In the dark mirrorrealm of Kigan, Awarth, in the lands of Blackrise Surtmuilim, in particular in the Shatterlands Ghochran and within the region of Fasil-Yad, there was a curious city. This city had at its centre a magnificent, though uncompleted, gleaming white clocktower that even someone numb to magic could feel the power emanating from.
The Clocktower dominated the city, which was understandable considering that most of the other buildings were cones that were of a suitable size for tiny people, there were however two buildings that were of a more regular size, quite different from the grand scale of the clocktower or the small scale of the cone buildings.
One of these buildings was another tower, though not a clocktower. This tower was however curiously high for how thin it was, like the clocktower it was unquestionably magical. It was a twisted stem of mirrored tubes that the darkness slipped off of, but the tubes bent at harsh angles creating wells of darkness all over the tower. Since the darkness was so directed by the construction of the tower, it glowed dimly in the deep dark of Awarth.
The other building had considerably less effort in its construction. It was made from large slabs of white rock, fused together with magic, it was likely the building did not even have foundations. The large slabs had no windows, for Awarth has no day in which light would be let through.
There was merely a grate stuck in the upper part of one of the walls for ventilation. The roof was conical, but instead of going to a point, it split open near the top, while a cap was on top of this opening. Smoke lazily flowed out of the opening, for you see, the building was a forge and a temporary home of the smith who worked the forge.
The smith in question had just gotten up, and was about to begin his work. He was fairly content with the city, who’s name was Talvharn. There were a few reasons for it. The gnomes, the Lord of the Clocktower and the residents of the other tower were all quite good neighbours, that was a big plus to the smith. There was just the right sort of materials in abundance. He had next to no competition.
Main thing that the smith liked however was the low, low chances of him being run out of town and the fact that he actually got work.
You see, the smith was a tainted, a crossbreed with the ancestry of more than three races. He had a bit of a complex about his appearance after all he had gone through before Talvharn had been suggested as a safe haven to him by a passing merchant, so he wore a heavy leather hood that hid his face. He did however quite noticeably have four arms, and though there were thick black leather gloves on each limb, the bulky green arms were visibly a strange mishmash for skin, scale and chitin.
Tainted face much discrimination in the worlds of Kigan and Awarth, but a strange settlement like the one he was in? Gnomes themselves, being tiny cones with feet and eyes, normally are treated little better than pests. Added to that gnomes are usually quite disposed to fear and fainting, so once they had gotten used to his presence weren’t about to be terribly hateful. The lord of the clocktower himself was also a kind of commonly hated being.
At Talvharn the smith’s skills were valued.
He peered at his forgefire, the lord of the clocktower had looped the time of the flames, they would as long as the power was upon them, never go out or lessen in heat. The blue flames blazed as strongly as they had the day before. Satisfied that the fire was in order, he picked up his enchanted tongs and grabbed a bar of smelted shadow. He had worked hard to make the shadow metal the day before.
Just as his mother had taught him, he had mixed ore and shadow, and then pulled away the traits of the ore, leaving only shadow to infuse the blank metal. It was a slow process, but the smith was proud of the level of purity of shadow his bars had.
He thrust the bar into the fire, heating it, then he brought it to his azure anvil. With his two left hands he picked up a heavy hammer that looked far too rusty, and had a very short handle, his two hands barely having room to both go on it.
He pounded the shadow metal flat, putting it back into fire whenever he needed to. Then grabbing a second pair of tongs he began to roll the sheet up. In short order it was a tube. He pulled out a mask made of the black ice of Fasil-Yad, then he took out the wand that had, supposedly been in his family for years. It was almost too long to be called a wand, and had a curious bulb on the end of it.
The wand had actually been resting in the middle of the forgefire, so he had to wait for a while before he could safely handle it. When it cooled he grabbed it and touched the wand’s bulb to the tube of shadow metal. The bulb burst into furious flame, and sparks bounced off against his ice-mask. He quickly got to sealing the tube up.
He repeated this activity, making several tubes of varying lengths until he was out of shadowmetal bars. It was then that he set all the tubes aside and began smelting more shadowmetal.
As he was doing so, he eventually spotted the quivering figure of a red gnome. He stopped his work.
“You here for the tubes?” he asked, knowing the answer.
The gnome was transfixed with fear, but after a period of awkward silence he managed to speak.
“A-ahh, yes, for the, um scaffolding… we aren’t all mages after all. Aha. ha. ha.” He laughed nervously.
The smith gestured towards the pile of pipes.
The gnome bobbed and dashed out, and then several other gnomes dashed in, and together they all lifted the pipes with their minds and out of the forge.
The smith sighed. A lot of the gnomes still weren’t that used to him.
He looked forlornly at his shadowmetal bars.
Scaffolding. He had been making pipes for scaffolding pretty much ever since he had gotten to Talvharn.
He got back to work, glad he had found such a safe haven, but he really would have liked to been making something a bit more glamorous, even if it was only once in a while.