All kinds of weapons were hung on the walls of the room, glittering, reflecting the red and yellowish light emanating from the magma.
"What is this place?" asked Brann.
"I welcome you... in the Divine Forge" Vegard said, turning to the two brothers after approaching a huge anvil just before the lava pool.
Brann and Eirik were speechless. They had never seen such a place.
Brann began to walk along the wall, to admire the magnificent weapons of the blacksmith: in addition to being perfect in form and style, they seemed to be excellently crafted, built by fusing the best steels and materials that could be found in nature.
Vegard watched him, without saying a word.
"Whuahaha! It's crazy! Look at all the weapons! This is absurd!" exclaimed Eirik, who ran to swords hanging on the wall.
While the two brothers were intent on admiring Vegard's works, he said: "These weapons are Skjold's best".
Brann walked away from the stone wall and slowly began to walk towards the old blacksmith: "They are very good weapons, it is true. But I'm nothing special... I smell deception. Let's hear, what is the price of each of them?"
Vegard looked Brann straight in the eye. The young earthling warrior's gaze was firm and determined, ready to achieve what he had come to.
The old man chuckled: "It's true, they're nothing special. The process of creation of all these weapons has yet to be completed, to make them unique artifacts. But your money is worthless here. Not even all the money in the universe".
"What are you talking about? They already look perfect as they are, what is the process of creation you're talking about?" asked Brann, with an expression of defiance painted on his face.
Meanwhile, Eirik moved to the other wall to take a closer look at all the weapons available, fantasizing about which could be perfect for him.
"The Soul Fusion" Vegard said, responding to Brann's question.
Brann remained silent, urging the old man to explain better.
"As much as the workmanship of my weapons may be unparalleled, being made with the best materials on the planet, there is a precise characteristic that makes my artifacts different from all the others. Every weapon is like a warrior. As a soulless warrior is doomed to immediate failure, so a soulless weapon is nothing but simple steel" Vegard said, beginning to walk toward the opposite wall to Eirik's.
"If you were allowed to meet me, it means that your spirit is strong and your hunger for power outweighs all feelings" he continued.
Brann followed him.
"What do you think of this one?" said the blacksmith, pointing to a long, sharp sword.
"It's my last creation. The steel of its blade has been forged by fusing the rarest minerals of the planet's deep mantle, and the skin that wraps its hilt has been made by skinning a 5-horned deer, the last of its kind".
Brann looked closely at the sword. It was a magnificent weapon. Soon after, he looked down, where there were other weapons stacked, perhaps of less importance than those displayed on the walls.
Right between those weapons, he saw a huge double-headed axe, the largest in the whole room.
"This one" he said, pointing to it.
Vegard looked Brann in the eye.
"The hangman's axe. I made this weapon on commission, for the executioner of a big northern city. Before he could get here to me, someone killed him. Only a few remains of his body were found. I've piled these weapons here because I think there's negative energy in each of them. What they have in common are their sad, painful stories" he said.
"Stop babbling, old man. My brother is a very strong warrior, he understands weapons since he was a child. Just satisfy his desire" Eirik exclaimed, interrupting the speech between Vegard and Brann, without having listened to the premises.
Brann lowered himself to the weapons and lifted the large double-headed axe with two hands.
"Yes, I want this one".
"Who am I, to judge the choice of a great warrior?" replied Vegard, taking the axe from Brann's hands and placing it on the huge anvil.
"Now explain to me, old man... what does it take for the fusion?" asked Brann.
"It's called the Soul Fusion for a reason, son. It is a power that has been bestowed upon me by the wise Weland, the blacksmith of the Gods. By giving a soul to this weapon, it will be possible to unlock its true potential, whatever it may be. I'm not allowed to know what powers it hides... I am only a servant of Odin, who in his infinite wisdom and goodness has granted me this privilege" Vegard replied.
"What the fuck are you two talking about? The fusion of what?" said Eirik.
Brann continued to look the blacksmith in the eye and in an instant he understood what he had to do.
"Come, brother. I want you to see up close the weapon I chose for me. Then you'll show me yours" Brann said, resting his hand on Eirik's shoulder, who without asking too many questions, followed him to the anvil.
"Wow... it's a beautiful axe, the best I've ever seen. Look at these blades, they could cut a horse in half. And its decorations... this deer head between the blades is very beautiful, worthy of a great warrior like you. Can I know what you and the old man were talking about?" asked Eirik, as he touched the double-headed axe's rod.
Brann was standing behind him.
"Nothing that, my brother. It was just nonsense" he said, slowly approaching his brother, from behind.
"Well... now it's my turn! Come and see, I found a spear..."
Shortly before Eirik could finish speaking, Brann powerfully charged towards him, grabbing him by the abdomen and lifting him off the ground.
He threw him into the hot lava pool.
"Aaaaagh! Aaagh! Heelp!"
Eirik uttered superhuman screams as the magma devoured his body a few centimeters at a time.
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