House of Omen: The Indomitable Smithersmith
Chapter 11- Pathetic
It was all these people who had been making all the noise. There seemed to be no end to them as Darius tried to make his way to the receptionist’s desk. The people in the lines eyed him suspiciously as he walked by, Darius didn’t care much. He had more important business to attend to.
Every few meters or so in between the larger gaps between the scrolls were marble statues adorned in armor and brandishing large swords, these didn’t move but stood perfectly still.
“What’s with these people and all the statues?” he wondered to himself as he walked through the sea of people closer to the receptionists desk.
A loud noise echoed throughout the crowded hall. Everyone became suddenly quiet as the hum and chatter of people droning on and conversing with each other subsided. This happened so suddenly that Darius could suddenly hear his own footsteps as he walked through the hall, drawing everyone’s attention to him.
He stopped immediately and became as still as one of the statues. The people crowding the hall immediately lost interest and looked straight forward, where the sound was coming from.
Although Darius hadn’t noticed this, it had taken him almost two hours of walking just to get this far into the crowd and he could now see a large brown wooden desk with eight small specks sitting behind it.
It seemed to be from there that a loud, crisp and clear voice rang out and said, “Attention all applicants, we will begin processing your requests now.”
“Finally.” Darius muttered under his breath as he ran up to the front desk. All eyes were on him as looks of disgust and were thrown his way and several scoffs could be heard from somewhere deep inside the lines.
The clerks at the front desk watched Darius run up to them with cold, uncaring and expressionless faces. Subconsciously Darius could feel their scorn from looking at his clothing, but he brushed it aside and decided to bite the bullet. He had waited too long for this. Consciously Darius wasn’t quite sure what they were thinking or feeling, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if it turned out they were void of all emotion, with the way their cold, calculating eyes never revealed a thing.
“I’m here to apply, my name is Darius O-”
“Save it, whoever you are. If you want to apply you’ll have to wait in line like everyone else.” said one of the older clerks, for the first time his calm face betrayed him and Darius could properly see hints of disgust and annoyance.
It was also then that it dawned on Darius that everyone there had come for one thing, they were all vying for one of the few Spiritsmith spots available.
“This must have been why prince Lionel thought i would change my mind once i came here.” Darius thought to himself as he looked up and down the long lines that seemed to stretch on forever into the white horizon, the hall was just that large.
“One in ten thousand huh?” he sighed as he watched them all, even Darius had to admit that they looked far more skilled and qualified than he was. Clearly Lionel had known all along just what it would be like, and had wanted Darius to see it for himself to push him into accepting his offer, and right now, it was working.
As Darius stood there for a moment, dumbstruck and contemplating what he would do next the clerk in front of him was beginning to run out of patience.
They had all been eyeing him as if they were scared he was going to steal something. As far a they were concerned someone like him could never be a Spiritsmith. It would be a complete disgrace to the noblest of professions.
Finally, as the oldest clerk Darius had just talked to had had enough he stood and said to him, quite frankly, “Young man, whoever you are, I’m about to give you some advice. Leave this place immediately.”
Darius said nothing as he looked at the clerks, seeing the disdain written plainly on their faces.
“It’s obvious you don’t belong here boy, someone like you isn’t worthy of even stepping foot in here. Go back to whatever shit stained hell hole your kind crawls out of and never show your face here again.”
Darius was crushed. He felt as though he was breaking apart on the inside, “You didn’t even-”
“Didn’t even what boy? Hmm?” the clerk cut Darius of before he finished his sentence, “We didn’t even give you a chance? Look around you boy, most of these applicants are from noble families! Even noble families will send their own heirs to vie for the few positions and honour of becoming Spiritsmiths and you actually expected us to choose you over them?” the clerk snorted.
“I…I am noble.” Darius whimpered, trying to remember what Lionel had said the previous night.
“Please, you’re not fooling anyone boy. In fact quite frankly you’re testing my patience. You think we haven’t seen this before? Another backwater hillbilly who thought he would just walk right in, desecrating these sacred halls and actually have a chance?”
Darius didn’t know what to say, he simply felt defeated as he lowered his head in shame.
“You know what boy? I’ll indulge you.” the clerk then brought out some sort off machine with two metal cylinders connected to it by various wires. “This will detect your natural affinity to spirits, go on boy, hold the cans.”
Darius wearily picked them up, already knowing full well just what the results would be. As he gripped them the clerk watched a dial in the machine connected to the cylinders. The dial barely moved before stopping, the clerks satisfaction with the results could be plainly seen as his wrinkled face broke out into a smug grin.
“I knew it, I could tell from the moment you walked in here that you were nothing but garbage. How did you even expect to become a smith with such a low affinity to spiritual essence? Pathetic!”