Like small chimes in the distance the hammers struck the heated steel. Over and over the rhythmic strikes came in a series of three. The high pitched screams of the white hot and freshly formed metal held nothing back. Just under the metal’s scream a roaring sizzle erupted into the surrounding area. Metal quenched in oil at temperatures high enough to cause a rolling boil. Then again the trinity of strikes roared over the blizzard outside.
Unique to Pefu because of the race's disadvantages that stemmed from years without sun. Yet they were able to take that natural change and manipulate it into a strength. Years of hard work and dedication led them to create the best forge in all the universe. They were master craftsmen. As Legion approached the forge he could feel the heat first, followed by the same series of rhythmic beats of steel. Recoome was hot on his heels, but he didn’t pay him much mind at the moment. As the Exiled King approached the gates of the forge he was greeted with silence.
The strikes ceased until only the howl of the wind remained. Legion turned his head to Recoome for a moment, looking over his right shoulder while still facing the giant iron gates. With his left hand he made a motion to the door in a ‘what the hell do we do?’ motion. Legion then turned back to the gates, his foot slowly tapping against the ground before finally he just reached into his pack. It took a moment, but when he finally found the sack of zeni he retrieved it. Lifting it into the air there was a moment of eerie silence once more.
Clink, clank, clink
Once more the small chimes began to sing. Money always does the trick. The iron gates began to budge, slow at first from the gathered frost on the hinges, but then they quickly picked up speed. The doors opened with a rusted grind and the howls of the wind amplified from the created wind tunnel. Behind the gates was a small alien, bug eyed and no higher than Legion’s waist. It was one of the local inhabitants, a Gavarian. He held his hands against a lever half his size, goggles were resting against the top of his head and heavy black smudges were streaked across his face.
“Come in, hurry, hurry!” He called toward the two men. Legion didn’t wait for Recoome, he figured the brute might have made some kind of quip by now, but the Tempest of Storms was too focused on his own goals to care. Legion stepped in first, his feet lifting and tapping down on the tips of his toes in order to knock off the excess of snow. He found himself following the series of taps without meaning to, a series of three taps just like the hammers. They had finally made it, it was time for much needed upgrades!
Pefu was a cold, inhospitable shithole on the outskirts of the central Galaxy. The Planet Trade Organisation had ruled over it for years, but even they were loath to spend any significant amount of time there. The few changelings, or the aptly named Icejins, who called it their homes were either outcasts from high society, or young enough to be sent off to prove themselves.
But the planet had one place that even the Planet Trade Organisation didn’t have full control over - the ancient Gavarian Forge. Located deep within the underground cave system, it was home to the native race and their extraordinary blacksmithing abilities.
When they had first come to the planet, the Organisation had tried to gain control of the Forge - and, like so many before them, they failed. Ancient gates of a mysterious metal barred their entry, and the inhabitants were equipped with weapons like the universe had never seen. So, they had come to a cold truce - the Organisation would leave the Forge alone, and the Gavarians would allow people from across the Galaxy to visit and receive the wisdom of the ancient race.
For the right price, of course.
And that was why Recoome was there. Legion, heavy of pocket after his mercenary work in the war, was keen to see his equipment elevated to heights that would let him stand out even amongst the Cosmic Lords that he strived to join. Recoome was simply along for the ride - he had had his own armour modified at the start of the war, cannibalising an ancient pair of gauntlets that he had picked up after a heated affair in Heaven. The Enochian runes glowed, almost steaming in the cold air of Pefu.
As they stood before the huge gate, silence descended. Legion looked back at Recoome, who shrugged in response - they could always knock the gate down, but he doubted that the Gavarians would be so keen on them doing so.
Just as Legion reached into his pocket however, Recoome’s ears pricked. His head half turned as Legion was still fumbling in his pockets, trying to hone in on the noise. It sounded almost like a whisper, but Recoome couldn’t make out the words. Just as he felt he was getting a clearer understanding of what was being said, the gates began to open.
