Quality Over Quantity
Dvalinn meticulously filled his furnace with the finest coal , and made sure that his smelting pot was scrubbed clean of all dirt and other residues. The eldest brother watched the coals carefully as they turned from blue to red, and then finally white hot from the continuous airflow his brother Grer was providing as he diligently worked the bellows.
Outside of the workshop Berling was a bit of a prankster, but despite a few wise cracks from time to time, here among his brother craftsmen he was a true professional. As the one who would engrave the new golden necklace he too wanted the piece to be made from as pure a gold as was possible. As Berling stood watching the coals grow hotter and hotter he felt a bead of sweat form on his forehead. When it ran down his cheek he whispered to himself :
" The furnace is almost ready ! "
While the three older brothers worked at the furnace, Alfrik was already picking through hundreds of rough gemstones to find just the right ones for the necklace. The gem he was most interested in, and the one that had to be perfect, was the diamond. The diamond was literally the centerpiece, and would draw the attention of any admirer to the middle of the chest of the female who wore it. He smiled as he imagined the gemstone, which he envisioned to be the size of an eyeball, hanging just above the female's cleavage. The other stones were important as well, but the diamond .... that was the key to the whole piece !
Dvalinn placed a huge number of gold nuggets into the smelting pot, which made Grer raise his eyebrows with surprise. Dvalinn smiled when he noticed the worried look on his brother's face.
" I assure you we will need it all ! " he told Grer with a nod.
With iron tongs Dvalinn lifted the pot, and placed it gently onto the coals . Suddenly a blast of heat blew his way, as Grer pumped the bellows hard, which made Dvalinn recoil from the fire's intensity. Berling laughed as his eldest brother backed away from the furnace.
" Dvalinn ..... There is an old saying ..... If you cannot stand the heat then stay out of the forger's workshop ! " he told his elder brother with a big grin.
Dvalinn and Grer, who were both sweating profusely now, gave their comedic brother an angry look. Alfrik, however, chuckled a little, but he had heard the joke before, and quickly went back to his gemstones. From then on Berling thought twice about making silly comments while they were working.
As the gold melted the impurities floated to the top of the molten metal, and were easily skimmed off leaving only the pure gold to remain behind. Dvalinn, under normal circumstances, would have only skimmed the impurities a few times before being satisfied with its pureness, but this was not good enough for his Brisingamen necklace. This was to be a very special piece of jewelry. A work of art ! A masterpiece !!
Over and over again Dvalinn skimmed the top of the molten gold, and threw the impurities into another bowl. This imperfect gold residue would later be melted down to make jewelry for the younger Dwarves. Dvalinn' s continuous cycles of melting, skimming, and remelting the gold were taking a toll on Grer's arms, and he soon had to relinquish the bellows to his brother Berling.
When Dvalinn began to remove minute specks of sulfide and carbon Berling simply shook his head. As he carefully pumped the bellows he looked into the " impure pot " and was astonished at how much his eldest brother had removed. Berling tried, but he could not resist commenting.
" Is my brother being thorough, or is he saving all this gold residue to buy his mistress presents in exchange for the promise of love ? " he asked sarcastically.
Dvalinn did not look up from the molten gold as he replied.
" If we are to be the finest of craftsmen, then it is all about quality, and not quantity, my impatient brother ! " he told Berling with a smile.
Berling took a deep breath, and continued to work the bellows. He had no funny remark, or sarcastic reply for what his brother had said. For the first time Berling began to realize that they were making something very special. An object that could possibly one day be compared to Mjolnir, Skidbladnir, Gullinbursti, or Sif's golden hair !
Shortly after what would have been their lunch time Dvalinn performed one more skimming, and then placed his face so close to the smelting pot that Grer thought his brother would singe off his eyebrows.
" Get the molds ready ! " Dvalinn yelled to Grer. " The gold is ready !! " he added as though it were a matter of life and death.
Grer suddenly awoke from his bored stupor, and brought the molds over to the edge of the furnace one by one. He was very careful when he set them down, for even the slightest crack, or imperfection, would ruin the casting. Dvalinn waited unti the molds were warmed by the heat of the furnace before pouring the almost 2000 degree gold into the molds.
One at a time Dvalinn, with great care, poured the liquid gold into each mold until it ran out over the top. After three had been filled he returned the smelting pot to the furnace and reheated the gold before pouring several more. Everything appeared to be going perfectly until Dvalinn poured the final casting. Even, Alfrik, who was busy choosing the gemstones for the necklace, looked up when he heard the sound of a mold cracking.
" Damn Sunna ! " Dvalinn exclaimed the common curse when he heard the mold crack.
" Grer ! Quickly ! In the corner by my worktable there are duplicates of each mold ", he paused for a moment to see which one cracked, " Please bring me the round gold setting mold ! " he shouted.
Grer hurried over to his brother's table and searched for the proper mold.
" I have it ! " he shouted as he carefully lifted the mold off of the floor.
Dvalinn watched apprehensively as his brother brought the mold over to the ledge by the side of the furnace. Grer looked away from his older brother and over at Berling, who was still working the bellows.
" Let us hope this one holds ! " Grer told his hard working brother.
Dvalinn placed the gold back into the furnace and waited. After a time he spit on the mold. The spittle quickly boiled away, which told him it was hot enough to accept the liquid gold. Carefully Dvalinn lifted the smelting pot and brought it over to the ledge. With a sure steady hand he poured the gold into the mold, making certain that the flow remained even as it filled the casting. For a very long moment no one in the room moved, or said a word as they listened for the sharp sound of the mold cracking. Finally, Dvalinn set down the smelting pot, and slapped Grer on the shoulder.
" Now the real work begins ! " he told his tired brothers.
Berling, who was soaked in sweat stopped pumping the bellows and slumped down on the floor with his back up against the wall.
" Can we go eat lunch now, or do you want us to die of starvation making your masterpiece ?! " he asked sarcastically.
Dvalinn winked at Grer, and then turned to answer Berling.
" We will eat as soon as we pour the remaining pure gold into a bar mold, and clean up the shop ! " he told his hungry brother.
Grer tried to hold back his laughter, but the look of disgust on Berling' s face was too much for him, and he burst out laughing.
Dvalinn began to chuckle also after Alfrik turned on his stool, and joined his brothers in making fun of Berling. When the laughter died down Grer walked over to his tired brother and held out his hand to him. As Berling grabbed hold of his brother's hand Grer lifted him off of the floor.
" I think we can spare a few moments to grab a bite to eat ! " he told Berling with a little grin.
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : Finding A Buyer
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.