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Eyeofthenyte

Finding One's Place

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Ibidon had been in the keep proper for only a couple of days still pulling his things about, not really wishing to leave what few possessions he had left under the care of someone he didn’t know, or trusted for that matter. He would quietly come and go to and from the forge as needed and slept propped up in a corner until goaded or questioned by someone. Luckily, here they were too busy to really pry for more information and when he would get up and move right away they never pressed the issue further.

 

Despite it being a new place, and him the ‘outsider’ he did not feel the blatant hostility that he normally encountered when being forcibly transported to a new location. Today had been an early day. The people had come into the forge early and asked questions. Ibidion had politely responded in a very nondescript way enough so that they would not  ask any more questions and then departed the forge.

 

How long would it be before everyone catches onto this little scam here and boots me out… or worse? It continuously was in the forefront of his mind. He placed a hand on his hammer which hung at his side. That tool gave him some small amount of comfort. He had obtained a new cloak here and kept it drawn. Yet still as he move the hammer would catch the light and then cast it away again every so often. He wasn’t exactly trying to hide it, just obscure the markings on it. People always saw those markings and seemingly knew it was of value. In fact, all of his tools bore the same shine and carried similar markings. He knew what they were for, and he knew what they said. Yet to others they would look as foreign as could be being written in a deep and ancient draconic dialect.

 

And so, the ingloriously displaced half dragon made his way across the courtyard having watched a sunrise this day from the walls. He’d only been barked at a handful of times to “get on his way” or “get out of the way.” Ibidon considered that a boon as he paused and re-adjusted the load he carried. Perhaps he would pick up a few projects back in the forge when everyone was out on other errands again. The thought of the heat and the ring of metal soothed his constantly troubled mind. Who knows, perhaps the Artifact would visit again. The more he thought on it, it was odd that he found comfort and companionship in such an odd little being. Yet she seemed to understand his frame of mind. He just hoped that she kept her soul eating outside of the keep, or at the very least it wouldn’t be pinned on him. She seemed to be unconcerned with the consequences of such actions. Perhaps her magic would permit her a quick and speedy departure if needed. He shook his head, “She’s right, I need to worry less… in need the forge today, it calls to me,” he spoke softly yet the deep gravelly and mottled tone such that it was hard to get a specific accent.

 

Fortunately, as of yet, he had not encountered language barriers; but it never dawned on him as to why. That was beyond the meagerly educated blacksmith. Yet it was one of the many that encompassed this involuntary nomad. Perhaps in time that too would be answered. For now, the only answer that was to be had was Ibidon answering his call to the forge. His gaze lowered slightly, he found not making eye contact reduced the attention he drew, and both human and afflicted hands reaffirmed their grip on the newly replaced poles that were strapped to the chest and his slow pace began again taking him closer to his intended goal. 

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Amaranth found the keep life to be very boring. Every time she wanted to scare someone or take their soul they saw through her ruse. Making it much more awkward. She didn't like how the humans here knew about vampires either. For she was kind of like that. Of course Ammy had no intentions of settling down.

She sat in the forge. On one of the stools. She had her head in her left palm and looked like she was asleep. Ammy didn't have much to do. And the artifacts she tried to sell, sat beside her in a little pouch bag. The flap was open and you could see inside it. The artifact wished she could find someone to sell at least one of these damn things to someone.

Amaranth shrugged. She wondered about Ibby. How was he? Where did he end up? She hoped he was okay. He after all wasn't afraid of her and had become a close companion to her. A first for the artifact to have a friend. Usually she didn't allow this. But Ibby was saved because he wasn't fully human.

She shook the pink crimson hair out of her face as she watched the forge. Waiting.

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The call, the pull, it needed to be quenched like a finished blade. He couldn't let that happen anywhere but a forge. Oh how he prayed to whomever would hear, that the flames did not take the forge like it did his father's. "Control, breathing, concentration," he said lowly almost muttering. The soft scraping of wood against dirt and sometimes flagstone drowned out the soft plod of his feet. The keep was busy. Everyone with their place. Except for him. Perhaps he would find one here? That was a nice thought; though one he had in every new place he had been. A shake of his head dispelled the memories coming unbidden to his mind.

He could have lifted the chest and carried it. It would have been faster, but it would have drawn more attention. Direct attention was almost always bad for him. A deep breath let out slowly as he arrived at the forge doors. Letting himself in he noticed none were about at the moment. Perhaps he should have left more work for them to do. He shook his head with a slight smirk. No, they'd enjoy an easy day. Likely they haven't had one very often. He nodded and let down his burden near a wall. He had walked right by Amaranth with his hood drawn. Letting it down as he removed his cloak and hung it on a peg as well as his shirt in the heat of the forge. It displayed his partially malformed torso. The human flesh of his left side gave way to armored scales that covered his spine and faded into what appeared to be a more flexible and almost leathery reptilian skin. His hammer still hung at his side and made a soft thud on the ground as he crouched before the chest and bundle. Opening the bundle he unraveled the metal stock within. "Only a few left," his clawed digits lightly running over the bars of various metals. "I'll have to purchase or find more soon..." he took a breath and selected one of the smaller pieces of stock perhaps enough for a dagger, hatchet or spear head. He nodded slowly leaning the stock against an anvil and taking hold of his rather unique hammer. For a few moments he stood there collecting himself before he would place the first blow. The heat felt good. The smell of coal. The vibration of magic. He let it all melt around him and pass through him. Even the ever present stress that could be seen in the human half of his face seemed to smooth away into perfect calmness.

