The Chronicles Of Severance
Seppa the Blacksmith
Big doesn’t quite begin to describe Seppa the blacksmith. No, when faced with the challenge of describing Seppa big acknowledges that it is a mere three letter word, and steps down to let other, more impressive, adjectives shine. Titanic is a good start. Colossal seems appropriate. Enormously colossal titan is approaching an apt signifier for Seppa, but it’s still just not enough. Too few syllables perhaps. Don’t misunderstand though; Seppa is huge in more ways than one. With his wide shoulders and barrel chest he fills out the X axis almost just as well as he fills out the Y axis. The man has presence too. When he passes by people on the street and blots out the sun for those smaller than him, some have sworn that his shadow has actual physical weight. Such is the force of his countenance. Suffice to say, that if Aberdeen’s own Union Street was somehow utterly emptied of people it could still be described as crowded the minute Seppa was to step into it.
Alas, though impressive in frame this blacksmith is no charmer. Those rare events (for make no mistake, they are events) when he leaves his smithy he spares no care for his appearance. His muscled body is constantly covered in a layer of grime and soot, though the exception to this is his completely bald head which somehow manages to always be slick and shiny with sweat. Truth be told Seppa’s great bristly black beard has begun to see some silver streaks sneak into it, but these are not visible due to the soot it absorbs on a daily basis.
The child that was to become Seppa the Blacksmith was born in a small secluded village in a war torn nation. His parents were a mismatched pair. His father was a famously strong man and the town blacksmith, a profession that Seppa was always meant to inherit. His mother, however, was something of a medicine woman for the community. She wasn’t local, had strange habits and, very uncharacteristically for the time, was quite a bit older than her husband. She never managed to win the full trust of the villagers. Seppa’s childhood was as uneventful as his future prospects. He married a humble village girl, Anna, and was set to take over his father’s smithy. That was when the occupation happened. A platoon of some thirty soldiers descended upon the community, but this was no attack. These were the good guys. As their charming lieutenant explained they had been ordered to establish a base at the village due to its ‘tactical position’. The villagers couldn’t see how their community held any importance in the on-going war, but the lieutenant was very convincing. There mere murmurs of dissent, but the platoon established themselves in the village. This meant that the already meagre food storage was stretched to its limit, and that many village daughters were about to become women, but few complained. The lieutenant was a very charming man, and as he graciously explained to the simple villagers the platoon was the only thing that kept the village safe. And so no one spoke against them. No one except Seppa’s mother.
Seppa’s mother could see the soldiers for what they were: deserters. The soldiers had fled the war and were preying upon an unwitting community in order to survive. The lieutenant had to silence her and silence her he did. He told villagers that she and her spouse were spies for the enemy, living proof of why the platoon had been sent to the village. The lieutenant’s charms and the villagers’ distrust of the strange woman was enough to convince them. Seppa’s household was attacked and his parents were put to death after a mock trial. Seppa was not pleased. He fought for his aging parents during the attack, almost killing several soldiers and villagers due to his prodigious strength. However, the lieutenant never accused him of conspiring with his parents. Instead he took the heavily restrained Seppa aside ‘for questioning’, as he told the community. The lieutenant had a vested interest in keeping Seppa alive. With the old blacksmith dead he needed a new one in order to keep his men armed. They were planning on moving on and needed weapons in order to survive. So the lieutenant wanted to see if Seppa was susceptible to his charms. He tried convincing Seppa that his parents had indeed been spies, and that he could atone for their sins by supplying the nation’s soldiers with what they needed. To the lieutenant’s great relief Seppa seemed convinced. The blacksmith apologised for his actions and the lieutenant assured the village that Seppa and his mate were innocent. Seppa was made village blacksmith, but the truth was that he had deceived the slick lieutenant. He had not only inherited his father’s great strength but also his mother’s keen intellect, and he saw the soldiers for the scoundrels they were. If he was to avenge his parents he had to plan ahead.
