The Blacksmith Guild: Anvil & Sledge

Anvil, Noble Patriarch

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Amongst all of their masters, Anvil is about the closest to a real leader the Smithys have. He’s been around just about as long as time itself, and every man jack of them bends the knee in respect. Those steely eyes of his betray nought but years of experience and wisdom, matching the words he speaks when he offers advice or answers a question. If you might look to Furnace for honour, Burnish for pragmatism, and Farris for dedication to duty, it’s in Anvil you’ll see pride - the true rock, the immovable object against which his enemies break.

Anvil might look intimidating with his scarred hide and stern expression, but he’s never been one for putting out the pain himself. Oho, don’t mistake that for weakness, lad. He’s tough as old nails, more than capable of sending a man to the dirt and keeping him there - but setting up the apprentices is really how the old boy prefers to work. Even when he’s playing the game Anvil is teaching the young ‘uns something about the trade, showing where to strike for the most effect.

Woe betide anyone foolish enough to go after the Smithys’ patriarch on the field. That’s a grave mistake, likely to earn a whole world of hurt - Anvil’s apprentice isn’t the only one devoted to him. Several of the other masters were once apprentices themselves under Anvil’s steady eye, learning their trade thanks to his stewardship. The Blacksmiths are an old Guild which values tradition and respect, and most take severe affront at anyone hounding such a revered figurehead.

Besides, it’s difficult not to like a man with a willingness to take a seat and break open a bottle of mead with you after the game, even if you don’t care for the rest of his kin. I’ve called him friend for a fair few years myself, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Trust me, underneath his long beard is a warm smile, the kind that belongs to a man proud of his work, and secure in what the future will bring after his days are past.

- Tapper, Brewer’s Guild Team Captain


Sledge, Tempered Steel

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‘Aye, he was an ill-tempered bastard when he first arrived with us, I doubt even he would dispute that. Some rooks just have a little too much fire in their belly for their own good, and that’s all there is to it.’ Anvil stood with the other masters at the edge of the proving grounds, watching the apprentices sparring over the dry dirt. Sledge towered over his peers, the lad’s sheer size intimidating even at distance. ‘But you can take that kind of man and turn his mettle to good use, with careful guidance.’

Farris and Ferrite both nodded at the wisdom of his words, and Burnish grunted in agreement. Furnace alone did not seem convinced, a scowl written across his scarred face. ‘Pfft. There is only so much to be achieved with flawed material, only so far that a bent blade can be beaten into place.’

Anvil stroked his beard thoughtfully, remembering Sledge’s wild anger and resentment during the early days. It had taken long hours to teach the boy to master his rage and impetuousness. Just stopping him from smashing the metals to the point of ruin took far too long, before tutelage could truly begin. Anvil had found even his prodigious patience tested more than once. Yet in spite of this, Sledge’s hulking frame had always hinted at a rich natural talent, and his raw strength was second to none. Anvil respected Furnace and his oft-vaunted experience but knew the man to be wrong here. The boy was phenomenal. It had just taken extra care to shape him was all.

Out on the field, the ball came loose before being quickly snatched up by Iron, Ferrite’s burly apprentice. Before the lad could use his bulk to shoulder his way free from the scrum, Sledge was on top of him. His oversized hammer clipped and unbalanced Iron with his first strike, before Sledge stepped firmly into the second blow, swinging his weapon into his opponent’s helmeted jaw. Iron crumpled to the ground in an undignified heap, and Sledge snatched the ball away with surprising deftness. Before any of the others could tackle him, the lad made for the goal himself, long strides propelling him up the pitch and leaving them in his dust.

Still observing from the grounds, Anvil chuckled, although not maliciously. The hulking Eisnoran had unknowingly proven his master’s point very concisely. Sometimes, with a little patience, a dulled metal could be tempered to shine just as bright as that which was master crafted after all.