16 The Blacksmith’s Shop

The starlit night was in glorious flourish as they crossed the drawbridge. Malachi shivered despite his warm traveling cloak. Twombly, Brego and the rest of the guards all passed out of the palace torchlight and into the very faint shadows which stars will produce.

“Now, here’s where we stop,” whispered Malachi. “Just let Scrapper go on. He knows what to do.” Then, turning to Scrapper, he said, “take us to Duman one block at a time.”

The little dog moved off like a tiny shadow into the darkness. Thankfully, Malachi’s eyes had adjusted just enough to see the dog one block away. He could see the profile when Scrapper stopped, turned, and raised one paw.

“You see? That means there are no enemies and you can proceed for the next block.”

“Ingenious!” replied Twombly.

“You don’t keep the street lamps lit?” asked Malachi.

“The King has a general curfew of 10 PM. It saves oil. But some people stay up into the night working when they have to.”

In the middle of the fifth block, they were beginning to reach a level area closer to the Cathedral. There were some lights on and they could hear a dull rhythmic ‘thud’ here. Scrapper was paused in front of this light as if questioning.

“That will be the Smithy,” said Twombly. “They often must work into the night to finish a set of horseshoes or iron wheels.”

“Good boy,” said Malachi out loud. “Wait for us.”

Brego knocked on the door of the Smithy. A young boy answered. “We’re on the King’s business, is the proprietor in?” he said.

The boy disappeared into the glow of fires and dull ring of hammers from within. When he reappeared, he came with a tall thin man wearing a leather apron.

“Good evening John, sorry to pull you from your work,” said Brego. He then began to speak in hushed tones.

The little boy had come back out and was smiling at Malachi. For a moment, Malachi was shy, but then he remembered that it would be good to have friends in this world. He plucked up his courage. “I’m called Malachi,” he said holding out his hand. The boy gripped it firmly in a sooty, but strong grip and said, “I’m Jeremy. May I look at your sword?”

Malachi took his whole belt off, not wanting to draw the sword or give the wrong impression. Jeremy examined the hilt and then slowly drew it from the sheath. He gave an involuntary gasp and exclaimed, “I’ve never held a real Ramfaya sword!” The blade picked up the red glow coming from the blacksmith shop and the starlight. But it also had a glow from within.

“Could you turn a little bit?” Asked Malachi. “I’m trying to see if it is glowing from within.” As Jeremy turned, it became obvious that the blade had a red glow from the inside. Enemies. And not too far away. Malachi carefully began to train his eyes up and down the street. He noticed also that scrapper was very attentive. He looked in the direction scrapper’s ears had perked, but saw nothing.

Brego had finished speaking with John, so Malachi showed his sword. Twombly immediately came over. “The Ramfaya blade is glowing, Sir,” said Brego.

“Continue on down to the river with nine men, “ said Twombly. “I want one more to come with me. Malachi, I regret to have to escort you back to the castle. We may discover something of use on the way it seems.” Turning to the blacksmith, he said, “Goodnight John. Perhaps you could spare the lad to keep an eye on the street.”

“Will do Sir,” he said putting a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder.

“Thank you Malachi for teaching us Scrapper’s abilities,” continued Twombly. “May I try the next command?”

Malachi smiled and gestured toward the dog.

“Continue toward Duman, boy! Go!” said Twombly, mimicking Malachi’s tone with the dog. Scrapper sped off toward the river.

Jeremy handed the sword back to Malachi. “Come visit soon,” he said.

Malachi had always wanted to see a blacksmith shop.

By the time Malachi and Twombly arrived back at the Palace, the glow in Malachi’s sword was even stronger. A red glow meant enemies who were human. As they approached the drawbridge, suddenly they heard voices:

“Sir I’m sure you know the King’s rules. No one is to come into the Palace after curfew unless he’s been authorized,” said the guard at the drawbridge. “We have beds in the keep down here. There is water for washing and food.”

“Why should one of the Kings counselors be denied his Palace chamber?” said Rasha in a plaintive voice.

Malachi began to put two and two together: perhaps Rasha was holding Duman down by the river.

