Osanna watched the white-hot piece of steel skitter off the anvil and reached to catch it without thinking. The heavy scrap dropped into her palm. It dulled against her skin, pulsing like a dying sun.
She looked up. The Smith did not stop her work. Hammer to sword, again and again with a great sound that shook Osanna’s bones, the great arms of the Smith would never tire at her anvil. The Smith did not see the steel resting in Osanna’s palm.
Slowly, feeling the heat from it, Osanna closed her hand around the searing fragment. Its edges lanced against the folds of her fingers. She did not know what she was doing.
“Osanna.” The Smith said, her voice falling in time with hammer blows so the two cadences melted to one. The steel fragment throbbed against her palm. “Was there anything else?” The Smith asked. Eyes the color of rough iron met Osanna’s before she could bow her head.
“No.” Osanna said. Her work was done and laid out for the Smith’s scrutiny.
The Smith dismissed her with a wordless nod. Osanna hurried from the forge, the great clangs of metal pursuing her through the temple halls. It was not until she came to the golden wheat of the Farmer’s fields that Osanna opened her hand. The dull steel shone in the afternoon light. It was warm, but no more biting than the dusty sunlight on her face.
Osanna looked back towards the temple halls and its plump spires.No answer came for what she’d just done. No punishment rose for her crime. The Soldier did not march to find her, the Hunter’s hounds did not bay, the temple’s walls rose from the placid forest as they had since she’d come to serve the Beings there.
Osanna stared hate down at the steel still folded into her palm. Simple scrap to the one she served, but to any other than the Smith, it was a piece of her craft, of the practice that made her. And now, who had Osanna served by taking it? Certainly not herself.
The answer came with a footstep, light and purposeful on the narrow paths between the wheat. His coat was grey, so were his eyes, as was his hair which did not shine in the sun. A beautiful face, she doubted it was really his, smiled at her. “Osanna.”
She bowed her head, as was his due. “That is my name.” Osanna said both in acknowledgement and to remind him that it was hers.
The turn of his mouth was more simper than smile. She did not trust it. Gloved hands slid around hers, the grey leather was cool. Osanna shivered. When he stepped back the Thief held up the piece of steel, looking past it to her. It’s color was darker than his gloves, and looked out of place in his hand.
“You suit me better than the Smith. Wanting eyes, fast fingers.” He smiled, turning his sharp chin to view her sideways.
“I serve all.” She said.
The Thief bowed then, the gesture stolen and turned to his own mocking purposes. “Not anymore.”
So many thieves in this week’s Legal Theft. I myself have stolen the first line from Apprentice, Never Master. Make sure to check out the original at her blog, and the rest of the thieves at the Legal Theft Project.