Work to dateMature

This is the story of Kel, Gian and their friends as they embark on a journey of discovery and evolution. The premise is that most of mankind has already taken this journey; but some were left behind because they thought the journey was "evil." Kel, Gia and their friends are the descendants of those hold outs.



The sun shone brightly on the verdant grass, spilling away in all directions from the stage. It was a simple platform; two meters high, round, perfectly smooth metal and barren save the man standing upon it. He looked to be in his late twenties, maybe early thirties, but there was something in his rather unremarkable eyes that spoke of wisdom and the pain that comes with its earning. His name was Jonathan, pronounced in the French style and with a definite accent. He was the last human left on Earth; well, the last true one as far as he was concerned.

The loose crowd around the stage felt like a herd of lost sheep, murmuring amongst themselves and shifting slightly in subtle waves. There were maybe one hundred thousand of them, and they all looked at Jonathan with a mixture of fear and disgust. He was an average looking man, average height, average build, short wavy brown hair and brown eyes. The kind of man that most people wouldn’t notice, unless they had seen him suddenly appear, with a stage, in the centre of this very field a few minutes earlier.

There was a sudden hum from the stage and the crowd fell silent, all eyes on Jonathan.

“The covenant has been met,” his words seeming to resonate in the air. Whether near or far from the stage, all heard him clearly, as if he were having a quiet conversation with them in a garden. The stage seemed to project the sound everywhere without being too loud or too soft.

“The world has been returned to the state that was specified, you have been gathered here in one place and your leader shall now confirm that the covenant is met.”

There was a brief wuff, like a muted explosion from a distance. Another man appeared on the stage. He was dressed in flowing robes of fine white, and wore a crimson sash across his chest marked with symbols. He stared daggers at Jonathan as he turned full circle to inspect the crowd and the lands further afield. He was slightly taller than Jonathan, with rich black hair falling in curls to his shoulders and piercing blue eyes. Next to Jonathan in his loose slacks and shirt, he seemed a king.

“We are truly beloved of our Lord God. He has granted our prayers!”

Father Omar used his considerable orator’s voice to deliver this celebratory welcome to his flock. He had refused to be told of the stage’s function. Jonathan had been prepared for this, and wasn’t fazed by the sudden and rather violent vibration of the stage. Father Omar caught himself as if startled. The crowd shied and winced, many holding their ears. Father Omar returned his steely gaze to Jonathan, seething.

Jonathan’s expression remained impassive, although he was chuckling inside. He probably deafened half of them!

“Do you accept this as fulfilment of the covenant?” He asked quietly of the man.

Father Omar surveyed the surroundings once more; the mountains in the distance, the rich forests below them, the town built to one side of the slow moving river, the farms and farmsteads spread out on both sides of the river, and his people gathered here to celebrate a new beginning under God’s grace, and God’s alone.

“The covenant has been fulfilled.” Was spoken in a more modest voice, although his inner orator still rang through. Or rather it will be when I am rid of you and your kind!

“Thank you.” Jonathan offered, and Father Omar vanished from the stage, to appear instantly in a less crowded part of the gathering a hundred meters or so from the stage. Father Omar stared back at Jonathan and looked to be near apoplexy. Those near him shuffled to a more respectful distance, and not from reverence.

“I will leave you shortly, as the final requirement of the covenant; however, should anyone care to join me, they need simply mount this stage,” a staircase appeared at each cardinal point of the stage, “and they will be welcome. I will remain here until dawn tomorrow.” With that, a chair and table appeared, and Jonathan sat down to sip on a glass of red wine and enjoy the glorious beauty of the day.

Father Omar’s voice boomed out from the crowd. “Come my children, let us descend to the town and take up God’s work! Heed no more the words of the heretic! All glory to the Lord God!”

