player fic by Kullan A. Cordes
A figure bent over an anvil, stripped to the waist as he brought the hammer down to an unseen piece of metal over and over again, shaping the metal into a basic shape, to be refined later on. Taking a pause to hold the metal to a brighter light, he seems disgusted at the shape, and places it back into the flames of the forge, bringing the flames to higher heat with a nearby bellow. He waited till the metal was a bright red, before bringing it out of the forge and back to the anvil, to begin the process again.
Strike of the hammer…then pause to examine the work. Strike with the hammer, pause to examine the work, and so it continued for some time. Placing the hammer in its place, the Samurai picked up the metal with tongs, and looked at it in brighter light. This time, satisfied with its shape, he placed the strip of metal into a barrel of water; steam rising as it rapidly cooled the metal down. Inside the barrel, there were other strips of metal, all of them the same length, the same thickness, the same width…a credit to Kaiu accuracy in his craft. The samurai himself took respite, drinking water to slake his thirst; ignoring the Sake he has been drinking to numb the pain of loss. For what he was working on, he knew that perfection was required, not something that could be achieved with his senses dulled. When he had finished drinking, he gathered the strips of metal and placed them near a large chopping block.
The Kaiu worked the forge, bringing the flames to high heat, before placing a strip of metal into the flames, bringing the piece of metal to a red glow. Using tongs, he placed the strip upon the chopping block, and picked up a large axe, lining it in just the right spot, before bringing it down in the right spot.
Piece by piece, the rectangles of metal fell into another bucket of water, steam rising as the re-heated metal hit the surface of the water.
The samurai continued, imagining each time he brought the axe down, that it was a decapitation of those who destroyed his family. As he cut the last of the metal into shape, he grabbed another strip and placed it into the fire, something he knows has not happened to those of the dead, their bodies missing. The tragedy of the Kaiu, the rage and anger he felt from it, he used to fuel his energy in his work. Time and time again, he brought the axe down, reheating the strips of metal till at last they were all cut into the small, rectangle shapes he desired. Satisfied with the work he had done for now, he pulled up the robes of his garments, and stepped outside into the fresh air.
Throughout the castle, the sound of industry could be heard as many other Kaiu samurai worked to prepare the Crab for war. Not war with the creatures from beyond the Wall, their strength currently spent after their failed assault of the Wall. Nor war against the Scorpion, they who had mostly broken and fled from their might, only safe with the protection of the Legions of the Emerald Champion. No, he gazed south, towards were he knew the Crab were going to strike against those who dared blaspheme against the Empire, who caused devastation to his home. Kuda Mura would be avenged, and he hoped he would be amongst the first whose blade would find vengeance. Deciding his break was over; he stepped back inside to his own forge, where the sound of forging continued once more.