by Luna Manar
Warren reached the bottom of the steps that led to the well-known dwarf village. He peered around the corner to where the familiar smithy shop opened up.
Now, how am I going to go about asking this, he thought, Considering I'm not even completely sure what the question is?
Slowly, he approached the center of the smithy shop, to the lava pit where Trahern was seated, seemingly lost in thought.
Trahern looked up, fixed his eyes on Warren. After a moment, recognition washed over his face.
"Hey, I know you," he said, pointing, "You're that kid that was fooling around with my tools years ago!" A shadow of a smile flashed across the smithy's face.
Warren nodded. That had been years ago. No more than eight, Warren had accompanied the Elder to the Dwarf Village for a vacation or reward for something, which it was, Warren couldn't remember.
Warren, at his young age, had been fascinated by the smithy's tools when he first saw them. He had chanced to pick one of them up when Trahern's back was turned, and had cut himself on the arm with the sharp metal. He still had the scar.
"Now, what was your name?" continued Trahern, "War – Warret – Warrel, something like that?"
"Warren," corrected Warren.
"Warren!" Trahern exclaimed, "That's it! I knew I was close. You've certainly grown up. Don't know how I recognized ya' in the first place.
"Anyhow," he continued, "What brings you here? Mind you – if you have a request for something in mind… I'm kinda busy working on a project, so you may have to wait a while." The young dwarf leaned against the cave wall. He seemed happy to have someone to talk to, even if he hadn't seen that person in nearly six years. Warren briefly wondered what kind of project the smithy was working on.
"Well," he began, "Detrius – a friend and I were looking around one of the ruins around here, and I found this –" He brought the sword hilt out from behind him.
Trahern's eyes widened at the sight of the hilt. Was this what he thought it was? No...it couldn't be..but if it was.....
Rushing up to Warren, he examined the hilt carefully, not missing an inch of it.
"Where did you find this, boy?" he asked breathlessly.
Warren shrugged. "Under a rock in the Ice Country ruins. Actually, I found the hilt first. The stone was a few feet away. There was pieces of metal all around, and it looks as if it hit something so hard it shattered. Guess they just didn't make 'em the same way back then, huh?"
Trahern shook his head.
"You said you found this in the ruins?"
"In the Ice Country?"
"Yeah, so? What's the problem? What's going on? What're you so excited about? It's just a hilt. Pretty, but other than that, It's just a hilt… with a few… strange oddities," Warren admitted.
"What kind of oddities?" Trahern persisted.
"It's a long story," sighed Warren. "For some reason, it seems to have taken a liking to me or something. It won't let anyone else touch it, and – well, okay, look. When I found the hilt, it didn't have that emerald in it. When I put the stone in, it goes berserk! This huge bright light nearly blinded me, and it made a screech you wouldn't believe. My – uh – friend, he got scared and took off on the only mode of transportation we had, and I was left alone in the ruins.
"I decided I couldn't just stand there, so I went into the forest and tried to find some help. That's when I met this HUGE.… thing. I'm not even sure I believe what I saw. It was some kind of monster. Anyhow, it attacked me, and when it almost had me, this hilt, or the emerald, or both, put this green shield around me to protect me! Tell me I'm not going crazy."
Trahern nodded for him to continue.
"Then this BIG ol' white dragon came and saved me! He – well, he took care of the monster. Then he offered me a ride back home, only he didn't take me back home, he took me here.
"And he wasn't just a white dragon like those scaly kind you read about in fairy tales. He was, well, he had feathers! And fur instead of scales! He talked, too, said his name was… um… what was it? Flammie! That's it! He started talking some nonsense about an 'adventure' ahead for me or something, and how he was surprised that someone hadn't told me something already. He dropped me off here, and I thought I would just come down and ask you what this was," Warren finished and motioned to the hilt in his hand.
Trahern looked up at the towering human and smiled.
"I believe every word," he said.
Warren had a fleeting wonderment at whether he was not the only one who had gone mad.
The smithy nodded.
"Yes, I do, and I also know what the dragon is talking about. I just have one question, a personal one, if you don't mind?" He gazed down at the bladeless hilt again.
The smithy kept his gaze fixed on the hilt.
"Did you ever know your parents?"
Warren was shocked at the question. How did this smithy, whom he had only once before met in his life, know of his past?
"No," he said after a long pause. "I don't know where I came from. The Elder said some guy named Joch found me in a forest and–"
"Joch?" interrupted Trahern, "Sage Joch?"
"I don't know if he was a sage or not. It could've been. Not that it really matters."
But Trahern shook his head, his eyes gazed in wonderment at the teenage boy standing before him.