The crowd began to move toward the town, and Jonathan smiled at those who passed the stage. In most eyes he still saw the fear and loathing of the evangelical types, but in some there was no loathing, more curiosity or intrigue. Oh, the fear was still there, it’s one thing to hear about the ‘miracles’ of Cuaire, another completely to witness it. And most of these people had refused to witness what they considered blasphemy.

It was still amazing to think that Cuaire had only really become viable ten years ago. And look how far things had progressed and how fast the world had changed! The world had embraced it as the natural next step in human evolution. The religious world aside, of course.

Hindus and Buddhists got it, but then their religions were less about worship and more about philosophy and enlightenment. The less stable religions simply committed suicide, either literally, politically, theologically or philosophically, as did many members of mainstream religions who couldn’t reconcile Cuaire with faith.

I suppose that was the sad joke of Cuaire, religious faith undermined it. It came down to a quote from Jonathan’s childhood in Provence; “On peut adorer ou devenir, mais pas les deux.” You can worship or become, but not both. It was from a philosophy article his mother had read to him. It was a discussion of the French love of worshipping successful Americans without creating their own successes of the same or higher stature. His mother had been trying to teach him to reach for the things that other people were content to only dream of. He supposed it had probably worked, just not in the way his mother would have expected. It was a shame that she had died only three years before Cuaire was discovered.

As he finished his wine, the glass vanished and Jonathan lit a cigarette and sipped an espresso that hadn’t been there a moment ago. The espresso was almost as good as the ones he savoured those afternoons as a young man in Aix. Almost. He still hadn’t gotten the damn coffee right! Then again, it had been a busy three years since he had mastered Cuaire. Soon he would have the time to really perfect it.

The crowd was still moving past the stage as he mused on perfecting a French espresso from his youth. Most were well on their way to the town, now. The town had been made to support them all. It had everything they would need to lead the pastoral lives they apparently thought were the lives they were meant to lead. There was no technology that wasn’t powered by man or beast. There was also a library, built to survive almost anything, that contained virtually indestructible manuals on how to build or make anything they might need from the available natural resources. It would be a hard few years as these people relearned how to live without technology, but it was definitely a better solution than the war.



The sun was setting and the crowd had long since moved into the town. There were flickering lights in many of the windows; how long had it been since someone had looked upon a town lit exclusively by fire? The town reminded him of those riverside towns in the Rhone Valley. Clay tile roofs, beige walls, narrow streets and wide avenues filled with platanes. He could understand the appeal of this lifestyle, he just couldn’t understand how someone could choose it over Cuaire.

A street lamp appeared next to his table and Jonathan snacked on a cheese platter with a selection of great wines to complement them.

“Sir?” A mousy voice piped tentatively.

Jonathan looked around and saw a young girl, maybe 13 or 14 standing at the base of the west stairs.

“How can I help you, my dear?” he smiled. This one had stared at him with a burning curiosity earlier in the day as her parents had led her past the stage on the way to the town.

“What happens if I climb up there?”

Now there was a loaded question! “Well, that depends on what you want to happen. My name is Jonathan, what’s yours?”

“I’m Tasha.”

“Well, Tasha, if you come with me, you will learn all about Cuaire. Do you know what that is?”

“Is it evil magic sent by the devil?” Her voice was wavering, but so where the convictions she had been raised with.

“I hardly think the devil, if he existed, would give each of us the power to defeat him! Cuaire is an art; and once you learn it, it becomes like a skill. Do you have any skills, Tasha?”

“I can knit and I am a good cook and I can take care of gardens and …”

“Well there you go! Learning Cuaire is like learning all of those things and more. At first it’s very hard, but as you practise you get better at it, and eventually you can even invent new ways to do those things. That’s exactly like Cuaire.”

“But what happens when I come up there?” she asked boldly, her courage finally showing itself.

“The first thing that will happen is, you will join me at this lovely table and enjoy a nice dinner. Then you can have a nap, if you like - I have to stay here until sunrise, in case anyone else wants to come with us.” Jonathan smiled inwardly; this one is a real coquine, as his mother would have said. Ready to take the leap, but only if she feels good about who she is trusting.