Recoome let out a small sigh and turned to the gate. Legion walked in, with Recoome a half-step behind him. He considered mentioning the strange sound, but thought better of it - hearing things was never good, and Recoome had seen enough trauma to make a case for him imagining it.
”So - Recoome assumes that drinks are served here as well?” he said, looking down at the small Gavarian. He blanched before muttering some words that Recoome couldn’t hear and then moving away. After a few steps he paused, turning around and motioning for the pair to follow.
As they began to walk away, the huge gate behind them slid closed. The heavy metal crashed against the floor with the recognisable thud of an extremely dense metal, causing Recoome to sharply turn his head.
Was he going crazy? Or had the whispers been something real…
WC: 537 TWC: 537
Last Edit: Oct 27, 2020 15:01:01 GMT -5 by Recoome
Legion turned his head as the door closed behind him with a loud clunk that shook the floor. He could feel the metal sending its vibration down through the incredible infrastructure of the forge. It was then that he noticed that Recoome was not facing the forge, but instead he was looking back toward the gate. The Tempest of Souls lifted his eyebrow as he tried to shrug off the eerie feeling that had begun to fester inside his gut.
Facing to the front once more he looked down into the abyss, darkness seeming to call him from deep within the forge. His eyes started to narrow as he tried to pick up on any kind of movement or familiar shapes. It only took a few moments before his eyes adjusted to the darkness. He could see the forge before him in all its glory.
Beautiful carvings were etched into the sides of large pillars of both stones and metals. Gears and cogs slowly turned and rotated carrying wires across the forge. The wires were used for mainly transportation it seemed. They carried a few of the natives as well as ores and other supplies, but it was too dark to see just what it all was.
There was one part of the forge that stood out more than anything, it seemed to be the main source of a soft red light that illuminated the inner workings of a cave. Two of the large gears were on either side of this large bucket. Almost periodically it seemed to topple over, pouring a red lava like smelted ore into a cast before. This series continued a few times as Legion began to walk deeper into the caves.
He could hear his footsteps softly bouncing off the cavern around him as well as Recoome’s. It was no more than fifteen feet into their descent that Legion caught wind of the faintest whisper. He cocked head to the side, the only tell that he displayed, as he focused in on the distant noise. It was soft, almost impossible to hear since the roar of the forge overpowered it, but it was there. He closed his eyes and continued to walk in order to try and heighten his senses. He could almost make out a word, but it wasn’t quite there. As if someone was trying to speak while their final breath escaped their lips.
They descended another thirty feet before they made it to the main bridge of the forge. Guiding them was still the same Gavarian that had opened the gates, but there was something off about him. His eyes kept bouncing around, from Recoome and Legion and then off into the distance. The Exiled King took a mental note of the strange reactions before he continued to follow the man deeper into the forge. Off in the distance two iron doors could be seen. Intricate carvings decorated the center and slowly faded as they radiated out. There were no handles and no other signs of life within the walls of these caves, but still they approached the two doors.
What awaited the dynamic duo at the ominous gates?
The duo made their way to the centerpiece of the magnificent forge, a huge boiling pot of molten metal that regularly poured through into the building beneath it. From on high the pair descended, passing through arches and along passageways on their journey. The Gavarian who led them seemed to be on edge, but it could be that this was simply the way of their race - it was extremely rare for a Gavarian to be seen outside of the forge, and official records of the Planet Trade Organisation had no mention of one above the surface for two hundred years.
They came to a long bridge shrouded in darkness, the light of the huge forge hidden from view by magnificent stone columns. At the end were a pair of thick doors, closed to the world without any apparent sign of opening them - within would be the heart of the forge, Recoome knew. But, as they crossed the bridge, another noise came to his ears - and this time, he could hear a word.
