tagRomanceThe Forge

The Forge

bywakingDown©

All characters are 18 or older. This is a long build up one, if that's not what you are looking for, then I am sorry. This is just how this story is.

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One

Lilly scrambled through the underbrush as fast as she could. The drunk frat boys were still behind her, still cat-calling, and asking why she left. She was terrified. After Trevor, the big one, had tried to rape her in the backyard, she ran. He grabbed a couple of his buddies and gave chase. Now, here she was, heading deeper into the woods, the sunset fading fast, and hounded by three would be rapists. She stumbled over a fallen log and found herself leaning against a fencepost. She looked around as saw she was next to a large yard.

The house ahead had a couple of small lights around it, and she could hear a methodical 'ping' of something metal clanging in an even tempo. She slid through the lines of barbed wire as quick as could, getting small cuts over many parts of her body. She didn't care. She ran to the house, and went around to the right, looking for a door or a person or a window with a light on, or anything that might mean help. She called raggedly, her breath all but gone.

The metallic pinging stopped as she rounded the corner. She found herself face to face with something that seemed to be out of a history book. A large man stood next to a large anvil, one hand holding a large hammer, the other a pair of tongs. He wore a large leather apron and heavy leather gloves. He glared at her, frowning, as sweat ran down his scruffy face.

"Please. Help. They. They're following me. They hurt me." She gasped and panted.

"Move." He grunted, tossing the tongs onto the workbench next to the anvil.

She collapsed against the wall as he limped past, his fist tightening on the hammer. He went to the corner of the house and stood there, watching the three drunk frat boys fall through his fence, laughing and cursing at each other. The first one noticed the man and waved.

"Hey man, you seen my girlfriend around here? She got pissed at something and took off; I'm trying to let her know it's alright." At this the other two howled laughter, slapping each other on the back.

"Leave. Now. Or this gets bad." The man growled, starting to limp towards the three young men.

"What? What dude? You think you want a piece of us? You can barely fuckin' walk, limp dick! Step on up, son, let's rock!" the biggest one shouted, getting pissed. He strode quickly up to the man, started to shout something else, but was stopped by the head of the hammer being thrust into his solar plexus; not a terribly hard hit, but a surprise that knocked the breath out of him a little bit. Following the young man's grunt of surprise the older man lashed out with the leg that didn't limp, his boot slamming into the side of the kid's knee, dropping him like a rock. When the kid's buddy started a drunken rush forward, the man reared back with the hammer, ready to inflict some pain. The kid thought better of his charge, and slowly walked forward, hands out, and collected his friend.

"Get the fuck off my property or I'll kill you for trespassing." The man said evenly, the hammer still raised. The three frat boys thought for just a moment before climbing back through the fence, hurling petulant threats and curse under their breath.

The man lowered the hammer and began limping back to where the young woman was standing by the house. She was tall, almost as tall as he was, but skinny. She had the frame of someone who ate light and ran perhaps a little too much. Her makeup was smeared and running down her cheeks. Her tears had dried, but she hitched and sobbed every so often.

"The road is right over there, past the oak trees. Those fucks shouldn't bother you again tonight." He grunted, brushing past her the fridge under the small patio. He took out a bottle of water and a beer. He tossed her the water opened the beer for himself.

"Thank you, sir. The one you hit, he tried to rape me, he, he," she started crying again, and took a large gulp of water before continuing.

"I ran. I was at a party, and he seemed nice, but," She trailed off.

"Most men do until they see an easy target." He replied shortly before grabbing the tongs and pulling a bar of glowing metal out of the small coal pit. He began hammering, seeming to ignore the young woman completely. She watched, fascinated as he worked and shaped the metal quickly. She sipped at the water as he turned a thick, blunt bar of metal into a gently curving arc of metal with thin, smooth edges in a matter of maybe ten minutes. He switched hammers to a more round faced one and began to hammer along the edges, softer than before. He turned the piece over and over, hammering here and there, and then stuck it into a bucket of water, producing a hiss and steam. He took the metal to a grinder on the work bench, and worked the edges, showering sparks. That done, he pulled a length of hemp cord from a spool hanging from a small post set into the support pole of the patio and cut it with the blade he had made. With a few quick turns of his wrist he had wrapped the handle portion and knotted the makeshift grip tightly into place. He turned it over a couple times, inspecting the simple and crude but shapely and sharp dagger. He flipped it in the air and caught it by the tip, holding it out to Lilly.

