Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)
TITLE: The Blacksmith
By Joseph Veseli
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He leans his head back and his throat constricts, making him cough. The heat is overwhelming, but he's used to it.
Pulling the metal out and placing it on the anvil for the hundredth time, he begins beating and shaping it with all his might. A grunt escapes with each, "ding", as his mighty arm swings through the air. The glowing blade, slowly taking form.
Back to the forge, he lays the steel directly atop the burning coals. He puts the hammer down and takes long gulps from the wooden goblet that rests on his workbench. The water, hot from the heat, barely touches his thirst, and his stomach growls reminding him how long it's been since his last meal. Wiping his brow, he picks up the steel and examines it. Satisfied with the look, he sets it in a long thick cloth, wrapping it up until dawn when it will be cool enough to finish.
The next morning, the blacksmith grabs the unfinished sword and smiles. Walking over to the grinder he unwraps it with gentle care, as if he were unwrapping a baby. Working the edges, he shaves off tiny bits at a time, sharpening it with each pass of the tool. The top, he pushes harder, whittling the metal away until it's nothing more than a sharp, deadly point. With expert hands, he chisels and files, adding the marks of his trade. A Scripture verse that wraps the sword just above where the hilt will be.
"The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and weak. It makes him thirsty and faint."
He laughs. A million swords made, and you would think this was the first. Picking up the sword, it's time to strengthen it, to make it ready for use. Back in the fire it goes until it glows a bright orangish red. Grabbing the tongs, he picks up the blade and lays it in the quenching tank. The reaction is instant. The water boils and hisses at the steel invading its space. Lowering the temperature on the furnace, he repeats the process until the blade is strong enough for battle, yet flexible enough not to break when struck.
Placing the blade back on the work bench, he adds the pummel, guard, and hilt, finishing the job, and without a second to spare. Turning, the blacksmith senses the visitor before he even utters a word. He holds up the finished sword and the visitor takes it.
"Is it sharp?"
The blacksmith smiles but doesn't reply.
Michael tilts his head and closes his eyes, as if listening to some unheard voice. He grins, bows at the waist, "yes my King."
His eyes snap open. "I guess we'll find out soon enough. Thanks again Blacksmith."
Like lightning, he vanishes from sight. Suddenly, he's soaring in and through the skyscrapers above New York City. A blur, he cuts through each building as if they were made of butter. Watching the street below, vision like an eagle, he's able to see each person going about their lives, unaware of the invisible world around them.
"There you are." He descends, slowly at first, then goes into a dive, straight for the street below. He hits the pavement, passes through it, then levels up, making sure to stay below ground level, and out of sight. The pavement whizzes by like cars on a highway. He closes his eyes, praying for the right moment to emerge. The seconds tick by until...
Feeling the nudge, he shoots out of the street with blinding speed. Pulling the new sword, he smiles, and with deadly accuracy, swings the blade to within inches of the man in his care, slicing straight through the demon trying to lay claim of him. The fallen angel evaporates into black smoke before it has the chance to scream.
Michael holds up the sword with pride.
"Good job Blacksmith! This'll do just fine." He puts the sword in its scabbard, as he falls in behind the pastor, whose making his way to Church for Sunday worship.
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