Tink tink! Tink tink! Ka tink tink!
The sound of the blacksmith’s hammer vibrates through her skin with each blow against the anvil. The heat in the room was comforting, though the burley and squat man before her was sweating in rivers, straining against his efforts. The fire roars to life as his foot moves to press against some contraption that feeds more air into the flames. She had offered a few times to help stoke the fire. The man was a perfectionist in his craft, though. So she sits back upon a discarded anvil, one leg pulled up to her chest, her chin resting against her knee.
She allows the heat to touch her, that loving caress she was so familiar with. Allowing her skin to sweat it’s impurities out. Feeling the beads turn into drops that scurry down her chest, escaping between her breasts. She takes in a long breath.
By now, her white linen tank top is drenched, the color of the thin red shift beneath seeping through. Her golden eyes watch the flames as a gust of thermals blow back some of her hair, the blacksmith huffing a grunt with his efforts. He was used to the heat, just as she was. Having worked years and years, he had that pot belly men are apt to get in their elder ages. He almost had enough hair on his bare back to knit a sweater. It made for a pungent smell in the air, mixed with the steel, ash and coals.
It was a tiny thing he worked on. An important, terrifying, tiny thing. Chewing lightly upon her lower lip she goes over everything in her mind once again. Now that she was being ‘Backed’ by one of the stronger war lords, she had to keep on her toes. Be three steps ahead of all those that would want to hurt her, want to trap her, and to kill her.
“I would never let them hurt you, love.” Eryth’s voice soothes in her mind, where only she could hear.
“I find that hard to believe. Seeing as your dead….” there is no heart in her statement as she speaks aloud.
The blacksmith pauses in his hammering, looking over his shoulder at the woman sitting at his back and watching her. He had never seen a woman of her particular beauty. She certainly wasn’t afraid to flaunt her assets about. But he was careful not to goggle at her. He clears his throat.
“Ma’am?” He asks hesitantly.
Mira blinks up at the blacksmith and shakes her head dismissively. “Keep working.”
The man nods and happily goes back to work. Leaning back, Mira lets her head bump lightly to rest on the wall at her back. Lacing her fingers of each hand together, she drapes them around her raised knee to give her leverage.
“I’m dead. But I have made you stronger. Melded my own power of fire with you. Just play it smart. We will have our revenge. And then, our true freedom.” Eryth whispers.
Eryth always speaks in a way that seems to gently lead her. It was somewhat irritating. What was he leading her to? She wished she could say for certain. But those memories, were still fragmented. Sure, they appeared clear and laid out the whole story of several months she had lost from her memory. But somehow….deep in her gut, there was something deceiving in them. Her own memories.
So, here he is again. Getting in trouble – no doubt. Bound to happen. He hears a hammer in the distance. Why did blacksmith’s always have dank – dark-scary lairs? He shakes his head. Cropped sandy like hair is arranged in a messy – yet composed style. Turning the corner he comes into the large expanse of the blacksmith’s work room. His eyes immediately lay upon Mirabar. His childhood friend. Partner in crime. Probably the only woman he has ever truly cared about. Maybe even loved.
But she has changed. No longer bubbling over with laughter. With that bright fire in her golden eyes that had a hunger for life and all it had to offer. No. She was harder now. Not as friendly. No longer trusting. Even of him. He huffs a breath to clear the stench of the room.
“Phew! Blacksmith – do ya ‘ave any windows or what? Damn – what a stench!”
But there is a smile on Norrin’s lips. He hadn’t changed. He was fine popping off jokes and jibes. Walking across the room to join Mira he leans against the wall where she sits. Looking down he wriggles his brows.
“Lovely view – as always.” He makes a noise by clicking his tongue against the top of his mouth.
“I’ve been looking for you ever since Gent sent for me. Gotta say Kiddo. I’m pretty stunned to find you here. In a war lord’s haven. A war lord that – as I remember it – you gave him that nasty scar on his face when he tried to force himself on you years ago.”
