~ Chapter 99: The Flames of Urugudu (Part 1) ~
[Andu'Yang'Ores' point of view]
When the Emperor told me that the dragonesses would drop by my forge the following day, I didn't expect them to be knocking on my door at the sun's breakfast, right before the crows woke up, at the first rays of sunrise!
They were all looking bright and full of energy, while I looked as though an anvil struck me on the noggin and then a rabid Hanba dragged me across all Trindania.
I was tired. I was sleepy. I was a grumpy ol' dwarf with a hangover.
“Ya' winged lizards never heard of this ol' thin' called sleep?! Not even the sun woke up and ya askin' me to be awake? Go back to ya' beds and SLEEP!” I shouted and then slammed the door in their noses.
While grumbling about anvil, pesky rodents, and annoying door to door priests, I returned to my comfy bed.
Of course, that wasn't the most polite thing a dwarf like me could do to the esteemed foreigner guests. It took me a full hour for my ol' ticker between the ears to realize what I had just done.
With blood draining from my face, I jumped out of the bed and rushed to the door, but by that time, they were already gone. I prayed right there and then to the gods above that this unfortunate event wouldn't leave a black stain on our Empire.
I wanted to be known throughout Trindania as the best blacksmith dwarf not that one dwarf who slammed the door in the nose of foreign dignitaries!
“Sigh... I best make myself some breakfast before the Emperor comes storming in demanding to know how I managed to mess up the international relationship between Trindania and Albeyater.” I said as I closed the door and then slowly walked over to the kitchen.
About two hours later, there was a loud knock on my door.
I made a silent prayer in my mind so that my soul would find peace in the afterlife and then went to see who it was.
When I opened the door, I saw Sir Seryanna and Sir Kataryna standing there, wearing their impressive armors.
“The Emperor's executioners have grown terribly pretty. No mustache or beard too.” I said in surprise.
“That's awfully rude.” Sir Kataryna puffed as she tossed me a cold glare.
“Ah! Pardon me!” I bowed my head.
“Andu'Yang'Ores, we apologize for arriving so early today. We didn't know you weren't a morning person.” Sir Seryanna said in a calm tone of voice.
“Ah, no! No! I should be the one to beg ye pardon. I was very rude and my behavior deserves no excuse!” I said and bowed my head again.
“In that case, should I presume that it's alright for us to begin with retrieving that hammer of yours?” Sir Seryanna asked.
“Huh? Oh, the Hammer of Umidaba, of course! But before we go, let me toss you two a warning. I've been studying the legends that speak of it for years now, and although some of the parts are exaggerated beyond measure, the details regarding its location have always been the same: within the belly of the Great Forge Urugudu once its flames have been stirred again, and the great volcano had let loose a mighty roar.” I explained.
“That sounds awfully descriptive.” Sir Kataryna raised an eyebrow.
“Yes, I think so too.” I nodded.
“When did the volcano roar?” Sir Seryanna asked.
“I believe that it was you, milady, who made it roar the other day.”
“I apologize for my unsightly behavior.” she said with a troubled look on her face.
“It appears we all have our teeny weeny little problems, don't we?” I showed them a wry smile.
After this rather awkward greeting, I guided the two dragonesses over to the Behemoth Mouth, a giant stone gate that could only be opened by powerful mages or someone with incredible Enlightened One strength.
The gate was the only entrance to the Great Forge Urugudu, and in times long past, it used to be guarded by giant golems made out of metal. In those days, the great dwarf blacksmiths were forging weapons and armors of unmatched prowess, which were used in many of the past great wars. Very few of those wonders remained for the dwarfs of the present to use or study, and I was of the lucky few to get my hands on some of them.
To reach the Behemoth Mouth, wasn't as easy as walking over to the market and back. We had to pass through the whole city of Exaver until we reached the other side of the Urugudu Mountain. To make our journey easier, we got on board my carriage and I drove us there. I may have been a cranky ol' blacksmith, but that didn't stop me from raising a strong Hanba to pull me wherever I wished to go.
Once we reached the big wall, surrounding the city, we drove on the road that ran alongside it all the way until it met with the sturdy cliffs of the Urugudu Mountain. Here, carved within the tough stone was the entrance to the forge, the Behemoth Mouth. It was gigantic, stretching far above the surrounding buildings, with a big monster's face carved into it.
The eyes were said to be able to see far beyond the city's wall, gazing at any unseen enemy that would dare approach this majestic place. Legend had it that when someone would dare block its view, than the Behemoth would eat up that dwarf's luck and then spit it out as a curse of misfortune meant to bring them quickly to their doom.
One wouldn't bother to listen to such silly superstitions, but then again, the former King did build himself a big museum in his own honor right in front of the Behemoth Mouth. It completely blocked its view at that time, but now... there was only the rubble left of it.
“Is this the Great Forge Urugudu?” Sir Seryanna asked as I was thinking about these things.
“Hm? Yes. You can see the carving of the Behemoth on the walls. The great beast is the pet of Urugudu, but there are some who actually claim it isn't actually Urugudu's but Andaryos'. For me it's just the carving of someone with a good imagination.” I laughed.
