A gruff yet soft voice rang out from underneath the sturdy helmet of the only just smaller figure.
“My father and I were sent to you for assistance.”
Vatari leaned against the splintery door frame, lifting his goggles higher as he cocked an eyebrow at them,
“Beg your pardon?”
“We were sent to you. You are a craftsman are you not?” This was stated with an undertone of annoyance at how unprofessional the small boy was behaving.
“Craftsman is quite the glorification, my good sir. Slave is more realistic.” A sarcastic sneer laced this response, slight amusement as well.
A painful silence.
“Only kidding. Yeesh you soldiers don’t know how to take a joke, huh?”
They seemed to emit an annoyed grunt, resemblant to that of a bull in a Matador’s arena. This caused Vatari to take a high-browed step backwards, his hands raised in surrender. He pressed against the splintery door even further and gestured inside with a flourish of his small hand. At this, they both pushed past him and into the shack.
“We need new swords. My father’s was obliderated in a tussle with a beast.”
“Unimaginably horrid. Why, I’ve never seen something so terrifying in all my da-”
“Father we didn’t come to tell the commoner your chivalrous stories of heroism. We’ve come to request you a weapon.”
He shifted and turned towards Vatari, “We need your finest material. The best blade you have.
The tan boy gave them a toothy grin, “How about we make a deal.”
“You, child, are in no position to propose such a-”
“Just hear me out okay…”
He gingerly lifted his arm, pulling back the sleeve and showing the unforgiving, metallic appendage.
“I’ll make you the best blade imaginable. Indestructible, stealthy, sleek, and glorious; if, and only if, you get me far far away from this place. The people here treat me less than dirt… I haven’t slept or eaten properly in ages… I can’t take it,” He shook the robotic arm hastily, voice cracking and eyes brimming with tears, “I didn’t ask for this! I don’t want this pain and rejection for something I can’t control..”
His warm, brown irises bore into theirs from below, pangs of guilt striking through their noble hearts as a salty tear made a harsh trail through the grime on his cheek.
The son sighed, “Swear. Swear on your life you shan’t give us the slightest bit of trouble. There’s an opening as the king’s personal forge. Boy, do you truly believe you’re up for the challenge.”
Vatari sniffed, his eyes widening in shock.
“Yes! Yes of course. I promise. I won’t be of any trouble and I’ll make the finest weapons your soldiers have ever been laden with.”
“Very well then. Father?” He looked to the silvery bearded man.
“Welcome to the coalition, son.” His wrinkles folded into a prideful, cheery grin as he extended a chain mailed hand to shake.
Vatari took it eagerly, giving a firm shake. He looked over at the younger soldier. Now that they circumstances were different, he began to feel less afraid. The son of the warrior was tall and well built. His face was harsh but also kind in its own way, his chin etched with stubble. His skin was almost tan, pale but darkened slightly; smooth except for the scars that riddled his epidermis. A jagged scar stretched from his right brow to the edge of his left eye. Speaking of eyes, his were unique. Vatari remembered it as some fancy word. Heterochromia? He didn’t care at the moment. His right eye where the scar began was an icy blue; piercing and harsh with a snowy jolt of ecstasy and mysterious beauty. His left was the exact opposite. His left eye was a rich brown, the center of his iris so dark the pupil was almost invisible. It lightened as it reached the white of the eye, becoming a soft, comforting hazel. Looking into his eyes reminded Vatari of a hearth; deep and warm and full of ferocity, but also tamable and full of meaning.
Vatari hesitantly reached for it, eventually placing his nimbler, slightly daintier hand in the larger one.
“Chaol.” He said gruffly.
“Call me Chaol.” His voice was almost silent as he said this, his eyes flitting around the room.
The small boy ended their handshake and rocked back on his heels, grinning happily.
“Name’s Vatari. I’m 16 and I’m a craftsman. Oh, and I hate short jokes.”
His laugh was almost a jingle, soft and cheery.
“Welcome to the team… Vatari.”