Twombly gently pulled Malachi by the shoulder out of the line of sight and away from the drawbridge, finding a bench in one of the Palace Gardens. They could still hear Rasha arguing with the guards.

“Do you think he’s the troublemaker?” whispered Malachi.

“We’ve trusted him at times. Sometimes he has had useful information about the policies of other kingdoms,” whispered Twombly.

“Do you think he has come here from the river to take the stone from my sister if he was admitted to the Palace?” whispered Malachi.

“Ahh, well we shall see what the men turn up regarding Duman. Meanwhile, you and I must remain hidden here until Rasha is out of sight and hearing in the keep.”

Malachi was feeling quite comfortable with Twombly now so he began to ask questions. “Why do you suppose Rasha wants to steal the Patternstone? I mean, what would he do with it?”

“That question, I think I can answer to some degree,” said Twombly. “I think he would simply want to hide it. Bury it beyond hope of recovery. The thing is, the Patternstone reminds everyone in highpattern of the way God made the world and how we are supposed to live in it. If Chaozz the Black and his servants can cause us to forget these patterns, well, we would forget God and live for pleasure and money. The rhythms or patterns of our life would tend toward isolation from one another. Simple things– like having all the people work six days and rest for one– create a basis for being together, feasting together and worshiping together.

Malachi overslept. He woke to the quiet sounds of Twombly opening the curtains for daylight and setting down a pile of breaches and tunics which had been prepared for Malachi by the Palace seamstresses.

“Well young master, seems you are beginning to sleep soundly in our world!” Twombly said, eyeing him with a grin.

“What happened to Duman?” he said, rubbing his eyes.

“Apparently, Scrapper led the guards right to him. Brego thought he saw some men fleeing across the river in a skiff. That crossbow bolt grazed his shoulder, but I think he’ll be fine. At least we know who one of our enemies is and we have him in the keep!”

“I knew it,” said Malachi. “Rasha. I thought sure he would obtain entrance.”

“This is where the King’s strict discipline pays off,” said Twombly. “Many people of tried to bribe the Palace guards or reason with them, but they never give in. When Rasha kept trying to attain admittance, the only thing he really succeeded in doing was getting himself led to the keep by six guards who were immediately alerted when Garth whistled.”

“But the other men, they got away across the river.”

“Yes, we don’t know what their relationship is to Chaozz the Black, but we suspect they will continue to try to obtain the Patternstone.”

“Where is Martha?” Said Malachi. He realized how long he had been away from his sisters.

“I suspect they are taking lessons with Labesh or Miriam. They’ve been getting lessons in Highpattern history and other things.”

“Miriam? Is she getting better?”

“Yes, thankfully she is recovering from her injuries. How would you like to go meet Jeremy today?”

“At the blacksmith shop? Yes, very much!” said Malachi.

“We cannot wait too many more days before you begin the pilgrimage. Chaozz will be expecting us to head straight for the Cathedral at Sarbad. We will have to fool him by going over the mountains to Phesus. Would you like it if Jeremy came on the pilgrimage?”

“He could come?”

“Yes, the party will have at least 15 people. Jeremy, young as he is, is an expert Ferrier. When the donkeys cross the mountains, they will need to have their hooves maintained. Also, he will be able to maintain our armor and equipment. We were thinking that Jeremy could teach you some of his skills.”

Within an hour, they had breakfasted and Twombly was leading Malachi and his sisters back into the village.

This particular morning, after breakfast near the kitchens with Molly, Twombly met them: “Molly, it would be good for you to come along today. Have you asked your parents?”

“Yes, sir,” said Molly. “They are aware of the risks involved, but they have always been missions minded. You know they are strong supporters when it comes to establishing the patterns.”

“The risk shouldn’t be too great today,” said Twombly with a meaningful look at Malachi. “Malachi and scrapper were rather heroic last night helping us to find the bad egg in the dozen as they say. So, let’s be off to the Armory.”

“I thought we were going to keep up our disguise as produce vendors,” said Martha.

