An Excerpt of Chapter 13 of Dagger

~From Book Two of the Hunted Mage Trilogy~

The steady clang of hammer on iron made his head ache.

Eyulf drew a forearm across his brow and wiped the sweat from it. With eyebrows seared off and the skin of his brows burned to a waxen lump, the stinging sweat would only drip into his eyes. It could be born now as he rested from his part of the labor, but not as he drew the magic forth and wrapped the metal in its folds. A distraction like that could finish what he had survived in his father’s cellars.

I worry too much. Think of all I have learned since then. I have trebled my knowledge in the last year alone!

The smith rattled around the hearth, banging and clanging incessantly. Eyulf would have to remember to stop his ears with wool if he need hire a smith again. And most likely he would. There were to many magics he would like to test in this way.

The binding of magic to an item was an intricate process, draining of time and it sapped his strength considerably. He could Bind at will in a quieter environment and the Binding would adhere after a fashion.

The problem was one of permanence. If he Bound Elements to wood, or pottery it would hold, but those could be destroyed with ease and his work made useless. To Bind his formulas to metal ensured he could get far more use out of the items and their magic. Metal could still be consumed with enough heat, but it was far more difficult.

The smith motioned to Eyulf with his mallet. It was an impatient movement, discourteous, and Eyulf tired greatly of the blacksmith’s ways.

The man sang constantly, a guttural chant that Eyulf could just discern words out of, but they meant little to him. He had bespoken the man about the habit to no avail.

To call the beat of the hammer on the hot metal, he had said with a scornful look on his face, is the most important part of forging.

The apprentice had seemed apologetic for his master’s brusqueness, and had been almost polite to him when the smith was not about.

He hobbled to the hearth and stood as close to the embers as he could. The heat made his ruined skin tight and it pained him to stand as close as he must.

I must endure, he told himself each time the smith beckoned him. He had three days of the prickling heat, raw against the tender flesh that remained to him, and two nights of renewed terror from his dreams.

The nightmares had left him for a time as he traveled. He thought he had outrun them at last, but flame and weariness brought them back with renewed vigor in his sleeping mind.

I will win out against the night. I must!

Even as he approached the deep well of embers near the center of the smithy, he drew upon the Elements and held them at the ready. Some he could layer upon each other in advance even as he looked at the bands of iron that lay on the edge of the coals.

They could not lay there for too long, the smith had told him, bellowing out his commands that first day. They would not cool properly and they must or they will end up warped and thinned by the hot bed.

‘I will not have my workmanship ruined by your gawking. You must act swiftly so I may roll them as they cool.’  Eyulf mocked the smith’s words as he held his Compound Elements ready over the bands.

It was an experiment only, to build a layer of magic into the material during its crafting. He hoped it would keep the item from wearing with age. If his attempts could make the bands indestructible, then what matter would a bit of warping make.

He had wrapped a ring of Time with a thin wire of Attraction to layer into the metal with a blanket of Fire. The Fire should pull to the residual heat in the metal on it’s own. The Attraction was formed precisely. It would work with the Element of Time to draw Spirit. Eyulf had used some of his own Spirit to prime the Attraction. He hoped it would work as he planned. The longer someone wore the band the more they would want to keep it on.

He could feel the smith’s dissatisfaction. It rolled off the man in ripples. He would have the bands be perfect, but Eyulf’s procedure took too long, and the coals cooled too much to stoke back quickly. The bands cooled further while the embers were refreshed.

But they will be finished by night, Eyulf thought with glee.

He could feel his legs shaking as he made he Elements obey him and Bound them to the hot metal.


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