314 A Staccato of Stealth
Aegin could hear it as they left. Could hear it as they walked out of his cave and made their way back the way they'd come. He stood for a long time, just listening to them, then he looked over his shoulder at the blade he'd been trying to make. He'd had the idea some time ago but had never been sure it would work. He'd never exactly been motivated enough to actually try it either though.
Those months alone had been an eye opener. It had all started when he'd met a group of survivors in the south of the Blue Suns Tribe.
Like the Red-Eyed Snake Tribe, they'd been quite welcoming. It wasn't until he'd been in their company for a fortnight though that Aegin had met their elusive blacksmith. He'd been on a trip to the Triad cities, and had come back with objects that Aegin would have rather never seen again.
He came with an assortment of Charms.
Still, even if he had not wanted to be there, the blacksmith had offhandedly commented that if charms such as their could be used for defence, why not offence? That perhaps the one who had made them was holding back.
Aegin knew he was, but he mentioned nothing of it. In fact, the comment had made him think of something else entirely.
An ordinary blade, no matter it's origin, could not harm the Djinn, but what about a blade that had runes carved into it? He'd seen the Vanguard defeat the Other, surely a Charmed Blade would have a similar if not more proficient result?
Aegin had learned what he could of black smithing, but it appeared metal was easy.
The Evanine was easy to come by in the West where crystal veins were high in quantity and quality. But few had paid attention to the Evanine ones. Aegin was able to buy several crates worth of Evanine for a low price. He'd brought smelting equipment and tools, but it became clear that the Evanine would not cooperate as metal did. It took a very high temperature to come even close to melting it, a temperature that ordinary forges had no hope of achieving. Aegin had been ready to give up his idea as a lost cause.
Then he'd found the cave. It hadn't been as big or wide as it was not, and in all honesty he'd just been passing by to see how Tigin and the Red-Eyed Snake tribe were doing. He'd had no intention of sticking around. But the cave released an unusual heat, and it became clear as soon as Aegin investigated. In the depths of that cave, far below, was a river of fire, so hot that Aegin was positive that if he fell in, he would die even with his healing abilities.
Hot enough to kill him, and maybe just hot enough to forge the blade he'd imagined.
He'd been thrilled to melt the Evanine for the first time, but simply melting it was not enough. He had to learn to cast it and mould it, and sharpen it. He had to learn about how it worked and what would break it. After all, if the blade shattered easily, there was little point in making it.
He'd been so engrossed, he hadn't realised that weeks had passed until Sevis found his cave while out on patrol. He��d been shocked to say the least, and Aegin hadn't exactly been desiring guests, but once it happened, and once Sevis got what Aegin was trying to achieve, he let him be.
Still, the blade he'd imagined seemed like a far off dream considering how many times Aegin had tried to forge it. The blade he had here…they'd all been reforged themselves at least a dozen times. Aegin could never get the blade thick enough not to shatter, but still manoeuvrable enough to swing. He needed something strong to reinforce the crystal, but that would compromise the purpose of the blade; to be inscribed with runes.
Aegin looked down at the blade he'd been sharpening and sighed. This one…it was technically the closest he'd come to a completed blade. But he was pretty sure that it would shatter too easily, that it wouldn't help him in the fight against Yashi.
Aegin clenched his fist, then picked up the rock he'd been using the sharpen the blade. Just because he'd failed the first time, doesn't mean he would always fail. Everything he'd done would be a failure if he didn't even try to test it.
*Eldovian Era 1715, 19th day of the 6th month*
Black Sands City was one of the largest outposts in the Hava Rastellan. You could easily fit ten Red-Eye villages into the city. That wasn't all either, Black Sands built up. They'd taken to building houses that were more modernised than the Beins that most Tribes built. Resembling boxes of Sandstone, sometimes towers of it, rather than the usual round huts.
Honestly, after taking it all in from a distance, Sevis wasn't nearly as confident as he'd felt during the whole trip.
He turned to Tigin who squatted beside him, "You sure you want to try this? I don't think it's likely that we'll get out of there alive".
Tigin frowned, "We need to try at least. From what we've seen, the Chieftain's estate is that massive building on the far side".
"Yeah, problem is that the patrols are much more frequent on that side of the city, so our only way in is through one of the other main entrances," Sevis sighed, "Which means we've got to get through an entire city unnoticed before we can even think of looking for the Chieftain, or Rima".
"But it's a pretty safe bet that they're likely close to one another, correct? I don't think the Chieftain would make the Djinn her guard if it meant that Rima was living so far away," said Tigin.
"Agreed," said Sevis, "Come on, it isn't going to get much darker than this, and if we don't go now, the Djinn is probably going to catch wind of us".
"What makes you think he hasn't already?" asked Tigin.
"No Sand Devils," Sevis replied, "Though I find that just as unsettling as actually seeing them for some reason".
"Me too," Tigin agreed, "Come on".
The two stood, making their way closer to the city walls step by step until they were in line with an oncoming patrol.
"Alright, quick and silent," Sevis said.
Tigin nodded, and the two waited with baited breath as the patrol drew closer…and closer…and…
"Now!" Sevis hissed.
Tigin and Sevis both leaped up and dragged the surprised pair of patrolling warriors down to the ground. One of them let out a surprised shout, but Tigin quickly muffled him before squeezing his neck to stop his breathing.
"Oi! Everything okay out there?" asked a warrior that was at the wall about fifty metres off.
Tigin and Sevis froze, looking at each other as they continued to strangle the patrolmen. When there was no immediate reply, the warrior began to step forward.
A deep voice rumbled from behind Tigin and Sevis, "Fine! Damn snake jumped out of nowhere!"
The Warrior hesitated before he huffed and turned back to take his spot.
Tigin and Sevis looked up at the hooded figure behind them. He wore traditional Tribesman clothes, with the billowing black pants that were cuffed at his ankles and light boots. He had a sleeveless top made from a dark brown, and a long black cloak with a wide and deep hood. His clothes were much lighter than what Tigin was used to seeing him in.
The young man squatted down and nodded towards the warrior Tigin was still strangling. Though now, he was most definitely passed out if not dead. Tigin released him.
"You've gotten better at fighting, but your stealth skills are terrible," said Aegin.