Chapter 10: Maxxar Karsus Part 1
The steam quickly rises off the boiling sword as it’s placed in water to cool it off. The steam fills my smith replacing all the air. The steam rolls up under my storefront thatched roof making it look like the smoke came from inside my house.
I cough as I walk back to place the sword on a wooden bench just two lengths away from the cooling station.
The sword is on a brown bench that holds three daggers, each made of steel.
The blade itself is another masterpiece I’ve made, while the daggers are just generic. The sword shines a light purple in the sunlight. The metal used is a unique metal found only in Caleria. It’s called Ksarcan, a metal that is easily moulded, but once finished with is extremely strong in durability. I make all weapons ordered by nobles out of this steel as it can be used to personalise a weapon. I used some purple dust in the process of making the blade. When Ksarcan is fused with a special dust, it shines that colour when the weapon is shining typically from sunlight. It’s a small addition that makes a weapon special.
This sword itself is meant for the son of House Karsar, Helix. He wanted a single edged blade that holds the Karsar symbol, a clenched fist, as it’s pommel. This House symbol being the pummel is a trend among nobles that began in the current heir’s parents generation.
“That’s quite a nice blade you have there, sir,” says a loud, proud voice in front of me.
I look up to see a man dressed like a General, in glamorous silver armour with a blue scarf tied loosely at the neck allowing much length to fly in the wind. This would be Lieutenant Huxley Parker, the right-hand man for General Ricker.
“Why thank you, Lieutenant Parker,” I say with gratification.
“I was wondering if I’d be able to purchase a new blade from you?”
“Well I typically do custom swords, the only massed produced weapon I make is these knives,” I say as I lift up one of the three steel knives.
“Well, I was hoping for a custom blade, how about that?”
“Oh okay, sir, sorry I didn’t realise. What would you be exactly looking for?”
“Single-edge, Ksarcan steel, straight blade and give it a blueish shine, my family’s colours are blue.”
“That shouldn’t be too hard. I would assume the pommel will be your family’s symbol.”
“Oh no, that won’t be necessary. I’m don’t particularly like the look of those pommels.”
“Well, that shouldn’t be a problem then. I charge half the cost now and you pay the other half when you pick it up. If that is ok?”
“That’s fine, how much will I be paying today?”
“A custom blade of that rough description will cost around 1600 Kals.”
“Alright here is 800 then,” says the high ranking soldier as he chucks a small coin purse onto the bench.
The coins inside clink as they land.
I pick up the coin purse and open it to examine the amount given to me. I count each coin, counting each individual cost of the coins. Kals is the basic name of a coin in Caleria. But coins may be worth more making them worth more Kals. The most valuable Kal coin is worth 100 Kals. It appears that each of these coins is worth 50 Kals, and there’s sixteen of them. Therefore, he has made the half cost cut.
“Ok, I’ll get started on your sword tomorrow, sir. I like to give a day thinking about how I’ll approach each blade.”
“Very well, when should I come back to collect?”
“I would say about a full week. But if it’s finished earlier, I’ll send you a letter to notify you of its completion and you may come anytime to pick it up.”
“Ok sounds good. See you then, blacksmith.”
“Goodbye, sir” I reply.
I watch the Lieutenant walk off down the street, presumably towards the military compound.
I crouch down to grab some leather straps in a wooden box under the store bench. The crate has leather straps filled to the top as I bulk buy them to save costs.
Once I’ve grabbed a few, I push myself back up.
The Kallise Strip is busy as usual as it’s the first day of the weekend, Karshday, and all the out of city traders have come in to sell their products. The streets are uniquely busy because yesterday was quite the event with an all-out battle between Rachkers and rebels, however, there are just as many people on the streets as there is any other weekend.
Many shops in Rigtal suffer from the weekend because they can’t compete with the low prices of traders. I’m only able to survive because I build specialised and personalised weapons for customers. The mass produced knives I build are built from leftover materials from other projects. I sell them either to the army or to traders, sometimes the odd Midzar. My father and mother use to own this blacksmith store, but I had to take the helm when they were horribly killed in an accident involved with some drunken Rackers.
I begin to wrap the leather straps tightly around the steel handle. The hilt is one of the most important parts of making a sword. Some might even say it’s the most important part. If a hilt can’t allow comfortable wielding of the blade then a fighter can’t be expected to fight with the sword effectively.
I have fine-tuned the process of making a sword where it’s second nature to me. A whole 43 years, I have been a blacksmith running my own store. I learnt from my father as did he from his father. Blacksmithing is in my blood, it was all my father knew. Now I run my father’s business, the Karsus Smithery. I had hoped for an heir to take control of the store by now, but my wife and only child died due to unfortunate circumstances.
Once finished with the hilt of the blade I take it over to the sheath I had built for it that is placed next to the grindstone wheel.
