Wordcount: 809 words
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 (Warning: Blood, Violence, and Gory-bits here-in.)
Summary: In which the Silverwitch is Not To Be Trifled With™.
One For Sorrow
One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
Four for a birth,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Once Mira had finished with her clay work, she moved back to the forge to work on some tin scraps she had stolen from Pete’s scrap heap. The metal didn’t respond as well as the silver -in fact it barely responded at all- but she’d found some interesting echoes of the silvers ‘voice’ when she got the tin to a certain temperature.
Tonight wasn’t a usual work night for Smith, but Mira knew news of the stranger would lure her down to the forge. Unfortunately she had no way of knowing when the Silverwitch would make an appearance. The old lady had a way of side stepping the senses, even when Mira was looking for her. So Mira kept her experimentation as minimal as she could, focusing on learning the physical instead of magical properties of the tin.
As expected, the old lady appeared out of thin air at the door to the forge, with Dog at her side.
“That was well done,” the Silverwitch patted Mira’s shoulder and moved past her to the workbench. “I wasn’t sure he’d stay, but you’ve hooked him now.” Dog padded behind her, a silent mass of brown-grey wolf easily twice Mira’s weight. While he didn’t leave tracks in the dust, Mira could feel the heat of the forge dim as he moved between her and the fire. Dog was the oldest of Smith’s wolves and thus the most substantial. The old lady’s skills had improved dramatically over time and Mira rarely caught glimpses of the other pack members.
“I thought it best.” Mira began putting away her tin working tools. “Will we be working tonight?” She was careful to show Smith the humble apprentice the older woman wanted to see. There was the faintest hint of a shadow moving beside her and Mira felt the brush of fur against her fingertips. Jon. That didn’t bode well. The Silverwitch rarely brought the other wolves down from her cabin and she’d have to have a good reason to test the newest forged of the chains.
“I will be working,” Smith gave Mira an admonishing look. “You’re years from forging even a single link, much less a full chain. No, you’ll be watching, and hopefully learning, but I daren’t hope for too much.”
“Yes ma’m.” Which suited Mira just fine, since she could focus all of her energy into learning the foundation of the spells. What could be made, could be unmade… she just had to figure out how.
Mira began setting up the work area as Smith sorted through the bars of silver, searching for one with the right voice for chain-work. Since the Silverwitch wouldn’t be using any of the normal tools, ‘setting up’ devolved into simply clearing the table’s surface, which Mira did quickly and efficiently. If nothing else, her apprenticeship had taught her the value of neatness.
The correct bar found, the Silverwitch moved over to the bench, shoeing both Mira and Dog out of her way with the same motion.
“Now, now we’ve got a start to things.” She smiled down at the bar, “You’ll do quite nicely my little songbird, but first we’ll need to temper you a bit.” She turned to look at the not-quite-empty space to Mira’s side. “And that’s what you’re for, eh?”
There was a shuddering of air as Jon’s white-grey wolf fought its way back into solidity. He whined and tried to back away, but the Silverwitch gestured and the loops of silver chain around his neck spasmed, twisting into barbs that burrowed into his skin. “Ah, ah, come little dog.”
Jon snapped at her and Dog charged, bowling him over with a rumbling snarl, the older wolf’s jaws adding to the wounds that quickly soaked Jon’s silver ruff in blood– but wounds that healed as fast as they appeared. After a few moments of futile struggle, Jon reluctantly gave in, with a yelping sigh and a pleading look towards Mira.
But Mira couldn’t help him, not now, maybe not ever. It had been harder with the first wolf she’d seen, before she’d learned her own reactions could only earn them greater pain. So she bit the inside of her cheek and thought of nothing as Dog dragged Jon over to the workbench.
“Temper, temper, little dog,” the Silverwitch leaned down to pat Jon’s head as if none of the violence had happened. “You’ll do just fine, I think.” With one hand she teased the bar of silver into a molten thread, caressing it with the blue fire and singing softly to it of truths and lies and what song she needed it to sing.
Mira watched, and listened, and learned, and when the Silverwitch sunk the silver coils into Jon’s side to temper in the bloodbond of Zee’s pack, she focused on the magic, because she could unmake this, somehow– there had to be a way. She just had to try harder.