Balancing the Scales: The Sage Hero's Story
Kaz was sound asleep, still in Saphana's tight grip when he was awoken by violent poking and prodding on his face. He opens his eyes to find culprits smiling and giggling, Kaz wiggles out of the dragon's hold and chases Ezra and Zavi around the room while playfully roaring like a bear. He tackles them both onto his bed and starts to hug them as they both shriek, "No! Don't get us, Mama Lucia told us to!" Kaz picks them both up and sets Ezra on his shoulders and holds Zavi in his arms. Saphana watched the entire spectacle unfold with a smile as Kaz played with his kids. Kaz turns to Saphana, "Meet us at the council chamber in a bit!" He says and winks at her before heading downstairs with Ezra and Zavi in tow.
Kaz sets the two down on the long table, "Stay right here you two." He tells them quietly. He darts to the kitchen and grabs two pieces of candy from high up on the shelf and returns to the children who were still waiting patiently for their father. Kaz bends down, "I've got two pieces of candy here if you can wake up Mister Ferron the way you did to me." He says as he flashes the two round sweets in his palm, "But don't tell your mothers. They'll say I'm spoiling your breakfast." Kaz tells them in a hushed tone. The two hop off the table and run over to the cot where Ferron was sleeping, Ezra hops on top of him and begins poking his face while Zavi attacks from the opposite end and tickles his feet. Within mere seconds Ferron is up squirming and laughing, shouting at them to stop. After they calmed down Lucia came out of the kitchen wondering what the ruckus was, Kaz hands each of them a candy behind his back as promised. The two little ones run off in separate directions as Kaz explains himself. Lucia sighs, "It's too early for this, breakfast is just about ready. Go fetch Tasi, I'm positive she went back to sleep." She groans as she brings out the plates of food. Roarke was already up, so he brought Saphana's food upstairs to her corner in Kaz's room and headed back down to the main hall to eat his own breakfast. Ferron mumbled under his breath as he hobbled over to the table and sat down between Kaz and Roarke.
Everyone dug in, Ferron was surprised by the food. Such a simple meal tasted as if it were made by a master of culinary arts. He shoveled the rest of his food into his mouth and let out a satisfactory belch. Ezra, who was sitting across from downed his glass of fruit juice and belched as well. Lucia was sitting beside him, raised her hand and lightly slapped the back of his head. Ezra apologized and got up to collect everyone's dishes and brought them into the kitchen. Ferron looked over at Lucia, "That breakfast was the best I've ever had, it's like I'm eating at King Rayne's table!" He laughed as he thanked Lucia for the meal. Lucia bowed and returned to the kitchen for a moment and returned with a rather large box wrapped in a cloth, she set it in the middle of the table, "I doubt we'll be back before lunch, so I went ahead and made us a to-go lunch." She explained as she patted the top of the box.
Hearing Lucia say "to-go lunch" made him remember and miss the various drive-through places he frequented when he was back in his world. "Well, nothing beats eating with my family. Lucia cooks better food than any restaurant I've been to anyway!" Kaz thought to himself. Kaz stands up and stretches, "Alright, I am going to go get dressed. Everyone else should get ready too." He states as he goes upstairs. Ferron heads to the backroom, and he reemerges shortly after in his usual attire, white shirt, brown leather apron, leather belt with his various tools and a pair of thick leather gloves hanging from the belt. Kaz came back down wearing his usual light armor, sword at his hip. Ezra and Zavi came running up to Kaz, "Can we come along father? We can help!" They pleaded as they tugged on his breastplate.
Kaz leans on one knee and puts a hand on both their little heads, "It'll be tough work, are you sure you're up to the task?" He asked in a fatherly voice. "Of course I am! Mama Lucia says hard work makes a man!" Ezra shouts up at Kaz. Zavi looks down at the floor, "I would like to help, Mama Tasi taught me all about ores and minerals. I'm not strong like you father, but I can help you look!" She mutters shyly. Kaz ruffles the tops of their heads and stands up, "Let's get to it then!" He announces. Tasi, Lucia, and Roarke all come down from upstairs one after another all dressed in shabby clothes they'd not mind getting dirty. With that they all headed up outside and up the hill to the council room.
The party arrives at the massive hole in the mountain that leads to the council room, as they walk in they are greeted by Zen, "Hello and welcome my Brother and Sisters!" He greets them gleefully. Zen pulls Kaz aside with his tail, "He is the guest father told me about, correct?" Zen whispers. Kaz nods and returns to the group. Ferron looks lost in thought for a moment, then he snaps his fingers, "You're the one that was shot down that night!" He realizes. "Oh, but I had nothing to do with that. I was with Kaz when you fell from the sky." He explained. Zen begins to walk down the hallway, "Come along now." Zen instructs. The group followed Zen through what seemed to be an underground labyrinth of hallways and side passages, he stopped suddenly in front of a wall that bulged outwards ever-so-slightly and pressed a foreleg against an outwards facing stone. The wall began to vibrate and rumble, the children cowered behind their mothers as the wall sunk into the floor revealing a familiar face behind it.
