Osbeorne filled his lungs with cool, still air, breathing in the scents of a land on the cusp of winter. His errands were finally done and he even managed to finish early, too. He ran over the list again in his mind, just to be sure: finished delivering those gates, picked up his newly tailored shirt, bought some more of that platinum ore, and picked up another several jars of apple cider. Chores accomplished, he turned his attention to the rest of the day.

What to do…

As he walked down the lane to his house, he couldn’t help but go back over the last couple of days in his head. A lot of intensely personal stuff, including self-reflection and restless nights. Osbeorne sighed and turned his attention to the forge sitting in his yard; the call of smoke and heat and creating sang through his mind. Not even bothering to pull his outer coat off, the blacksmith began loading up the forge with more fuel. He didn’t know what he wanted to make yet, but the muscles in his fingers hummed with anticipation of the chisel’s strike.

When heat filled the smithy once more, Osbeorne shed his usual coat and scarf, shoving the hat into his coat pockets. He turned to face the one least complicated thing in his life — his craft — and couldn’t help but smile. What could he make…? His most recent success in jewelry-making was a pendant, and that could be fun; perhaps the platinum alloy he had bought the other day would allow him to add more fine details than usual.

After retrieving the platinum, he set it in his best-quality crucible and worked on ensuring the fires burned as hot as possible. His foot accidentally kicked the bellows and he laughed quietly to himself, remembering when Jaemy knew what it did before Kieran. It was nice, having the kids in the forge earlier; hopefully, they’d stop by again.


Blue eyes swiveled to watch the doorframe, lost in thought for a moment, imagining a tiny girl, cowering at literal shadows. Osbeorne couldn’t help a frustrated sigh; it made him so mad when he thought about why she acted the way she did. She deserved better. He grunted and looked back to the forge, white-hot flames mirroring his own mood on that particular topic.

Anger quickly fizzled out as he pondered what to make. What came to his mind immediately was, of course, completely out of the question. Embarrassing and childish. Just as he was about to give up and just make another plain band ring, a drawing caught his eye: a sketch he had drawn a few weeks ago, planning to turn it into a painting for his mother. Where he was from, they called those flowers “bog-stars.”

Something about the shape of it, the soft yet defined lines, was comforting to him. He couldn’t help but grin when inspiration hit him over the head like a sack of bricks; he knew exactly what to make, and for whom.

Osbeorne yanked on his heaviest pair of gloves and found his nicest tongs; this would be his greatest challenge yet. He lowered the crucible into his forge with a satisfied smile.

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