Smithcraft Hall Orders Come Down
"Lorican, can you come see me before you leave today?" Dunrik looked
up from the hide as he sat at the small table that served as his desk.
He'd been watching the younger man with growing concern; there'd been
little fault in his work, but the man seemed...diminished somehow. It
was though he'd lost a spark about him. And with the missive he'd just
received, Dunrik sighed, it didn't look to get any better.
"Yes, of course, Master." Lorican set the piece he'd just finished to
one side to cool, realizing that it was later than he'd thought. Ever
since he'd heard the news from Beryl Peak Hold, only by losing himself
in his work could he find any respite from the grief he carried, alone.
There was no-one he could talk to, not without betraying Lusilk's
secret. He made an effort to hold himself together for Silgan's sake,
but in the sleepless nights he felt as though he was losing the will to
He told the apprentices that they could leave and finished tidying the
forge himself, banked the fire and hung up his apron. Once all was in
order for the evening, he walked over to the Mastersmith's table.
"Have a seat, lad." Dunrik sighed and as Lorican sat, he stroked his
fingers over the piece of hide. "Can't help but notice how you've been
lately. I know it's been hard, with your wife having to leave to deal
with her family so soon after your wedding. I can imagine how tough
that must be, especially being responsible for a young boy. I was left
with Rikol after my wife passed and it was...difficult. You feel
stressed, like everything's out of your control, right?"
"I'm worried for her." Lorican had struggled for days, uncertain of
what to do. Not wanting to accept that she wasn't coming back. But
he'd started to realize that he had to think of some way to explain.
"There was sickness in the family, and I haven't heard from her.
Perhaps she's busy, or there hasn't been a runner to take a letter,
but..." His voice trailed off. "I'm sorry if I've been distracted. I
know we can't afford to slow down, not with so much work still to do."
"I get that, I really do. And your work has still been good. But..."
He lifted the letter he'd recieved and sighed. "I'm afraid I have bad
news, Lorican and I hate it for you, especially now." The big man
rubbed his forehead. " The Smithcraft Hall, well they've decided to
transfer you. I've been fighting it for two sevendays, hoping to
change their minds. I need you here and Faranth, your skills have
come in useful. You're a sharding good Smith." He sighed and cleared
his throat as delicately as he could. "When you left Dolphins Cove,
did you perhaps leave something behind that maybe shouldn't have? I
know that the Weyr does things differently than the Hall or the Holds
and certain matters aren't, shall we say, viewed as negatively as
they maybe ought to be."
Lorican knew as the mastersmith spoke that it was already too late to
conceal the truth. His face had given him away as it always did,
leaving him unable to deny it even it he'd wanted to.
"I didn't know. Not until lately. I would never have left her if I
had. But then, when I did, everything was different. There was Lusilk,
and Silgan, and I had to work out how to do what was right for all of
them. I would have found a way to support them, but then - the
bandits, and the wedding, and Lusilk having to go... " He closed his
eyes briefly, his mind in turmoil, trying to make sense of what he'd
been told. "A transfer?"
"I see. Well, I admit, I sowed my grains before I married and you're
young enough for me to understand what might have happened. You'll
have to explain to your wife, though, when she gets back. Pregnant
women aren't always understanding, so be prepared to have a iron pan
against your skull. " He sighed and nodded. "Aye. They're adamant.
I've never seen them this insistent. I tried, lad, I really tried to
get them to change their minds, but after that, then living with
Lusilk before marrying her, they want you living somewhere a bit more
conservative. They're worried that a Smith of your caliber and young
might get the wrong ideas if you stay to long in Weyrs. Ridiculous old
men, the lot of them. Stupid reason." Dunrik spat with frustration.
"They're sending you to Sunstone. You're to be there by the end of the
"Sunstone?" Lorican repeated, his voice hollow. He felt lost, as
though the life he'd thought he'd built here was falling apart, piece
by piece, and he was drifting, helpless in the grip of forces outside
his control. To lose Lusilk, and then be sent to a Hold where he knew
and trusted no-one. Where there'd be no chance to see his son. He
wanted to protest, to try to explain, but he could already tell it
would be useless.
He tried to breathe, forcing down the panic. "I'm sorry, Master
Dunrik. I've let you down. I wish - I could have stayed..."
"Lad, you didn't let me down." Dunrik was immediately firm. "At all. I
wanted you to stay and get your Mastery here, with me.Your potential
is outstanding and one day, I've no doubt you'll be great, maybe even
replace those hidebound idiots at the Hall. You're a good man, Lorican
and you're a good father to that boy. You've nothing to apologize to
me for. And even after you leave, if you ever need anything, send me a
message. You've a friend in me, Lorican." He offered his hand.