“Once the sun comes up, you, me, anyone else who’s here and this stage will go to my home. There we’ll start you all learning about Cuaire. You can stay as long as you want, or you can leave anytime you like.” Now, how can I put this so it doesn’t scare her away? “Unfortunately, you won’t be allowed to come back here, if you leave with me tomorrow. The covenant prohibits anyone who knows about Cuaire from returning here. I can promise you this, you will never be hungry, or thirsty again and you will always have someone to help you until you master Cuaire. Once you have mastered it, you will be able to do anything you want” Now there’s an understatement!

“But I can’t ever come back here? I’ll never see my ma and pa again?”

“I’m afraid not, Tasha. This is the way the church wants it. They stopped the violence and we made them a place to live in peace without us around to disturb them. If you come with me, you can’t return here.” Will she have the courage to take that step?

Tasha sat staring at Jonathan for a long while. Jonathan smiled and ate a slice of apple. Then she looked back to the town. No one seemed to have noticed that she was gone, or else they didn’t care. Finally, after several minutes, she lifted a foot onto the first step.


Chapter 1


The sun rose through the mists of morning as the people of the town began to stir. The Patriarch watched as the light first touched the tops of the buildings, turning the red clay tiles into something resembling molten iron. God was truly magnificent in all he had created. Already the bakers’ ovens were working, and smoke curled skyward from their chimneys. The Patriarch could even smell the rich perfume of fresh bread rising to his balcony. A few minutes later, the merchants began setting up their tables in the square. The sound of community sprang forth from the predawn silence that had ruled only moments before. The Patriarch felt peace and revelled in these moments where the world was as it should be, and the petty troubles of everyday life had yet to intrude.

This was the 933rd year of God’s Peace on this world. The Ancient Evil had been banished and witchcraft was gone from the world. He had been the 23rd Patriarch of the Church of God for over 28 years now and the community of man was serene under God’s splendour. While there were many tasks to accomplish each day, they were simply the work of any leader in times of peace and plenty; resolve disputes (which were rare), conduct the celebrations, oversee the resources of the community to ensure there was neither too much, nor too little, and that all the people were productive and cared for. None of these things were difficult, and most were handled by his administrators or the cardinals. His one true task was to remain vigilant. It had been over 500 years since the unrest of the Final Reformation and the Patriarch’s one true purpose was to ensure that chaos never returned to the people. He was doing an excellent job so far. God willing, he would leave this world exactly as he had inherited it; perfectly at peace. As he turned from his balcony, he could hear the clack clack of the Guard practise starting up in the training yard. It reminded him that no matter how peaceful a world was, a little capacity for violence went a long way to keeping it peaceful.




Kel stood next to Tom on the practise yard sideline. He and Tom were near the top of their class in staves. Kel was not exceptionally tall, but he was tall enough, and what he lacked in height he made up for in strength and speed. He felt ready to take on the world; he would be 18 soon and would leave the dormitory of the Church to start his life in the town. God had been very kind to him. After he had lost his parents in the fire, the Church had taken him in, taught him about God, about the skills needed to help with God’s plan and the roles he might one day take as a member of the people. He had studied woodcraft, farming, carpentry, and many other skills needed to keep the people and the town running smoothly. His favourite so far was Church Guard. His current skills class was with Rig, one of the smiths in the town. Smithing was interesting too, but being a Guard was something completely different. You didn’t just spend every day in a shop or a mill, you went out into the world! You patrolled the edges of the known world and helped far flung farmers and other tradesmen when there was need. In the town, you simply went to the Church if you needed help, but some people lived several days’ walk from the town, and so the Guard patrolled regularly to make sure they were never at risk for more than a day. Then, of course, there was the true calling of the Guard. They were the eyes of the Patriarch in the world. Ever vigilant for signs of evil that might threaten the people and God’s Peace.

“Kel! Tom! To the circle!” bellowed the Sergeant

The boys stepped forward with their staves in hand. Tom was slightly taller than Kel, and almost a year older - he would likely be inducted into the Guard at the next mustering. Kel hoped he would follow him - maybe even get into the same mustering, since the next one was only 4 days after his 18th nameday. Tom had been his friend since he joined the Guard training 4 years earlier. He had taken Kel under his wing and helped him to learn how to stand tall and face his fears. He was everything Kel would have asked for in an older brother. All of the other Guard trainees looked up to him, not just because he was now the oldest, but because he always had time to help anyone who needed a little boost to reach their potential. Tom’s father was also a Guard and often stopped by when he was in the town to tell the boys of his adventures out in the mountains, forests and farms of the world. Kel wanted that life more than anything; and to be able to share it with Tom would be even better.

The boys squared off facing each other in the training circle.

“Ready!” said the Sergeant

“May God guide my hands that I do only His will and guide my heart that I not succumb to the evil awaiting all who stray.” Both boys intoned.


Both boys snapped into the ready stance and began to circle each other. Kel had been practising the staff for years now, and the sparring ritual felt like a kind of home. It had been months since anyone had landed a solid strike, but he always seemed to fail to strike his opponents too, and that led, more often than not, to a draw or sometimes a victory for his opponent, simply because Kel never seemed to make an attack and as the Sergeant always said; ‘In a fight, a defender may never lose, but without an attack, he will also never win.’

As they circled, Kel let his mind relax and softened his eyes, letting himself slip into the state that Tom had taught him. Tom said that in this state, he would react more quickly and his mind would find opportunities for attack that a busier mind would miss. Kel had only recently mastered achieving this state, and this was the first sparring match where he had managed to relax enough to achieve it before he became distracted by the striking staves. Suddenly, Tom stepped in and brought his staff around to Kel’s left side. Kel reacted instantly and parried the strike, rolling it over his head, spinning backward to his left and bringing the right butt of his staff within centimetres of Tom’s head. Both boys stepped back.

Tom smiled broadly, “You found God’s Peace, didn’t you!”

“I was just lucky, Tom, I couldn’t do that again if I tried”

“You attacked! You’ve never done that before, and never on the first bout!” Tom was very proud of Kel

Kel was starting to blush, “It just seemed like the right thing to do . . .”

“That is exactly what God’s Peace is all about! You let God guide you, he is much better at it than you.” Tom was practically giddy with pride.

“Are you boys going to praise each other into submission?! Point Kel! Ready!”

Kel returned to the state of God’s Peace. It came even easier this time. As he circled Tom, he began to see an aura around Tom. It seemed to make Tom look fuzzy in some places and sharper than normal in others. Suddenly, as Tom moved into a potential stance for an attack, Kel saw him ‘sharpen’ into a slightly different stance. The first was a form that would have Tom’s staff strike down from Kel’s left to right. But the image that Kel saw was for a strike in the opposite direction. Instinctively, Kel stepped to his right, stepped in, dropped to one knee and struck a jab into Tom’s stomach while he was still bringing his strike down from Kel’s right.

Tom froze in mid-strike, staring in disbelief at Kel’s staff resting on his stomach. All the other trainees, and even the Sergeant were silent, staring at Kel.

“Point and Match to Kel,” the Sergeant said, all aggression gone from his voice.

The boys stood, saluted and stepped back to the side of training yard, freeing the circle for the next match.

“Jad, Bel, to the circle,” the Sergeant’s voice had regained some of its force, but he still watched Kel.

“How did you do that?” Tom whispered to Kel.

“Do what? I was able to find God’s Peace easily the second time. God’s hand guided, I followed. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?”

“Kel, I didn’t see you move! One minute I was getting ready to strike and the next you were under my strike with the butt of your staff in my gut!”