His face goes sour at the thought. He had been there. A little too late to the show to help her out of that mess- as much as he hates to admit. Chewing on his tongue a moment he purses his lips and looks over to the Blacksmith just as he throws him a sneering look. Norrin frowns and lets his palm fly to his chest – a wounded gesture. Then chuckles ever so quietly.
Those eyes of hers shift. There was a shadow in the door. A tall, lean shadow. One she was quite familiar with. It is enough to draw her brows down into a scowl. Norrin walks in, insulting the blacksmith in his cheeky way. A grumble leaves her lips as she sits back up, dropping her hands to rest at her sides. Hadn’t he gotten the hint the last time they saw each other? She wasn’t happy with him. He was holding things back from her. Putting on airs like she needed protecting. And now, here he was. Back to bug the living shit out of her.
“What are you doing here?” She snips when he comes to stand next to her. She gives him a sidelong look of irritation.
“This one is not one to trust.” Eryth scoffs inside her mind.
“Shut up.” Mira responds to the voice. Realizing she had said that outlaid, she blinks up at Norrin to gauge his reaction to her first questioning him and then speaking in what might seem a response.
“Well – I was called” but he has to stop speaking as Mira tells him to shut up. He blinks a few times while staring down at her. After enough time stretches on he frowns and clears his throat.
“May I continue? You didn’t let me respond.” He waits until he would receive the go-ahead from the redhead.
“Ok. So as I was saying. Gent sent for me. I’ve been working the circuit for him for awhile now. A few jobs here and there. You know he knows we’re…”
He has to pause. Were they still friends? Because anyone from the outside looking in would not see it that way. “…friends.”
The hammering continues on. Rolling his tongue around in his mouth like he has a sour taste just resting there – he nods. Yeah. He still considered them friends. She was just going through some shit. She would return to her sweet – feisty self. One day. Eventually. Maybe.
“I think he thinks with me around – I might be able to keep an eye on you. Keep you ‘in line’.” There is a deep chuckle from him. He knew better than anyone alive that you do not keep Mirabar ‘in line’. But even as he chuckles and looks over to her in hopes of drawing the slightest smile out of her – there is a whistling noise as heat meets cold water. The hammering had stopped.
Rolling her eyes up at him she gives a very audible sneer. Keep in line, indeed. Well, she expected as much from Gent. He didn’t trust her, and she certainly didn’t trust him. No honor among thieves. Raking a hand back through her damp locks, she doesn’t find his humor very entertaining. But all that melts away as she jerks her head towards the blacksmith. Steam was hissing into the air and she nearly jumps to her feet with nervous energy.
Dismissing Norrin completely, she walks across the room and watches the blacksmith as he carefully removes the piece from the water after several long moments. Chewing on her lower lip, she watches his every move. As he twists and turns towards one of his work tables, pinchers in hand and holding the delicate work, he sets it down and looks it over. A finger touches at the steel.
“It’s still hot, ma’am.” He says.
Mira actually laughs at his concern about something being too hot to touch. A hand gently pushes at his shoulder, so she could inspect his work more closely. Reaching a hand out, she takes the still hot metal into her delicate fingers. Indeed, it was hot. But not hot enough to have any effect upon the elemental. There was a cold chill that runs through her. Turning it over and over in her hands, she finally looks up to the blacksmith. The slightest jerk of her head is enough for him to catch on that she wanted him to depart the room.
When the blacksmith leaves, she smiles sadly.
“So odd. How such a little thing can demand so much fear.” It is then that she looks up to Norrin.
Her eyes void of any warmth she once knew. There was a time when she was always so happy to have him near. Like a security blanket. Because she knew he would always help her. Do his best to keep her safe. That much she could definitely remember. Along with their childhood memories. Thick as thieves, they were. A heavy sigh leaves her lips as she lifts the metal in her hand towards her neck.
Unclasping the back of the hinge, she wraps the circular steel around her neck, feeling the heat of it lick at her skin. She has to hold her breath. The chill runs down her spine and back up again into her throat. A moment of hesitation as she looks straight ahead, at no one in particular.
