Greyplanes was still bustling with activity when Fin had come back from chasing the thief. Besides ‘Garrad’s General Goods’ many other shops in the town were experiencing a surge of business. Townspeople stood by and watched the visitors, some in horror but most in intrigue. Fin wondered whether they had been warned of the Trials coming to this small town, or if they were in the dark as much as the competitors were.
Fin made his way back to the general good store and was immediately greeted by Garrad, “Did you catch the thieving scoundrel?”
Fin thought for a moment, he couldn’t very well say that he had let him go after taking pity on him, “He got away.”
“He?” Garrad clamped his hands to his sides, “The rascal was completely cloaked, so unless-”
“I could tell by the way they ran.” Fin interrupted, “If I had known the layout of the town more I could have caught them, must be a local.”
Garrad glared for a few uncomfortable seconds before giving a firm nod, “Makes sense.” He turned to go back into the store but paused and retrieved a small pouch from his apron. “Here,” he said tossing the sac at Fin, “For your trouble.” He didn’t wait to see if Fin caught the bag, instead withdrawing to his shop.
“You let him go didn’t you?” Whispered a voice beside Fin.
He turned his gaze to see Edmin beaming next to him, “How do you figure?”
“For the same reason you partnered up with me. You are lead along by your kindness.”
“I don’t know about that.” Fin said looking away.
Edmin just gave a firm nod, “It’s your fate string. Follow it and you’ll never be far from your destiny.”
“I’m not even going to pretend to understand you this time. Did you get your half of the supplies I wrote down?” he said trying to change the subject.
“Besides, you were gaining on them - I’ve never seen anyone run that fast before - I reckon you caught up to them in the planes. And yes,” Edmin held up a sackcloth bag, “I even finished getting your half of the list, you dropped it when you ran off.”
Fin smiled, “How much do I owe you?”
“I had enough, to the exact Sovren, fate again. How about we check out the blacksmiths?”
The two made their way to the blacksmith at Edmin’s request. This shop wasn’t as polished as the rest of the town, metal in the form of both armor and weapons lined the walls, as well as piling in corners and bench tops. Fin smiled, his father was a blacksmith - among other things. The clanging of the smiths hammer against a hot strip of metal on a sturdy anvil was familiar and calming to him. Along with the hiss of heated metal as it was plunged into water, which brought memories of him sitting on a bench top listening to his father describe the forging of the very world they lived in.
Those who came before had forged everything in it just as a blacksmith could forge tools. The world’s forging was deliberate - but mystery surrounded the purpose of those First-Forgers. The world was named Anveil, in honor of the anvil on which it was formed - and the veil of mystery that concealed these beings. Every magic blood-line could be traced back to the forging of Anveil, the Pyrekin’s represent the fire that heated the forge and so burn bright with power to rule. The Magesmiths who represent the hammer that forged all things, are able to create objects of magic,
“Fin?” Edmin brought Fin back to the present. Edmin was holding a suit of armor, it had solid plates of steel over the torso - where the wearer’s vitals would be - as well as over the forearms, thighs and shins. The rest was chain mail to help with mobility. The helm that Edmin held under his arm appeared to have large tusks fixed under the visor. The chest piece also had an insignia of a feral boar with what looked like a tree in it’s mighty tusks.
“That set was crafted after I had a run in with one of the Dire Boars that roam the woods not far from here.” The blacksmith had stopped his work, either to convince the boys to purchase one of his pieces - or make sure they weren’t going to steal anything.
“They inspired you?” Edmin asked.
“They inspired me to stay away from those tusks, and smith some armor that could protect the wearer from a fate such as goring.”
“Are you saying that this armor can withstand a charging Dire Boar?” Fin was doubtful, it looked sturdy, but the piece wasn’t very thick.
“Actually the armor would withstand a blow like that, the wearer however would still suffer traumatic internal injuries.”
“Then what’s the point of the armor?” Edmin asked. Fin winced, he knew better than to criticize a craftsman's work.
“The point, young sir, is if you encounter the Dire Boar as your foe, this armor will provide the mobility to avoid the charging beast. If the boar sees you, it becomes enraged and lines up it’s charge. Once it builds up momentum there isn’t much that can stop it, fortunately the creature struggles to change it’s course once it has begun to charge.”
“How would you combat a Dire Boar?” Fin asked, already feeling the fire in his veins telling him to hunt one, even if it wasn’t the designated prey for the first trial.
The blacksmith furrowed his sweaty brow in thought. Fin took the time to study the man, he wore similar garments to what he remembered his father wearing, a leather apron, loose but thick trousers and a rough cloth shirt. He also wore gloves that looked thick enough to absorb much of the impact of the constant hammering his craft required. Fin wondered if he used any Magesmithed equipment to aid in his tasks, but remembered his father’s disdain for the magic objects that ‘detracted from the craft and therefore the end result’ - this wasn’t true of course but many purists held the same opinion.
“Once you have avoided the charging Dire Boar,” the blacksmith finally replied, “Getting in close to the beast will prevent it from charging again, it will leave you dangerously close to those tusks however. Your best bet would be to strike at one of it’s weak spots like the eye, neck or the roof of it’s mouth.”
“Wouldn’t a boar that size easily be able to bit through a human arm?” Fin asked, wondering if his constant questions were frustrating the smith yet.
“Not if you have these.” The blacksmith circled one of the benches heaped with assorted axes and maces. From a cleared space on the bench top he picked up a set of gauntlets. They were crafted of a dark metal that Fin had never seen before. “I only have one set, the materials are hard to come by.”
Fin leaned closer and examined the gauntlets, he didn’t have trouble believing the smith. They looked sturdy enough to withstand anything anything Anveil’s wild creatures could throw at them.
“We’ll take two sets of the armor and those gauntlets.” Edmin said.
Fin turned sharply to his hunting partner, “We don’t even know if we have enough for all of that.”
“There’s a sale on for White Stag Trial participants.” The blacksmith offered.
“With the money you got from the store owner and from Emberden you will have the perfect amount, I’m sure of it.” Edmin beamed like only he could.
Fin emptied both pouches onto a mostly clear bench, “I have fifty Sovrens.”
The blacksmith nodded, “Your friend was right, fifty will do just fine.”
“But we’ll have nothing left over.” Fin felt a dull ache in his gut.
“We’ll be alright Fin, this is our destiny.” Edmin said confidently.
Fin couldn’t help but believe him, even if he wasn’t buying into this fate and destiny business. “Would you help us get into the armor as well?”
“Of course.” The smith smiled, sweeping the Sovrens into the pocket of his leather apron with one of his strong forearms.