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A Gem of an Idea

Writers: Eimi, Leigh M-F.
Date Posted: 6th October 2017

Characters: Thraxe, Mahni
Description: A wedding gift gives Thraxe a change to indulge in his favorite hobby.
Location: Emerald Falls Hold
Date: month 1, day 4 of Turn 9

Despite the high temperature, it was a pleasant day to get some fresh air and have a short walk. Thraxe moved at a leisurely pace, hands behind his back as he simply took in the atmosphere. When he started to think it was time to go back to work, he recognized someone he had helped not too long ago, and raised a hand in greeting. “Good day! Lovely one, isn’t it?"

"Thank the Egg! Thraxe, I was looking for you," Mahni said with a big smile. "I need your help with something, if you're not too busy.”

“Not at all. Please, come with me to my workshop. Do you need something fixed? It’s not that belt buckle Darhran made, is it? I’m afraid it did look overall too thin to be sturdy,” Thraxe commented as he fell into step with the other man.

"No, it's not that," Mahni said, fishing into his pocket. "It's this," he said, pulling out a rough stone about the size of a peach pit. "It's a Garnet my friend at the Smithall sent me.”

“Oh, would you look at that!” Thraxe was quite impressed. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that big. And that color is marvelous, even unpolished. Are you looking to have something special made from it?"

"Well I want to make something myself." Mahni blushed slightly, but his smile was warm as he thought about the reason he got that stone. "My wedding day is coming up fast, and I would love to give this to my new wife on our wedding night. I'm not sure yet what I want to make out of it just yet, but I do know that I can't cut a stone for anything. But I seem to remember you were always pretty good at it.”

“Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials,” the smith said warmly. “And thank you for thinking of me. May I have a closer look?” he asked, gesturing to the gem. “Given its size, we already have some good options at least four different shapes. Were you thinking of a pendant or a wrist cuff?"

"To tell the truth, I haven't decided. Jewelry was never my specialty," Mahni shrugged. "Do you think there's enough there for earrings and a pendant?”

Thraxe examined the garnet closely. “There is, but I might wind up sacrificing a lot of the gem to get it done,” he said. “You see, if I cut this into three pieces, two of them could be too large and heavy for earrings, unless I cut them down to a lighter weight. Would you be all right with that?"

"Well, uh... Huh..." Mahni scratched his chin, considering the possibilities. "How big would it be if it was just one stone?”

“Only just a little smaller than it is now,” the smith promised, opening the door to his workspace and ushering Mahni in. “It would make a fine pendant, but I would recommend a slightly thicker chain than average for both aesthetics and in the interest of not breaking as easily.” He went to one of his shelves and picked up a small leather-bound book, flipping to a specific page. “Ah, here we are. These are some of the cuts I can do. Given the size, I recommend the pear shape, the trillion, the oval, or maybe the marquise."

"That would be a bit big, though, wouldn't it?" Mahni said, looking at the book at back the stone. "Maybe we should go back to the earring and necklace idea. She's not a very big girl. I think just a necklace that size and the chain it would take would pull her to the ground.”

Thraxe chuckled, amused. “You have a point. If you’re sure you won’t mind sacrificing some of the stone, I’ll do it to your specifications. Just pick the shape you think your lady will like best, and I can get started right away. I don’t have any other pressing projects for about two more days."

"Well..." The young smith studied the drawing in the book carefully. "This tear dropped shaped cut, the pear cut, I think that would be good for the earrings. And... That trillion is it? The kind of triangular looking cut, I think that would make a good necklace. What do you think?" he asked, squinting hopefully at his fellow crafter.

Thraxe folded his arms and tilted his head thoughtfully. “I think you’re right. The two shapes could be complementary. If you think your lady would enjoy those shapes, then I’ll do those.”

"I think so!" Mahni's smile faulted just slightly. "I _hope_ so. To tell the truth, I'm a little clueless when it comes to women. She says she likes the things I give her, but then I'm not sure she's not just saying it to be nice. Women can be hard to figure sometimes."

“They don’t have to be,” Thraxe chuckled. “But I can still get to work right away if you’ll set the garnet on this section of the table here."

"Of course!" His companion did so, happy to see that Thraxe was not one to waste time. "What will I owe you for your work?”

The smith paused, considering that. “Well, I’m not an expert in gemcutting; it’s more like my favorite hobby. But I’m still promising my best, so I can open with a half-Mark,” he said in a tone that left room for negotiation.

"I kind of need to save my marks for the wedding," Mahni said, scratching his chin. "I was hoping more for something in trade…"

Ah, wise choice. “That’s certainly acceptable. What do you have to trade?"

"Well, I'm especially good at sharpening dull edges, and it's something that takes a lot of time, so I can sharpen some of your knives and tools for you." Maintaining tools was a large part of a smith's job, after all, and one that ate away at a lot of their free time.

“Sold,” Thraxe said immediately, holding out a large hand to seal the bargain. “So the last question is, when would you be available for that?"

Taking his hand, Mahni said, "My fiance has gone back to be with her family, so I can do it over the rest day if you like.”

“That’s perfect. Thank you, Mahni.” Thraxe shook the other man’s hand, and stepped around the table to find the cutters and other small machines he would need. “I hope the rest of your wedding planning goes as smoothly as this just did."

Last updated on the October 9th 2017

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.