Thursday, September 15, 2016

Smithy - Chap 4

    “Thank you again for breakfast” Ailla said with that same soft smile that she always wore around him.
    Tristan smiled in return and nodded. He took both of their dishes away and set them aside before settling again at the table. His chest still felt tight and occasionally the room started to spin a little, but he felt vastly better than the night before.
    “So, I know that you probably don’t want to think about it…” she said, trailing off. “But, what are you going to do about Whitecrest?”
    He’d been dwelling on it and he wasn’t sure either.
    “I don’t know. That sword I was working on. It has to be done. Some great, shining lordling came by last week to commission it. Apparently he’d traveled all the way from Frothing Rock just to find Hagon and request the blade.”
    “I need to finish it.” He said, his voice lacking any of the conviction he’d hoped to muster.
    “Tristan.” Ailla said with a worried tone. “Please. You have to talk to Hagon. I’m sure he won’t have a problem if it meant you were going to get help.”
    “I can’t.” he rebutted, his voice cracking a bit. “If it’s not done when that lordling gets back then we’ll probably never resell it. We’d be so far in the hole that…”
    Tristan tried to think of a comparison, but couldn’t come up with one. The truth was, Hagon made enough gold that the lost commission would certainly hurt, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Yet, for some reason, he felt like if he abandoned the blade, it would be something he could never forgive himself for.
    “Then let Hagon finish it. It’s not like they came all the way to Oak’s Grove for the great and mighty Tristan Casterlan.”
    He winced at the sound of his last name and felt a burning in his chest again. She was right. It’s not like the lordling cared that he was even alive. He had sought out Hagon, not Hagon’s apprentice. His work equated to nothing when his name wasn’t on the woodwork.
    “Oh, Tristan.” Ailla reached out to softly touch his fingertips. “I know. I’m sorry. I forgot that you don’t like to be called that.”
    He shook his head. “It’s not that.”
    They sat in bated silence for what seemed to be an eternity. Ailla never seemed to stop watching him while he, instead, was more focused on mentally tracing the woodwork of the table. All the while, berating himself for thinking he mattered in the equation at all.
    Finally, Ailla broke the silence.
    “Come on, let’s go find Hagon. We’ll get it all worked out and then I’ll help you pack for the trip.”
    Tristan finally looked up to her again, a smile finally tracing his lips.
    “Alright.” He said with a nod. “And Ailla?”
    “Thank you.”
    Ailla responded with a wink and, a moment later, they were setting the table and making their way outside.

    They found Hagon exactly where Tristan expected him to be. Seated in front of his anvil, hammer in hand, pounding on a chunk of metal. In a heartbeat, however, Tristan felt his chest tightening again and the room closing in when he saw what he was actually working on.
    Hagon was putting the final touches on the lordling’s sword.
    “Boy.” Hagon said evenly, his deep voice reaching them despite the roar of the forge.
    “Hagon.” Tristan responded, his head unconsciously bowing. It was an old habit that was hard to break.
    “Hagon.” Ailla chimed in from his side. “Tristan has something he’d like to talk to you about.”
    He and Ailla traded sidelong glances and she gave him a reassuring nod and a smile before motioning for him to step towards the anvil. Hagon set down blade and hammer and watched them carefully with his deep black eyes.
    “Hagon.” Tristan repeated, feeling like a lump was in his throat. “I wanted to talk to you about going to Whitecrest.”
    There was no response, but Tristan had known the old man long enough to need no prompting to continue. He was listening.
    “After last night, you’ve both mentioned it to me and…well, you’re right. I just…just…I just don’t know what to do because I’m supposed to finish the sword and then there’s the other orders that are piling up and…”
    He was talking faster than he meant to and his voice was getting higher the faster he went. He stopped when he realized he was breathing hard just from talking.
    “Boy. Are you daft?” Hagon said simply.
    “I told you to go, but you’re asking permission.”
    “Uh…” Tristan sighed as he realized what he was getting at. “Yessir.”
    “I told you to go. That means go. I got along fine enough without ye. I’ll last a few days more.”
    Ailla smile brightened and she practically hopped a little.
    “See?” she said. “And you were worried.”
    She was right, of course. Tristan couldn’t get his head around why he was worried. Yes, it was work, but it wasn’t like he was trying to skip out. He was ill.
    He nodded again. “I’ll be back as fast as I can.”
    “You’ll take as long as ye need to get better, boy. Now go.” Hagon said, motioning with the hammer. “Tell me before you leave.”
    Nothing else was said as Tristan and Ailla slipped out of the smithy. He could hear Hagon return to pounding on the new sword and Ailla was alight with excitement and chatter. Yet, Tristan didn’t feel excited. If anything, he felt like he might throw up.


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  1. Lots of tension here. And mystery. There is more to Hagon than we know I suspect.
    More please. (When you are ready.)

  2. I liked this chapter. Learning more of the characters and that's a good thing.

  3. Hi Robert - it's great story telling ... the characters are just right ... let's hear more - cheers Hilary

  4. Always great when you get a chance to delve deeper into the characters.

  5. Having not read the previous chapters, I wonder what's bothering Tristan. There's something he's not seeing, right?

    1. Liz. As a courtesy, I'm making links to the previous chapters so that you can find out for yourself. :)

      Here's the main page to get you started.