An exclusive tour of the factory
Paul jumped at the chance to get a tour of the factory where Darksilver Forge’s metal dice are made.
The factory is situated on a hilltop in a secluded area of northwest Georgia, with what looks like a castle tower sticking off one end, but it’s actually a large smokestack. Paul watched as strings of gray mist lazily snaked out of it and disappeared into the clouds.
The tour guide met Paul outside the front door. “Welcome! I heard you wanted a tour of our facilities!”
“Well, let’s get started!” The guide waved his hand toward the small factory. “This building was erected originally as a military fort during the Civil War. Of course, some renovations were made over the years, like adding electrical wiring and proper plumbing, but the smokestack is the original and has been left unchanged since it was constructed in 1861.”
Inside the factory, a handful of people were sitting around long tables, happily chatting away while inspecting dice for imperfections. The bad ones went into a bucket labeled “BAD DICE” and the good ones were placed in their appropriate dice cases. Nirvana played through a speaker somewhere. It seemed like a cool, laidback work environment.
The tour guide introduced Paul to some of the workers as they passed, then led him to a heavy wooden door at the far end of the factory. The door seemed to go directly inside the smokestack.
“This door leads to the basement, where the forge is. Come on, I’ll introduce you to our metalsmith and show you how the dice are made!”
The tour guide opened the door, and Paul saw that the smokestack had spiral stairs leading down as far as he could see. The stairs were made of rock, like the smokestack itself, and hugged the wall. A thick rope was tied off in several places to serve as a handrail. Paul was sure he’d be using that because smoke swirled through the center of the spiral, and he couldn’t see through it to the bottom. It was like descending into a storm cloud.
The guide led Paul down the stone steps. After they’d been walking for awhile, Paul asked, “How far down does this go?”
“All the way to the bottom, I’m afraid,” the tour guide laughed, then added, “But really, we’re going about 200 feet down. I know, it’s a long way, and, unfortunately, there were no elevators in 1861! They built this fort on top of a natural cave system, which gave them some unique benefits, as you’ll soon see.”
At the bottom of the stairs, the smoke wasn’t as thick. Paul could finally see and breathe a little better, even though it was still very hot. He saw that they were in a circular room with heavy wooden doors on the left and right side of the stairs. In the center of the room was a large round hole about five feet wide. A bowl-shaped screen sat in the hole like a giant tea strainer. It had a handle on one side and a metal lip on the other to prevent the screen bowl from falling into the hole.
“Those doors lead to the cave system. They could sneak in and out right under the enemy’s nose! And this hole in the floor is where the dice are made.”
“Where’s the metalsmith?” Paul asked.
“You’ll meet him soon enough. But first, watch this. You may want to stand back for a second.”
Paul watched with surprise as molten magma suddenly bubbled up through the screen bowl then slowly melted away, leaving behind about a hundred silver and gold dice.
The tour guide lifted the bowl by the handle and tilted it, dropping the new dice into a metal bucket next to the hole. He put the screen bowl aside.
Paul stared at the dice with disbelief. “That’s amazing!” He peered down into the hole, watching the magma slowly dissolve into darkness.
The tour guide smiled. “It really is amazing, and we have a great deal with the metalsmith too. A hundred dice for one soul.”
Then he pushed Paul into the hole.
And that’s how Darksilver Forge dice are made*.
* Darksilver Forge dice are not really made with human souls.