Today We Move Forward
Anodyne and Sylum stood inside the blank white room; they stared at the man before them as he stood waiting.
“I shall warn you, this room will not last forever. It will collapse soon, so please place your request.”
Anodyne took charge and marched forward till he was standing just outside of the rainfall that relentlessly poured onto the man standing before him.
“I need someone who can craft deity souls, give me a door to one.”
The man started to sit, and a chair appeared below him; flicking out his wrist, a desk appeared mere millimeters in front of Anodyne. A large book and quill were the only things that decorated the desk; adjusting his umbrella, the man made sure that no rain touched his book.
“What level of god souls do you have?”
Anodyne went to answer but stopped himself as he realized he could not. Pulling forth the soul, Anodyne laid it on the desk. The man leaned over to examine before sitting back in his chair.
“Base-level soul, I see. Do you have more?”
“No, just the one; first, I need to find someone who can forge. Once I have this, I shall seek new souls to claim.”
“I don’t care. I am just here to find out if I can find what you need. Fortunately, your request is simple. Please leave out the door you came through; you don’t want to be here when my world collapses.”
Anodyne looked around at the walls and how they were cracking slightly around the joins.
“Come, Anodyne, I don’t like the feel of this place; let’s leave.”
“I am done here; we can leave.”
Anodyne and Sylum headed out of the door, the handle glowing as he reached for it. Anodyne turned to see the man scribbling in his ledger. Determined to get to what he needed, Anodyne pushed forward. Grasping the handle, he stormed through the door, a bright light blinding him to his destination. Before his eyes returned, he heard the chatter of many others; his eyes slowly coming back, he saw he was in a marketplace residing upon an asteroid that was traveling at extreme speed through space.
“Sylum, what is this place?”
Anodyne turned to realize that Sylum was no longer with him.
“Alright, going solo, I guess. It does not matter; I just need to find a smith.”
Before Anodyne could search, a young-looking woman tapped his shoulder.
“You said you were looking for a smith? My partner is the best smith on Slag.”
Anodyne looked at the woman and the heavy apron she was wearing.
“I assume you are the forge assistant based on your attire.”
“Yes, I can’t forge many things yet, but I am learning. Come check it out; you can always leave if it is not what you are looking for.”
The girl started to walk off down the street, Anodyne followed cautiously.
“What is your name? I am Appretend; my partner is Plo’Farrier.”
“Not much for words ae Anodyne; well, you better speak up when we get to the forge; otherwise, Plo won’t know what to do for you.”
“How about we walk in silence.”
“That might be hard; too many people on here to walk in silence. If you really wanted to, you could…”
Appretend continued to ramble as Anodyne followed, looking around at the various small shacks and occasional well-established small buildings. All around, he could see various blacksmiths along with merchants that sold many interesting items. He watched as plants and decorative items lit up the market, illuminating the various weapons and ores that laid dull in their stalls. Anodyne bumped into Appretend as he was looking elsewhere, bringing his attention back to her.
“Did you not hear me say we had arrived?”
“To be honest, I stopped listening after I asked to walk in silence.”
Anodyne looked at the two-story stone building that stood out from the rest of the smaller shacks.
“Well, even if they are not the best, you two have the biggest building here.”
“Yes, rent is pretty insane here. Plo and I still make enough, though; come on in; I will show you to the forge.”
They both walked inside; a heat hit Anodynethey. He forced his hand up to shield his eyes as they adjusted.
“What in the great expanse causes that much heat, especially something that is in a damn house.”
“First off, this is the forge; secondly, it is a rare liquid stone that is both a sun and a moon. Plo got some condensed a while back and has it as the fire pit. I believe there are three suns worth in there. Not many, but enough for what we do.”
Anodyne turned the final corner to see a woman sleeping on the floor, holding onto calipers and a hammer.
“Plo, we have a potential customer.”
The woman’s eyes slowly opened, and she sluggishly pulled herself up.
“What does he want?” Plo asked as she propped herself upright.
“He wants, well, what do you want?”
Anodyne pulled forth the deities’ soul and showed it to Plo. Her eyes instantly lit up, and she ran over; snatching it from Anodyne’s hands, she examined it thoroughly. Anodyne went to grab it back but stopped as he realized she had no interest in stealing it. She grabbed a few small tools and started probing into the cracks of the hard outer layer of the soul.
“Weird, it has a good strength which would suggest a higher-level soul, but the cracks are a sign of a low-level soul. Must have been in a developing stage of his life.”
Anodyne stood unamused by the chatter.
“Can you craft it into a weapon or not?”
Plo and Appretend looked up at Anodyne and started laughing. Appretend grabbed a hammer and handed it over. Plo brought down the hammer onto the soul; the exterior cracked open and revealed a small nugget of unrefined metal.
Appretend grabbed the nugget and held it up.
“You want a mighty teaspoon to slay your enemies?”