“I don’t know. It was strange. I saw you setup for a strike, but then I saw you change somehow and I knew you were going to do the opposite strike, so I just took advantage of that knowledge and used it to strike you first. I stepped right, in, and then down, then jabbed up at your midsection. How could you miss it?”

“I wasn’t the only one who missed it, everyone did. It looked like you flowed from your ready stance to the attack without actually moving.”

“Isn’t that what the God’s Peace does? Makes you able to react faster and see opportunities more clearly?”

“Sure, but it doesn’t allow you to move faster than humanly possible, and it sure as the Ancients doesn’t let you know what your opponent is going to do before they’ve decided to do it! You reacted to my strike at the same time as I decided to change it!”

Kel was starting to feel uneasy, and everyone was still looking at him from time to time, while Jad and Bel were sparring. This was definitely not the place to have this conversation.

“Let’s chat over lunch, Kel.” Tom had noticed all the attention too.

After the sparring and drills were done, everyone headed toward the baths. As Kel was heading that way, the Sergeant called him over.

“That was a very impressive bout, Kel,” His eyes were looking for something in Kel’s.

“Thank you, Sir. Tom has been helping me to achieve the God’s Peace. It seems to make all the difference for me. I didn’t even have to think about attacking, it just happened when I saw the opportunity. It’s a strange feeling to have God step in and guide you like that.”

“It is a truly glorious experience when He takes you in His hands.” He said, returning to his usual gruff nature.

“I only hope I prove strong and wise enough to join the Guard next mustering, Sir.” Kel said hopefully.

“We shall see, Kel. Keep up the good work here and in your classes and you have a good chance. Dismissed!”

Kel headed toward the baths feeling like he just narrowly escaped something, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. Hopefully, Tom would know what was going on.



Tom floated in the hot pool, thinking about Kel and what had happened in the sparring match.

The God’s Peace is not supposed to work that way. It is supposed to give you focus without distraction and the ability to react more quickly. Kel didn’t react he acted as if he knew what I was going to do before I did! That shouldn’t be possible. Could Kel be possessed? Kel?! That just doesn’t make any kind of sense.

Kel arrived at the pool and slowly slipped into the scalding water. As he sank up to his neck, he slowly glided over to Tom and waited for Tom to open his eyes.

His eyes still closed, Tom said, “So, what did the Sergeant have to say?”

“Not much really. He said I had done very well, and I had a good chance to get into the Guard, next mustering.”

“That’s all?” Tom’s eyes snapped open, and he looked at Kel.

“Well, he seemed impressed that I’d learned the God’s Peace so well and so suddenly.”

Tom looked around the pool; the last of the class were heading to the cold pool. “Tell me exactly what you saw during that second round.”

“Uh . . . Well, I calmed my mind and softened my eyes, settled into the God’s Peace and you seemed to get fuzzy. You were still circling, but I seemed to be able to feel all the different ways you could attack me from where you were. Then suddenly you seemed to get sharp in the stance you were in when you started your attack. I saw an easy way to avoid your strike and strike you at the same time, so I did it. I stepped to the right, stepped in and dropped to one knee, knowing your staff would pass over my head and to my left, and jabbed you in the stomach with the butt of my staff. It seemed so easy, I couldn’t believe it worked until I looked up and saw your face.”

“Kel, that is not the God’s Peace. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not what I experience, nor what anyone I’ve talked to about the Peace has experienced.” He noticed some of the sisters entering the hot pool. “Come on, let’s hit the cold pool.”

They quietly moved out of the hot pool and into the next room where the cold pool awaited, empty.

“I never understood why most people don’t enjoy the cold pool, it has always made me feel exhilarated.” Tom remarked as he plunged into the frigid water.

