A knock on the door of his workshop made Durrak look up from where he was putting the finishing touches on a belt knife. The pattern welded steel was beautiful, but the lines of carbon in the blade also lent strength and made the metal much harder than a standard blade. It was a nameday present for his neighbor’s daughter and would serve her well for hunting and everyday tasks.
A boy from a neighboring farm stood there, twisting his cap in his hands and looking nervous. Durrak remembered his name after thinking for a minute. “Thane laddie. What can I be doin for ya then?”
“Uh, master Durrak.” He said, hesitating and licking his lips nervously. “I – uh – well I’ve been seeing a lot of Mattie and I was gonna ask for her hand but I don’t have a ring and you done such beautiful work for the midwife I figure if I gave her one of your rings she couldn’t say no.”
“Slow it down boyo.” Durrak said, setting down the whetstone and giving Thane his full attention. “What kind a thing do you be thinkin of? You no do be more than fifteen summers.”
“I’m seventeen!” Thane said indignantly, “And I’ll have my own croft next spring, da says I’ve a good hand on the plow and we cleared that south field last fall.”
Durrak blinked, remembering how humankind tended to mature earlier than his own folk. “So you do say laddie. An ya thinks I’ll be able ta make such a ring that she no do be sayin no eh?”
“Well, it’s more her da.” Thane said, blushing red. “He don’t think I can provide for her. As though Mattie ain’t perfectly capable of deciding herself or doin the work on her own. Damn me if she ain’t as good at near everything as I am. But her da is a little old fashioned.”
“He just do be wanting to know you do be serious and capable laddie. No need to be taking offense at a father lookin out for his little girl.” He grinned, “As a father myself I do be always seeing them as my little treasures. You do be doing well to remember that.”
“That’s why I came here master Durrak.” He said, making a little half bow. He took a pouch from his belt and set it on the table with an audible clink. “I have silver and a little gold here; all I’ve been able to save. I want to buy a ring.”
“Oh laddie, I’d have to be making one for her. I no do be keeping things on hand and you no do be wanting some random piece of work. If you do be having a few days it is honored I do be to make you a bridegift.” Durrak opened the pouch and withdrew a pair of gold coins and a pair of silver coins, then laced the pouch and handed it back. “These do be sufficient.” He said with a smile, “Young love do be beyond price and to be helping in the joining of two such hearts do be payment beyond gold and silver.”
“You’ll do it?” Thane asked, his voice rising in excitement. “Oh thank you sir, thank you!”
“Do be giving me three days lad and I do be having your bridegift fashioned.” Durrak said, waving off the boy’s exuberance. “This no do be any great thing laddie. You do be a good man an I see true devotion to th lass in your eye. That do be worth a thousand pieces of gold to an old Dwarf, so it do.”
“You ain’t old Master Durrak!” Thane said with a broad grin, “Old folks wouldn’t understand, but you get it.”
After Thane had left, Durrak began sketching with a piece of charcoal, humming happily to himself. When Belladin came in to tell him that dinner was ready she paused in the doorway and watched him working for a time, admiring the way his fingers moved as he shaped the hot metal. With tongs and hammer, he twisted the silver and gold, braiding and winding strands of metal into intricate patterns. When he set it aside to cool, she approached and wrapped her arms around him.
“Durrak my heart, I have dinner waiting. Your daughters no will wait long.” She kissed his cheek, “We do have fresh brook trout and new spring potatoes roasted on the fireside with fiddlehead ferns an mushrooms.”
“You do be talkin as I do lass.” He said with a chuckle, “I do be a bad influence.”
“That is beautiful work.” Belladin said, looking at the beginnings of the ring he was making.
“It no do be so yet.” He said, “It may be so eventually, but you always did be able to see beyond the surface Cazadora.”
“Certainly, how else would I have been able to fall in love with you heart of my heart?” She said with a smile and a kiss on the cheek.