength. Using a weighted hammer increases the speed of my swing. As for blood... Well I'm not sure about that save that it might have to do with the spirit of what we're making."

"Very good! You're smarter than I gave you credit for. Blood has much to do with the spirit of what we are currently forging. and when this weapon is finished you will be free to begin building your weapon. You will forge it your way, out of whatever material you desire. You will have to think long and hard about what you choose to make it from. And be very careful, least you find yourself with... A weak material. Forge metal and it can get stronger. Fold that metal and it gets even stronger. But you must not overestimate your skill. Fold it too many times and your weapon will becomes so weak that even the dullest of blades will cause it to chip. Choose wisely."

Choose wisely. That was something almost alien to the swordsman. Once if asked he might have called himself someone who could see the lines between right and wrong. But now those lines were gone. There was no right, no wrong. There was just the path ahead and this path had lead him to demons, away from them, and then back into their embrace. Adrian Daren Farenheights existed no more. There was only Fu Leng in his place. His goddess' agent known as Wrath. He had taken his choice when the fork in the road came, and he would not allow himself to look back.

The demon Domen'Yun once warned him that on his journey to accrue power he would be consumed by darkness. Was this what the demon had foreseen? Or was it going to get worse? He could recall the demons words exactly.

"I can see it now, you will seek power. In that quest, darkness will consume you. Do you want to destroy demons, or become one?"

Those words had haunted Adrian since that day. And when training with Juraviel and Sierra he hadn't been as bothered. But ever since meeting the demoness Hild, he found himself haunted once more.

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DarkKnightCecil
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PostSubject: Re: The Spirit Blacksmith   Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:52 pm

Removing the metal a third time the master and apprentice both moved into position. Once more Adrian helped his master hammer out more of the metal. But like before the two of them could only get so much hammered out before they had to stick it back in the coke, ash, and flames. Adrian returned to his duties, pumping the air into the forge, while cleaning and 'treating' the femur his master had given him to work on.

The dark haired male sighed, his eyes closing as he lifted his mask and wiped his face off. Fitting it back into place he went back to polishing the blood red bone, occasionally stopping to pump more air into the forge. It was true a lot of repetition was needed. If it wasn't something you enjoyed doing it could drive you insane. But, like anything else out there, if it was your passion you could do it forever and never get bored.

But when it came to being a blacksmith as much as you try to emulate your teacher you must do things your own way. You have to learn the best way you can. And in Adrian's case he had to learn from experience. He already knew that if he wanted to make an exceptional blade he would need top quality materials. He had read of a metal once, with the beauty and luster of silver, but with a hardness far superior to any metal he'd ever imagined. But then again that likely didn't truely exist. Just another Unobtanium, like Adamantium from the comics. But he knew that metals could be mixed together and that once mixed they could be used to make new metals. So he held out hope. He could always make different blocks of materials and figure out which he would prefer.

Choosing a material to forge a weapon with was just as important as deciding what you were going to make. If you made a sword, you had to be able to make a blade of the desired length. That meant he had to choose wisely yet again. It seemed to him that wisdom was a large requirement for being a spirit blacksmith. Then again his master was only teaching him to make weapons. From what he'd heard he required another person to imbue a weapon with mystical properties. Goranova, a blade made of crystal, and massive spiritual power. It had required a spirit blacksmith and someone with emense knowledge of the Spiritual Arts to construct. But the spirit of the sword was also a requirement. He would have to find something to build into a weapon.

"Master?" the masked apprentice asked.

"What is it boy?" the spirit asked, never droping the guise of the ancient old man.

"How do you construct a weapon like the Sword of Light?" Adrian asked, watching his teacher.

That had surprised the old man. He was sure that the Sword of Light had been lost to humans since Katsuhito Mizuho had stolen it away from it's temple and sealed it in the sacred grove of Hantei. Then again it had gone missing recently and this boy knew of it's existance. But those journals might have made reference. The old man stared at his student long and hard before smiling.

"The Sword of Light required a lot of Jade, mixed with the diamonds used to construct the blade. And ivory for the handle. Thus you have the crystal blade of Goranova, the Sword of Light. Do you know what Goranova means?" the old man asked.

"Isn't it just a name? I don't understand." he asked.

"No. In the language of the Kami, Goranova means Blade of Holy Might. Blessed Blade. An appropriate name for the weapon created to destroy the Goddess, don't you think?"

"Destroy the Goddess? Does that mean that when Goranova was removed, she was released back into this world?"

"I can't honestly say. She may have never even encountered it. But that weapon was created to kill her and her minions."

"And the Katsuhito clan made it?"

"They comissioned it and supplied the necessary materials to create it. You see when it comes to demons and spirits two key factors can deal massive damage to them. Jade is a holy, blessed material that if treated right, can kill Oni faster than any other. But Obsidian is the corrupted form of Jade. And when treated properly it can destroy Kami. In this world there are many things that people don't believe in. And because of that most of the ancient ways have been lost to mankind. Demons know well how to treat Obsidian. It's said that the Devil's teardrop holds minor bits of Jade within it. Thus allowing you to poison the Kami that are struck by it. Had it been made like Goranova then it would do the exact same to Kami that the Sword of Light does to Oni."

"You created Goranova, yet you constructed nothing to defend our Goddess?"

"It was a craftsman far superior to myself who created it. But I knew of it's creation. And I knew of it's power. But if a Katsuhito created a blade to destroy the Goddess, then you my boy will learn to create a weapon to defend her. That is why I am training you. Your skills here will increase your swordsmanship and fighting abilities. But you must become her defender too."

"The Goddess needs no defending."

"If Goranova is out there then we have to find a way to defeat it! It cannot be used against her or everything she is will be just as vulnerable as a human is to a bomb! If we had it on our side we wouldn't have to make something to destroy it. But you must make something that can at least counteract it's power!"

"It's a weapon nearly as ancient as the Goddess herself! How can I construct anything that powerful?"

"You are above the vast majority of humans! Even among the sacred hunters few are capable of matching your skill with a sword! You have only to balance out the rest of your body and you will be unstopable! But you must master yourself before you can master anything else!"

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