[This post is from Neve’s point of view.]
The sound of Matt’s hammer against the anvil was muted, the door mostly shut. Smoke curled into the night sky from its chimney, and Neve paused in her ascent up the hill path to the forge to watch it drift away on the night breeze. Again, she hitched her shawl a little bit higher, a little bit tighter, the chill creeping through her having nothing to do with the weather.
Something had changed and she suspected that it wasn’t just due to the arrival of their visitors.
The muffled sound of voices reached her—voices deep in murmured conversation, though almost overshadowed by the sound of the hammer.
If there was one thing she’d learned about many of her friends, it was that it was through work that they found the time to order their thoughts. There had been more than a few nails and blades made in the times when Matt or Thordin needed to think—and in another time, many trenches dug and walls built when Thom Ambrose had needed to think.
The door whispered on its hinges as she eased it open, finding not only Matt—who she’d expected—but both Phelan and Thordin as well. Matt’s hammer stilled and the three fell silent as she slipped inside, closing the door behind her.
“Well, don’t stop on my account,” she said softly. “Go on. I couldn’t sleep, either.”
“Too much on your mind?” Thordin asked.
She smiled crookedly. “All three of you heard what I heard. Could you sleep after that?”
Thordin spread his hands, as if his presence was an answer. Neve shook her head slightly.
“Exactly.” She drifted to the bench next to Phelan, who sat with a whetstone, sharpening some newly-crafted knives destined for trade. “So. Do we have a plan, or are we still figuring it all out?”
“What do you think?” Matt asked, his gaze straying back to the metal laid against the anvil. It was a sword, something he’d crafted only rarely the past few years.
Neve stared at it for a few seconds, then said, “I think it’s going to be a long night.”
He nodded and his hammer rose and fell, rose and fell.