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Chapter 1: Bob's your uncle

Striking the anvil

A gruff voice welcomes me to the smithy.

"Mornin, Nas, you're late..."

"Yes, Doc, I know, but..."

"But then today you have a valid excuse, right? My congratulations."

"Thanks, Doc."

Doc was not one to hand out compliments, our any pleasentries for that matter.
Him remembering my birthday was perhaps the best compliment he could give me.

"So what do you want me to do today? Any new requests come in?"

"Nah, nothing new, but you can finish that sword you made last week.
The leather still needs to be wrapped around the hilt and it still needs sharpening."

Ah yes, the sword Doc had me working on for weeks now. He had been riding me hard every
step i took in creating it and I had to admit it had worked. It was probably the best work I
had done so far in my whole apprenticeship.

It takes me the better part of the morning to finish the sword to Doc's satisfaction.
As I apply the final polish, Doc put his tools aside and sit down next to me.

"It's yours. You will need it where you are going."

I look at Doc with surprise.


And where am I going, I think.
Doc answers both my actual and unspoken question.

"Years ago your uncle Bob came to me and said he had left a package for you.
You would get that package as you turned 16 and it would likely prompt you to travel
and that you could use a good sword then. So I made sure you had one."

First my mother mentions a gift and now Doc seems to know about it also.
This is getting more curious by the minute.

"My mother mentioned a gift she would have for me later; any idea what it is?"

"Nope, but whatever it is and whatever lies in your future, a good sword never hurt anyone."

The irony of that last remark seems completely lost on Doc as he stands up and
picks up his tools again. He has said all he intended to say.

The Gift.

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