There is a tradition in the dock area of La Longi that supposedly ensures a long lasting marriage.
No one knows where it started, but it was the way things were.
If you were to ask the hand of marriage, the father would give you a hammer. It was the responsibility of the man to keep this hammer. If it was lost or returned to the father, the marriage was over.
As a woman was home more often than her husband, You either trusted her or carried the hammer around.
Violet had no family in La Longi, but the ritual was very important to her. All of her girlfriends spoke of it as most sacred.
Watchman Wayne was on leave and thought about his predicament.
Violet’s father was not in the picture to extend a hammer, and she wanted one.
He purposed to acquire one before she came back from her job at the Puking Peasant.
Wayne thought the local blacksmith might have one. Wayne approached the awning and read the sign.
Barfat Bluntbasher, Blacksmith.
Wayne chuckled. Now that was a name.
Barfat was a large, fierce man who did a small stint in Silent Gallows. Years of hard labor and a diet of fish from the harbor made him large, hard and lean, quite unlike his name. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him. Rumor had it that when he got angry, he would pick his anvil up and throw it at folks.
Wayne looked at the anvil. I did not seem possible.
Patiently, he waited until the blacksmith was done with the project at hand.
“Hi Barfat, I am in the market for a hammer.”
In a deep voice, hammer in hand, he rumbled,
“Hello Watchman Wayne, a hammer you say? I have several new ones here.”
Wayne gathered himself. No one told him to do this, but it just felt right at the time.
“Barfat, I want your hammer, and I will pay you whatever you want for it, even if I have to make payments for a long time.”
Barfat stared, confused.
“Wayne, I made this hammer and it is my favorite.”
“It is no ordinary hammer. No disrespect, but It weighs much more than a small man like you can swing.”
“Besides, it is my favorite and I would never part with it.”
Wayne was wary.
“Barfat, you know Violet. I asked her to marry me and she has no one to gift a hammer. Tradition is very important to her and I will only take the best, friend.”
The blacksmith contemplated.
“Wayne, I like you and I like Violet. However, nothing is free.”
Wayne shot back, “I told you I would pay any price for your finest hammer.”
“I will let you have it if you can whip me in a fist fight.”
Watchman Wayne sized up the towering man.
He eyed the hammer.
He wanted this for Violet; this was going to be an awful day.
Wayne unbelted his sword and shucked his jacket. His heart beat so fast that he thought it would explode.
Soon, regardless of the effort, he would be on the ground looking for his teeth or missing his eyes.
Barfat was a bruiser.
With cold, determined eyes, Wayne stated flatly.
“Barfat Bluntbasher, you got a deal.”
“It is yours. I wouldn’t fight you even if you swung on me. You got spirit, Wayne. “
“You can’t swim, and yet you spend your nights fishing drunks out of the harbor. I admire that.”
“Here, you can have the hammer.”
Wayne thanked him and left before he could change his mind.