#3




I'm not in it. it's beautiful


For a moment Hester is speechless. She did not grow up in places like this—places of good standing, not in the middle of nowhere but surrounded by buildings, with people who greet her smiling—and if the Iron Fox isn’t the grandest workshop in the world, well, Hester isn’t sure she would believe it.

She lets out a little sigh, reaches up to rest her hand against Hero’s soft, warm back; in response he bumps his small, heavy head against her palm, and some of her nerves dissipate. Still, something like wonder is sharp inside her as she looks around. She is, and has always been, the type to document. It’s what she’s doing now. Every corner of the room is marked down in her mind; the smell of it, soot and dust, lingers and is neatly titled; with awe she watches how the colors of the light in the forge shift from yellow to orange to red, her attention only turned away when the shop’s proprietor finally speaks.

His voice is surprisingly warm. But it matches his looks perfectly. His eyes are bright, his hair tied back in a way that somehow manages to be endearing; he towers over her, tall and lanky, but Hester is less intimidated than she thought she’d be. A little caught off-guard, she pushes her glasses further up her nose.

With a little hop forward, Hester finds herself directly across the counter from the man who introduces himself as Tristan. It fits him, she thinks. Friendly but not weak. Interested but not overbearing. (Hester often finds herself jealous of people like this, who seem to come across their charm so effortlessly; meanwhile she is left to struggle with what little social niceties she’s left with.) But she does manage to extend a hand across the counter, and respond, with a meek smile, “Hester. Blue.”

Hero chitters from her shoulder. It’s a sound of impatience, not uncommon considering his attitude, but it does manage to refocus her. “Well,” Hester says, trying her best not to sound awkward (probably with mixed success), “Hero has a habit of, um. Adventuring. And I worry someone might try to trap him, not realizing he’s mine. I don’t know what exactly I need, but I was hoping you could make something that would show he’s not a complete vagrant.” 

@Tristan Black <3