Chapter 2 - Possibilities

Chapter 2 - Possibilities

A Chapter by VassD
"

Environment does not a person make.

"

Ania hopped down from her saddle. Her high-spirited pony frisked a bit, tossing its gold-brown mane. It took a few extra pats and a dried apple to calm it down. Ania led her horse towards one of the hitching posts on the green at the center of town, trying to walk along the edge of the cobbled streets to avoid getting in the way of the busy crush of people who thronged the open air marketplace. She'd forgotten that it was market day. There would be a lot more people at the forge this afternoon than usual.

 

I wonder if that's why Da suggested it. He knows how long I like to stay at Karra's on market day. Ania smiled. That probably was the reason. Her da always was a little more attentive to what happened in town.

 

And to what happened to her.

 

After Ania tied her horse up to one of the hitching posts, she meandered through the crowds, letting the ebb and flow of the people take her to different stalls and vendors. The travelling stalls were always fun to look at. So many bright colors and amazing, strange merchandise. Items from every corner of the country found their way onto these carts, and some items were even rumored to come from lands beyond the western Sea of Tears. Ania wasn’t sure if she believed that, but whether the tales were true or not, the dazzling array of merchandise was amazing enough by half.

 

As Ania let the sea of people direct her path, she was reminded of the other reason she loved market day. She looked around at the market regulars. Mother Ora, the sweet old woman who ran the soup kitchen for refugees. Miss Kessa, who was best friends with Ania’s mother. Old Mosa, the ancient book keeper, who even her da said had been white haired for as long as he could remember. Sweet Elsa, with her new baby, who was only just barely older than Ania’s oldest sister Ehmita. These were the people she and her family had known all their lives. These were the people who looked at her and saw a person.

 

Ania was grateful for the press of the crowd, however, because scattered throughout the streets were people who didn’t see her like that. There were several families who wouldn’t even go near Ania’s home, even though her mother was on the counsel, just because of who Ania’s aunt had been.

 

And who Ania desperately wanted to be.

 

Ania dodged the glares from the people who had recognized her in the crowd, and started pushing her way towards the edge of the street and Karra’s forge. Just because she knew those glares were always going to be there didn’t mean she had to stand there and take them.

 

When Ania finally got free of the crush of bodies, she staggered at the wildly unfamiliar sensation of being able to move her arms without running into anyone else. She found herself in a slender alleyway between Karra’s shop and the fruit stand next to it. Taking a second to brush the dust off of her over shirt, Ania checked her belt sheath for the damaged knife " she felt a sharp pang in her chest at the thought " and pulled open the side door to the forge.

 

The heavy, dry wave of heat that hit her in the face as she walked into the forge was a pleasant, familiar sensation. A large, roaring forge fire was blazing in the back of the work area, and tools and semi-finished projects lined the walls and work benches, with a few of the larger hammers and tongs hanging from iron hooks in the overhead beams. The loud, steady sound of hammer on steel matched with the hiss of air pushed from a bellows emanated from the corner. When she turned to face the sound, she saw Karra in a heavy leather vest and apron, her lean muscular arms flexing as she grasped a hammer with a head the size of her forearm by the haft, raining blow after well-measured blow on a length of iron that was glowing as red hot as the fire that Wilem, Karra’s broad-shouldered husband, was pumping full of air with a massive bellows three times as big as himself. A bright sheen of sweat glowed on them both, making their already bronze complexions glow.

 

Ania closed the door behind her, and the chime above the door frame sounded once as a tiny metal hammer attached to the door hit it on its way closed. Karra glanced around, and smiled shortly when she saw Ania. She tilted her head in the direction of a much smaller apron that hung from a peg on the south wall before turning back to the length of iron on the anvil.

 

Ania hurried over to the apron, placing her things in a neat pile on one of the bare shelves. Pulling off her over shirt and the long-sleeved tunic she was wearing, Ania placed them on the shelf with her other equipment. She dropped the thick leather neck strap of the apron over her head and tied it over her loose-fitting undershirt. Grabbing a large pair of tongs and some thick leather gloves, she headed over to the forge fire and grasped the length of iron " now that she got a better look at it, it looked like the cross beam of a lumber wagon " and pulled it out of the fire. Walking steadily over to the three large quenching barrels that sat along the west wall, Ania’s muscles strained to keep the tongs from slipping. Her gloved hand balanced the cooler ends of the beam. She guided the glowing iron into the salted water barrel with a steady, practiced ease. A white cloud of steam billowed out of the thick oak stave barrel, with a loud hiss as the salted water gave the metal a strong, hard finish.

 

Karra came over, taking the beam from her and looking over it with a critical but pleased eye. “Steady and firm ‘s always, little smith.”

