To say that his home was "off the beaten track" was perhaps the greatest understatement he would ever know. It was hidden well away from anything remotely resembling a village, tucked into a vast, mountainous region that was better known for its wild setting and death count than it was for its human population. Granted, that wouldn't have been difficult even if there were more than a single family of people living there, but the reputation stood. Even hidden away in the farthest reach of the country where to die was more likely than to live, however, his family still had no choice but to withstand a bimonthly visitor. At least twice each month and sometimes several times more--especially when some tragedy struck in some far off kingdom--a knight in shining armor would clamor his way up the mountain, squeeze his heavy set steed through the slim openings of the canyon-like channel that was their entry way, and drop to his feet with a haughty harrumph in front of their humble abode. He would stand there all cocky and sure, but steadily the same look of alarm and disbelief would spread upon his face as his eyes passed the messily put together front of the home and went up to where the house had steadily grown into the mountain face with each generation adding on their own little touch. At the moment there were a good six different "house fronts" built into the stone, but a dozen more were sprawled inside the tunnels they had carved, and at least four--there were debates on the fifth as it was more of a statue than a home--curled around the side where the light hit only in the morning. No home was particularly more special the others, none baring the royal look of a castle or the richly made home of a duke, but the sheer strangeness of homes stacked upon homes was always somewhat shocking to newcomers. Most reacted with disbelief and a bit of wariness, treating its inhabitants more like witches than anything else, but the occasional knight or warrior would come who would look upon it and seem to think that it only made their reputation more believable. That reputation, of course, was as blacksmiths. Well, not just any kind of blacksmiths; they weren't particularly interested in forging horse shoes or troughs or plows or anything remotely resembling a scythe, but they were exceptionally good at weaponry. So good, in fact, that their name sounded out in kingdoms a country away, a quiet whisper in circles of knights of enchanted swords and Kings who ruled with a blade of fire. Many of those myths were somewhat exaggerated, but the Alaisdair family came awfully close, infusing each sword, dagger, mace, shield, club or what have you with true magical flair. Admittedly mostly they were nothing stronger than charms, but sometimes...something more powerful was in order. "I am not going to make you a sword that turns into a dragon." Shawney outright rolled his eyes this time, turning fully away from the knight who had run up this morning, all gangly limbs and not-quite-there muscle that told of a rich man's son, and instead turned his attention back to the axe he was making, tuning out the young man's complaints with the rhythmical banging of work. "--it wouldn't even be a large dragon, just scaly and toothy and FIRE!" Sparks flew as Shawney changed the angle of his hit, moving out of the way as a sizable ember shot out off of his workstation and fizzled inches away from the knight's face. He screeched and backpedaled quickly, and Shawney lifted a brow, lips quirking in mild amusement at the client's expression before he hefted up the battle axe and gave it a blow before dunking it into specially prepared spring water. Thick, twisting steam with a hint of purple billowed up and Shawney narrowed his eyes at it thoughtfully as he spoke. "Embers make you jump. I would be reluctant to let you run around with a torch--you will not be getting anything fiery. In fact, I do believe you are overestimating our abilities somewhat. Have you ever heard of a sword turning into anything at all? I certainly have not." A bit of a lie actually--just last month he had carved a walking cane for an elderly gentleman that could turn into a snake, but that was for defense and the man had long since deserved such a thing. This young man was unproven and would get nothing of the sort from them. Although...he had come very far and at the very least he was true of heart even if he'd come from daddy's pocket and not power of his own. As the boy sputtered, fright being quickly replaced with embarrassment and anger, Shawney pulled the axe free of the water and set it aside, making certain that the gelatinous goop that had formed around the blade was hardening efficiently before turning fully to the boy. "I will not forge a thing for you, but I will allow you to leave with one of our older blades. If you want anything from us you will live, breath, and fight with this blade for ten years." He held up a hand, the iron grey of his eyes firm as the golden rings of the Alaisdair line caught the light and gleamed around his pupils, and the boy shut his mouth, keeping back the comment on his tongue, "Ten. Years. Not a year less, not a year more. If you have shown promise by then, I will reconsider. But keep in mind it is the sword that will tell me your deeds, not your mouth. Are we in agreement?" The youth bobbled his head quickly, eyes lit up, and Shawney snorted out a breath, smirking nonetheless as he moved to another section of the building, slipping into a room set off from the rest. The knight waited outside it as he shuffled around for the sword he was looking for, giving his father a light grin when the man offered the weapon in question from his position cleaning a blade that had recently returned to them. They shared an amused look over the schooling sword--all dented and ugly when first given--before Shawney's eyes fell to the sorrowful weapon in his father's care and he leaned forward to brush the pads of his fingers over the hilt. A sword well used and well loved always mourned at the loss of its wielder. Shawney returned to the main room with the blade slipped into a hilt he thought would fit the scrawny knight now but be large enough to fit him in the next decade as well. He offered it to him and turned away the money, shooing the excited youth off to his steed with a light word of encouragement and another stern warning. The man watched the gangly movements of the young horse as rider and steed ambled off, and snorted to himself. Chances were the pair would not live long enough for that sword to bloom into something he could forge with magic, but...there was always a chance. Pleased with himself and confident they would not be getting any more visitors today, he ran a hand through his messy mop of deep brown hair and strode back to his work with a grin, setting into the complicated procedure of enchanting the axe while the sun dipped towards its afternoon road.