I pick up the sheath, which is a steel sheath with parts along the middle that are oak. The steel is more of a frame for the oakwood, there are three separate oak pieces shaped like a triangle each getting smaller the further down to the pointed end it gets.
I slide the sword into the sheath and walk over to my front door.
The front door is a bit rugged for many decades of use, opening and closing. The door is made of a similar oak wood as is found in the sword’s sheath that I’m holding.
I open the door to enter my two storey house. Inside is a large long bench on my left, starting at my door going straight to the other end of the house. It contains many different tools and other projects that I have been working on. It’s covered in grey dust, making it difficult to notice that the bench is made of steel framing and a timber wood bench top. Across from the bench is another bench, but not as big in size. This one is about a length wide and is my desk for matters such as writing letters to customers, making lists for materials and other business-related tasks that involve writing. There are windows in the back wall right at the top of the walls and a milli-length under the ceiling. These windows allow for the room to become a bright scene where I can work all day inside without needing any lighting. However, during the night, dawn and dusk of a day it becomes too dark to safely walk around without walking into or over something that could hurt you. It smells of dust and dirt in the air, signs that this room is only used for storage and basic work, no need for anyone else to enter this house.
I place the sheathed sword on the end of the bench and close the door behind me. I don’t have to worry about any thieves stealing my gear outside because I live in a relatively safe area of Rigtal.
I walk over to the other side of my house to reach my business desk, where I have an oil lamp that will provide some light for me to light the other lamps inside. I traverse past my cushioned chair that sits in the middle of the room and over a hammer left on the floor.
I approach my desk and glide my fingers along the top bench, feeling along the stained wood. I can feel lines of cracks in the bench that have made tiny valleys in the bench.
When I finally find my portable oil lamp, I grab the flint and steel that sits beside it. I swipe the steel down the pointed at the candle that is placed inside the lamp. After much swiping and fiddling around the flint and steel, I finally manage to set alight the candle. The idea is that normally once a lit the candle would eventually melt the candle down, but in this lamp’s case, the special oil seeps into the candle keeping the flame a lit while the candle melts at a much slower rate because the oil is “maintaining” it. That is the most basic understanding of how this candle works, but it has been effective so far so I keep buying them.
I pick up the lamp in my right hand and turn around to find a head popping up above my chain. Someone is sitting in my chair.
I step backwards forgetting my desk is right behind me and accidentally trip over it, dropping the lamp on the ground.
I taste the dirt on the ground in my mouth as it turns to paste from my saliva.
I quickly get back on my feet and grab the lamp which thankfully didn’t go out.
“Hello Maxxar, how’s the shop been going?” the voice calls out in a strained and pained voice.
I recognise the voice so I respond with “well it’s been going well, Mechal”
“That’s good to hear. Sorry to come crashing into your house, but I kind of had no choice.”
I begin to walk around the chair to face Mechal.
“Just saying a letter ahead of time would’ve been nice or even approaching me would’ve worked,” I say with a smile on my face.
“Yeah I guess that’s true, but I’m not really in the best condition to be seen by others,” Mechal says with a chuckle.
I don’t make any response until I am right in front of him.
I hold up my lamp to see the man sitting in my chair. Once the light illuminates his figure, I gasp with fear, he’s been injured.
His dark-skinned face is covered in blood stained cuts, all different sizes and directions. Mechal is grasping his right upper arm with his left hand holding it tightly. His robes and coat are covered in dirt, the white colour of his robes, in particular, have changed to a light brown from their dirtiness. The only area on the robes that aren’t brown from dirt is his right arm which has turned a dark red from the blood flowing into the fabric. The black coat has been thrown over the right chair arm. He’s thrown his hood back off his head so that I can identify his face, which has a recovering scar on his right cheek. He’s taken his boots off and placed them next to the chair on his left, I can see mud and leaves stuck on the bottom of the soles of the shoes. Mechal has placed the sword he typically has attached to his back in between his legs which are lazily spread out, however, I wouldn’t be complaining due to the current situation.
“All my gods, Mechal are you alright, I’ll go get my medicine kit” I exclaim worried for my dear friend.
Before Mechal could even respond, I run off to the workbench.
I hold my medicine kit under the bench at the furthest point at the wall.
Once I reach the end of the bench, I drop myself down on my knees holding the lamp under the bench to reveal the location of where I last put my kit.
I find it sitting against the front wall behind a small pile of dusty steel ingots.
I push aside the ingots carefully trying not to accidentally push them off the under bench area.
I grab the handle on the kit and wreath it out from under the dust-covered workbench. I cough from a large cloud of dust and dirt that came with the kit.
I jump up and run back over to my hurting friend.
Mechal has been my friend for quite some time now, about 35 years this year. We met when he asked me to build him his first sword when he was 14 years old, I was 32. I asked why he wanted me to make his sword since his House’s sector was smithing some of the most elegant swords the world has ever seen, along with building mass-produced weapons for the army.