ஐ Chapter 5: The Gunsmith ஐ
Azalea stood near the entrance of the shop as she heard footsteps barreling down the stairs that sounded like they were in a back room of some sort. Azalea looked to the left, a woman, that she guessed must have been Sabrlyn, came through the door. “Hello there, welcome to the Osthill Gunsmith, how may I help you?” Sabrlyn asked. Azalea looked around her awkwardly as she tried to think of something to say. Sabrlyn continued to wait for her response. “I would like to have some basic gun training so I might be able to buy a weapon.” Azalea finally said. “No offence or anything but…how old are you?” Sabrlyn asked trying her best to be respectful. “Uh…I’m fourteen.” Azalea answered nervously. What if she was too young? “Oh…hm.” Sabrlyn muttered. She then told Azalea, “One second, I’ll be right back.” She ran into the back room and Azalea could hear her loud footsteps as she quickly ran up the stairs. Sabrlyn walked through the hallway and entered through the door to Nora’s office. “Nora?” Sabrlyn said breathing loudly as she had ran up the steps so fast, she needed to catch her breath. “What is it Sabrlyn?” Nora sat up in her chair. “How is the costumer?” “Uh…she’s fourteen and she wants gun lessons, and I’m not really too sure about- .”
Nora cut Sabrlyn off with a sigh. “Come on where do we live, Jedrijan? Give the girl some lessons, she’ll be fine.” “But…” Sabrlyn said as she was trying to think of a reply. “Well if you don’t want to train her, I will.” Nora said as she started to get out of her chair. “No, no! You don’t have to do that, I will train her…” Sabrlyn said anxiously. “Well then, go get her a musket, I’m trying to clean and reassemble this mess that some person calls a firearm.” Nora said as she turned back around to her desk, piled up with various bits and pieces. Nora grabbed a cleaning rod, a rod used to clean the bore of a gun, and started using it. Sabrlyn stood for a moment, not doing anything just standing, perhaps daydreaming. “Sabrlyn?” Nora said turning around. As soon as Nora started to turn around, Sabrlyn snapped back into reality and ran as fast as she could back down the steps as Azalea stood waiting patiently. Sabrlyn opened the door from the room leading to the stairway, then saying to Azalea, “How about learning how to use a Charleville musket?” Azalea smiled, “That sounds good.” “Do you see that door over there?” Sabrlyn asked pointing to the other side of the room. “That’s where our little shooting range is for lessons, you can just go out there and wait for me, okay?” “Sure.” Azalea replied as she started to walk towards the door. Sabrlyn responded, “Great, I’ll be right back.” She ran over to the area behind the main counter to grab Azalea a weapon. Picking up a musket, she walked to the door and exited, coming towards Azalea. The shooting range was fairly simple, there were three targets and a small painted white line to tell you where to stand when shooting. There were also a few chairs spread around and a small wooden table with a large number of other various guns, ammunition, and gun cleaning parts. Sabrlyn held up the musket and started explaining to Azalea how the musket worked. “Now Azalea, the Charleville has a 17.5mm caliber barrel, it’s smooth, sleek, and light to carry.” “I think it’s a good gun to start you off with, it’s not too expensive either, if you happen to become interested in purchasing it.” Sabrlyn said as Azalea took a good, long look at the musket. “This is also the newest model, we only recently got a stock of them to sell.” “I like the gun because it looks stylish and performs well.” Sabrlyn continued, “It fires two to three rounds per minute, which may not sound like much to you, but in the world of weapons it’s pretty great.” “It’s got an effective firing range of around one hundred to two hundred yards, but you’d only pretty much kill something if you’re around fifty to seventy five yards.” Sabrlyn walked over to the small wooden table that was piled up with bullets and cleaning tools. She picked up some lead musket balls, a cartridge of gunpowder, and a ramrod. “Alright Azalea, here comes the more tricky part, loading the gun.” Sabrlyn began, attempting to speak slowly so Azalea would learn more effectively. “First, you pour the powder out from this little cartridge.” “Make sure you don’t pour out too much…because you’ll probably die.” “Now pull the hammer part of the gun to half-cock before you pour the powder in, like this.” Sabrlyn said pulling the hammer as Azalea watched. “Now just pour the powder down the barrel of the gun.” Sabrlyn then ripped the cartridge open pouring the powder in. “Alright Azalea, now you just get this little musket ball here…” Sabrlyn said holding the