Character Pieces, Home

Molten Metal and Crimson Eyes

She stood amidst the barely-contained inferno, the temperature so high, it steamed the sweat from her skin. The air crackled with supernova heat, raging flames popping, tingling and filling her every breath with smoke and ash, her vision threatening to blur.

It was home.

Flickers of orange licked at her skin, but she held no fear, the oppressive heat would do her no harm. The woman smiled, gloved calloused fingers gliding along the edge of her anvil, catching on the edges of her yet-unfinished project. A simple thing really, something she was using to pass the time, waiting for them; her flame-souled brother, and the dark man whom he’d given his entire being too.

So she worked, and she waited. Stroking the fires, taming the ravenous orange and red just enough, maintaining just enough control to keep the whole workshop from being devoured. Not that the spacious room had ever been at risk, but still, caution should be exercised none-the-less.

Clang. Bang. Sizzle. Clunk.

On and on she worked, stroking fires, warping glowing metal, watching steam rise, nearly indistinguishable from the ashen smoke. Over and over she cast down her hammer, stretching and shaping the metal beneath her gloved hands, unflinching under the heat.

After all; why would a creature born of fire fear the flames?

She raised her hammer once more, intending to land the finishing blow, and paused, before turning her gaze to the entrance way. She smiled, inclining her head to the two figures; one a tall dark man with power brimming under his skin, a force that even from this distance, made her soul quiver, and standing next to him, her blood-brother, an immortal forger like herself, born of fire to work beneath their deities guiding hand. He, like her, bore auburn hair and a lean form, though his eyes burned crimson while hers glistened like molten metal.

He smiled back, moving inside, while his companion remained at the door. She nodded, and for the final time, brought down her hammer, finishing the ornate iron dagger. She set aside her tools and turned to embrace her brother. She squeezed, pretending this wasn’t a goodbye.

“Molten sister-mine.” He greeted her, dropping his hands, slender fingers brushing her hair behind her ear. He greeted her the same way they always had, calling her by her most defining feature, as if attempting to prolong the inevitable. “Do you know why I have come?” He asked, crimson eyes sparking, begging her to answer differently than she already had.

“Crimson brother-mine.” She returned, shoulders slumping as she took his hands in hers, her own heat colliding with his in a way that ached when it should have warmed. She sighed, nodding. “Of course. I had a feeling you were going to leave us. I just did not know it would be so soon.” The man winced, eyes flickering, rushing through emotions too fast for her to decipher. Again, she squeezed his hands, offering up a soft smile.

“Have you told anyone?” He asked, teeth scraping against his lip. New and sharp, like the rest of his form, he must have changed it. She thought, nodding internally. It suits him.

“No.” She answered, shaking her head and releasing his hands, immediately curling them against her sides, already missing the warmth she might never see again. “I have not told a soul, and if asked I would have nothing to say. Given how little you’ve told me.”

Her brother nodded, gaze flickering to the other by the door. Though it did not bring color, she sensed the heat flickering across his cheeks and ears. She smiled, wondering if her brother could sense the new warmth blooming in her own chest.

“Have you told him, dear brother?” She asked, relishing the color that did rise at her teasing. She chuckled, sharp gaze catching the splash of pink before her brother’s companion could hide his face. The workshop did have such wonderful echoes.

“Y-yes.” Her brother stammered, covering his sudden high squeak with a cough. The woman chuckled, shaking her head, wondering how two men hundred’s of years older than her could be so ridiculous.

“Good.” She said, turning back and retrieving her token project. “You should not run from home and cut yourself off from all that is familiar unless you are sure. Should never flee with someone you did not trust so completely.” She took his hand, a different burn behind her eyes. “Should not give yourself to someone unless you know the truth of their heart.” She said, pressing the dagger into her brother’s hands, meeting his wide-eyed gaze. “Are you sure?” She breathed.

For a moment, there was silence, and it seemed the two of them were alone, standing close as they had always been in spirit, amidst the fires they had grown in. A younger sister watching with reverence, and an older brother, a master of his craft, pushing the boundaries of his work, hoping and working for praise he would never receive from their master.

“Yes.” He breathed, long strong fingers curling around her impromptu gift. An acceptance, of both her gift, and of her decision. She would not be joining them. Without words, they held their final conversation, and neither would have had it any other way.

“That is all I needed.” She nodded, pulling him into one more embrace, committing everything to memory; the feel of his hands against her back, in her hair, the scent of iron and flame and spice that always clung to his skin, even after a long days work, the hum of his soul, the steady thunderous beat of his heart.

For this would be the last time she saw her brother, before his loss would be the final straw. Before her masters would mark for a petty war. They would, and she didn’t think her brother cared.

They retracted, and she watched her brother pocket the dagger, watched him harden his resolve and return to his lover’s side. Watched with a heavy and light heart, as they intertwined their hands, twin grins stretching across their expressions.

She stood, amidst the roaring flames as the two fled into the night, fled far from home towards a new world of their own making. Once out of sight, far enough she could no longer sense them, only then did the younger woman’s gaze blur.

But this time, the smoke and heat was not to blame.

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