The final episode of our blog series. We hope you've enjoyed learning about the backstory to your Blacksmith Master & Apprentices. The PDF is now available for download at the bottom of the page.
Farris, Lady Justice
Farris looked about her workshop, taking in every minute detail. As usual, the space was immaculately clean, Bolt having led the servants in their duties with his usual diligence. Farris found his character remarkable. In every task, he could be guaranteed to devote himself to the utmost, irrespective of what it was. The boy would become a remarkable master one day, just like Ferrite before him.
She was disturbed from her thoughts by drunken shouting out in the yard. Obnoxiously loud and coarse, it broke through the calm like a blade through bare skin. Farris sighed. If society shared only a fraction of the obedience or zeal of Bolt, there would be no need for Lawkeepers at all. She didn’t need to go outside to know how the scene would look, another old drunk dragged in from the streets, his ruddy face a tale of a wasted life spent in the gutter.
Her time attached to the Watch had been well spent, a civic duty in which she had served justice above all, but that era was coming to an end. The pitches of Guild Ball called to her as much as service to her Guild. She was wearisome of riding out on match day, her intimidating stallion aiding the Lawkeepers in marshalling the crowds peacefully, only to see lawlessness unfold on the field. Once the games began, Farris would always remain astride the towering animal, watching with enough irate displeasure to dampen the enthusiasm around her. The last time, during the Championship final, Farris had finally seen enough. The sight of Hammer openly throttling his opponent had pushed her too far.
The next day she had formally accepted her Guild’s open invite, spending the weeks since casting steel barding at the forge, preparing for the trials ahead. The Guild officials had tried to wave her down at first, hiding behind regulations prohibiting her from taking a mount to the field, but were quickly cowed. Farris would ride out atop Judgement regardless and refused to take no for an answer. Her higher purpose demanded it.
It was time to ride out and bring law and order to the Guild Ball pitches, rather than leave it at the sidelines. Justice had to be served, at all costs.
Bolt, the Winner
The afternoon sun beat down exhaustingly over the proving grounds, as hard and unrelenting as it was blindingly bright. Sweat soaking through his clothes and blurring his vision, Bolt ran alongside Farris as she circled the pitch, her mount kicking up great explosions of grit. It was an impossible exercise, trying to beat the horse’s canter. Whenever he threatened to overtake, Farris simply drove Judgement into a soft gallop until Bolt dropped back again. Her apprentice didn’t care, refusing to give up. He wore a huge grin despite his fatigue, unable to keep the excitement from his face.
Bolt had always been driven this way. When the going got tough and others fell by the wayside he would simply push himself harder. It wasn’t hubris which drove him, though. It was determination. Determination to be the best, to win. For as long as he could remember, he’d always wanted to achieve victory at the expense of all else. He always had to be the last man standing, to win the race.
Guild Ball was his new outlet for that focus. When his master had announced they would be joining the team, Bolt’s expression had lit up with glee. At the forge he had been unhappy, pitted against inanimate and dull metal, with no victories in sight. But in this new world he would be afforded real opposition – challenges to overcome, opponents to defeat. Bolt hadn’t known true competition like that since winning his place as an apprentice, rising above his rivals.
He could barely wait.
Alongside, Farris dug her spurs into Judgement’s flank once more, causing the beast to gallop away in a sudden burst of speed. Bolt filled his lungs with a sharp intake of air, before reaching deep and hurling himself forward in a dead sprint, the spiked shoes on his boots giving him extra purchase in the baked dirt.
No way he was going to be beaten. That was for losers. And Bolt was anything but a loser.