"Here. If you run across them again, wave this in their face and they ought to get the idea." He instructed. She reached out slowly, and took the handle, hesitating. She had no idea how to use a knife to fight, and was scared she would cut herself with this wicked little dagger. She had never held anything larger than a steak knife before, and this blade was about a foot long. The metal was unpolished, unsmoothed, and looked mean. No glimmering and subtle chef's knife, this was a sharpened bar of iron, made not for looks but for business. It scared her a bit.

"Just hold the handle where the rope is. Then swing. The knife will do the rest." He grunted, pantomiming a few fast slashes. She imitated his fluid movements with a few jerky swings. Not graceful, but if the blade touched anything in those swings, it would get cut. She felt fear, but also power in swinging the knife. She looked at it a moment, turning over the idea that this man had just forged this knife for her, it was still very warm, and now here she was swinging it through the air, feeling the heft of it. She felt overwhelmed with gratitude. She looked up at him, her eyes threatening to spill more tears.

"Thank you. Thank you so much. I, I've never really used a knife except for eating before. How did you make this so fast? Where did you learn to, I," She stammered and sputtered as her eyes made good on their previous threat.

"Time and practice. The same as anything else." He said evenly, "Give it some time, practicing moving with that, and you will get comfortable with it. You don't have to be comfortable with it for it to cut though." He explained. He went to the work bench and picked up a bar of unshaped metal. He jabbed it out in front of himself, then swung it in a short low arc. She stood a there a moment, frowning before trying it herself. She was slower and clumsier than him, but the basics were there. He swung twice, left then right, in a short back and forth slash. She tried this, and did a little better.

"You'll be fine. Hell, you can probably find a bunch of instructional videos on YouTube." He said. "Will you be alright to find your way home? The road right over there is Vintner Avenue, take a right and it will take you to the Willows neighborhood." He asked.

"Yeah, yeah I should be alright. Thank you again. My name is Lilly, by the way. Sorry, I'm a little flustered and forgot my manners." She said, offering her hand.

"Morgan." He said, shaking her hand, being careful not to crush it.

Even through the thick glove she could feel the power of his large, hard hand.

"I thought that blacksmiths were gone. You know, replaced by factories and stuff." She said meekly, waving at the anvil.

"Yeah, it's only something you see any more at renaissance fairs and the like. That's where I first got interested in it. I went to those things a lot in high school." He answered with a small guilty grin.

She smiled at that, trying to picture this large man as a gawky teenager, zits and all, wandering around, surrounded by people in tights swinging swords.

"Well, thank you again, for the help and the protection," she said, holding up the knife, "I'm going to get home before it gets too late." She said, not really wanting to leave.

"Okay. No thanks needed though. Have a nice night." He said, picking up his hammer again.

As she walked down the road, the knife stuck in her belt =, making her feel a bit like a pirate, she felt afraid again. Not terrified, but afraid. The knife's weight was a comfort. The handle poked a knob through the shirt hanging over it with each step, constantly reminding her that it was there, which helped. What she felt most though, was a warmth that spread from her legs to her neck. She had never really liked the big, hairy, and rough kind of guys, but she couldn't get Morgan out of her mind. He was probably too old for her, anyways. But a girl could imagine.

She spent the night tossing and turning, her dreams a pendulum that swung from terror and helplessness to flat out arousal, and back again. She woke twice scrambling for the knife on the lampstand next to the bed, cutting her palm pretty bad the second time. She winced, and went into the bathroom to clean it. She did not realize she had the knife with her until she set it on the edge of the sink to turn on the light. After cleaning and inspecting, she figured it was small enough that some ointment and a couple of Band-Aids would be enough. She looked at herself in the mirror a moment, taking in the dark circles under her eyes, the pale face, and shut off the light before she could see any more.

