Interlude: Halfnail (Farolst Village - now known as Parhalst)
Fifty six and a half years ago...
Searing red heat always brought a smile to Halfnail's face, though few would know given the dense forestation of his beard. Well, most of beard. The bottom quarter of the footlong mass was missing, and from it one could still smell the sour aroma of singed hair. Sometimes accidents happened. Moreso as life went on, the benefits of experience and profession soon diluting with the physical repercussions of age.
The human fellow had spent his life dedicated to craftsmanship, particularly the working of metal. Ore was in abundance throughout a stretch of the northern hills, often used for the smithing of tools and fixings used by builders and the like. But Halfnail wasn't that
kind of worker, though the early days had seen him shape nails, braces and bars, soon he'd found other... more interesting things to give life. Pieces of his art were scattered around Farolst and the neighboring villages. Things that would outlive him, but perhaps never be cherished more than the man who made them.
He was a friendly soul you see, warm of heart and welcoming to all. A man who rarely said "no", and always loved a chat. But not tonight. For the first time in years the workshop's door was locked.
"This, will be my finest,"
he said proudly to himself. It had to be, given the nature of the commission, a special order. It had been two months ago that a rider from the far west had brought tidings from beyond Pincer's Split, and a job as well.
"My master named you as the one, the one who must make this. I know not why, as we have our own workers of things metal, but it was demanded... and who am I to refuse the third arm?"
Beside him, Halfnail briefly glanced at the parchment the rider had brought to him. An illustration. Such a simple thing... yet so difficult to cast. The allowed tolerances brought out almost as much sweat upon his wrinkled brow, as the roaring furnace.
By dawn one day in the spring of the year, it was done. A ring. But this wasn't to be a finger's jewellery, a shackle or mount for a wheel. Nor was it the frame for a window or a bangle for a lady's wrist, well not unless she was a giant with exquisite taste.
At a yard across, but a mere inch in thickness, it reflected every minute ray of light that dared caress the twists of its form. It was beautiful. But Halfnail would never know how truly stunning this piece would one day become...