Upon entering Wanderer’s Stop, I had two objectives: repair my plate armor and get a good night’s sleep. Wanderer’s Stop was a quaint place. I heard mention of it many times in my travels, but this was the first time I had found myself in the area.
I trudged stiffly towards the billowing smoke of the forge. Two days of travel while carrying, rather than wearing, ones armor makes for an exhausting trip. As I followed the consistent ping of a hammer on metal, the source was found. A man a head taller than myself, with arms knotted and veined as wide as my own waist. The blacksmith stopped his work and placed the hammer on his anvil.
“Soldier?” he growled without looking up.
I stepped closer to speak over the roar of the forge “I’m on leave from the war in the west.”
The blacksmith gave a huff of disapproval. He didn’t look like the type to walk away from battle. “Let’s see it,” he demanded with a mighty hand, blackened from his labors.
I reached over my sore shoulders to retrieve the broken armor. As my muscles ached from strain, I made no sound in the presence of this behemoth. Glad to be relieved of the damaged armor, I passed the chest piece to him. His arm didn’t flinch; it was as if I had merely handed him a pillow.
“Orc axe,” he stated as he studied the torn metal. “Most don’t walk away from an encounter with such a weapon.”
“I managed,” my eyes fell on the blacksmith’s hammer, “although some were not so lucky.” My voice trailed off as I noticed a faint smear of blood on it’s surface.
The blacksmith glared at me with a sneer, but made no effort to follow my gaze.
“What will it cost me?” I asked coolly.
The blacksmith pulled a sweat-stained cloth from his back pocket and draped it over his hammer. “Silence,” he said with a smirk.