[This post is from Matt’s point of view.]
The hammer rose and fell, rose and fell. Matt paused to work the bellows for a moment, then returned to his hammering, shaping a new blade—though this one was for cutting grain, not men. There was something oddly comforting about the work despite the uncomfortable roiling in his stomach.
It’s just too quiet.
He was still trying to convince himself that’s all it was—that it was simply too quiet, that the lull was what had set his teeth on edge. It was certainly a sign of the past year’s events that any sort of span of quiet started to feel wrong.
More than just the quiet was bothering him, though. Being alone up at the forge was jarring as well, but with Thom down with his injuries and Thordin spending most of his time at Sif’s bedside, Matt supposed he should have gotten used to being alone.
He exhaled a quiet sigh and thrust the metal back into the mouth of the forge again for a few seconds, letting it heat. He watched it warm, growing a dull orange as it absorbed the heat from the embers and coal.
It’s still good to be home. And it was. As unsettled as he felt, there was something comforting about being home, with family and friends. Even Hecate seemed to be starting to view this as home and she’d told him a few times that yes, she wanted to stay, she wanted to make this work and it wasn’t just because the people here were important to him. It was starting to be important to her, too.
The forge door creaked open and Matt turned, smiling faintly as he caught sight of her peeking in, backlit by the midday sunshine. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Hecate echoed, smiling back. “Came up to see if you wanted to come to help with lunch. We’re going to start cooking soon.”
“Marin and I and Rory,” she said. “He took a deer this morning and he and Tala have a roast butchered. We’re going to start that.”
Matt straightened, glancing back at the metal in the forge. “Yeah,” he said. “Let me wrap up here. I’ll be down after.”
She smiled and brightly, nodding. “All right. We’ll see you in a few.”
“Yeah.” He watched her as she ducked back out into the summer sunshine, heart swelling up into his throat.
She’s so happy. Gods and monsters, I hope I can make sure she stays that way. I hope I can make that happen.