Klane Kalonia and the Great Burning (08) by DMFW ()
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At first the blacksmith seemed suspicious of Klane; one more stranger in a town on the edge of destruction. When he saw how Lyr had been shod though, his professional curiosity took over.
"These are remarkable horseshoes", he said. "I dunno what they're made of but they're light, clear as air, obviously strong and they almost seem like they've growed with the stallion. There's hardly any wear and if I can just replace three or four nails I'll soon have 'em seated all to rights again. I don't suppose you'd tell me where they came from? I'd like to meet the smith who made these."
But Klane just smiled and diverted the conversation onto other lines.
"I'll be sad to leave this place", the blacksmith said at last. "Ironhope is a good town with good neighbours. This smithy was built by my grandfather and my father worked here all his life. Now I'll have to take the family elsewhere. Clara's expecting my third and the two prentices I've been tutoring, aint ready to work on their own yet. It's a bad time to move."
He squinted at Klane as if weighing him up then settled on the conventional wisdom.
"Still, the law's the law. There's mite too much of History here I suppose... Time to clean it down."
"Where do you want to go?", Klane asked.
"It aint exactly up to me, is it?", the blacksmith said and now Klane thought he detected a hint of bitterness. "The games will decide that. But I know where I don't want to go."
He turned and spat on the floor, then looked speculatively at Klane again.
"I don't want to go with that damned Muttu and his Southern Pralannians. They tell me you've come from a long way, so you may not know about 'em but there's something bad about the lot of 'em. It all started when that rogue Enclave got burned; some place called Kalonia. That's when the weapons appeared. And now they've got smiths making things no honest rider ever needed before, "just in case". I hear they got a lot of work for blacksmiths in that part of the world, but not the kind of work I want to be doing, nor my son neither."