"Yes, it does," he said, "Warren, it does matter. This may come as a surprise to you, but what if I were to tell you that you had much, much more to your heritage than you thought?"
Warren's eyes narrowed at the comment. "
What do you mean?" he asked, uncertain of what the smithy was getting at.
Slightly irritated that Warren hadn't caught on, yet, Trahern sighed.
"Do you have any idea of what you have found here, Warren? Any idea?" he asked, pointing to the hilt and emerald. Warren shook his head.
"No! What's going o–" Warren was stopped short by the smithy daringly grabbing the hilt in the boy's hands. Nothing happened. He lifted the hilt up and brought it over to the forging anvil.
"Let me show you..."
For hours Warren waited, dozing off in the corner of the smithy shop, as Trahern worked and pounded away at the long blade he'd been painstakingly making. The smithy had refused any and all attempts at further conversation. He was so absorbed in his work that he didn't even seem to realize that Warren was there, anymore.
Finally, the hammering stopped. Warren opened his eyes a bit, only to see Trahern's back still turned to him. He watched as the smithy thrust the blade one last time into a bucket of water, bring it back up, and walk with it over to a wooden table. There he finally turned to Warren, and beckoned him over.
Sleepily, Warren got up from his corner, and, yawning, stepped over to where the smithy stood. He looked down on the table.
The platinum hilt laid on the far right side, facing sideways. The blade – which Trahern had spent hours making – lay lengthwise, tip pointing to the left. The blade itself looked ordinary enough, if incredibly perfect in design and balance.
Warren looked at Trahern.
"Okay, so what do want me to do?"
Trahern gestured to the blade and the hilt.
"Make them one."
Warren shook his head. "
What? I don't know how! Why don't you do it? Why can't you put them together?"
Trahern was insistent.
"Because I can't. If I'm right, only you can." Again he gestured to the blade and hilt.
"Alright, but don't blame me if I do something stupid."
Carefully gripping the blade in his left hand, the hilt in the other, Warren found the slit in the hilt where a blade was supposed to go, and fitted the base of the blade into it.
There was a thunk as the metal found its home in the hilt, and the newly forged sword began to glow with a green, eerie light. The glow encased the entire sword, then ran up Warren's arms and soon covered him as well.
Warren was frightened to say the least. The glow soon became so bright Warren tried to close his eyes, but couldn't. He tried to let the sword go, but his hands wouldn't respond.
The sword vibrated, so much that Warren was certain that it would shake him apart, but he himself didn't seem to be moving. It let out a high pitched, half-screeching, half-hissing sound, seemed to scream as if alive and in a rage, but soon the sound, the light, the vibration all faded, and the sword was silent.
Warren dropped to his knees, exhausted. He had never felt such exertion of power in one instant. For a moment, he didn't care anymore what was going on, but pulled himself together as he found new energy and regained his footing.
The instant he realized what had happened, he dropped the sword and backed away from it.
"What was that?" he demanded, "What is that thing?"
Trahern walked over to Warren and looked up at him, smiling.
"That," he said, "You'll have to find out for yourself. Meanwhile, the sword," he gestured, "Is yours."
The sword glowed momentarily, as if in acknowledgment, then was still again.
Warren, regaining at least part of his wits, slowly walked over to where the sword lay, looked down at it.
It had changed. Though the hilt was still the same, the blade now bore a new part that hadn't been there before. From the base of the blade and half-way down was stretched a light violet strip of some strange metal. Across its length were inscribed strange runes embossed in platinum.
Not knowing why, Warren suddenly reached down and grasped the blade's hilt.
The emerald again glowed green, then faded. Warren stared down at it. What was going on? Why wouldn't anyone tell him? What was this sword?
Trahern interrupted his thoughts.
"If you're looking for answers, I know where you can find them."
Warren whirled around and glared at the young smithy.
"What's going on?!" he said for the hundredth time.
Trahern shook his head.
"It is not my place to tell you, nor was it the dragon's. I will tell you this; from this day forward, your life will not be the same. Go to the falls near Potos. You will find all the answers you seek there." Trahern stepped aside, and, gestured to the door.
Warren started to ask again,
But Trahern interrupted.
"Trust me, Warren. I can't tell you the answers you seek, but I know there's someone in… near the falls who can. You said a white dragon brought you here? Call him. I know the dragon, have met him before, and I know he always keeps his word. He'll be there. Go, now, and hurry! You do not know how important it is that you do as I tell you!"
Warren stared at the dwarf for long moments. Not after too long, the dwarf mysteriously looked away, as if he couldn't hold his head up any longer.
His decision made, Warren stalked out the door and up the stairs, intent on getting his answers, no matter how strange they may be.