Malachi piped in, “he’s taking us to see Jeremy. We met in last night when we were going to get Duman. He works in a blacksmith shop.”

“And that is why are going to dress you in combat leathers,” said Twombly. “It’s the layer of leather that goes under chain mail. This will allow you to work in the blacksmith shop safely without getting burned. It’s possible we could even find some leather gloves in the Armory. I’ve instructed Bartholomew to dig up what he can. Molly, can you take us by the back passage?”

Molly looked up at Twombly startled “yes… Sir, well, umm…,” she trailed off.

“Curiosity is to be expected for those who work in this Palace,” said Twombly with a knowing look. “But I guess you would like to get past trap door at the top of the first set of spiral stairs.”

The companions went to the back of the kitchen and through another door. Twombly placed the key in the latch. “These spiral stairs connect with every important thing that a soldier would need,” he said. “If we go down, we will come to the stables. But now we are going up, where we will come to the Armory next. Above that, the Council chamber leading to sleeping quarters for the guards. At a moments notice, the guard could be woken up, receive instructions, get his gear from the Armory, a bag packed with food from the kitchen, get on his horse, and head for the drawbridge. Do you see how it works?”

After they had gone out, he turned another key, which led to

This particular morning, Twombly met them during breakfast. There was a large dining area for employees near the kitchens. Molly had already joined them, after cooking the eggs.

” Are there enough eggs for breakfast eater like myself?” Asked Twombly with a grin. Molly got up to throw some more on the grill when Twombly asked, “Molly, would you like to come along today? Have you mentioned the possibility to your parents?”

“Yes, sir,” said Molly. “They are aware of the risks involved, but they have always been missions minded. You know they are strong supporters when it comes to establishing the patterns.”

“The risk shouldn’t be too great today,” said Twombly with a meaningful look at Malachi. “Malachi and scrapper were rather heroic last night helping us to find the bad egg in the dozen as they say. So, let’s be off to the Armory.”

“I thought we were going to keep up our disguise as produce vendors,” said Martha.

Malachi piped in, “he’s taking us to see Jeremy, the boy who works in the blacksmith shop. We met him last night when we were going to find Duman.

“We are going to dress you in combat leathers,” said Twombly. “It’s the layer of leather that goes under chain mail. Your Palace produce uniforms can go over the leathers for now. Leathers will allow you to work in the blacksmith shop safely without getting burned. It’s possible we could even find some leather gloves in the Armory. I’ve instructed Bartholomew to dig up what he can. Molly, do you know where the back passage is?”

“Right this way,” said Molly, forgetting for the moment that she wasn’t supposed to know where the guard passages were. She looked up at Twombly with a guilty expression: “yes… Sir, well, umm…,” she trailed off.

“Curiosity is to be expected for those who work in this Palace,” said Twombly with a knowing look. “But I guess you might like to get past trap door at the top of the first set of spiral stairs and see where it leads?”

“Yes, sir!” said Molly.

The companions went to the back of the kitchen and through another door. Twombly placed the key in the latch. “These spiral stairs connect with every important thing that a soldier would need,” he said. “If we go down, we will come to the stables. But now we are going up, where we will come to the Armory next. Above that is the Council chamber leading to sleeping quarters for the guards. At a moments notice, a particular guard could be woken up, receive instructions, get his gear from the Armory, a bag packed with food from the kitchen, get on his horse, and head for the drawbridge. Do you see how it works?”

“Why do you use spiral stairs?” asked Mercy.

“They can be defended easily by a right-handed man coming down the stairs. If the Palace were really breached, they would still give our men the advantage.

After they had gone up, he turned another key, which led into the alcove where the Armory was. This time, however, their outfits were laid out for them: leather tunics and breaches. These felt heavy and warm against their skin.

Twombly helped them fasten the various ties and buttons. “Eventually, the leather will form to your body,” he said. “You will need the leathers for riding the ponies and staying warm in the mountains. Eventually, wearing chain mail if we can find enough. Today, just leathers.”

When the girls came out of the shield maiden Armory, they met Miriam. “Miriam!” Exclaimed Mercy and Martha.