"Thank you, Master Dunrik." Lorican felt his throat tighten, but he
stood and took the older man's hand. "I'll finish up everything I've
been working on before I leave. And I hope we'll work together again,
someday." He fell silent, thinking. He wasn't sure how his request
would be received, but he knew it would likely be his last chance, to
have the dragon transport he'd need. "There is one thing. Something I
need to make right, before I go. At Dolphin Cove Weyr."
"We will, Lorican. I'll make sure of it. Perhaps one day, you can
send me one of those pretty broaches or buckles you make for Jayzine."
He'd been discreetly courting the headwoman since Lorican's wedding,
and hoped, in the future if she'd agree, that it might be a wedding
gift of his own." Lorican's request made him pause and he considered
the younger man across from him. Slowly, he nodded. "Aye, lad. Maybe
you should. I'll watch your boy for you. Just, do me a favor? Think
of your wife and don't leave anything else behind."
"I won't." Lorican wasn't certain if Urlene would even see him, but he
had to try. "I've got a dragonrider friend. I'll find out when he can
take me, and bring Silgan over to the smithy." He let out a breath.
"He'll miss you too. Can't part him from that little hammer of his. I
think he'd sleep with it on his pillow if he could. I'm grateful, for
all you've done for us."
"You'll have to try to visit if you can. Sunstone is beholden to
Barrier Lake and riders go there and back all the time. I'd like to
see you both and the boy once you get settled and when you can."
Dunrik rose. "Perhaps one day I'll send Rikol to you when he gets old
enough and you've gotten your Mastery. It'll be good for him to work
under someone besides his father. You'll be fine, Lorican. And Silgan,
he'll make a great smith one day too."
"I hope so." Lorican felt the first shock begin to subside, though his
spirits were still heavy as an anvil at the thought of leaving the
Mastersmith and all the friends he'd made at Barrier Lake. He'd still
have Silgan, he told himself, and his secret hope of one day teaching
his craft to a son, even if they weren't related by blood.
Something still nagged at him, though. Something Dunrik had said,
something about children... Then the color drained from his face as he
remembered. "Wait... Sorry. Before, did you say... pregnant women?"
Dunrik blinked at him and raised his brows. "Well, yes. That's why the
marriage was rushed, wasn't it?" He tilted his head. "You were living
with her for a while, sharing a home." He frowned. "Sorry, lad, I just
assumed she was." He grinned knowingly. "Even if she wasn't, which I
don't blame you for either, many babes are born nine months after a
"Oh. No. Not that she told me of. I always thought she used those herbs,
you know, that the greenriders do." He felt a wave of cold relief to
hear that Dunrik knew no more than he did, for if he'd thought she'd
carried their child into Rorrigraf's Hold and that they'd been lost
together... "Shells, if I'd thought she'd gone to care for sick
relatives with a child on the way...well, I don't suppose I'd have been
able to stop her." He sighed.
"Well, I don't hold with those herbs. They may be necessary for
riders, but for good, Hold women or for married women, certainly not."
Though Dunrik was tolerant of many things, he still held many Hall and
Hold mores, and to him, married women bore children."She seems a
strong woman. My wife was the same." Dunrik smiled, agreeing easily.
"I will miss you both. Give her my affection when you see her again.
And don't leave without letting me say goodbye to Silgan, alright?"
"No, of course not. He'd never forgive me if I didn't. We won't leave
until tomorrow at least, I hope." Lorican managed a half-smile. "Suppose
I'd better start packing. I can leave most of the tools I made for the
technicians' work, and the designs. I don't expect they'll be needed at
a sea hold."
"Make copies of those designs. They're yours and you never know when
they might prove useful, even for trade. Put your name on them. You'll
make a good name for yourself, wherever you go. What you made here,
you keep, Lorican. Your skill went into them." Dunrik offered his hand
to Lorican once again. "We'll see each other again. And next time,
I'll have a good bottle of wine for you and we can drink to you
achieving your Master knots, agreed?"
Lorican took a deep breath. He'd faced harder times; he would find a way
through this, too. At least no-one was trying to kill him any more. But
shells, he'd miss Barrier Lake Weyr. "Agreed. Thank you, Mastersmith."
He gripped the older man's hand, then turned and left the smithy.
The Master's kind words raised his spirits up until he was almost around
the lake and approaching the staff quarters, and he thought of the first
time he'd come there, all unsuspecting, not knowing who he was about to
meet again, or what lay ahead. Suddenly, Lorican felt more alone than he
ever had before.
Last updated on the December 2nd 2020