And so, for a full year, Seppa plotted his revenge. His son was born but he took no joy in this. His mind was consumed with a smouldering fury for the lieutenant and his men. Seppa honed his body to near physical perfection and looked through his mother’s small library to find the instrument of his revenge. He found it in a recipe for gunpowder. When the year had passed the lieutenant informed the villagers that the platoon was to move on. The village was no longer of ‘tactical importance’, as he informed them, and Seppa knew that he would have to carry out his plan that very night. Said plan was simple, effective and brutal. Seppa had planted explosives in various places in the platoon’s encampment. These were detonated to great effect. Those soldiers who survived or were merely mutilated by this initial attack were killed in Seppa’s subsequent attack. Seppa strode into the camp and murdered the rest with an oversized sledgehammer. Those soldiers that tried to defend themselves found that their weapons simply shattered against Seppa’s armour. The blacksmith had intentionally made the weapons he supplied them with brittle and frail. All thirty-odd soldiers were killed with one exception: the lieutenant. In the wake of the devastation Seppa could not find his corpse. Somehow the slick lieutenant had escaped.
Seppa would not be denied his revenge. He left the small village that had betrayed his parents and took his wife and son with him. For the next 10 years Seppa and his family travelled the land, moving from settlement to settlement, trying to find a lead on the slippery lieutenant. These were hard times, not least for Seppa’s wife Anna and the boy Jon. As Seppa was driven by vengeance, they were driven by devotion to the blacksmith. Eventually they found the lieutenant, except he was no longer a lieutenant. He was now a great military official in a great city. He had a new name and a new past. No one here knew him as the lieutenant who had led a platoon of deserters. No one except Seppa. Seppa soon realised that his revenge would not be easily obtained. The ex-lieutenant was well known and well protected in the city. Seppa would need extraordinary means for his revenge. He established a new smithy in the city, posing as an ordinary blacksmith. There he started work on the instrument he had decided was necessary if he was to attack a military official within his own city and escape: a relic. Seppa needed a weapon of near-mythical power if he was to have his revenge. For yet another full year he tried to craft such a magical weapon. He failed. His many experiments tried to tap into the power of the magical, the occult, the scientific and the divine, but all failed. Seppa’s irritation and anger was such that his wife finally did the only thing she could: she left him. He was not the man she fell in love with, and in truth hadn’t been for years. Anna had tried to dissuade him from his vengeance for years, but now gave up. She took Jon with her, as his father was a positively toxic influence on any developing mind. This was when Seppa finally snapped. For years his every waking moment had been dedicated to his vengeance, but in some corner of his mind he had decided that his family was to be his reward for his efforts. When he knew peace from his anger he would dedicate himself to them. Now that opportunity was gone, and he did not take it well. Seppa had a momentary lapse of insanity, becoming fury incarnate. With his prodigious strength he destroyed his smithy, leaving it in flames. Soldiers had to be called to subdue him. When Seppa regained his sanity he had lost his family, his smithy and, curiously, his lust for revenge. With his family gone to live as far away from him as the great city allowed, Seppa could finally see that his quest for vengeance had ruined him. Though he still harboured great hatred for the ex-lieutenant he decided that nothing would be accomplished in the continued pursuit for revenge. And so Seppa just let it go.
Seppa rebuilt his smithy on top of the ruins of his old one, but during construction he made a discovery. In the ashes of the smithy he found an experiment of his that had miraculously survived. Furthermore, it actually worked. He had made an actual relic. Unfortunately, after devastating his workshop Seppa had no idea how he had created the relic. It was even possible that it had been created during his berserker rage. Seppa had no way of knowing and had no intention of recreating the experiment. The relic rests within the smithy now, unused. Years passed and Seppa established himself as a skilled but otherwise unnoticeable blacksmith within the city. He spoke little with others and few wanted extended interaction with the intimidating giant. Seppa provided for Anna and their son, giving them most of his pay, but it was too late to repair his bond with them. He soon learned that his son Jon had found himself an occupation: he had joined the city army. There he found a father-figure in the noble avatar Victus. Seppa was saddened but understood that he had never been much of a father to his son. Soon after this Jon died in his first skirmish. Seppa took this hard. With no son to provide for he decided to dedicate the rest of his life to protecting the city Jon was willing to die for. Years later Seppa’s humble smithy has expanded hugely, practically becoming a great foundry. Seppa is now the primary arms supplier for the city guard and army, making fine weapons for a minimum price. His service to the city has earned him a good reputation among many, though some still fear the stoic giant. A few have been inspired by his great work to become his disciples, learning the craft of blacksmithing from him. Seppa does in fact have enough trained pupils to retire from his work, but he still toils away at the forge day out and day in. He intends to mourn his son in this way until the day he dies.