Anastasia looked over the water to the distant horizon while the great billowing sails of a ship slipped beyond her sight. It was gone. Now there was definitely no way back to the home she had left. She missed her brothers and mother, but mostly she missed her father. Her hands caressed the pickaxe as she fondly recalled the day her father had presented it to her. She had passed his tests and could now track ore from looking closely at rocks. A good skill if she was to get the ore she needed to make the tools needed to build and dig and fix and create.
She turned to study the town she had arrived at. Keldor, it was called. It wasn't much of a town. A gateway through a wall that did not exist. An inn without tables or chairs. At least it had a few beds. A tailor shop. That might be useful. And a smithy. The smithy was why she had come here. She wanted to be a blacksmith, and a town that was just starting out was the perfect place to practice her craft. Even if it wasn't much of a town - yet. The location seemed good, plenty of space to grow. The locals had made her feel welcome when she arrived. It was good place, and she hoped that she could be part of making it better.
No better place to start than in the local mine, now to find it...
I know it's been 3 months since I left to follow my dreams, and I'm sorry I haven't written sooner. I've arrived in the town of Keldor in the land of Vrystoria. I don't think I could be any farther from you and mom. I miss everybody sometimes late at night as I lie in bed, unable to sleep because I'm so sore. There has been a lot of blacksmith work here for me. I spend all day in the mine or before the forge. It's hard work, but my skill is improving. The other day I made a bee smoker, and you know how finicky they are to make. I'm quite proud of myself.
Just after arriving, I found a treasure map in the mine. When I dug it up it had over 80 coppers in it! And a lump of Glimmersteel! I was so excited. I used the money to purchase a whole bunch of iron from a local miner named Woten. It was much better quality than what even I can mine now. I used it to make some decent tools and began selling them. With that and the orders I get from the Caleb, the town manager, I've made enough to hire a helper to sell the tools I make. She's done pretty good so far.
I rented the room above the smithy so I can be close to the work, but I can't wait until I am skilled enough to be able to take some breaks and maybe go hunting or just sail around and sight-see.
Clang!ting, Clang!ting, Clang! ting. The rhythm of the hammer against the hot iron was soothing. Anastasia thought about how this shield she was forging out of glowing ore would protect her from the small evils north of town. Goblins were everywhere this winter. She was thankful that Hestlin was protecting the land from greater evils. Her hammer paused. "Who was protecting Hestlin while he protected us?" she wondered. The hammer began banging again.
As Anastasia thought more about it, a notion took her, which blossomed into a full-blown thought, and then the seed of a plan.
The next morning she borrowed the town boat and set sail north. It was well into winter, but she could not stand by idle with this plan in her head. Although the winter was mild in Keldor, it was much colder the further north she went. Several times she made landfall to build a fire to get warm, keeping a watchful eye on the local bears and wolves. and worse. Eventually she arrived at the Altar of Three. She had been here once before, last summer when she decided to follow Hestlin's lead. Now she re-dedicated herself to him and promised to spread his word and to do all that she could to protect him from the evils in this world. To show her dedication, she sacrificed her old shield and donned the new. Hestlin heard her prayers, saw her faith, and granted her the ability to cast spells in his name.
When she returned to Keldor, she joined others, and on Jonnick's advice, they raided the goblin spy camp north of town.
Anastasia reveled in her shield's protection, of protecting Hestlin. Anastasia - Shield Maiden of Hestlin.
When spring comes, so does the restlessness. Anastasia began making more and more trips out of town. She hunted goblins, and explored a hedge maze west of town. During her wandering, she found a small hollow, west of Echo Mine. It was a pleasant place, nestled in the mountain and surrounded by linden trees. She decided that this was the place to live, and wasted no time in claiming it for her own. It might be folly to live alone outside of the protection of Keldor, but it was *her* folly.
Soon after, many of her friends came to visit. Together they built a workshop so she could continue her craft. She was ever so grateful.
Anastasia woke with a start. It felt like she had been sleeping forever. Vague wisps of dreams were floating away. Had she really dreamt of all those adventures, of other lives?
Looking around, she noticed many changes. Her shop was gone, the farm animals fled. A surpised young man blathered to her about having found this spot and that he treasured it. Anastasia could tell that much time had passed and that this little hollow could no-longer be called hers. Well the cart was still hers, and so she dragged it into Keldor to see what else had changed.