musket ball in front of Azalea, twiddling it between her fingers. She then dropped it into the barrel of the gun, and grabbed the ramrod. “This step is simple, just grab your ramrod, and insert it into the barrel, so you compact everything in the barrel together.” After Sabrlyn stuffed the barrel, she continued to the last step. “The final thing to do is to just pull the hammer back, oh and make sure to close the frizzen.” Sabrlyn grasped the musket, aiming it at one of the targets. Azalea stepped back in caution. “Now you just aim and…Fire!” Sabrlyn shouted, hitting a few inches below the middle of the target. “Well, close enough I suppose.” She chuckled at herself. “Alright Azalea, do you want to give it a try?” “Um.” Azalea said quietly. Her face was plastered with a look of absolute confusion. “Come on, it’s not as difficult as it seems.” Sabrlyn said encouragingly. After a few more seconds with no answer, Sabrlyn put her hand on Azalea’s shoulder, “Do you want me to show you again?” “Oh no that’s fine…” Azalea said sighing. “I’ll try loading it.” “Fantastic!” Sabrlyn shouted. “Just walk over to the table and grab what you’ll need.” Azalea walked over to the table slowly as she tried to remember what she had to get. Looking down at the table, she moved her hand towards a musket ball and a packet of gunpowder, ever so carefully and delicately. “Don’t forget the ramrod.” Sabrlyn reminded her. Azalea quickly turned around to correct her mistake, grabbing a ramrod. She walked back to Sabrlyn, who was clapping for Azalea. “Spectacular!” She said as she finished clapping. “Okay, do you remember the first step?” She asked looking at Azalea. Azalea stood for a moment thinking. “Pouring out the gunpowder?” “Yes, that’s correct but what do you have to do before pouring it in?” Sabrlyn asked looking towards the hammer of the gun subtly trying to give Azalea a hint. Azalea stared at Sabrlyn blankly as she thought. “Do you pull that thingy that’s above the trigger?” Azalea asked nervously. “Yes you do, and that ‘thing’ is called the hammer, you just pull it back like this…” Sabrlyn said pulling the hammer to half-cock. “What’s next?” “Now I can pour the powder in.” Azalea answered grinning to herself as she realized that she now could remember some of the various steps to loading the musket. “That’s right, you pour the powder down the barrel.” Sabrlyn said pointing at it. Azalea poured a small amount of powder in the barrel, hoping that she didn’t pour too little or too much, she looked at Sabrlyn for approval. “That’s just about the right amount.” She said taking the packet back from Azalea, and stuffing it in one of her pockets. “Now I just have to put the musket ball in.” “You are indeed correct.” Sabrlyn said smiling as Azalea plopped the musket ball in the barrel. “Now I just grab the ramrod and stuff it all together.” Azalea said taking the ramrod and carefully wadding the powder and musket ball collectively. “Remember to pull the hammer back and close the frizzen!” Sabrlyn reminded her. Azalea finished, looking at Sabrlyn for the next step. “Well, now you just aim and fire.” Sabrlyn said, speedily teaching Azalea how to hold the gun, and aim it. Azalea held the musket up, very slowly aiming it, and fired. It didn’t even hit the target, but Sabrlyn was overjoyed. “stunning!” She shouted happily. Azalea rested the gun by her waist, “Really…I didn’t even hit the target thing.” “That doesn’t really matter, it’s your first shot of a gun…well to my knowledge at least.” “It was definitely spectacular!” Sabrlyn said smiling. “So Azalea, are you interested in purchasing this musket?” Sabrlyn asked. Azalea thought for a moment. Why did she even need a gun if she had such immense powers? Oh right. She didn’t know how to use them. But seriously, she could even at this very moment perform spells and more effectively protect herself than a measly weapon. Should she explain it to Sabrlyn? She didn’t even know the woman, though she seemed nice, it could just be a tactic for her to buy the gun. She didn’t want many people to know about her and her sister’s powers just yet. But surely the Malum were going to try and exploit Adrasteia’s powers somehow and then everyone would know. Also at some point people were going to find out, it was just a matter of time. Azalea looked at Sabrlyn for another moment, finally braving up, she started to explain. “Well, Sabrlyn, I’m not really sure I need a gun.” Sabrlyn looked disappointed, but she allowed Azalea to continue. “You see….I kind of already have my own powers.” Sabrlyn changed her facial expression from disappointed to bewildered. “Have you ever heard of ‘The tale of the two lost sorceresses’?” Sabrlyn slowly replied, “Yes…” “Well even though it’s