Recoome froze, the two others walking ahead of him. His ears perked up as he strained to listen, but a huge grinding noise filled his ears instead. The Gavarian had reached the doors and extended a long-fingered hand, touching his palm right in the middle where a seam would be. A red light burst into life along the centre and edges of the doors, which slowly started to move open with a grinding that set Recoome’s bones on edge.
It seemed to take a lifetime, but the doors eventually opened. The heat from within the room swept over the trio, sweltering hot even after the warmth of the outer forge. Recoome shielded his eyes, but he couldn’t resist opening them and looking at what was within.
The interior of the forge was immaculate. A huge chute at the far end seemed to collect the melting metal from above and direct it into huge casts beneath, and a whole gang of Gavarians was constantly working the metal into various shapes. They bustled around without sparing a glance at the open door, apparently constantly working without any time to stop and even think.
They were a well oiled machine - but, you get what you pay for.
Their Gavarian guide walked in first, and Recoome motioned for Legion to follow next. He was the one here for the work, after all. As they walked in, one of the other Gavarians, who had apparently been standing at the side, swept forwards and talked to their guide in a strange alien tongue - the Gavarian language, although recognisable by scholars, had not yet been studied to any significant degree. Outside of this room Recoome doubted that there were even ten people in the entire universe who understood the dialect, and even fewer who could speak it competently.
The Gavarian from within the forge placed a hand on their guide’s shoulder, and he stepped aside. The new Gavarian stepped forwards and extended a hand to Legion.
“Your payment,” he said insistently, his eyes flickering to Recoome for a second before settling on Legion.
Legion didn’t notice Recoome freezing behind him, instead his eyes were locked on the Gavarian that had placed his lengthy hand against a seam in the large door. A bright crimson light illuminated the softly lit cavern they stood in, to the point it was almost blinding. Legion turned his head slightly as the sound of grinding gears quickly followed the light.
As if the door as an old man, they came to life, slow and feeble. It took ages, but they did eventually extend fully with grinding gears and metal on rock scrapes. The heat that washed over Legion was welcoming, not as hot as Hell, but still welcoming. He could feel the moisture in his eyes dry, it wasn’t enough to affect him greatly though.
Recoome motioned to Legion to follow the Gavarian first, Legion nodded and took the first steps. Deep within the forge the Tempest of Souls could see the meticulous design of the forge. Baskets forge by heavy ores and carried chunks of resources around the forge. Workers systematically hammered down in between the gears and belts that carried the resources around.
They worked like a well oiled machine. Legion noticed that another Gavarian had appeared before the guide. His face covered with an expression of worry as he looked back at the PTO aligned men. The Exiled King made no comment or remark, he simply waited for the guide to act, however in the meantime he continued to look around in wonder. Eventually the Gavarian approached Legion, his hand extended out fully and he demanded the Demon’s patronage.
“Right,” Legion said slinging the bag off of his back. The Soul Tempest placed the heavy rucksack on the ground with a soft thud, unclipping the main pouch before diving in with his right arm. He fumbled through his belongings without looking, using his sense of touch and memory to guide him to the large sack of Zeni. The sound of coins clicking together signaled to him that he had found the bag.
Grunting and pulling quickly, tossing layers of clothes and rations to the side as he removed the sack, he was able to receive the zeni. Another moment passed as he opened the pouch and began to count out the payment. Each piece of the gold was worth more than enough, but he knew the Gavarians were not cheap.
“Twenty eight thousand and eight hundred, this sound be enough.” Legion said as he handed them a separate bag of zeni that had every single cent in it. The Gavarian nodded and handed it to the other, who quickly began to count the large sum of zeni. “Now, I want my armor and helmet enhanced for defense and my gauntlets enhanced for damage. Can you do it?” Legion asked as he began to remove his gear.
“Of course, thank you for patronage. The only thing,” He paused for a moment looking at Recoome with a side glance and then cleared his throat. “The resources required are.. Well, they are deep within the caves in a part that is much too dangerous for us to reach. You will have to receive them if you so desire the enhancements.”