Anodyne’s eye twitched as he looked at the small portion of usable material, his eyes starting to let off a light blue flame.
Plo’s smile faded, and she started to look a little worried.
“Ok now, just so you know, we did not break this. This is simply the only usable part of the soul. The cracks would have let out the soul’s energy as it was forged. Probably because of the weakness of the killer and the weakness of the individual.”
Anodyne’s eyes started to burn with a brighter flame.
“Point me to a low-level deity; point me to as many as you can. I have souls to collect!”
Plo and Appretend looked at each other with desperation, both of them muttering, grasping at the air for location names as they recoiled from Anodyne until Appretend spoke out.
“Well, no one on this asteroid is particularly strong; we all focus on skills as opposed to power.”
Anodyne grinned and walked out of the shop; looking around, he counted the souls that resided on Slag.
“One, two, three, six, twenty, twenty-five…. Twenty-five souls would be more than enough for a dagger. Looks like I have some harvesting to do.” Anodyne dragged his scythe forth from his pocket dimension, raising it high above his head he flew into the asteroid swinging.
Plo looked out her door across the street as Anodyne collided with an opposing store, crashing through the tin rough and cutting down her neighbor with one strike. A maniacal echoed around as the sounds of crashes and screams sounded. A few determined battle cries called out, but quickly they were silenced. One induvial landed at the entrance of Plo’s shop, gurgling on their blood before falling limp. Beginning the collapse of their body into a soul. As the screams and destruction raged on, Plo and Appretend sat in their workshop home.
“I am really sorry, Plo; I did not mean this to happen.”
“Look, this is fine; this actually works. We have just gotten the competition killed off. We just have to make sure that we stay on the good side of him and we get work. Not only work but protection.”
“That is insane; he is insane. He started murdering people just for the chance of having a weapon forged. Something I would like to point out is not a guarantee. So if we fuck it up and lose all his souls, what do you think he will do. Do you think he will be forgiving?”
Plo grabbed Appretend’s face and pulled her in close.
“We won’t fail; we can’t. This is our first step out of being the bitch to other gods; we can’t miss this opportunity. This is where our story begins. We can be one of the remembered ones!”
Anodyne burst through the partially destroyed front door of the forge and laid down a pile of souls before the two forgers.
“A few nearly got away. But I ran them down; they did not run very fast.”
Anodyne sat down and relaxed in a chair, his body covered with blood and wounds.
“You know, I did not know deities could get this weak. You crafty people really are fucking disgraceful at fighting.”
Anodyne grabbed a rag and started to wipe the blood from his brow.
“I thought I was the worst fighter there was based on my previous fights, hell one of my previous fights is the main reason I am doing all of this.”
Anodyne leaned forward in his chair and rested on his knees.
“Well, is this enough for a weapon or not?”
Appretend remained on the floor in shock while Plo scampered forward and started to smash the exterior shells of the souls, then pulled the useable fragments from the flak.
“I have, I have, enough for a short sword here maybe. Maybe something a little more.”
Anodyne grabbed one of the unused fire pokers, resting it under Plo’s chin. He turned her frantic face towards him.
“I have exerted a lot of energy to claim what lies before you, don’t waste my efforts. Make my damn sword.”
Plo stood up with an armful of soul ore and ran over to her furnace.
“Aprretend, I need you to stoke the fires and prepare a mold. Right the hell now.”
Snapping out of her delirious stare, she jumped to her feet and started preparing as Plo gathered all the souls. The couple ran around their workshop in a mad rush, ensuring everything was done to perfection. They tended to the souls they had to craft.
Anodyne relaxed back into his chair and watched as the two scurried around, working hard at the forge.
“How long is this going to take? I am not a patient individual?”
Plo had her head stuck into loud machinery that removed her ability to hear, so Appretend answered.
“Close to around twenty hours, soul forging is hard. Very hard.”
“I am going for a walk if you run. I will find you.”
Anodyne tried to solidify his terror, but neither of the couple had the ears to hear his words as they were working too diligently in the heart of the forge.
“I trust you are too scared to run; I will be back soon.”
Anodyne left the building to look around the remains of Slag. All the shanties lay in ruin after the brief conflict Anodyne had with the previous inhabitants.
“It is a shame; nothing is left.”
Anodyne tried turning over some of the shacks to find anything left, but most of what was for sale was easily destroyable.
“Those assholes really wanted to live. I don’t see why. They weren’t achieving anything here. Just drifting through space with a handful of customers.”
Anodyne sat down and looked at the nearby nebula churning in the darkness, slowly building up density till it could reach its final life cycle as a star.
“Wait, they said rent. I wonder if this has been noted by the landlord. I can’t have killed everyone; I may have to get these smiths out of here. I may have to get out of here. I don’t think I want to meet someone who is powerful enough to own a chunk of space.”
Anodyne’s eyes widened as a sudden realization dawned upon him.
“I may have just pissed off a very powerful being. I think I need to leave. Oh shit, I need to leave now!”