“Yes,” she said, “I wouldn’t want to pass on the chance to remind you two to keep up diplomatic face and bearing! Besides, I love the blacksmith trade.”

“Are you completely healed?” asked Mercy.

“I’m not 100% yet, but I would enjoy moving around. Glad to see the seamstresses have stitched your leathers in such a short time.”

Twombly waved them all down the spiral stairs again. This time they descended two flights. They passed the door to the kitchen and continued to the next level down. As soon as Twombly opened this door, the smell of hay and animals met their nose. A short tunnel led them into the stables. Waiting for them was Brego. He began by setting Malachi on a small pony.

“Can you fit your legs around his belly my lad?”

Malachi’s knees were pulling in his feet could not reach the stirrups. Brego made a few adjustments, but then lifted him off.

“I have one smaller pony, but I’m concerned. He may not be stout enough for the journey,” said Brego. You will have to give your bags to another young master.” His name is Little Thunder.

Brego had Malachi lift his leg. It barely reach the stirrups, but Brego had attached a sturdy piece of rope to the pommel which enabled Malachi to pull himself up.

Meanwhile, Martha was already stroking a pony. It’s big eyes were so beautiful. Martha was mesmerized.

“Looks like he’s for you, Missy,” said Brego, throwing a saddle on the pony and offering Martha his hand. She easily straddled the black pony.

“What’s his name,” she asked, straddling it’s saddle a little shaky with excitement.

“Jack. A more nimble footed youngster you will not find. We breed our mountain ponies for character as much as muscle,” he said with a wink.

“Black Jack,” said Martha, petting his neck and scratching his ears. “You and I are going to get to know one another.”

Molly and Mercy were each given ponies further down the stable. There were only about 20 ponies and these were at the back. Light and air came from one side of the room only which was on the Palace wall. Brego patted them and said, “these have been raised in the mountains. They will not throw you, but they are not used to many of the rigors they are likely to encounter on the journey. Teach them well!”

Mercy and Molly looked at each other. They had become chatty friends in a very short time. The idea of having to spend time training ponies together was quite appealing.

There was a small yard within the keep for the exercise of the ponies and horses. “Twice around the yard for each of you before we head down to Market Street,” said Brego.

The ponies had been so well-trained that sitting on their saddles was easy. Soon they were headed for the drawbridge. Just inside the keep, they met Duman. His arm was bandaged, but he looked well enough.

“Take Scrapper with you,” he said. Rasha may not be the only spy lurking around.”

“Aren’t you coming?” Said Malachi.

“I’ll see you at the Council tonight,” he replied. “Tonight we debate how to get the Patternstone to the next Cathedral. I suspect it will be full of challenging questions. I shall rest and bathe my wound. You look natural on a pony,” he said to Malachi petting

They pulled their produce vending outfits over the leathers, practiced mounting again, and started forward.

The sheer weight of the chains of the drawbridge and the muscle needed to lower the heavy planks were impressive. The ponies went across single file beyond the drawbridge there were gates leading to the city. He said already been opened for the day. Smiles could be seen on the faces of the Palace guards as they proceeded out.

The road from the Palace immediately curved to the left because of the steepness of the slope. The houses along this Main Street were ornately decorated, being owned by nobility and well maintained. Their turrets held flags which were waving in the breeze. Occasionally, servants and the nobles themselves could be seen in windows and on balconies.

The produce cart had been attached to Molly’s pony to make things look as “usual” as possible. Perhaps some of the nobles guessed that there were new faces in the crowd, but none stirred.

Approximately 3 blocks down from the Palace, they reached the second set of gates leading to the market area. The slope of the Hillside had become very moderate. The first shops were bakeries, butchers and produce stands which sold to the nobility.

Scrapper’s ears were keenly listening as he sniffed and snooted around, ready for any sign of unfriendly eyes upon the children. At Miriam’s admonition, they had remained quiet and attentive as they rode with no talking.

“You will have to get used to knowing when you can talk safely and when you can’t,” she had said at the drawbridge.

