W/N - Ok, here it is, the real finale. It took some things from the making of a katana such as the hamon or martensite edge of the blade. Let's have a little feel good before it gets all dark again. I've got a Mass Effect idea brewing and I may pick up in the Cerberus Lazurus Project Lab.


Soldiers Keep – The Courtyard – Twelve Days After the Keep is Taken

In the evening they fasted and prayed. Every ounce of Mikhail's faith would be tested this night. In absolute silence they entered the smithy and took their places. Covered candles gave off a dim glow, giving just enough light to work in. Mikhail signaled the boys to heave on the bellows and the fire began to smolder and then roar. He picked up the blade, now encased in dried clay and examined every line and every smudge in the casing. He couldn't have done it better himself, but still he fretted. This step was the most dangerous of all. He snapped his fingers and other boys filled a trough with the coldest of icy water. Then, he looked into the furnace and saw that the charcoal was the perfect shade of orange. He nodded to Jacob.

With tongs in hand, his son thrust the blade into the furnace and soon, the metal glowed through the clay. The timing would have to be perfect, just the right color, just the right amount of steam, just the right number of sparks. Just as Mikhail was about to lose his composure and shout, Jacob pulled the sword from the furnace and plunged it into the ice cold water.

Mikhail closed his eyes in hope, fear and prayer as he heard the water sizzling and bubbling. Would the blade crack? Would it warp beyond all use? Ten things could go wrong here. The sizzling soon died away and he heard metal thunk on the table and the sound of hardened clay shattering. He held his breath.


Mikhail slowly opened his eyes and thought he was blinded for a moment. A blade…a finished blade lay before him, its bright glow fading into glorious silver with pulsing veins of blue. "Dear Andraste, it's beautiful. It is…a work of art."

The metal now cool enough to touch, he put the blade onto the table and etched his name into the tang and then held out the weapon for his son to do the same. He then etched in the name of the owner, Warden Alice Cousland. And, like that, the three became immortalized in metal and art. A thousand years hence, someone would look at the tang and know the three people who made this masterpiece possible.

Mikhail quickly put polished hilts, a leather wrapped handle and a finely crafted pommel on the weapon. They spent the rest of the night sharpening the edges to razor perfection whereupon they brushed the metal with an acid wash, bringing out a mirror shine. As dawn broke, Mikhail knew that they had a sword and this sword was a dragon slayer.

He was tired, so very tired, but there were still things to do and he could not rest until they were done. Some of his apprentices had already drifted off, but he took Jacob to find the dwarf, Sandal. All Mikhail had to say was, "Enchantment," and the boy was in ecstasy. The savant took the sword and, with blinding speed, engraved an image of the Warden in a thoughtful pose, holding a rose on one side and then a series of arcane symbols on the other. He polished the carvings and handed the blade back to Mikhail.


Mikhail tousled the boy's hair and gave him a big smile. "You can enchant with me anytime, Sandal. You have helped me to create my life's work."

As the dwarf skipped off, Mikhail held the sword up, letting the rising sun reflect off of its polished surface that looked like stars shimmering on the sea at dawn. He patted Jacob on the back. "Get some rest son. Tell the Warden that I will see her for dinner," he said as he walked back to the smithy. There was one last thing to do.

Dinner came quickly and Mikhail bathed and prayed to cleanse himself before the Maker. He put the sword into the leather and brass scabbard that he had made and took a pouch with him to keep's banquet hall. Dressed in the simple robes of a smith he entered and bowed to Warden and Alistair and then to the Senechal, his cousin, Levi. He looked around to see his apprentices seated at a table full of bountiful platters, covered in meats, game, vegetables and fruit. Soldiers Peak had once again burst into life and it would be good to call this place home. Mikhail put two hands on the scabbard and held his creation out. "Warden, here is your sword. It was my life's honor to create this before the eyes of the Maker and Blessed Andraste."

"Thank you, Master Mikhail," she said and reached for the scabbard, but he pulled the weapon back and watched her surprise.

"There is one thing and one thing only that I ask of you to receive this sword. My craft is meant to save lives and this is a life giving sword. Keep it and use it to save people and to bring justice. That is what a sword represents. Bring peace to the land," he said and then reoffered the weapon.

The Warden nodded solemnly and took the sword, drawing it slowly with her hand. It shimmered as it left the scabbard, its blue veins pulsing with power. Along the cutting edge, a unique pattern like billowing clouds floated along the metal, gradually fading into the heart of the blade. As she raised it over her head, the tip burst into light like the morning star. Alice gasped. "I…I shall, Master Mikhail. I thank you," she said as she resheathed the sword and bowed low. "I name this weapon, Starfang."

The smith nodded with satisfaction and then looked down at the young elven girl. She looked up at him with hopeful eyes and he gave her a wink. He reached into his pouch and pulled up a necklace of silver with pulsing blue veins that changed ever so slightly in hue as it caught different lights. It was as beautiful as a rainbow, as light as a spider's web, but as strong as dragon bone, made from the shavings of metal left over from the sword. He clasped the necklace around young Amethyne's neck and she wrapped her arms around his waist. He could feel her tears through his robe and he put both of his hands over her head, rubbing gently.

Yes, he had found a place to call home.