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"Only a few left?"

Amaranth asked as she watched him. Ibidon was an odd creature. Half of two creatures and yet his human half always showed among the ravaged side. And yet this people didn't mind him being that. 

Didn't mind the two being here. Which perplexed the artifact. Amaranth was evil and she didn't know much about helping people. Nor did she like doing that. And Ibidon wanted to help the people. Wanted to fix this no doubt.

Amaranth  sighed as she looked at him. "You want to help these people? Why? They look like they don't trust you and you want to help them. They'll betray you when you'll need them the most. And let's not forget you're half a dragon."

She sighed shaking her head.

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Opening his eyes he glanced to Amaranth, the slited amber eye narrowed and widened again at her. Taking a breath he nodded some, "It isn't a matter of helping them so much as it is an outlet for me. Not to mention, a means of money. If you recall my cart and horse ended in flames on that bridge. I can't just wave my hands and make new ones appear." he looked down thinking. "Still the remaining stock I have I keep for - certain occasions," he swallowed rolling his shoulders slowly. His voice sounded more harsh than its usual raspy grind and elongated sounds, perhaps even a pensive undertone.

After a few moments he continued, "One occasion is nearing. I'm hoping that - this time - I'll be able to show more control than in the past." Looking toward where stock was and back to the girl, "I tell you this so you might avoid it. I don't know what one of my flares will do to you. I haven't seen much that can withstand it except for my tools and of course me." he wasn't eager to take another life. His horse was bad enough, Another sentient life, that might shatter the tentative grip that he did have on controlling his more wild nature. Apply that to one of the only beings he'd met thus far that didn't treat him at best like an attraction at a carnival of wonders. Amaranth was the closest thing he currently had to a friend anywhere in the world, this world, or perhaps any.

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" Don't be so overdramatic. I'm sure all that will happen will just be a bit of damage to my skin. I am an artifact after all, pretty hard to kill me."

She shrugged at his words. Unsure as to what he meant about supplies. Amaranth always thought that people carried enough supplies to last them to the end. But then he brought up the point of the cart. 

The artifact sighed. 

Seems that things were different. Oh well. Amaranth then looked up at the man. Ibidon was an odd man to her. And she usually didn't do this much work for a meal.

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Artifact, he didn't know what that meant. Perhaps some sort of sentient golem? But he nodded, "I'm not a scholar, so I don't really know what it means that you're an artifact. I don't know what it is you're made of if you can withstand dragonfire," he trailed off feeling the surge of power within. Heat could literally be felt coming off him in waves. For most people it would be nearly unbearable at this point for any extended amount of time. Stepping back to his anvil and grabbing up the prepared stock of metal which began to slowly turn from a dull gray to deep red, then to varying shades of orange until it was nearly white.

*Clang clang - clang clang*

Fire lept from hammer meeting metal. Tongues of flame seemed to form from the waves of heat emanating off of his skin the stone around him could visibly show signs of the intense heat. Spots of the earthen floor began to glitter and sand particulate formed into flecks of glass. His hammer rose and fell repeatedly forcing the nearly molten metal into a desired shape. Expert blows were delivered, flattening the stock. Moving it into various positions prior to each blow wavy edged became smooth, rounded end developed into a rough point, the concentration, skill and perhaps even power of the hammer wielder were poured into the forming object.

Ibidon worked quickly, but did not rush. No movement was unnecessary, no blow misplaced. The length of metal now showed the distinct blade about the length of his forearm. His brow began to furrow as the intensity of the heat continued to rise. He was obviously struggling with keeping it in check. A low growl erupted from deep within as he fought for every second of control. Did the atmosphere of the smithy get cooler? The lapping flames subsided in the air around the working smith. Stone hissed as wafts of quickly cooling air touched the stone. Was Ibidon now shaking? His battle now internalized began to manifest as the same nearly white hot color glowed from between the scales of the malformed half of his body. His slitted amber eye brightened as he reached out with the still glowing metal to quench it. Steam hissed angrily from the barrel, which was already at a low boil, now slowing. He only released the short bit of stock he used as a grip while forming the blade once it was resting neatly back on the anvil. Placing both hands on the haft of the hammer he wielded he closed his eyes. The runes on the hammer flashed brilliantly before the hammer fell hitting the ground as Ibidon's knees did the same.

