Today's Prompt: Confined indoors for certain reasons. What are those reasons? How do you entertain yourself?
I went with original fic again. Same fantasy universe as my previous two original-fic ficlets. This time, we join Dove and Nenver on an almost normal day. I also explore a bit more about what it means to be a Shadow.
(Original fic, fantasy-genre, 515 words)
Dove barely fit in the shadow under the eaves. He plastered himself against the wall and tried to calm his heart. He could see the oak tree and the dark entrance to Nenver’s forge below it. Ten meters. Just ten more meters. He took a deep breath, focused on his goal, and felt himself dissolve. He flowed around corners, along walls. A horse whinnied, shifting on his feet as he pooled momentarily underneath it before stretching himself thin again.
When he reformed, he felt cooked.
“Gods, Dove!” Nenver said, caught with his hammer raised over glowing metal. “What on earth are you doing out at this hour? ”
“Wishing I were here,” Dove muttered, pulling his hood down. At Nenver’s look, Dove added, “Business – took me a little longer than I thought. It’s just as well – it covers my tracks. No Shadow Hand would work at high noon.”
“Not unless they had a death wish,” Nenver glared.
“Ah, Nen. I’m here now, aren’t I? Healthy and whole.”
Dove unfastened his quiver and went to lay his bow by the woodpile. When he turned back to bid Nenver a good afternoon, he was surprised to find Nenver directly beside him – his metal work discarded by the furnace and his work gloves removed. Dove must have been more tired than he thought, if someone as large as Nenver had been able to sneak up on him unaware.
Nenver reached up and grabbed Dove’s face in his huge hands, tilting it upwards so that Nenver could assess his eyes. Nenver’s hands were rough, but surprisingly not as warm as usual.
“You’ve been too long in the sun,” Nenver said. Dove tried to shake his head in denial, but all it made Nenver do was drop his hands. “Should I fetch Essya?”
“She’s asleep,” Dove rolled his eyes. “And would you really have her walk over here at this forsaken hour of the day?”
“It makes you very vulnerable,” Nenver scowled. “This matter of you all sleeping at the same hour. You cannot come to each other's aid.”
“And do your kind not all sleep in the night?” Dove countered. “It’s hardly strange to sleep at the same hours.”
“Perhaps, but the night doesn’t kill us. We could go out in it if we wished.”
“And I can be out in the sun for a time,” Dove said softly, trying to reassure his friend. “Now, may I sleep?”
Nenver frowned, but nodded, moving back towards his furnace.
Dove sat on the end of the cot that was neatly hidden behind the towering wood pile. He removed his boots, but not his clothes, or the daggers he kept hidden beneath them.
“Pleasant dreams, Dove,” Nenver’s voice said from across the room, before Dove heard him return the metal to the fire.
Unseen, unheard, and unknown to Nenver’s customers, Dove spent the hours of the sun’s zenith curled up in the darkest corner of the forge, hidden from view, his body and mind shifting in and out of form and his dreams punctuated by the comforting clang of Nenver’s hammer.