The Book of Kendring
The Smith Quest
The smith’s quest is usually known as Gustbran’s Light.
The first strike finds the light
With the second, banish night
At the third the truth is free
On the fourth strike shadows flee
The last blow binds us all
To our oath in Orlanth’s Hall
The myth begins in the lesser darkness, when the Storm Tribe fights the great war against Chaos.
In Karulinoran, Orlanth’s great hall, warriors and each member of the tribal ring makes their mead boast. When it is Gustbran’s turn he boasts he is master of all metal.
But Eurmal, the trickster, fool and betrayer, interrupts. He has found a piece of special metal and asks Gustbran to beat it with his great hammer. The smith god tries with all his might, but his fire and change magics cannot scratch it.
The trickster tells Gustbran that the metal is the heart of a dead god, Thryk, that the fool stole from a Chaos hell. Not even the mighty redsmith can touch such a densely magical lode of metal. With the laughter of the fool ringing mockingly in his ears, Gustbran storms out of the great hall, his hammer Five Strikes in his hand.
Gustbran decides he needs the great fire from Know Me, the first torch, known to all as the Rune of Truth. The smith knows that nothing can withstand the intense light of the truth, it banishes all shadow and doubt, it boils away the impure and cuts through to the heart of anything. It is in the possession of the Fire Tribe. Gustbran vows to take a small piece of the torch’s flame and use it to soften and master the trickster’s metal.
Gustbran goes out into the darkness. The torch is in the possession of Yelm’s son, Yelmalio, guarding the entrance to the Vale of the Dead where the Sun Emperor now reigns in his decrepit glory.
On his way out of the gates of the Storm Realm he meets the young god Destor, who is blowing this way and that on the wind. Destor agrees to accompany Gustbran, as he is curious about the lands beyond. The pair are distracted by adventures and obstacles until they are met by Tatouth the Scout, who out of love has been sent by Orlanth to guide their way and bring them back safe.
Since Yelm went to the Kingdom of the Dead the world has been overcome by a great Darkness. The surface is overrun by the Uz who assail the party on all sides. They confront the Seven Sharp Mouths and the Shadow Children, amongst other horrors.
In the Dark each member of the party comes face-to-face their own fears. Tatouth the Pathfinder becomes lost. Destor the Wanderer is unable to move. Gustbran cannot light his lonely fire in the cold darkness.
But eventually the three overcome all difficulties to come to the gates of the Vale of the Dead. They see a great battle where bright Yelmalio is fighting Zorak Zoran and his army of trolls. The troll demon had stolen the secret of fire from Yelmalio at the beginning of the God’s War and now with his army of berserks is trying to storm Hell and extinguish Yelm for good. Gustbran and his companions must help defeat the Black Lord and his horde.
After Zorak Zoran’s defeat, Yelmalio greets his runaway cousin warmly. But when he learns of Gustbran’s quest he is reluctant to give up a piece of his torch. He sets a test for the smith. Eventually Gustbran succeeds and he takes a tiny portion of the primal fire from the torch. This small fire is known as Change Me and he binds it to his hammer with a piece of his soul and returns to the Storm Realm.
On the return journey the Dark Tribe flees from the light of Change Me. None can stand before it.
Back in Orlanth’s Great Hall, Gustbran takes the metal Eurmal found and beats it five times with his new power of fire. He hammers it into a new shape, a wondrous breastplate called Integrity, which he presents to Orlanth as a great gift.
With this the smith completes his boast and all in the hall acclaim him as the Master of All Metal. Orlanth, overcome by the gift he is given, gifts Gustbran and his companions richly in return.
The Gustbran worshipper learns the secret to master all metal, even iron. He gains an affinity to the Truth Rune.
He also learns the secret to enchant armour with the Truth Rune. Such armour will defeat the false blade, the backstab, the assassin’s shot, the troll warrior’s jab from the dark. Such enchanted works require the smith to put a piece of his own soul into the armour.
(Meta: Enchanting costs hero points to make the armour and increase its abilities. To learn other enchantments requires going on other quests.)
A Female Smith?
Gustbran is commonly defined as a male god, but a woman taking the Gustbran role would change it in small ways. The question is: what Gustbran is this?
Is the Gustbran your clan worships an androgynous deity who can change from male to female at whim as Heler, another change-related deity, does? Such a Gustbran would be as malleable as the metal he/she works. It would be the Gustbran of great weapons and armour and the Gustbran of fine jewellery and ornament.
Another option is that this Gustbran is a subcult-related deity. It could be a female aspect of the god manifest as a loyal daughter. Or even his wife, a helpmeet who is also one of the lowfires.
This may be a question to resolve before the Heroquest begins.