After a number of labored breaths left him before he reached, with his human hand, for the anvil attempting to rise to his feet again. He would still be warm to the touch, not painfully so, but still hotter than the warmest fever for an average human being. "Is the blade formed?" his head hung as he asked, it seemed to be an effort to even keep it up that much.

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"A lesson for another time." Amaranth replied. "A tale that doesn't need to be known now. Just return to your work."

Amaranth sat there on the ledge as she had for awhile now. Though the others could have perceived this as lazy, she was not. Truth be told, she was laying down the stones to the transformation of the man's inner self.

A fight worth to be seen. 

Looking up with half interest she eyed the ragged breathing. She had seen it so many times in her life. The one before struggling to retain the other half, a battle oneself could only engage in. No one could help them find their path. That was for them to do.

Amaranth was here to "help" the lad find his path. Whether down the right one would be up to him. Though he did ask her about the weapon.

"It came out fine. You did a good job."

For once she held no sarcasm, no hate in her voice. She was pleased with his work. Ibidon was a piece of work himself needed to be  crafted well. 

Amaranth then tilted her head. Ibidon didn't look so well. And she didn't know why. If she was the caring type she would have asked what was wrong. But she was not. 

She just sat there and watched him.

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Ibidon nodded slowly an almost smile forming on the human half of his face, "Good..." he grunted through the single word and forced himself to his feet staring down at the blade. He nodded slowly, "It's a first..." he stared almost astonished at it. He went about slowly finishing the blade with cross guard, handle and pommel. He continued to speak as he worked now his voice more stable but still drained, "I can tell you have questions... the hard part is past... I can complete the rest of this and hold a conversation." He found an appropriate cross guard, claws curling up toward where the blade would protrude from,  from his chest and a few other minor pieces which he began to assemble. "I'll have to collect the small glass pieces after this as well. People tend to take them and sell them. Who knew dragon glass shards would fetch such high a price."

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Amaranth yawned. 

Ibidon said she might have questions. Maybe she did, but it seemed not important. Amaranth figured that they seemed less important because he was something else. 

And this was different from eating someone else. Well not in eating per say but eating. She signed as she shook her head.

"The only one I have is why? Why help them at all when you could be so much more." Ammy said as she looked at Ibidon. "I mean then there's the human side of yours."

She paused. Looking towards the making of metal and the half dragon she shook her head. Amaranth was a bit torn. 

"I mean they'll never see you as one of them. And yet you want to help them. They'll mock you forever and you want to be one of them? It makes me wonder why. Why do that?"

Amaranth then stood and stretched. He was trying to find a home, she was trying to find a meal. Yet they were polar opposites. She was here to cause trouble while he wanted to help.

It was a bit odd.

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Ibidon only glanced at her for a moment from his finishing work. Time seemed to slip right past him whenever he plied his trade. "I don't see it as helping them. Before...." he glanced at his draconic limb, "... before this happened to me I was a blacksmith... I suppose it's the only thing I really know. Its something I can do being as I am. I can't even predict or control these outbursts... like what you just saw."

Looking at the now cooled stone around him he could pick out small bubbles that had formed inside.

He made a sound, perhaps it was a half hearted laugh, "See me as one of them? I have no delusions of that.... I need to find my place still. For the most part I use these places for gold and raw materials." he sad down holding up the dagger looking down the length of it on one side then flipping it over and doing the same. He attempted to balance it at the cross guard and went back to the chest to select a heavier pommel.

"what more can I really be anyway. I'm halfway in two worlds and hold no control in either. This..." he held up the blade showing it to her, "is the first thing I've made during one of my... episodes that has even closely resembled a finished piece. This is good... perhaps journeyman grade..." he eyed it again and ran the unsharpened edge against some of the stone and watched a glowing line left behind. It cooled and showed a small groove left behind. "Perhaps more..." he took another tool from his chest and began honing slowly, "Why, what do you suggest?"

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"I suggest nothing. For you and I are different. Different from each other in many ways. You are living and breathing. I, I do not require such. I can sit here and not need a thing."

Amaranth watched him drag the unsharpened edge against the rock as it glowed and then dimmed. It was hard to explain what she was exactly. But all in all she had become this. Not to her wanting but by accident. 

She had nothing to offer to be honest. Amaranth's work was finding people and turning them into beings like her, artifacts that did not need to live like a human but to also cause chaos among the land. 

She sighed again as she sat there not moving from the pillar she sat upon. Truth be told she could just eat the village and move on. But there was no fun in that. 

"You have to decide what you want. It's the first step to finding your own path. I can only offer power at the price of your humanity. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's all I'm here for."

Amaranth was being truthful for once. But of course Ibidon could fight her for saying what she was here to do. She wouldn't put up a fight, all he would was damage the skin that held nothing important. 

She shrugged then at his answers.

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