Wordcount: 1,036 words
Summary: In which Mira is decidedly devious, and there is pottery. More or less in that order.
This Year, Next Year, Sometime, Never
When shall I marry?
— This year, next year, sometime, never.
What will my husband be?
— Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich-man, poor-man, beggar-man, thief.
Well, at least she had succeeded in getting his attention. Mira rubbed at the silver choker, trying to calm her thoughts enough that the warding would relax into its usual necklace form. Jon has said the local alpha would send Zee eventually, but she honestly hadn’t expected him to ever show up. There was a lot of territory within in the Silverwitch’s domain and Jon really didn’t seem worth the effort of a prolonged search. Then again, the fact no one had come looking for the other wolves was a pretty good indicator that those lost to Rockfall were the ones no one cared about.
She had meant to head back to the forge, but she found herself skirting the edges of the studios until she’d circled around to the pottery shed. Most of her time was actually her own, and she’d found her lessons with silver translated into other mediums as well. She still wasn’t sure if this was something Old Lady Smith had learned long ago and decided wasn’t worth teaching, or if she’d stumbled upon something new.
Either way Mira had been very careful to keep her experimentation hidden. Smith’s minders could be fooled, but she had no illusions that her own skills could do more than veil her efforts. She could bend the truth, but she couldn’t outright lie… at least not yet. She tugged at the choker, and this time the metal yielded, allowing her to pull it out to a more comfortable length.
It might have been a bad idea to challenge the older werewolf, but there was a chance Zee could be useful. From what Jon had said he was older than even the Silverwitch, and that meant he might know of a way to win her freedom.
Not that he would do that willing, of course.
She moved past the shelves of drying pottery and the draped mounds of other artists works in progress. She didn’t have an actual bench in this studio, but Amy had sublet Mira use of her area, since Mira only dabbled and dabbling took up little room and less clay. Which didn’t mean it was free, just less expensive than shelling out the money for her own booth.
Mira carefully unwrapped her latest work, peeling off layers of damp cloth until she had reached the core of moist clay. The sculpture was nothing special visually, a simple pendant with a design of recessed leaves over stylized water; something to catch the eye of the tourists, but nothing flashy or intricate enough to attract local attention. Well, other than a few condescending head pats and ‘good job’s from the other potters. There was a definite downside to growing up in a small town where half the population would always remember you as ‘Donna’s kid’ or ‘Wendy’s granddaughter’.
The secret to the medallion wasn’t in the design or even the clay itself, but in the minute scraps of silver dust she’d worked into it. Gathered carefully from the workbenches in the forge, she’d managed to sneak the silver out inside the clay. The first time had been accidental, she’d been working on her pottery in the forge because Amy had been using the pottery bench.
The Silverwitch was normally very careful not to let her apprentice near unworked silver unsupervised. After every working, she would sing the scraps and the dust into tiny marbles of silver that she pocketed. So it hadn’t occurred to Mari that the working with the clay during a break in the session would attract even a hint of silver dust. It apparently hadn’t occurred to her teacher either, because Smith hadn’t done anything other than mutter about wasted time.
But when she’d taken the clay out again later, she’d felt the tell-tale spark of silver as her hands shaped the bowl. It had scared her so badly she’d almost choked as the silver minder reacted to her fear. If Smith ever caught her working with the silver, even the smallest scraps, there was a good chance Mira would end up trapped in the same shadow existence as the wolves.
She’d been able to explain away her reaction when Smith responded to her necklace’s alarm. As far as Smith was concerned Mira was still the flighty head-shy fourteen year old, and when she blamed her fright on an explosion in the kiln she’d been believed. Of course there had been a pot that shattered, but Mira was long past the days where loud noises sent her bolting for cover.
Smith hadn’t even glanced at the pot when she’d come in to interrogate Mira about the alarm, and after careful testing Mira learned the clay acted as an insulation against the silver’s voice. Only when touching the clay and focusing on what she knew was there could she control the metal.
Even such tiny amounts of silverwork should have set off the minder’s alarms, but one of the Smith’s core tenants was practice, practice, practice. Even though she had no silver to work with, Mira had assigned mental exercises meant to help her focus her skills. These were similar enough in magical use that her actual manipulations went unnoticed. And if the Silverwitch had noticed an improvement in her study habits, she never mentioned it.
This was one of her better successes. Mira carefully smooth the faint lines left by the dampened burlap and began the final steps to prep the piece for drying. Underlying the design, just far enough into the clay to silence it, the silver was worked into one of the basic warding patterns. It all went as it should, when the pendant fired the ward would solidify and temper, allowing her to sense the wearer’s emotions.
It was simple, basic magic and the underlying song of the silver should be so faint that only someone listening for it would hear. This was the first real test of the Silverwitch’s seemingly omniscient powers, and if Mira had guessed wrong things could get very dangerous very quickly.
Which was why she had Zee, she gave the sleeping silver once less caress and then moved the pendant to the drying racks, now to make sure he was ready when her silver was.