kind of dumb to say, and hard to explain, my older sister and I are those two sorceresses.” Azalea said reluctantly. How else was she supposed to say it? She wasn’t in anyway clever at saying, “Hey what’s up thanks for gun lessons, I’m a tremendously powerful magical being, bow down peasant.” So what was she supposed to say? Dear mother of Dordale she was so cripplingly awkward. She just stood there, playing with her unloaded musket waiting for Sabrlyn to reply. Sabrlyn eventually after only a few seconds that felt like hours, changed her facial expression from bewildered to what seemed to be excited and extremely curious, but still reluctant and slightly confused. “I did have a weird feeling about you.” “Seriously, what in all of Aderarid was a fourteen year old girl from where-in-the-hell coming over for shooting lessons and to buy a weapon doing?” “But I need a bit more proof from you.” “My…well I’m not sure how many ‘greats’ it is but my great how ever many more greats aunt was part of the sorceresses guild.” “So…my question for you is this…” Azalea looked side to side worryingly. What was she going to ask? She was really a sorceress but she only knew as much information as Lindara had told her. “What is the Kerubung?” Sabrlyn asked looking at Azalea for an answer. Azalea’s eyes lit up. It was a question she actually knew the answer to. “Simple.” She began. “The Kerubung is a magical stone-of some sorts…” She paused for a moment. “It’s something that some people believe can give you magical powers, but most people believe that it only enhances magical powers that you already have.” “But the government of Keabeth believed that it gave you magical powers, and they wanted the Kerubung so that they could have that.” “They went after the guild of sorceresses to find it-but the sorceresses didn’t have it, at least that’s what they said.” “It’s rumored that the government killed most of the sorceresses off because they never got an answer for where the Kerubung was, the government then tried to make everyone forget about the Kerubung and wash out the guild of sorceresses as a whole.” Azalea inhaled after a long period of time without breathing. As she exhaled, she said confidently, “And that is what the Kerubung is.” Sabrlyn stood shell shocked at Azalea’s answer. “Well then…” She said blankly. “What about your magical capabilities?” “Show me a spell.” Sabrlyn said raising an eyebrow. “Well, great.” Azalea thought to herself. The only spell Azalea knew was that weird scarf spinning thing Lindara taught her as she was trying to prove that Azalea was a sorceress. “I need something first.” Azalea said putting down the musket and rushing quickly through the inside of the shop. She scanned the area for her bag that contained the little magic scarf Lindara had given her. She had left her bag on one of the chairs near the entrance of the shop. Azalea rolled her eyes at herself. “Not the best idea to leave your bag over there. Great job.” She muttered. She grabbed the bag off the chair and ran back outside to the shooting area. Swinging the bag onto her shoulder, she opened it as Sabrlyn looked at it intriguingly. Digging through the bag, Azalea eventually found the scarf that Lindara had given her. As she pulled it out of the bag, Sabrlyn raised her eyebrow again, “What is that, exactly?” “Uh….” Azalea paused. “What was this stupid magic scarf called?” Azalea thought. Why was she always so forgetful? Azalea stared at the scarf for a few more seconds, looking back up at Sabrlyn, she just decided to make a name up. But what if it was a trick question and Sabrlyn already knew what it was? Sabrlyn seemed to know a lot about sorcery. “It’s an…” “Uchawi.” Azalea was already regretting giving the scarf that name. What in all of Keabeth was an Uchawi? She didn’t know, but it seemed to be okay with Sabrlyn. “Alright then, so what do you do with it then?” “Right…” Azalea said. “It’s like a tool you use to perform rather simple spells…like something a beginner at magic would utilize.” “I see…” Sabrlyn replied taking a look at the Uchawi. Azalea then began spinning the Uchawi in a circular motion just like she did in front of Lindara. The air around them started to get windier, and some small pebbles and leaves started moving. Sabrlyn stared at Azalea with her arms crossed around her chest, watching carefully. As Azalea continued spinning the Uchawi, the wind became stronger. Eventually Sabrlyn shouted, “Alright that’s enough, you can stop now.” Azalea halted the spinning and put the Uchawi back in her bag. Sabrlyn looked at Azalea, faintly grinning at her. “Wonderful job.” “I suppose you don’t need a weapon after all.” Sabrlyn said picking up the Charleville musket and bringing it back inside