Legion looked toward Recoome, this was something that he really needed. “You got anything to do?” Legion asked hoping that Recoome would grace him with his assistance.
Recoome’s eyes wandered slightly as Legion delved deep into his rucksack. Zeni emerged a short while later, and the Gavarians set about counting it. Legion made his order but, of course, things were never quite that simple.
”Recoome doesn’t think much of your business model if the customers have to do all the work…” he muttered, shaking his head slowly. In truth he disliked creatures like this - a race that prided itself not on the strength of its art, but the skill of its fingers. Artisans were useful, but so often they were full of themselves - and that seemed to be the case here as well.
”Luckily for you, Recoome has no prior engagements,” he said to Legion, flashing him a wide grin. ”Recoome can only assume that some kind of discount is in order for our work?” He aimed the last question at the Gavarian, who shook his head solemnly.
“If you want enhancements of this quality, then the resources must be gathered. There are no discounts.”
”Figures,” Recoome said, sleeping a huge hand on Legion’s upper back. ”Well, Recoome guesses we have a job to do. Fingers crossed this will turn out just as well as when we visited Vinclum together.”
He turned to walk out of the forge, but his eyes lingered on a carving on a nearby wall. For some reason, the creature on display seemed to stand out to him. He raised a huge finger and pointed at it. ”What is this?”
The Gavarian squirmed, obviously uncomfortable at the question. However, his eyes drifted down to Recoome’s meaty biceps and his concerns appeared to be allayed. “That is Gavar, the namesake of our species. He is the one who created this forge, and passed down the secrets of his craft. His worship is done through our work - your payments are donations to his temple.” He motioned with a wide arm to signify that this forge was their temple.
Recoome let out a grunt. ”Recoome can see the family resemblance,” he said sarcastically. Gavar was a magnificent creature from the looks of things, crocodile-like in appearance with huge arms and hands perfect for working tough metal. ”Give the list of what we need to Legion - we won’t be long.”
WC: 389 TWC: 1447
Last Edit: Oct 29, 2020 10:51:18 GMT -5 by Recoome
The thought of another life threatening battle thrilled Legion, in truth. However, even though he was a warrior and honing his skills he couldn't compare to Recoome. The Orange Haired Brute was of a different breed, he prided himself on the thrill of the hunt. If he wasn't fighting he wasn't living, at least that is how it seemed from Legion's perspective. There was a lot that he didn't understand about Recoome, but they were on the same wave length about the Gavarians. There should have been some kind of discount or at least accommodations that they could have made since they were sending the PTO representatives to gather the resources.
Recoome was the first to turn his attention away from the group, Legion followed suit allowing the stronger of the two of them to lead the way. Just as Legion had made his about face, Recoome pointed out a strange carving of some kind of creature. His question peaked the Exiled King's curiosity as well, it wasn't often he heard Recoome ask scholar like questions. Legion paid close attention to the markings on the wall while the small creature explained the origin of the Gavar. It was a large beast, maybe why Recoome took such an interest in it, with a body that could be viewed almost to the likes of Hephaestus, the smith that helped forge Eldritch Bane.
"Right," The small beast said as Legion was tuning him out, but quickly he tapped the demon's shoulder. "This should be everything, there isn't much other than some rare ores. They are found deeper in the caverns than we like to go." He said, his hand shaking as he lifted the piece of parchment to the Tempest of Souls. Legion eyed him up and down and then took the list from his hands. Just as quickly as the Gavarian released the paper, his hands were folded together and placed behind his back. He was trying to hide him trembling.
"What's down there?" The Tempest of Souls asked with narrowed eyes.
"Nothing good." The Gavarian responded before turning back to the forge and walking away. Legion turned to Recoome, he wasn't sure what they would encounter in the depths of this forge, but he had an ominous feeling.