The town was built next to a river that brought icy water from the mountains almost year round. Only a few weeks of the year did the water warm slightly, near the end of summer. The baths were constructed to have a constant flow from the river to keep the cold pool and the heating reservoirs full at all times. The ingenious part was the hot water, which was heated by being held in reservoirs above the ovens in the kitchens. Since the ovens were almost constantly in use, there was never a shortage of extra heat for the tanks.

“What’s going on, Tom?” Kel whispered.

“I know as much as you do, but seeing things before they happen; moving so fast that no one can see you do it, except apparently you. Does that sound like anything you’ve ever heard of?”

“Witchcraft? . . .” Kel offered.

“This is ridiculous, Kel! You’re no more a warlock than I’m the Patriarch.”

“Then why are we whispering?”

“Because even the mention of witchcraft can land you in front of the cardinals for inquisition. Look, Kel, let’s take some time, just you and me, and figure this out. How about this rest day, we can go to the forest after prayers and see what we can figure out.”

“So this isn’t witchcraft, right?”

“I don’t know Kel, but better we find out quietly, than at the next sparring session.”

“Good point. I’ve had enough cold water for one day; both literally and mentally. I have to get to the smithy.”



By the time Kel got to the smithy, Rig had the forge going fully and was working on repairing a ploughshare that had been bent almost in half.

“Morning’s blessings to you, Kel. Are you ready for your next lesson?”

“Yes, Master Rig. What are we doing today?”

“I would like you to go over to that hopper full of rod and sort them into two piles, ones that are of good quality, and ones that need to be reforged.” Rig was always gruff about lessons, and rarely explained anything until after Kel had failed at whatever initial task was set for him.

“Right away, Master Rig.” Was all Kel could say. Any complaint that he had no idea what constituted good or bad iron would simply get a raised eyebrow and silence. The first time he had worked with Master Rig, he had asked a question and the Master Rig had told him, ‘If I want to hear a question, I’ll ask for one.’

Kel went over to the hopper and looked at the rods. There were twenty of them and they all looked about the same to him. He picked two up. Both were about half a metre in length and maybe two centimetres in diameter. Their weight seemed close to equal. He couldn’t see any difference at all, so he put them aside in one pile. The second pair he pulled were identical to the first two, so into the pile they went as well. This continued until he had sixteen rods in his pile - every one identical as far as he could tell. Time for a new strategy.

He could just say they were all good, but that wouldn’t get him any points with Rig unless he happened to be right. Not likely, though. Rig never gave him a task that couldn’t be completed, and he never played games in the smithy. So there was at least one bad rod in the bunch, and likely several.

I wonder if God’s Peace would let me see the rods better than I can right now! Kel quieted his mind and softened his eyes and looked at the four remaining rods in the hopper. They all appeared identical, crisper, but identical and then he saw it. The rod on the left had a fuzzy spot that seemed to cling to the side of it about a third of the way along. He picked up that rod and looked more closely at the fuzzy spot, and now he could see that the spot was actually the metal, but where the metal around the spot was sharp and solid, the fuzzy area was vibrating and went deep into the rod. This must have been what Master Rig was looking for!

He checked all the rods over again and found eight that had these flaws in them. He made the two piles, quite proud of himself, and then turned to Master Rig.

“Sir? I believe I have found the bad rods sire, there are 8.” He said proudly.

“A good effort Kel, there are only 7, though. Show me your selection.”

Deflated, Kel showed them to Master Rig.

“Show me what you found on this one.” Rig said, handing one of the 8 rods to Kel.

“I see a weakness right here where the iron doesn’t seem to be as strong.”

Master Rig inspected the rod closely. Then he inspected the ends of the other rods.

Kel noticed that there was a small nick on the end of each of the other 7 rods. Idiot! Never thought to check for chuck marks that would tell you that Rig had already tested these rods and found them lacking.

Master Rig used a small hammer to tap along the side of the eighth rod. When he tapped near the weakness, there was a slightly less bright tink than elsewhere along the rod. He regarded Kel again.

