Simply ObservingMature

The day after the newcomers visted Erik in his forge, the man - Durn - came to watch Erik work. Erik soon learned that Durn was quite an active observer.

After finishing the matched set of sword and shield that someone had requested, Erik retrieved some more equipment and then asked Durn, "Right then - so what kind of daggers would you like?"

With Durn's help describing what he would like, which was mostly what he already had but slightly altered, Erik set to work crafting a beautiful set of five daggers.

The grips on the daggers were long and straight, etched with designs and lettering on the side. The guards took the shape of a small piece set across the grips where they met the blades. The blades were the most enjoyable part of the build for Erik; he started with a set of regular straight double-edged dagger blades that seemed of a reasonable length in comparison to the grip. Each blade had a full tang that descended into the grip for stability and balance in throwing. They were cut very thin before anything else, then briefly sharpened to be sure they kept a bit of an edge through the crafting process. Erik made sure the tips were as sharp as they could be, carved his maker's mark into the base of the blades, and assembled the pieces before sharpening them a final time and presenting them to Durn, who had of course already been watching and commenting regularly. He was quite pleased with the end result, and so was Erik.

Without quite knowing what caused it, Erik and Durn found themselves deep in conversation about Erik's work for a while once the weapons were finished. Eventually, Erik brought up his sword, and the story of how he came to be such a fine blacksmith. He was sure to leave out a few details, however. Some secrets were not divulged so easily.

After the conversation ended, Durn was on his way, and Erik went straight to the dining area. Not only was he starving; he also needed a drink after this talk of his past once again. It didn't matter what he did, he couldn't seem to shake the memories. They simply refused to be left behind, haunting him day and night.

That night, more dreams visited Erik, though these were less benign than the last.

Erik walked slowly into the shop, carrying a large bag filled with tools and parts, as well as other implements of the blacksmith's trade.

"Father, I've got those parts you -"

Young Erik was cut off by a hand pressed tight to his mouth. A figure pinned him to the wall of the room, holding him tightly but not aggressively. It was Erik's father.

"There are men in the shop, searching for...something," Erik's father whispered to him. "I don't know what they want, but do not stop them. I am going to let you go now. I want you to leave. Grab your clothes, some food - enough for a long trip - and your sword, and go. Leave the house, get out of the city if you can. It's too dangerous to stay here anymore. This sort of thing is happening all over, people are dying. You must go."

"But father -"

Erik's father silenced him once more. "Go, get out of here. I'll be right behind you."

Erik was released and he did as commanded. He moved in silence, grabbing everything he would need to make it to the neighboring city, and departed. Before he was past the first street, he heard a series of shouts and then a loud, agonized cry. Erik was sure it was his father, and he turned to go back, but was stopped by a man who garbbed his arm and pointed down the road.

"Go," the older man said. "There's nothing here for you anymore. You must get out. It's too late for your father."

Erik's eyes filled with tears as he marched down the road and left the town. He snuck past the guards at the gate and stayed off the roads, but close by enough that he could navigate and stay relatively safe. Eventually, he reached the next city and collapsed outside the gate.

The End

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