the shop as Azalea followed her. Sabrlyn went around the desk and placed the musket back where she had it. “Where is your sister then?” Sabrlyn asked leaning her hands on the desk. “That’s the complicated part.” Azalea answered softly. “I understand.” Sabrlyn said nodding her head. “I can take complicated stories.” Azalea began to explain. As she clarified the kidnapping of her sister, and Lindara telling her about her powers, Sabrlyn changed her facial expression from curious to concerned. “But I have no clue really where she is and what the Malum plan to do with her.” “I’m just going where Lindara has told me.” Azalea said finishing her story. “Azalea…” “There is somewhere I would like to take you.” Sabrlyn said looking around her. “Where then?” “It’s hard to really put in plain words.” Sabrlyn answered simply. “But don’t worry, I’m not going to take you to a secret lair or something where you’ll have your organs discarded.” Sabrlyn said heading over to the back room. Azalea started to follow her, but Sabrlyn turned around to say, “No, you’re not going in Nora’s office, silly.” “Wait here.” “Who’s Nora?” Azalea asked. “She’s the Gunsmith of course.” Sabrlyn answered as she closed the door to the backroom and headed up the stairs. Sabrlyn walked down the hallway to Nora’s office knocking on the wall next to her door, which was never closed. Nora was still trying to clean and reassemble the gun that she was when Sabrlyn came in last time. “What is it Sabrlyn?” Nora said as she turned around in her chair. “Did the girl buy anything?” “No Nora, she didn’t.” “But I’d like to take her to the whitewood forest.” Sabrlyn said awaiting Nora’s response. “Ah, she’s that girl isn’t she?” “Yes, go ahead, tell her I’m a big fan of all that magic stuff and I don’t hate her so she doesn’t blow my head off.” Nora said turning back around to her desk, which was more like a workbench. Sabrlyn smirked at the ridiculously calm Nora. “Yes, I’ll tell her that you said that.” Sabrlyn said walking out of Nora’s office. Azalea was fidgeting with her bag’s shoulder strap as Sabrlyn opened and exited the back room door. “Alright then, off to the forest I suppose.” Sabrlyn said smiling. “What forest?” Azalea looked a tad bit uneasy. I mean what would you do if someone who you had only recently met wanted to take you to some mysterious forest? “It’s the Whitewood forest, it’s just a forest of, well Whitewoods.” Sabrlyn answered. “It’s only a few minutes away, we can just walk there.” Sabrlyn added. “Wait who’s going to take care of the shop while you’re gone?” Azalea asked. “Well honestly guns aren’t really the most popular thing here, so I doubt we’ll have many, if any costumers.” “But if we do, believe me, Nora will take care of them.” Sabrlyn said exiting the shop with Azalea. They didn’t go out of the front entrance though, they went towards the shooting area, where there was a small gate near the end of the vicinity. Sabrlyn pushed the gate open, which made an extremely loud, ear irritatingly terrible screeching noise as it opened. Azalea was tempted to cover her ears, but the noise didn’t last for very long. “Sorry about that.” “At some point we need to get that fixed.” Sabrlyn apologized. “No, that’s fine.” “The door at my house is just as annoying, just not as screechy.” Azalea replied. There was a long thin dirt path that oddly didn’t start from the gate, but instead after you passed an old weeping willow tree that was dipping down over top of Azalea and Sabrlyn’s heads. As they walked down the path, Sabrlyn kept looking all around her at the various plants and all of the squirrels running away from them. “I always love coming down here, it’s so quiet.” “Maybe the most quiet place in this whole city.” Azalea nodded. There wasn’t hardly any noise except for their own voices and the breeze. Oh and of course the sound of the squirrels dashing away from them. “I think there is a squirrel breeding facility here, because dear Aderarid there are so many of them here and in this forest.” Azalea laughed. There had probably been more than six squirrels that crossed their path in just the few minutes they were there. As they continued to walk, Azalea also started to appreciate the quietness of this area. It rung a bell in her head of the tiny wooded area in Dordale where her and Adrasteia would play and pretend to be animals, like rabbits or deer. Just like Sabrlyn had said, the forest was only a few minutes away. “Here we are.” She said pointing at the tiny rotting wooden sign that barely made out the words, “Whitewood Forest.” “Let’s go then.” Sabrlyn said beginning to walk as Azalea trailed behind her.
(c)2014 The World of my Writing. Please under no circumstance copy this work or claim it as your own.