“Aren't you afraid to anger the gods by acting like this?” Sir Kataryna asked with a smile and a raised eyebrow.
“Nah!” I shook my head “If the mighty gods could be angered only with something of this level, then they would have destroyed the world already! Hahaha!” I replied.
As soon as we took our first step inside, we felt the scorching heat coming from the Flames of Urugudu. The dwarfs who were working here were sweating like a Hanba in a summer day, but they were all quick on their feet to prepare the Great Forge to once again be used by us dwarfs. It would take at least another twenty days before this place was good enough for me to move in.
“Follow me and ignore the busy bees.” I told the two as we moved deeper within the forge.
Unlike those here, we weren't that bothered with the heat. I was wearing a special set of clothes enchanted to protect me high temperatures, and I also had my own special ability to help me cope with it.
In terms of size, the Great Forge of Urugudu was absolutely gigantic. It was large enough to house all the dwarfs in the capital city, but there were channels filled with flowing lava all over the place. Each of them was used to heat up a series of big metal cauldrons enchanted with magic so that they themselves wouldn't melt but they would allow for the ores inside to turn to liquid. Next to them were forges that were also heated up by the lava. Using wind enchantments on the metal pipes, there was no need to worry about the smoke, it was all being pulled out of the forges and then guided outside above a steep cliff, far away from the city.
Now then, deep within this place, standing back to back with the volcano itself, was the biggest forge in this world!
When you stood in front of it, you could feel the overwhelming pressure from both the heat within its belly and all the Magic Energy radiated by each and every brick used to build it. All of them were enchanted by the great dwarfs of the past, and this in itself was a marvel of their skill and ingenuity.
I was the biggest blacksmith in the Trindania Empire, but when I compared myself to the legends of the past, I felt small and insignificant. Not even in my wildest dreams could I have ever designed a forge so perfect and big!
Because smelters used the lava flowing through the Urugudu Mountain to heat up the metals, the forged metals would all end up gaining a bit of earth spirit magic, increasing their strength and endurance. Also, our capital city was safe from the volcano's wrath mostly thanks to this forge, which never allowed for the pressure within the lava pocket underneath our feet to reach the critical threshold.
The forge itself looked like a majestic stone dwarf who diverted the flow of lava flowing from behind him into two identical streams. The dwarf was shown only from his waist up, and the entrance into the forge was right in the middle of his chest. A flight of stairs with six big steps spread in front of him. Each step represented a month in the dwarf calendar, and at night, thanks to a complex system of silver mirrors, the moonlight was reflected from the outside and then sent down to light up the corresponding step.
A long long time ago, it was said that certain blades could only be forged on certain months. This old superstition was held in high regard even today.
“So where are the Flames of Urugudu? The Emperor told our Princess that you needed our help with them?” Sir Seryanna asked.
“The Flames of Urugudu? But you are looking at them.” I replied pointing at the two streams of lava on the left and right side of the forge.
“Pardon?” she blinked surprised and then looked at me with a furrowed brow.
“The Great Forge of Urugudu doesn't use fire to heat up the ores with which we cast our blades, it uses the hot lava from the bowels of the mountain.” I replied with a nod.
“So where exactly is this Hammer of Umidaba?” Sir Kataryna asked.
“Well, first we'll go to the forging area. It's inside the big dwarf's chest. There, we will enter the stream of lava and swim through it until we reach the heart of the forge, a pocket of magma located right underneath the Temple of the God of Fire.” I replied.
“So that's why there was lava in there.” Sir Seryanna nodded.
“Yes, but up until recently there wasn't enough pressure inside to rise the level of lava like this. Whatever you did back then, you nearly caused the whole mountain to blow up!” I laughed.
“I apologize.” Sir Seryanna looked away.
“Don't worry, you just nearly caused a cataclysm that would have no doubt erased the whole of Exaver off the face of this world!” I teased her.
“Ugh.” she groaned and lowered her head.
After I had my fun, I led the two inside the forge. The heat there was so high that even I was starting to sweat. I may have said that we were going to swim in the lava, but I hoped they would just be able to do something about it with their powerful magic. If I stepped one foot inside that thing, my beard wouldn't be the only thing burning off!
While I worried about such things, the two of them weren't even bothered by the heat.
These dragonesses sure are something... I thought as I looked at them.
Inside this place, I saw the Anvil of Ages, which was said to be one of the tools needed to forge Legendary weapons and armor. It was placed right where the heart of the big stone dwarf was supposed to be, and its base was said to run down more than 20 meters deep under the floor. It was an enchanted anvil made out of a Celestium-Zaradin alloy. It was made to be nearly indestructible, so even if we wanted to, we couldn't crack it, scratch it, or melt it into something else. The Anvil of Ages was made with one purpose alone and that was to be used in combination with the Hammer of Umidaba.
I wonder if I'll get the chance to use you? I thought as I moved my hand across its shiny surface.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
This is the first chapter after my break! 😀
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