 

Ania smiled up at her friend. Karra didn’t care about a necklace, or society. All she cared about was Ania’s steady hand and quick wit, as well as her keen head for numbers. Alliania had come to Karra often for equipment repairs, and that was how Ania had met the tough-but-kind blacksmith, but their relationship had grown far beyond anything another could have given.

 

Karra turned to her husband, handing the finished beam to him for cleaning and prepping. Wilem nodded deferentially at Ania, and she grinned back at him. She liked the broad shouldered man, but he was always so quiet. As he disappeared out the back, Karra turned back to face Ania. “To what do we owe this visit, little smith? I doubt ya came just to help with market day, seeing’s as you never remember when it ‘tis yourself, and your da tain’t one to let you off the hook so easily with your studies. S’ tell me, little smith " how’d ya squirm past him this time?”

 

Ania giggled. Karra had a funny accent " she’d grown up in Hatach, the country to the south - that made it sound like she was swallowing half her words, and all of her sentences had a little lilt to them that curved up at the end. Ania found that when she heard Karra describe exactly what had happened earlier that afternoon, but in that voice, it didn’t sound so terrible. This was why she loved coming to help Karra. Anything was possible here.

 

Ania unhooked the belt sheath from her waist, and held the small package out to Karra for inspection. “My knife got damaged. I couldn’t fix it myself, so Da let me come into town to help you.” She smiled broadly. “He says I can stay as long as I like.”

 

“Does he now?” Karra laughed, a strong, rolling chuckle. She took the leather sheath, and pulled out the knife to examine the damage. She walked closer to the front of the forge, where a wide, open-ended stall displayed the generic wares and let out some of the smothering heat. Because of the bright afternoon sun, it also let in better light than the hazy red glow of the forge fire had to offer. Karra held the bright steel up to the light, examining the bent metal and the split edge. When she saw how sharp the broken edge was, she glanced at Ania’s hand, where she had taken off the leather gloves, revealing the neat white bandage her da had given her before she’d left for town. She met Ania’s gaze for a moment, and Ania was glad she didn’t ask for details on how the knife was broken. That was Karra. She never really needed to know the details, although she tended to know them anyway.

 

“Well,” Karra drawled after a few more seconds of silence, “I think I’ll have to reforge this one completely. The bend’s pretty severe. I wouldn’t want to compromise the integrity o’ the blade by just hammering it back down. This one’ll take a bit longer than normal. I’ll probably have it done a little after closing tonight. You sure your da’s alright with you staying that late?”

 

Ania nodded, remembering the look in her day’s eyes when he told her to come back with a smile. He had known it would probably take a while to fix the knife.

 

“Alright then. I’ll get started. Tha’ beam was the last of a batch from an order that came in a few days ago, so I don’ have anything else to do. Why don’t you run the front of the stall? The only things people ask for on market day are the simple repairs. Wilem can help you do anything ya aren’t sure about.” Karra turned back to the forge with the broken blade in her hands, and was about to start to work on it when she stopped and called over her shoulder, “Don’t let me forget. I was working through the books for the last few months, and I’ve got a purse ready for you.”

 

Ania smiled and nodded. Ever since she’d started coming by with her aunt, she’d helped Karra in the shop in return for help fixing equipment. However, she tended to come by more for fun than for when she actually broke something, so Karra had started calculated how much time it took to fix something Ania broke versus how much time Ania actually spent helping in the forge. Every few months, Ania would return home with a purse full of silver and copper pieces. Sometimes, if she had worked really hard, there were even a few gold pieces.

 

Ania turned to the front of the shop. There was a bit of a lull in activity around the front of the forge " no one had stopped by since Ania had made it to the forge " so she grabbed a broom from where it stood propped against the wall in a corner and started sweeping up some of the soot and metal shavings that littered the floor. Maybe when she was done, she could polish some of the display pieces. The sun was still pretty high. The day was full of possibilities.

 

 

 

 



© 2013 VassD


Author's Note

VassD
Here we have Chapter 2. I wanted to show some of the other perceptions of Ania, as well as show how willing she is to work. This is supposed to be a character-building moment for her.


Anyway, I would really appreciate feedback for this. Specifically, I want to know how engaging the story is. I have a lot of plans for this story, and I want it to fly. So, with this in mind:

►What did you like?
►What didn't you like?
►What was your favorite line?
►What do you want to see in the future chapters?

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Added on February 13, 2013
Last Updated on February 13, 2013
Tags: black horizons, draft two, edit, fantasy, knights of the covenant, ania kyatei, randen derris, alliania, vassternichdrauka, vassternich, drauka, novel, chapters


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VassD
VassD

A tiny random town-city-dimension, ID



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I'm a fledgling author with dreams about as big as one of Robert Jordan's books. Maybe more than one on top of each other. I love writing fantasy and science fiction stories (No matter how long a piec.. more..

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A Chapter by VassD