Furnace, Forsaken Swordsmith
In the war’s aftermath I have no purpose, an obsolete man with no duty to devote myself or my work to. My very craft is stolen, my weapons littered across battlefields, rusting slowly in the soil, never to be raised again by those with solemn honour. Life without conflict is beyond pity, one of the greatest travesties of our time and the denial of the sovereign birthright of all nations.
I am not alone in these thoughts. I see them reflected in the eyes of each of my old comrades, hollow despair mired with the sorrow of acceptance. Even the great teachings of Solthecius cannot provide serenity, no matter the countless hours spent in prayer. I fear the gaze of the August Lord has turned from us now that proud armies no longer march across the fields under bright and sacred banners.
No matter. Honour demands I continue to serve the Blacksmith’s Guild, and so I shall, as best I can in this forsaken new world.
Once I was renowned as the greatest swordsmith of a generation, but from this day let it be known that never again will I complete a blade, forever denying the world the true and deadly weapons for which I was famed. I shall exact my wrath with steel which remains molten and unfinished, my retribution borne by the unforgiving flames of the furnace itself. The same searing heat that once took my eye and scarred my face shall be turned upon those who have punished us so severely, a weapon tempered only by our righteous vengeance.
Though paltry compared to the vast wars of the past, Guild Ball is the only conflict which remains in this new empire, the sole enterprise left to those who would seek the purity of trial by combat. Through it I will remain true to the ideals of my noble caste, and in my deeds once again usher in prosperity for my house. It is time to forge a new future, one in which our sword arms may remain strong, and our hearts turn to bitter iron.
- Furnace, Master of the Blacksmith’s Guild
Cinder, The Fated Urchin
Not everyone from behind the tall white walls bends the knee to the Bacchal throne. Piervo is like any other city with its dirty streets and forgotten alleys, no matter the boastings of the holy men and their contemptuous order. In these places my kin dwell, the abandoned and runaway urchins for whom every day is a battle for survival. Priests are not kind with the scraps they throw to such children, and most of us starve before we reach our tenth name day. The ones that don’t get gutted by the undercity scum, at least.
I never once believed that fate could be mine.
Even now I am not possessed of the foolish pride of my peers, nor was I too bashful to hound the man I now call master into accepting me as apprentice, following him like a pup with her tail between her legs. For as far back as I can recall, whilst I prowled the streets I wanted nothing more than to escape, and Master Furnace has delivered me precisely that salvation. Under his tutelage, I have been shown his resolve, patience, and determination, coupled with selfless devotion beyond anything I encountered amongst priests towards their church.
While I dare not hope to emulate my master’s untold skill, I do at least offer other appreciable talents to my Guild, born of a desperate childhood surviving on the streets. It is with these I am best able to serve, a simple fact not unnoticed by Master Furnace, for he in truth is as pragmatic a soul as those forced to live the life of the destitute. I may never truly attain the hallowed title of master myself, but service at least affords me a full belly, and my nights on a soft bed rather than unforgiving stone.
And in all honesty, I could ask for little more.
- Cinder, Blacksmith’s Guild