“Is it dragon?” Liora hooked the dagger back onto the wall between a greatsword and morningstar. “Or is it bear?”

“Why bear?” Hirid smirked, taking the glowing blade and resting it onto the anvil.

“They have the same colour and I read it’s commonly used in Dermite weaponry.” Liora heard the smith laugh.

“Yah a strange lass, Li. Not many like yah would read borin’ books like that.” Hirid brought down his hammer. Orange and red embers skipped from the blade. They glowed for a moment on the floor before fading away.

“They’re hardly boring. It is an art… a gift to be able to forge metal into weapons.” Liora stepped back into the yard to avoid the embers from catching her dress. “It is hard work but honourable work.”

“Yah flatter me.” Hirid laughed, bringing the hammer down again. “I should let yah go back to what yah were doin’.”

“And I you,” Liora replied, “good day, Hirid.”

He nodded his head, turning his attention back to shaping the Demori steel. Hirid was a skilled smith and she did respect his work, but he wasn’t like the smiths in Morza. While Hirid used safe materials like Demori steel and bear bone for his weapons, Morzi smiths used dangerous elements. They would mix dragon venom into the metal and use dragon teeth for the hilts. The metals were deadly to make and deadly to use. Her people took part in an uncommon practice.

The Western Mountains were known for their venomous creatures such as rattlesnakes, drakes like the infamous acid-throp, or wyrms like the agile whipper-tail. To ensure her peoples survival in their harsh homeland they developed a way to build up their tolerance for the known toxins. Liora could remember the bitter taste of the mixture she took each morning before heading out to work in the gardens or help around the village. Most children from the age of five were given small doses of venom and common poisons to build up an immunity. When she was ten she had begun assisting her nana in creating the dosages for their people as one day she would take on the responsibility to continue the tradition when her nana was gone. It had been that practice which kept her people alive and had given her people the skills to use such toxic substances for those outside her city.

It had been impossible to continue her dosages in Demor as the North didn’t concern themselves with such beasts. Maybe if she ever returned to the West she would return to her people’s tradition but there was no need for her to do so for the moment. Although, now that she thought about it, continuing the dosages while in Derm was a good way to keep up her tolerance for whenever she planned on returning to her homeland. Caldor wouldn’t understand though. He would think it was too dangerous.

I wouldn’t have to tell him. There were things she did keep to herself that the old sage didn’t know of. She didn’t need his help with measuring or making the dosage, but the purchase of the venoms could prove to be difficult, unless the herbalist carried such items.



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