Of the Nine Ingots and the Siring of Light

It is agreed among the followers of all the Gods that the stars were shaped before the world upon which Men dwell. Among the oldest of the Gods there are Zerem who speaks not and Symbrac, the Forge-Lord. In the days before the siring of Dragons Symbrac set within the Earth the Forges of the Velkánd, heated by the fires of the blood of the world which yet flowed upon its unfinished surface, in which He would later forge things of wonder and terror and legend. He labored long in the days before the world was fully shaped, and sought within the deep places that then were vast and empty, for fuel for His fires and for ores from which to forge such things.

In those days the stars were not yet set in their appointed places in the dome of endless night, and some among them fell to earth. Upon one such came Symbrac, and He knew that things of great potency might be made from it. Yet the stars were the domain of silent Zerem, and the Forge-Lord had no claim upon it, and no knowledge of the smelting or shaping of the steel therefrom. So to learn these mysteries Symbrac flew to the peak of the tallest mountain upon the world, whose name has been forgotten, and upon it lay the Looming Hall of Zerem.

Before the Silent Lord Symbrac made the sign of respect and asked of the secret behind the star-stone, which was of like kind to iron but would endure forever and was possessed of strange virtues besides. Yet Zerem was silent, as ever, holding to his mysteries. A second time Symbrac made the sign of bargaining and asked to learn the secret, offering Zerem many of the treasures made in Velkánd from the fruits of the earth that are now exhausted. Yet the Lord of the Sunless Sky was silent still, watching. A third time Symbrac, making the sign of wrath, demanded to know the nature of the star-metal, and still Zerem stood silent.

Yet now Zerem stood and spread the Cloak of Night, and the endless dark of the sky was revealed, and even mighty Symbrac was filled with awe and fear. And Zerem opened his two hands, and there in his left hand was revealed a bargain to be made, and in his right was a gift for the making, nine ingots of the star-metal, smelted and ready for the forge. And the bargain was for a mingling of the essence of each God, for Zerem though silent is mighty in thought and lore and knows all the secrets of Men and Gods, and is beyond the limits of woman and man. So Symbrac consented to the bargain which would bring forth a great light to keep the dark at bay, and then did Symbrac and Zerem join once and never again, and from the union of star and fire was born Ilmántar, who is the Sun, alike and yet different from his fathers.

Of the secret of smelting the star-iron Symbrac knows it not and seeks it still, but though the skies of Ytherra are not foreign to Him, He has ever after kept close to the earth, haunted by the memory of the things lurking among the stars beyond the sight of Men, older and mightier even than the eldest Gods. But the nine ingots of star-iron he kept close to Him in the Forges of the Velkánd, and in the Inexhaustible furnace at its heart he made mighty works of craft over ages before and after the epochs that are remembered: the Anvil of Doom upon which the fate of the world is said to be forged, the Ashen Blade of Kórbrak, the Shining Claw that cut its way to Empire in the hands of Men, the Chimes of Jehén that will sound the world’s ending and others long forgotten. And it is said that one ingot remains in the great smithy of the Velhánd, and that Symbrac will not touch the fire of the forge to it until the Last Days draw near.

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