“I don’t know how I missed that one, Kel, but very impressive. You did that just by looking at them?”

“Yes sir, can’t you see them?”

“If I look very hard, I can usually catch them. My father was able to catch most by eye, but he still used the hammer to double check. I always use the hammer, and so will you from now on.”

“Yes, Master Rig.”

“Now, come over here to the forge and tell me what you think of this ploughshare.”

Kel approached the forge. I better keep my vision to myself. It seems like people can’t see things as clearly as I can. I really need to talk to Tom about this.

“What do you see when you look at this work, Kel?”

Kel looked at the ploughshare, still glowing dark red near the middle where it had been bent. God’s Peace snapped into place without him even willing it to and he saw a fine tracery of fissures through the metal where it had been bent.

“It looks like it will break easily in the middle there.” He said, before he could stop himself. Demon addled idiot! Get control of yourself!

“You’re right! You definitely have a feel for this work, Kel! The iron in this is fatigued and will need to be melted down and reforged before it can be strong again. Old Haral won’t be happy, but he needs a new blade for his plough. Maybe this will teach him to plough a field before checking for buried boulders.”

The rest of the day was spent keeping the forge hot, while Rig made a new ploughshare, or holding pieces while Rig shaped them as well as learning how to shape metals himself using scraps.

Kel had been hammering a short piece of rod flat to make a small knife for himself and was absorbed in the process while Rig tidied up the rest of the smithy. The metal was bright orange and Kel could see the knife that would become from this rough rod. As he hammered, he watched as the knife slowly took shape. He saw fuzzy bits here and there after each hammer stroke, but he willed them away, and they faded. Suddenly, he stopped in mid-swing. He was staring at a perfectly formed blade and tine. The metal seemed to glow with a subtle light of its own, not from the heat, but from something else. His eyes were filled with the perfection of it. This was the most beautiful piece of metal he had ever seen.

“You done there, Kel?” Rig came over to inspect his handiwork.

Kel started from his reverie and looked back at the blade in his tongs. It was exactly the blade he had imagined. It was a very nice piece of smith work. A perfectly straight spine, even blades on both sided, perfect tapering.

“I think so, Master Rig” he said cautiously.

“Well, quench it and let’s have a look.”

Kel did as he was told, and began tidying up his work area while the blade cooled. When he returned to the bench, Master Rig was staring at the blade he had made. Feeling its form and weight, looking for any flaws he could find.

“I find it hard to believe, Kel.” He murmured.

“Is it okay, Master Rig?” Is there something wrong with it? Did I make another stupid mistake?

“Okay?! This is possibly the best piece of work I’ve ever seen from a piece of scrap iron!”

Kel had never seen Rig gush before, he was very uncomfortable for a moment. Rig had been polishing the blade while he inspected it, and the clean metal had a pearlescent sheen that seemed to be deeper than the blade was thick.

“Finish what you’ve started, Kel. Polish this up and fit a hilt to it, there should be a few up on that shelf over there. Then let’s go to the square, I’m buying you a pint.” Master Rig chuckled as he left the smithy and went into the house to change.

Kel did as he was told. He polished the blade until it shone, then he found a suitable hilt for it, and wrapped it in leather strapping. As he held it in his hand, he had to admit, it was a very pretty blade. He imagined it would hold an edge very well and there was a sudden flash of light from his palm.

He yelped and dropped the blade. It stuck straight up in the bench. Kel bent down to look more closely at the knife, afraid to touch it again. What was that?! As he looked at the blades edges, he noted a perfect millimetre wide edge was now on the blade. There were no kerf or grinding marks, just a perfect edge.

Kel sat down hard. Well if nothing else today was witchcraft; that most definitely qualifies! Did I do that?

He was still pondering the day’s events when Master Rig strode back into the smithy with a highly uncharacteristic bounce in his step and said, “Aren’t you done yet? Let’s go grab that pint!”

The End

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