The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Blacksmith Incident - Part III

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Discovering that Porcius was not in the blacksmith shop after sunset was not particular surprise to Gaius. Most towns restricted business traffic during daylight hours. Thus, shops in those towns had to obtain their supplies at night. Thus, Gaius would have to wait in the shop; however, he did not want to be seen there. Therefore, he sat in a dark corner of the shop.

Gaius sat there for quite a while. It was sometimes a struggle for him to not fall asleep. However, after some time had passed, a group of a dozen men entered the shop. Gaius froze. He could not tell if his old friend was among the men. He just sat there in his dark corner and hoped no one would notice him.

"Part of our job has been done for us," said one of the men after they all entered the shop.

"What do you mean?" asked another.

"Have you not heard?" replied a third

"Yeah! That thieving beast tackled with the wrong man. He was killed this afternoon."

"Really?"

"I saw the body myself."

"Apollodorus," Gaius heard a familiar voice mutter.

"What?" asked another man.

"Nothing," was the reply.

"We should move quickly on the rest of them."

"Agreed," most of them replied.

"What will we do about the magistrate?"

"If we work quickly and quietly, he would not need to be involved at all."

"Should we not have a bribe ready?"

"If we come across their ill gotten booty, we will use that to ensure justice is served."

"Are we going to move tonight?"

"The blame may fall on our benefactor if we do."

"All the more reason..."

"He helped us greatly in our plan," came the same familiar voice. "It would be wrong to saddle him with the blame for our deeds."

"You are right. He did take care of the worst of them for us."

"That beast could have taken two or three of us down," explained one of the men. "This man must be a formidable fighter."

"We do not want to get on that person's wrong side," added another.

"However, he was taken into custody. Therefore, he should be in the clear as far as blame goes."

"There are still going to be questions."

"They may think our man was hired to take care of the monster, so we could take care of the rest."

"Everyone in the area knows that these people were preying upon travelers."

"Yeah! They should be happy that they are gone."

"The magistrate is not going to be happy."

"He has been paid well to look the other way on their activities."

"He is going to lose a good source of income."

"Do not worry about the magistrate," came a voice in the darkness.

"Who said that?"

"Is there someone one in here?"

"I will take care of the magistrate," replied Gaius.

"Who are you?" asked one man.

"Apollodorus," Porcius responded.

"I am Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius," corrected Gaius. "If you take care of the rest of the bad elements in town, I will take care of the magistrate."

"How do we know we can trust you?"

"I killed your so-called beast. Thus, the blame will fall on me anyhow."

"How did you escape from the magistrate?"

"We came to an understanding."

"But, what are you doing hiding in here?"

"I need Porcius to fix my weapon. The magistrate let me out to take care of this business. However, I was given the strict order to not be seen."

"Is this true Porcius?"

"We made some arrangements to meet today," replied Porcius. "I did not expect it to be this late."

"I ran into some trouble," explained Gaius with a understanding nod.

"No more than usual," replied Porcius.

"Most importantly," added another conspirator. "Can we trust him?"

"We fought in the Servile War together," replied Porcius. "I trust him completely."

"You will handle the magistrate?"

"I will," replied Gaius. "But you must promise to keep this town clean. You must fight corruption because I will not be here to fight it for you."

"Agreed!" the group replied.

"What about my shamshir?" asked Gaius.

"Are you going to need it tonight?" asked Porcius.

"It would be nice," replied Gaius. "I feel slightly vulnerable without it."

"Vulnerable? You?"

"Perhaps that is the wrong word. It is just that it has become a part of me. I just feel strange without it."

"It has been a while since I worked in the dark, but I could still repair the damage for you tonight."

Porcius stoked his forge and added some more fuel. When it got to working temperature, he took the sword from Gaius. Under the light of the glowing embers, Porcius looked at the damaged scimitar. He observed the huge nicks in the once sharp blade.

"What were you fighting -- a stone giant?" asked Porcius.

"A person along the road got a hold of it and was striking it upon the stones in the road."

"I assume he will never do that again."

"You assume correctly."

"It is damaged pretty badly, but I think it is not damaged beyond repair."

"That is good to hear."

"If I had time, I would forge you an entirely new one."

"You cannot replace an old friend like that."

"I understand," replied Porcius as he stuck the sword into the forge. "I will handle it with care."

When the sword blade was red hot, Porcius pounded upon it on his anvil. The blade went back and forth between the forge and the anvil. Occasionally Porcius would inspect it closely by glow of the forge.

Gaius felt nervous as he watched the smith pound on his sword. He almost could not watch as Porcius went back and forth with his prized weapon. Eventually, Gaius's faithful friend was plunged into a bucket and the water roared.

"Once it has cooled a bit more, I will take a stone to it to sharpen it. It should be serviceable again."

"I do not know how difficult it will to be to finish my part of this bargain, but it will be nice to have my trusty shamshir should I need it."

"I do not know how you are going to manage it. His place is pretty well fortified."

"We will find out when the time comes."

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 27, 2009 7:38 PM.

"The God Wars" - Chapter Twenty-three: Of Whiskey and Spies was the previous entry in this blog.

"The God Wars" - Chapter Twenty-four: Thief is the next entry in this blog.

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