“Where did you get this?”
The harsh question caused Arik to straighten his back. “It has been in my family for generations,” he said defensively.
The questioner grunted dubiously, but said nothing further for several moments. He stared into the leather pouch as if it simultaneously contained the greatest treasure in the world and the thing he feared most.
Arik studied the giant form before him—a man doubled over from habitual stooping. Arik wondered if that was from his work at the forge or from the years of suffering that had clearly broken the man.
“Has it ever been touched?” the former Forger asked next.
Arik’s shoulder jerked guiltily, but it went unseen by the giant man staring into the pouch. “No,” Arik lied.
Arik’s grandfather had given him the leather pouch when Arik had come of age. It was a family heirloom—their greatest pride. Arik had not believed that it was truly the eye of a chimera. After all, the creatures had been extinct since his father was a child.
His grandfather had warned him never to touch it, and so Arik had first dumped the lump of metal-looking material on his bed. It looked so ordinary. So… disappointing.
But then, he had reached out to run his fingers over the smooth surface.
Arik shuddered involuntarily at the memory.
It had been like an explosion of fireworks in his mind, full of vivid colors and strong emotions. The rush of adrenaline was unlike anything Arik had ever experienced before.
Over the next few years, Arik spent most of his private time holding the chimera eye. He reveled in the flow of raw magic that emanated from the stone. He obsessed over the possibility of harnessing that power. He studied every known text concerning the forging of magical items, searching endlessly for the elusive Forgers.
Finally, his searching had paid off.
“What do you want from me?” the former Forger asked, tearing his gaze away from the contents of the pouch.
“I want you to turn that into a weapon,” Arik answered promptly.
The large man’s expression darkened. “I am no longer a Forger, boy. You should have been told that by whoever gave you my name.”
Arik wrestled down the desperation in his voice. “But surely you still know how it is done,” he said quietly.
The former Forger’s brow contracted sharply. “Yes,” he whispered, “I remember.”
Arik switched to a soothing tone, as if speaking to a wild animal. “It would be such a waste to let this beautiful material remain as it is. It was meant to be something more.”
The giant man nodded slowly. “He has been waiting…”
Arik wasn’t sure what the Forger meant, but he could sense that he was close to getting what he had wanted for so long.
“I should not,” the man murmured to himself, “but it truly would be such a waste of the sacrifice that was made.”
Arik held his breath, waiting for the Forger to convince himself it was the right thing to do. Arik knew it was only a matter of time. All of his research had shown that the Forgers had strict beliefs regarding magical materials.
“I will do it,” the large man said finally. “But I do not do it for you. I do it for him,” he nodded to the pouch.
Arik’s rush of elation was so powerful that he could hardly contain himself. It didn’t matter to him what the Forger’s motivations were. All that mattered was that he would finally have a weapon of power. He would be able to wield the magic that had been at his fingertips for so long.
And then, nothing would stop him…
“Will you give it a name, like all those other famous magical weapons?” Arik asked excitedly.
“He already has a name,” the former Forger said softly. “His name is Savion.”