Flash: Forging Hard Metal

Photo from Unsplash

“When are you going to be done?”

“When I’m damn well ready,” the blacksmith cursed over the roar of the forge, her voice rough from long hours over the heat.

The patron edged closer to the line of brick demarcating the store from the workspace, the elder of the blacksmith’s apprentices rocking from foot-to-foot beside him, not wanting to interfere with or touch the noble, but the lad would the instant Ferdous breached the safety measures. The other youth worked the bellows. Searing heat kept the noble at bay better than reason. “I need the horse now.”

“You needed to have brought me Goliath yesterday then. None of the normal shoes fit that behemoth,” Maddy screamed into the flames, not taking her eyes off the glowing coals and the red horse shoes softening there. “Take a different one from the stable.”

“I’m not riding to the capital on a gelding.”

“Then come back tomorrow when big man is properly shod.” Because while her patron would risk riding his animals without shoes on their hooves, his wife paid both her and his stableman to keep the man from his own stupidity and everyone in the fiefdom knew who pulled the purse strings. His option was one of the normal riding horses, not the breeding stallion who had been in the pasture for the last year, if he wanted now.

“The summons is in two days; I don’t have time.”

Pulling out the first of the shoes, Maddy moved over to the anvil, nodding to the groomsman holding the chestnut stallion in the stall alongside her forge area. She picked up the hammer, looked at the man who owned the county and all the souls therein, and shook her head. Everyone had seen the royal herald arrive this morning; for once, the demand wasn’t simple stupidity. “I’ll do what I can. Two hours. Get packed and get back here. Penner, go get Merry.” The elder apprentice took off at a run. “And my Lord, have someone bring Goliath’s tackle if you are in that much of a rush.”

Ferdous narrowed his eyes are she swung her hammer, ending their conversation.

(words 358, first published 9/3/2023)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *