I'm getting forge coal on my lamb leg when she walks in. The entire blacksmith's workshop pretends to be busy while sneaking glances at her.
She walks around. She finds my corner, stops, smiles. But her eyes are all for her darling. I've been at the hammer from midday to midnight getting her darling ready to wield.
There's a gnome on her shoulder. It jumps off, hurries for a close-up of the steel.
She places her helmet right on top of my workbench, lets a bundle of hair fall behind her shoulders. “How does she look?”
Flawless, I mean to say, but she didn't ask that. “I thinned the edges, hollowed the fuller, sharpened the point and recallibrated the pommel. Also, I had to replace the handle entirely, but you already know that.”
“Yes, you did tell me.” I thought her eyes were green. They're brown. In my dreams, they're green. My eyes? I suppose they're imagining the most loutish acts, but they snap back to attention when she speaks.
“Am I primed?” she says.
I shake my head. I nod. “The dark gems are all fitted. But I have to warn you, these modifications are dangerous.”
She flashes an unladylike grin. “I may have to trap someone's soul this time.”
I don't ask. I never do, under normal circumstances. In any case, she wouldn't answer.
She leans against me, reeks of dry sand, perspiration. But to me, her scent is like roses. When she pulls away, her helmet is off the workbench, in its place a pile of gold coins. Each of them rusted in some way. Even stained, bloody. Still good. Don't need to count the coins to know she's left more than invoiced for.
“Thanks,” she says. She arms the sword, grins, cuts air. The blade's glimmer blinds me. When I see again, she's walked away. She's at the door, nothing but a silhouette. Her gnome sticks its tongue out at me and jumps back on her shoulder.
The Gaia takes to the desert winds again, and I'm just standing here holding my hammer.