Malachi remembered the blacksmith shop from the night before. This morning, however, he heard the ring of many hammers and felt a tremendous movement of warm air coming from the shop. It took up nearly half a city block and several horses were tethered it stalls which took up the other side of the block.

As they tethered their ponies, Jeremy came out to greet them. He brought carrots and oats. The ponies were very contented and seemed to know exactly where they were.

As Jeremy took them inside, he began an excited dialogue explaining to them the various duties of the smithy. Immediately adjacent to the tethering posts were hundreds of various types of horseshoes.

“Your ponies will need shoes, especially if they attempt any mountain passes. Ponies hooves grow extremely fast, so they will require trimming and refitting at regular intervals.”

“What are these?” asked Martha.

“They are the rings for your bridal ropes, stirrups and bits I’ve been experimenting with different size bits, and of course Malachi’s stirrups are a special order. I mean no disrespect to your size.”

“Well, at least my pony won’t be overburdened,” said Malachi.

Jeremy led them past the room devoted to horses into a room which was devoted to armor. One corner contained many boxes full of little rings.

“This is what I spend the most time doing,” said Jeremy. He showed them some of his fellow smiths who were banging out ribbons of steel to be made into rings. “Chain mail takes a long time to put together. But it really is a lot more comfortable to wear than plate armor. Also, the freedom of movement is important.”

Finally, Jeremy led them into his own little room. “My dad owns the place, and he’s given me this room for experimentation.” The room was filled with ropes and pulleys, a table with drawings, spears, swords, funny looking helmets and even prototypes for new wheel designs.

He held out rope and pulley system. “I think these will be very handy in the mountains,” he said.

“Can I try this on?” said Martha. She had been intrigued by a harness made of leather and iron rings.

“Sure,” said Jeremy. “You see, if you put that on and then hook up that wheel, you can basically fly when you stretch a rope between two points. Just step into it this way…” He showed them all out to take it off and put it on quickly. “These clamps allow you to descend or ascend a little at a time. That’s the trick: it’s one thing to have a rope, but you need a way to pull yourself up or let yourself down slowly and safely.”

“Cool! I’m so glad you’re coming on this journey,” said Martha. “From what I’ve heard, we can’t just take the main roads.”

“Cool? What do you mean?”

“Oh, that’s what we say when something is really interesting.”

“Well then, yes, I agree, cool!” said Jeremy. “Let me show you guys somethin’ else.”

At the far corner of the room, there was a closet of sorts. It contained trowels, pics and shovels, along with pieces of bone and stones.

“There’s caves up in the mountains. A long time ago, more people used to live up there. I found all this stuff, and there’s lots more in those caves.”

“Jeremy?” Said a voice from the far side of the room.

“Yes, Dad,” Jeremy motioned the others to come with him back to where his father and Miriam were speaking.

“Son, we’re invited to the Palace tomorrow night. I have accepted the invitation. It seems they may want your rope and Ferrier skills for the pilgrimage,” John was beaming. “My son the service of the King!”

Jeremy gave his father a big hug and began to cry on his shoulder.

 

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About tubalschrift

https://highpattern.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/chapter-1/ I have five kids from 6 to 25, and so I try to review most of what they're reading and guide their reading in the right direction. Being a minister, I like to consider anything that relates to the Bible and history and I am particularly interested in the Hebrew Old Testament as a specialty. The children's literature I'm trying to write will involve biblical patterns as to how God made the world with time for feasting, festivity and music. I model my characters on my children and children I know. I am a musician, accompanying the music at our church with a 12 string guitar and my daughter plunking out the melody on piano. I am trying to read broadly in order to interact with the culture: this website has been very good for that broadening process. I have to be honest that I do enjoy the social interaction, but I hold myself honorable and faithful to my wife who is always an inspiration and a blessing. Thanks to all who help me to cultivate my mind!
This entry was posted in fiction, children's fiction, epic, character, swords, dresses. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 16 The Blacksmith’s Shop

  1. Millie says:

    Awesome!

  2. Michael Jones says:

    So, Millie, you like the idea? We haven’t actually got blacksmith shop yet, but over the next couple days.

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