Sweat ran down the huge muscled back leaving damp trails in the sooty grime that covered the hard skin. The man hammered rhythmically, each well-timed beat forcing the glowing metal into shape. The pulsing loud chimes of metal on metal echoed around the forge and beyond. It was an honest comforting sound.
A whispered word accompanied each strike. A simple litany handed down from blacksmith to blacksmith that would add strength and power to the blade.
With ease the smith lifted the metal and placed it back into the fire of the forge sending sparks and embers flying. He waited a few moments gathering his breath. Time in the forge was endless and, despite the exertion, a restful place.
He retrieved the metal and continued to pound, lips moving in near silent benediction.
“Are you Lothan Garrick?” Someone shouted.
The hammer continued its ringing metrical beat.
“Oi, are you Lothan Garrick?” This time it was insistently louder.
He remained intent on his work, smoothing out the metal, forcefully caressing it with the hammer. Keenly aware that even if he wished to stop he could not, to stop now would ruin the creation.
“This must be him,” the voice said. “There’s no one else here and he matches the description. He must be deaf as well as thick headed.” Croaks of ugly laughter accompanied the comment.
A final strike, a final word, and the work was finished. He stood and slowly lowered it into the water trough, adding a soothing word. Gouts of steam erupted as the metal cooled. Taking it out he looked critically along its edge, one eye closed, the other narrowed. With a grunt of self-satisfaction he laid it down on a nearby workbench.
“I’m not deaf and I’m certainly not thick headed you bloody ignorant sod. I just don’t tolerate fools with the manners of a swine,” he growled belligerently and looking at his visitors for the first time. “In answer to your hasty and discourteous question, then yes, I am Lothan Garrick. Now, either tell me what you want or sod off. Quick mind, I’m not normally this patient.”