"Get a grip, Lil. Some drunk asshole grabbed your tit and you got away, and Morgan is a regular guy, not some kind of hidden Adonis." She chided herself as she went back to bed. But sleep was a long time coming.

Two

Lily could barely pay attention in any class the next day except for one. Her Dark Ages class, the one she usually dreaded, was suddenly something she found immense interest in. She decided when the class ended, that she would go back to Morgan's as soon as her last class was finished. She would drive this time, the walk was only about twenty minutes, but she did not quite feel safe walking alone anymore. At the end of her last class, she was one of the first out the door. She walked towards her car, her bag hanging over one shoulder, the zipper open a bit. She stole glances every few minutes to assure herself that the handle of the knife was sitting right at the opening. She didn't see the frat boy until he was nearly right next to her. He stumped at her on his crutches, his knee in a long, bulky rigid brace.

"Hey cunt!" He shouted when she turned. "Your fucking old man blew out my goddamned knee!"

Lily tensed, almost freezing as the young man hobbled towards her, his face a snarl. Her mind flashed an image of Morgan limping towards three muscular young men, totally fearless, and that steeled her nerves. If he could do that, she could face one crippled frat boy on her own. All of this flashed through her mind in less than a second.

Lily yanked the knife out of her bag in a clean, fluid motion that was more reflexes than skill, and waved the blade menacingly at the frat boy, who almost fell in his attempt to stop instantly.

"Whoa bitch! Are you fucking nuts?" He shrieked.

"No, asshole. But I'm not going to be fucked with by some drunk piece of shit who thinks trying to rape a girl at a party is funny! You get the hell away from me, and leave me alone, or I'll cut you up." She said, her face turning red as her anger built.

He looked at her a moment longer, his eyes going from her red cheeks and flashing eyes to the knife's unshaking tip, and turned around. He crutched away in a hurry, muttering under his breath and glancing over his shoulder.

Lily quickly opened her car and sat before her legs could give out. She sat for a moment, her hands and legs trembling as if she were having her own personal earthquake. Then she broke down, crying in great, jagged gasps, her composure gone. She was torn between pride in her ability to face the guy; stark, naked terror of the confrontation and what he could have done to her, both last night and today; and a kind of detached disbelief that her life had change so radically in the last day.

She had gone from a bubbly, timid, happy-go-lucky girl without a major concern in her mind to this new woman, who carried a curved dagger almost the length of her forearm everywhere she went, who could stare down a guy who weighed twice what she did (true, he was a little disabled, but still,) and threaten him with a knife that was probably illegal for her to carry around the school.

After a half hour or so of crying, laughing brokenly, and shaking, she finally began to get herself under control. Eventually, she calmed enough to start the car and pull out of the parking lot without veering into anything. She skipped dropping her bag off at her small apartment as she had planned and drove straight to Morgan's house.

Three

She heard the clang of metal as soon as she shut off the car. She sat a moment, trying to make sure she wanted to go see him. She didn't even have an idea of what to say, but she couldn't think straight with thoughts of him intruding every few minutes. She finally gave a mental 'fuck it' and got out of the car. She tucked the knife into her belt and walked up to the small gat that let onto the side yard where his forge was. She rounded the corner and there he was, banging away on a long bar of metal, sweat rolling down his arms and face. She just stood there a moment and stared. She could see all the muscles in his arms flex and move as he works, as well as the ones in his shoulders, chest, and neck. He was not wearing a shirt under the leather apron, and she was mesmerized. He was heavily muscled and had more than a few tattoos. They weren't the ultra-trendy, splashy color sprays that so many guys got trying to look tough and cool. These looked like tattoos you would find on a sailor from the forties or fifties. A large length of chain wrapped around the length of his right arm, ending in a spiked ball mid forearm; an array of cannons across his chest, a neat pyramid stack of cannonballs next to each one; and a gutplate of human skulls, each with a wild looking eye in the right socket, his left arm a flock of sparrows or swallows in flight, headed up to his shoulder, apparently. All of them rendered in the expected blue lines of older tattoos.

