FIC - Martin's Memories
A burned out ruin. All that was left of his little cottage. So far he was two for two of the homes that had truly been his.
Maybe there was something to salvage.
He began sifting through the ash of his current life. A charred bed post here, some potsherd there. Ultimately nothing salvageable on the surface.
Had his secret fared better?
He estimated where the edges of his cottage had once been then moved towards the toppled stones that had been the North wall. squatting down in the ash, his knees popping as usual, he began moving the debris. At last he hit the flat river stones he had made his floor from, and found the large, irregular, pentagonal one.
He lifted the stone aside and revealed the one thing of any real value he’d kept in the cottage. The vault was Glorium made, a strong steel with a stronger lock. It had taken him months of saving to afford the safe, and even more months of planning to bring it to his cottage without anyone seeing. Not to mention a little luck.
The lock was as much a work of art as the steel casing. It had taken Martin nine and a half hours to pick the damn thing without relying on the combination. Worth every silver.
He looked around and made sure no one was watching him as he entered the combination. With a gentle click the small hatch popped down and he slid it into its recess. The air inside the vault was cool and dry as promised.
Every. Damn. Silver.
He quickly put the notes Gordy had managed to save into the vault, remembering how proud the boy had been at the small success. The notes were new, and still fresh in Martin’s mind so had merely saved him time in writing them down. Still it had been brave of Gordy to intervene like that, even if he was snooping. Martin pulled out some of his older notes surrounding liquid flame to refresh his memory. The method was ingrained in his brain, but with the new discovery of its effects before ignition he wanted to have another look.
A page with a smudged print from a thumb and finger brought him back. One of the earlier times when he’d worked with Kay. She’d been idly chatting about the purchases she made for him, trying hard not to sound too excited, when she leaned back and rested her hands on his writing desk. Right on his notes. He hadn’t noticed until later and by that point there was no purpose to making an issue of it. She had done well and didn’t deserve a tongue lashing over smudge.
Replacing the notes he then put the gems he’d been awarded into the vault for a time when he might need them. The next items to go in were a bit trickier. There was plenty of room for the swords, but he’d have to move quickly to get them from the cart to the vault without being seen. No telling how soon Gordy might come snooping around, trauma or no.
The weight of the longswords reminded him of the look on Matrell’s face when he asked the pastor about the blades. It was a sad look. A weary look. He’d seen an old hound look like that once after its master had kicked it for laying in the sunny doorway.
The old dog didn’t trust Perra, and neither did Martin. So into the hole went the blades.
A gleam caught his eye. Metal reflecting the little light of the sun that reached this far down. Not the sharp reflection of the steel, but the warm glow of gold. Martin picked up the ring and looked hard at it in his large hands. A simple piece. A storied piece. He rolled it in his hands and felt how it remained slightly warped from the fire in his lab. The night he fled the Scionage’s goons.
He worked his way back.
The day he’d received it had been much like today; sunny, chilly, a hint of snow to come. He’d felt awkward in the fine garb his father had bought him. “You have come farther than I ever could have hoped for, my son.” His father looking up at him, grasping his hand and placing two rings within.
Martin wondered where the other was.
He placed the ring back into the hole. He slid the hatch closed with a soft click, the combination resetting itself. He placed the river stone back atop the hatch and piled debris haphazardly on the stone. Then he gave it a good kick to be sure it looked a mess.
His knees popped as usual as he rose to his full height. He leaned back to stretch his spine then began the walk towards the cart. Towards Anahearth and Staghead. Towards his future life.