Avron used his small hammer to bend the softened spoke back into place. “There, that’s fixed.” He cooled the cog in water then handed it to Zdenko. “I’ll do some work on that alloy tomorrow. I have some orders to fill today. Mostly nails for the new housing.”
Zdenko fitted the cog back into the intricate device he was working on for Amir. “Well, will you take Amir’s invitation to join the project proper after the rebuilding is done here?”
“Far be it from me to not accept an invitation from the crowned prince. Please extend my thanks for his blessing on me finishing up here.”
“He said his project comes second to the current well-being of the citizens. He actually said to urge you to finish up here first.”
– – –
The sound of many hammers striking anvils at the same time was not something that Avron had heard in a long time. When he was an apprentice blacksmith his master had several students at the same time, but since then he had only heard one or two hammers working at once. This workshop was a cacophony of hammers. He worked on the next set of intricate cogs and gears for Zdenko, hopeful that the new forge would be installed in the main workshop soon. The delicate work they were having him do required more focus than this shop could provide.
Zdenko approached from the other end of the workshop. “Think of the devil…”
“Oh, were you thinking of me? Probably cursing me more likely.”
“You’re speaking too quiet. I can hardly hear you over the hammers.”
“Let’s go outside!” Zdenko motioned toward the door.
Avron set down his tools and followed Zdenko to the exit. Once outside the hammer noise was much quieter. “What do you have for me?”
A short scroll appeared from Zdenko’s sleeve. “Orders.”
Wiping his hands on his apron Avron then reached out for the scroll. “May I?”
Avron unfurled the scroll and read it quickly, smiling. “So, I’ll just go grab my tools then.”
“What’s it say?”
“Oh, you can read it now. Nothing you won’t find out in a few minutes.” Avron tossed the scroll at him and headed back into the workshop.
Looking at the scroll in his hands Zdenko saw two important things. The first being Avron relocating to the workshop in the prince’s castle which would speed up repairs. The second was how much more compensation the smith was getting for his work compared to the people he had putting the pieces that he made together. “Better not let the workers see how much he makes. The prince may have a revolt on his hands…then again most of them could be replaced. Avron can’t.”
– – –
The latest sprocket design was a strange one to Avron. It was more of an ellipse than a circle. Designed, no doubt, to make the automatons movement look more natural. He had seen a few of the prototypes walking and it had unnerved him how unnatural and jerky the motion was.
“Avron, how’s that new sprocket coming along?” The sound of metal hammering metal was echoing through the workshop.
“Slowly. I’ve just gotten the teeth all the same length and was about to upset them. The specifications are fai-” an explosion sounded from above and the entire workshop shook, interrupting the conversation.
Zdenko and Avron had a clear view of all of the engineers as they were blasted into golden dust that then coated the automatons. The two of them then passed out as the wave of energy enveloped them.