The clanging sound of metal meeting metal. Sparks fly, the furnace burns hot and a skilled hand works the metal on display expertly. Before our eyes, a length of steel is soon hammered to a point and the skilled hands work to smoothing and scraping the metal to the shape he desires.
A familiar voice sounds. Its presence only making itself known once he had started talking – Lux Bellator steps into frame and watches the blacksmith at work.
“A blacksmith was renowned for his craft and highly sought after. Using the fires of his forge, he would melt precious metals down to scrape away any imperfections and leave them ready to be crafted. Yet this morning, as the metal cooled into the shape he desired, the blacksmith noticed a blemish in it.”
The blacksmith stops hammering for a moment, holding up the now perfectly formed point of the sword he is crafting. As he holds it up, his eyes track down to a discoloured section part way down the blade.
“The blemish, a dark spot in an otherwise perfect creation – it could not be covered or worked out. The skilled blacksmith soon realised he had but two choices. Leave it, complete with blemish or start from scratch.
The blacksmith tossed his creation aside and set to work recreating it to perfection.”
The blacksmith merely grunts in frustration as he tosses the partly forged sword aside and sets to work on a new piece.
“As it is with the Blacksmith, so it is with the Almighty.”
Again, Bellator watches as the blacksmith expertly sets to forging, heating and hammering the new piece of steel.
“We alone are naught but hunks of metal, shaped by the experiences of our lives. The fire cleanses us, rids us of imperfections and yet for some who are not willing to truly go through this process, the blemishes remain in us. Slowly, they take over.”
Turning away from the blacksmith for a moment, he looks up at the master craftsman’s shelf that runs alongside the wall of his workshop. On it, a lavish and beautiful creation of a hawk poised ready to attack takes the attention of the Light Warrior. It seems perfectly beautiful, expertly and ornately crafted yet it is not on display in his shop. Bellator reaches out and picks up the hawk with both hands. As he turns it, he sees why. A dark blotch seems to have taken over the other half of the hawk, tarnishing the finish and leaving it blemished despite the perfection in the craftsman’s handiwork.
“The blemished Hawk. On the surface, a beautiful creation – a perfect balance of spiritual beauty with the edge of a sword. Yet, the Hawk remains blemished. A dark spot on his soul that has slowly consumed him. The savagery within him bubbles to the surface no matter how he tries to control it. And, like the master blacksmith, it is this blemish that sees a beautiful creation tossed aside.
Once blemished your soul will remain so. Whether you are reborn as a wolf, hawk or dung beetle – there is no place for blemished goods in the master blacksmith’s shop.”
He places the Hawk back on the shelf and turns his attention now to the furnace itself. He stares into the flames, burning brightly and lapping at the edges of the forge as if desperately seeking another victim to their molten death. Bellator seems to speak directly to the flames.
“You are not like us mortals, are you Scarecrow? An abomination straight from hell itself along with that silver tongued demon posing as my father. Where we are merely metal tossed into the flames, you are the fire itself. You pride yourself on the powers you possess. Like fire, you have the ability to wreak destruction and death wherever you tread. To an unskilled hand, fire is a tool that will ultimately prove deadly. One is a fool to play with it.
Yet it is the fire in our lives that shapes us. The blacksmith uses the uncontrollable force of fire carefully and it is the very thing that can make his creations perfect. Just as the Almighty places you in my path, you can bring your worst but it will only serve to make me stronger. It is in controlling your fire that the destiny of my mission reveals itself – the beginning of the end.”
With that, Bellator shuts the door to the forge and keeps the flames at bay. He turns back to the craftsman, and it is by now that we notice the hammering has stopped. The skilled blacksmith presents the light warrior with a sword – golden hilted and shimmering to the flickering of ember light in the air. The Light Warrior holds the sword in his hands and smiles.
“You see, I am not the blacksmith. I am not the fire. I myself are merely a creation – a perfect creation. A sword created by the master’s hand. Perfectly balanced, sharper than any sword a mortal could forge. Wielded in the master’s hands.
I am a weapon created in one image and used for one purpose, to bring about the mission I am destined to bring.”
He swings the perfectly created sword at a testing dummy, holding a crudely crafted run-of-the-mill steel forged sword. It doesn’t stand a chance and breaks into two pieces. Lux stares at the sword with newfound power – power given to him not by his own strength but by that of the master blacksmith himself.
“The bowl is now full. The beginning of the end is beginning. Step into the light and receive your judgement.”
And drives the sword into the ground. It stands firmly on its own, digging the blade into the floorboards deep enough that it stays firm. In that moment, Lux is gone, as is the blacksmith. All that remains is the sword and a particular object on the anvil of the master blacksmith – the fourth bowl.