In the dark, smoky forge of Clive, a young man took the equipment that marked him as an adult.
Well, at least that's what he felt.
Young Stephen, son of George, elected to answer his clan's call and join Cedric's "New-Model" Army. For years the northernmost villages of Rainos had been overlooked, except for as an occasional source of tribute. Nothing had ever come from the region but mid-grade goat cheese and hand-woven baskets until now, the first time any military has recruited in the region. In exchange for a base on the miserable, rainy and goat-ridden cliffs, Cedric the Bull has promised the protection of his mercenary fleet. Suddenly the village youths had something other to look forward to than foul cauldrons of dairy, and one by one they took the lord's ingot.
A new uniform had arrived in the afternoon, and that night Stephen-son-of-George stood in Clive's forge, preparing to depart. He hefted his crossbow* and listened to Clive once again remind him of its use.
"Don't lose this. Do you know how much a good crossbow costs? Forty irons. That's a years' salary to you, boy. It takes a master three weeks in Cedrictown to make a single one of these shooters, and the materials aren't cheap, either. Then there's the transportation costs - lugging them over miles of roads to the sea, then floating every one to its respective soldier. Don't try to sell this thing off, either - Sir Cedric personally insures that anyone trying to share his technology finds a job in his re-search-and-devilment workshop... as a live target. Now, keep it dry, keep it safe, guard it with your life, and if the fighting gets close and dirty, don't you dare use it as a club. Use your nails and teeth if you must. Here's your quarrels, here's your helmet, and here you go."
The walk to the coast took the rest of the night, and Stephen arrives on the dock just as dawn breaks to find a patrol ship in the harbor, its sails* flapping gently. The captain greeted him.
"You must be Stephen. You made it just in time; we're ready to cast off. I'm Captain Harold of Gimletstown. Welcome aboard."
"Move it, you thrice-accursed monkey!" shouted a surly sailor with a gaping hole where his eye should have been.
Steven found himself under attack by a strange creature, the like of which he had never seen.
"Hmm, Weezil seems to like you," the captain observed. "And whoever he likes, I like. Step aboard quickly, now. Mr. Farrer, raise the anchor!"
The one-eyed man heaved on a chain, another sailor adjusted the sail, and Steven watched his rocky homeland diminish in the distance.
I posted this model nearly a year ago, and I'm revisiting now as part of the finalization process on the adventure of Steven (for the other chapters, which become much better, please look in my "Bull Knight Files" folder). It's interesting to see how much I've learned since then, but I was already working to keep my techniques fresh and interesting.
Clive's forge, as I recall, was a four-part experiment: I wanted to test SNOT flooring, irregular offsets (on the forge), grey as a secondary color for a timber wall and a new scene type (until I joined MOCpages, I liked to build full structures, not interiors or exteriors only). Whether these worked or not, I managed to learn from the experience.
*Why do the pictures bely the description? To make a long-ish story short, I changed the technology to better conform to the world of the Lands of Mythron. No guns, no steam-power
Sorry, folks, I had some issues editting my page and a Wifi crash somehow cloned the page. To fill you in on the old, deleted comments, I believe that Brick Boy mentioned the technological twist of Stephen's musket (to which I replied that he qualifies for barbarianism thanks to his table manners) and that Freeling ++ liked the forge, which I also enjoyed building with its funny offsets. Feel free to rate it even higher this time around, everyone.