by Pam Sears
Only a Maker can Call from the Fires but, is it really help they're Calling?
|Deep in the verdant forest sat a cottage of finely burnished wood and metals. The slated roof, covered in deep green moss, was slanted just enough to allow any rain to run off into the catch barrels placed strategically at each corner. Windows, now covered by shutters of a complementary wood and latched by patinaed copper forms, faced both North and South – a most auspicious placement for a Maker.
Within the cottage a Makeress sat before a Makers Fire concentrating on a gold nugget that floated in the air before her. Eyes the blue of a winter’s lake glowed with an inner fire of their own as an unfelt wind caressed her deep auburn curls while she studied the nugget. To her left sat a small tower made of Zebra wood and fine leather dyed a rich burgundy. Copper, brass, and steel gears showed through the glass encased sides of the tower but no clock face or other obvious reason for the gears was in evidence, yet the wear and grease on the cogs and teeth showed their constant use.
To her right was a table with glass bottles of various sizes and holding a multi-hued assortment of liquids. Some carried a seal warning of their dangerous nature. Some had different pieces of metal hanging in their liquids which bubbled and frothed. Some had an extremely pungent aroma.
The Makeress gracefully lifted her right hand and cupped it just under the floating bit of gold without actually touching it. With her left hand she reached up to the leather band around her forehead and adjusted an eye piece, much like a jeweler’s loupe, down in front of her eye. It began to glow a luminous blue as she leaned forward to carefully examine the gold in detail. Satisfied, she nodded to herself and pushed the loupe away as the glow faded.
Still graceful, she gestured with her left hand and the gold floated into the Makers Fire. The flames parted to accept the gold, closing about it and, at the Makeress’s further gesture, the flames turned from gold, to silver, to blue, before they settled to a deep, sunset orange with hints of red and black.
Chanting softly, the Makeress recited the Words of Calling with careful precision even as her hands sketched the Signs of Binding in the air between her and the Fire. To her left, the gears in the wood and glass tower began to move with smooth, silent efficiency. To her right, a beaker half filled with red liquid, and another with a burnished gold liquid, began to bubble with vigor. Still in her soft voice, she spoke the final words, gently made the final gesture, and a bell’s tones seemed to peel from the gear tower. At its musical, sustained tone the liquids bubbling within the two beakers shot out and into the Makers Fire.
A roar resounded from the Fire’s depths, filling the room and rattling the glass on the table and in the tower before it faded away. She gestured again and the Fires parted to reveal a transformed piece of gold. It now resembled a nobleman’s pocket watch except there seemed to be a deep hole in its center. Another gesture from her and a tongue of the Makers Fire gently bore it forward to leave it hanging before her eyes once more. The hole now showed what seemed to be a closed eye through it.
With a satisfied smile the Makeress whispered.
The eyelid, a deep burnished orange, slowly blinked open and a red and black iris appeared. The pupil, slit like a cat’s eye – or a dragon’s – seemed to fluctuate before focusing on her, then a voice spoke.
“Who has Called me?”
The voice was at once a deep, rich bass and a musically ringing soprano. So rich its tones seemed to vibrate in the Makeress’s very bones. The Makeress smiled again.
“I have, Ancient One. Our need is great and you are summoned to aide us in this time.”
The eye examined the woman. “Only me? The need is not so great, then, and you are foolish to waken me.”
“No, Ancient One. Not you, alone. Many of your brothers and sisters have already been Called and I will Call many more. Will you aide us?”
“The choice is not mine to make.” The voice rumbled aggressively. “You have made the Calling and created the Binding. I must Answer.”
“Nay. I hold none against their will. Look. Look deep within and you will see those who chose to aide and those who refused.”
There was silence as the eye seemed to look inward for many long moments, then it focused on her once more with slightly less suspicion.
“I can refuse?”
She nodded. “With no consequences to you or yours, Ancient One. There is a war coming. Not all can help, or even are willing to do so. I respect that. I only ask you hear before you decide.”
The eye considered her again before it replied. “Speak, then. Though I offer no great hope. This portal is too small for such as I to Pass Through.”
“You are not required in your Entire Being. Only the aide of your Sight is needed, if you will grant it.”
“It would take a strong mind and even stronger will to use the Sight summoned by such as I and my kin. Our visions are rarely a blessing and more of a curse. Nightmares.”
The Makeress’s smile widened. “Sightmares, we call them. Yes, we know. Many are in training to accept what you show and to learn how to understand and translate what is seen. Only the Wild Ancients have this great and terrible Power. We will learn or die.”
The eye appeared to smile. “I believe I like you, Little One. I am known as Orick the Feared. How are you called?”
“I am the Brass Maker.” And the Makeress’s smile filled with satisfaction as she placed the final Binding upon Orick.