“I’m here, Mira. You can do this.” Eryth coos reassuringly.
Closing her eyes, she clicks the clasp at the back closed. Exhaling heavily, she snaps her eyes back open.
All he does is watch Mira intently. It feels like all the air in the room drastically had escaped. Norrin makes a funny face as the blacksmith is dismissed. The squat man merely shakes his head and exits. Smirking to himself he rubs at the back of his head and turns to once more watch Mira.
He frowns though. What was it she had in her hands there? It looked quite familiar as he steps closer. Then his eyes widen. The slave bracer. Exactly like the one that had imprisoned Mira so many months and months ago. He wets his lips.
“Whats up with that thing? I’m finding it hard to believe you can even look at one of those. Let alone touch it.” His voice is grave. All the humor sucked out of him now. Seeing her hold that thing that had brought her so much pain. And the memory that it was HIM that had put her in a position to become a slave.
Then his eyes truly go wide. She was putting it on! His body flinches forwards. His arm reaches out to grab at one of her wrists – in hopes to keep her from putting the blasted thing on. His large fingers curl around her wrist a moment too late. Giving a tug – he pulls her closer with a hiss on his lips.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
The sound of the clasp closing rung in her ears for what felt like hours. Her body feels like lead. Until she feels fingers grasping roughly at her wrist. As her eyes had popped open, she jerks her head to look up at Norrin as he pulls her closer to him. Since she was slightly off balance she collides with his chest and has to press a palm into him to push away once she gets her wits back.
But his hand was still grasping her other wrist. Wrenching it back, he was not releasing her. Her lips compress and she lets her eyes flash a deeper gold. Like the shadows of flames were dancing angrily behind those orbs. Fine. She would show him what she was up to. Since he obviously thought she was crazy enough to enslave herself once more, of her own volition!
The heat rose even more in the room. And the hand that was still holding her wrist would sudden begin to feel the burn.
He looks thoroughly confused when Mira tries to push away from him angrily. But he wasn’t about to give up. This was insane! She was volunteering to put that brace on herself. To prove what?! Then he watches her eyes dance with that familiar flame. Golden eyes sneer up at him in defiance. He knows that look. But he realizes it a little too late. Another hiss issues forth. And Norrin retracts his hand from Mira’s wrist sharply.
“S H I T! Ow! Dammit Mira!” He shakes his hand to try and cool the light burn she had given him. Holding his wrist up to his lips he makes a noise.
Looking down at her he seems truly wounded. Not in the physical sense. But more in the emotional. She hadn’t burned him out of sheer defiance since they were kids. And that was when she was unable to control her element completely. Blinking a few more times – he inspects his wrist. At least it was minor. But had he kept holding onto her….He instead inspects the collar now. It looked just like the ones that eliminate any magical being or elemental from accessing their power. Obviously she was able to use her power just now while wearing it.
“You made a fake? Why?” After long moments of silence he frowns deeper. “What are you planning?”
Watching Norrin carefully as he goes through his antics, she gives a sigh when he finally comes back down. She notes how he looks at her now. There was a hurtful stare in those eyes of his. She has to look away, while her hand raises to touch fingers lightly at that collar. He wants to know what she’s up to. And there is a moment, as she contemplate letting him in on her plan.
“NO. He can’t be trusted with this. He’s Gent’s man. He will give it all away for a price.” Eryth warns. In a very stern way. It makes Mira bristle.
“Don’t you worry bout. It will all be clear, in the end.” she says to Norrin.
She actually felt Norrin would never double cross her like that, in the way Eryth tells her in her head. Unclasping the collar once more, by a certain trick of turning and pushing in at the close, the collar falls from her throat. Grasping it carefully, she hefts it in her palm for a moment before stashing it away into the small pouch at her hip. Now she just needed to find one that could do the fine tuning of the device. It was amazing how she felt she could breath again, once it was removed. It had no power over her, yet it did.
She would defeat it. In the end.