Salamat was waiting behind the wall for them, "Good morning all! I see you even brought the little ones to help." He chuckled as he showed them inside. "Right over here." He said as he showed them around a corner, everyone's eyes were blinded by the massive glimmering pile of treasure in front of them. It was nearly enough to fill an Olympic sized pool, Kaz thought to himself. Ferron set his bag down and pulled out one of the pieces Kaz had given him, "This is what we're looking for, silver mithril. Anything you find made of it, just pile up over here!" He said as he passed it around so everyone could see it. Kaz looked around, just as he realized Ezra was gone, "Grandpa Salamat, what's this over here? Some kind of fireplace?" He shouted from the other side of the room. Ferron glanced over at him and back at the pile of treasure, then did a double take back to Ezra. He then runs over to the little kobold and looks closer, "This is a forge! An old one, but it's got everything here!" He shouts in disbelief. "We can just make the arms here. One problem though. How will we get the metal hot enough to shape?" He asks as he pours the handful of silver mithril Kaz already gave him into the crucible.
Saphana walks into the room just as everyone had begun digging for the mithril in the pile. Saphana walks over to Ferron, "You need it hot?" She asks as she shoves him back away from the forge. Saphana inhales a deep breath and looks around to make sure nobody was close, and she lets out a mighty stream of fire from her maw, superheating the metal in the crucible near instantly. Ferron stood back in amazement, "Uh. Yeah, that works too, I suppose." He was at a loss for words as he began pouring the molten metal into a mold. He hammers it over and over to harden it, occasionally asking for Saphana to reheat the metal while everyone else picks out all the silver mithril they could find. Zavi was picking the fastest while Ezra got distracted whenever he found an old doodad, or something he found interesting. Tasi sat next to Ferron and cleared the dust from an adjacent workbench and asked Salamat for a hand. She had filled a second crucible with the spoils that Zavi had picked up. The metal was metal in a matter of seconds yet again, Tasi got to working on making arms as well. Zavi watched, amazed by her mother's craftsmanship before she was told to get back to picking.
Salamat watching the little ones rummage through the hoard, Ezra was having a particularly hard time staying focused. When Salamat turned to heat another batch and returned to watch him he couldn't find him. Perplexed, he walks around and finds the young kobold looking at the pile on the other side. He stared with an intense gaze, when Salamat approached to investigate he saw Ezra was staring at a fine curved blade laying amongst the other treasure. Salamat smiles and nudges him forward, Ezra looks back at Salamat who nods at him. As Ezra picks the blade up it glows a bright white, catching everyone's attention. Kaz looks over and sees Ezra holding a falchion, swinging it adeptly in the air as if he'd already mastered it. Kaz puts a hand on his shoulder, "I'll make you a deal Ezra, if you can pick more mithril than your sister, you can keep it." He tells him. Salamat gives a hearty laugh as Ezra hands the sword to Kaz and scrambles to find silver. "Make sure you keep track!" Kaz shouts as Ezra begins to dig.
Nobody knew exactly what time it was since they were underground, but they decided to break for lunch after a few hours. Lucia passed out sandwiches to everyone while Salamat had Zen bring a large hunk of meat for them, along with a bucket of ice cold water and a cup for everyone. Ezra had worked especially hard, he not only found more than Zavi, he doubled what she had found. Ezra finished his sandwich and chugged a glass of water and fell over onto the blanket that was used to wrap the lunch box. Kaz pulled the blanket up over him and set the falchion across from him so it'd be the first thing he sees when he awakens. Ferron finished his sandwich and had some water as well, "My compliments to the chef!" He says to Lucia who was seated next to him. Lucia blushes, "Oh, it wasn't anything special." She mumbles. Ferron stands up, "Alright Tasi, you ready to get back to it?" He asks. Tasi raises up and slithers over to her bench and piles more mithril into her crucible to be melted, "I'll make spear and arrowheads. You'll thank me when the knights don't have to get as close to slay a demon." She explains as she sets a new mold. Ferron sits next to her and continues to shape more blades.
This went on for a few more days, they'd return to the manor for the night and meet back at the door to the treasury where they'd find Salamat and continue working on making arms. Four days and over one hundred swords, countless spears and arrows later Ferron lets out a long sigh. "That should do it." He says as he stands up to stretch. Salamat, who was napping nearby, heard this and got up. He walked over to Kaz, "Appraise a sword for me my boy." He tells Kaz. Kaz gets up and grabs one of the swords in his right hand, he then holds it in front of himself, "Appraisal!" He shouts, blue lights shoot from his hand and spell out a small paragraph in the air. "Dragon's Fire Forged Mithril Longsword'' Kaz reads aloud. Ferron's eyes light up, "The dragon's fire must've improved the quality of the metal in the blades. These would cost a large fortune in a shop." He says as he transcribes the item's exact information onto a piece of parchment.
Zen enters the room pulling a cart behind him, the group begin loading the arms onto the cart and then head back to the manor along with Salamat. Salamat lags slowly behind them and then stealthily pulls Ferron aside, "Human. I am warning you, if any of these blades are used to harm my brethren or family, I will know. Not a single ash of you, or your capital will remain. Am I clear?" Salamat threatens Ferron, who nearly soils himself. "Clear as crystal Lord Salamat." He cries. The two then run to catch up with the group. When they arrive back at the manor Ferron takes out bits of white paper from his bag and scribbles an odd symbol on it. He makes one for every blade, spear, and arrowhead. He affixes them to each blade and mutters something under his breath, Kaz watches from across the table curiously. "What did you do, Ferron?" Kaz inquires. Ferron is startled a bit upon hearing his name called, "Hexing the blades to break if they're used on a dragon." He explains. Kaz looked impressed, "You can do that?" Kaz asks. Ferron sighs, "We made these arms, but the King decides how they're used. Do you see what I'm getting at?" He tells Kaz.