He looked up, breaking her reverie, and gave a small wave with the hammer. He went back to work for a moment as she walked over to the forge. He dropped the metal into the water bucket when she got to him.

"Hello." She said simply, not knowing what else to say.

"Hello" He answered, a little out of breath.

"I cut my hand." She said, completely unaware of what she was going to say until it was out of her mouth, and then completely unbelieving that she had said it.

"Well. Do you need a bandage?" He asked, frowning.

"No. Yeah. I mean, I mean I got one, it's on there already. What I'm trying to say is, well, shit. I don't know what I'm trying to say." She stuttered miserably.

"Are you alright?" He asked, frowning deeper.

"I, I don't know." She said quietly. She pulled the dagger from her belt and set it on the workbench, then spoke softly, her eyes never leaving its blade. "I haven't been more than a foot or so away from that since you gave it to me. It was on my nightstand all night, I cut my hand grabbing for it in the dark. I took it to school; it was in my backpack the whole time. The bag was unzipped a bit so I could see it all day. The man that you hurt last night approached me today as I was leaving. I did what you said, I waved the knife at his face, I yelled at him too. He went away. I was all fucked up for a while after that sitting in my car. I don't know what I should do now. The only thing I could think of was to come back here." She had tears on her cheeks by the time she finished.

Morgan pulled out two chairs from under the workbench, and wiped away the dust and dirt from the one he set before her. As she sat, he opened the fridge and pulled two beers. He opened them and handed one to her before sitting.

"He scared you pretty badly, last night and today. Didn't he?" Morgan asked, looking at the knife.

"Yes." She all but whispered.

"Yes. You have every right to be scared. What that spineless shit did was a very traumatic thing. He attacked you. Plain and simple. He attacked you. But today, you stood up to him. And he left. Correct?" He spoke slowly and clearly, looking directly at her, his eyes like the strips of iron around the forge.

"Yes."

"Yes. Hold on to that. The fear will remain awhile, it's natural. But try to focus on the fact that you could stand up to him, and drive him away. That is what will eventually get rid of the fear. Knowing that you can prevent it in the future."

"I want to know how to use that." She said quietly, pointing at the knife.

"Well, I could teach you a bit. But knowing how to use it won't magically make the attack like it never happened."

"I know, but I think it would help." She answered, taking a quick sip of the beer.

"Okay. What do you want to know?" He asked, stepping over to a long wooden box along the wall, next to the work bench. He opened the box and she saw a pile of swords, knives, hatchets, and other weapons she couldn't even identify. Most of them were bright and polished, if a little dusty, but there were plenty that were the dull grey of her knife. He dug out two knives, about the same length and both the dull unfinished grey. He handed one to her, and she ran her finger lightly over the edge. It was about as dull as a butter knife.

She stood up, setting the beer down, and examined the weapon. It looked like very basic sword shape, just smaller, nothing fancy about it. The handle was unsanded, unstained wood. The crosspiece was just a bar of metal with a slot for the blade to go through.

"What do you use these for?" She asked, looking up. He had removed the apron, and now she could see that the skulls on his stomach surrounded a clock marked in roman numerals of bones, set at a couple minutes to midnight. He flipped the knife in the air a couple times and said "Practice. What else?"

She walked into the yard with him, nervous, but excited too.

He held his hand out, palm up, and placed the knife along the base of his fingers, then wrapped his fist closed. She followed suit, her small, thin fingers and dainty hand barely fitting around the wooden grip. He put his hand over hers, pressing her fingers tighter together. The touch of his hand sent a thrumming current through her body, the hard callous of his hand was enough to make her gasp.

"Hold it tight. If you don't, the knife will turn in your hand, and you will lose your grip. Keep a strong, firm grip and make the knife know you are in control." He said before releasing her hand.

He spent the next couple of hours showing her how to hold the knife, how to jab with it, how to swing it; the basics of how to use it without cutting the shit out of herself. She felt jolt of pleasure each time he touched her, when he turned her wrist or straightened her arm, and she almost moaned when his hard hands took her waist and turned her hips to face her target better. She was flustered and her underwear was wet by the time they were done.

"Are you okay? You look a little flushed." He asked as she walked towards the workbench.

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