“I don’t care if you were on another world. Realm. Shard. Whatever you want to call them, you could have sent me a bloody letter.”

“The only way I had to pass messages was through the services of a fae. You would be far madder at me had I used them and then they had gotten your horde into mischief. Because they would have done.”

“They wouldn’t be that bad.”

“Moogles. With a cruel streak. And proper magic.”

Jaydra pursed her lips and hummed, in that way she did when she knew her sister had a point, but she didn’t want to admit it. Iscara didn’t smile, instead bouncing the youngest of her nephews on her knee as they lounged on a free space on the worktop. 

Her sister was hammering out the delicate metal, constantly measuring the thickness with a tiny gauge, before hammering in some more. It took her awhile to be satisfied, but once she was, she took a wickedly sharp pair of cutters and bisected the long metal bar neatly down the middle. Both halves were then returned to the tiny forge, heated until they were malleable again, before Jaydra quickly transferred them to hardened wooden sticks of different sizes and curled them around, pressing them flat until they cooled a little, and the bases of the rings had taken shape.

Iscara continued to play with the baby as her sister worked on the commision she had asked of her, sealing the gap in the rings, checking the size, sanding and polishing them.

The door to the workshop opened and Iscara’s eldest niece wandered in, carrying two bowls, “Mama? I think I have the colours right now.”

“Let’s have a look then, hmm, much better. And you’ll know what to do next time?”

“Account for the colour changes that heat will bring into the materials.”

“Good, go melt them down then, I’ll be ready for them by the time they’ve finished.”

“Aunt Is, Aunt Is, LOOK!”

The relative calm of the workshop was shattering as another one of the horde dashed in, a squirming lizard held between her hands and she shoved it at her aunt.

“JITTERBUG! How many times have I told you, you don’t run in the workshop.”

“But mama!”

“No buts! No go put that poor thing back outside where you found it, and for the love of the twelve, wash your hands afterwards.”

Iscara smiled at the pouting child and ruffled her hair, “I’m staying for dinner my little bug, we can play later. But you should go put the lizard back outside, it’s not happy here.”

With a dramatic sigh, the young Hyur turned and walked back out of the shop, lizard still wriggling in her hands.

“How are you finding Gyr Abania to live in then?”

“Oh it’s certainly different. The heat for one, but I find that quite pleasant. The mountains were terribly cold.”

“Bugs,” the tone in which her niece delivered the one word had Iscara smiling.

“How are those crystals darling?”

“Almost there, few shards left,” she stirred the pots with a long metal rod, checking them over.

Jaydra had the pair of rings in front of her, a channel carved out of the middle of each of them. Iscara had tried her hand at leatherworking, and could turn out something that wasn’t a disaster, but she wasn’t the craftswomen that her sister was, and she certainly didn’t understand how goldsmithing worked. Thus the next few processes were a complete mystery to her, as her sister somehow took the crystal mixture and used one bowl on each ring, filling in the grove she had made.

Content to continue playing with her nephew, as he chewed on a wooden beads charm that had been made for him, she let her sister get on with her work, only looking up when her eldest nephew cracked open the door and caught her eye, waving a hunt sheet under his nose.

Later, she mouthed to him, and he grinned and shut the door on them again.

It took another bell for Jaydra to finish polishing and fussing and doing all the tiny little bits until she was happy with them.

“There,” she said, holding out the pair of rings on a small tray.

Iscara gave the baby to his older sister before she reached out and took the rings, looking them over. The metal was pale silver, made into rather wide bands, because the middle of each ring was filled in with crystal – one a pale blue that was almost exactly the colour of Aymeric’s eyes, and the other was a dark midnight blue, matching hers. She looked at the inside of the rings, the engraved words making her smile.

Forged in Fury, Tempered in Ice

It wasn’t classically romantic, but it was true, and reflected the both of them well.

Slipping the light blue one onto her finger, she grinned at her sister, “They’re perfect.”

Jaydra looked smug as Iscara wrapped her arms around her sister, giving her a squeeze, “I hope Aymeric enjoys his. You should bring him around again.”

Iscara laughed, “If we can find a free moment. And he did get mobbed rather heavily last time, I might have to bribe him.”

“Oh no, however could you bribe the man you share a bed with I wonder?”

Iscara smacked her sister’s shoulder, as Jaydra cackled, and linked their arms together, “Come on, let’s see what Eric’s made for dinner.”