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  1. Tam returned from the woods a few minutes later with an assortment of dry twigs and wood, and proceeded to assemble and small, efficient looking fire. He rose to collect his tinder box from Bess. ‘Wait, let me,’ I suggested. The kindling was dry and responded quickly to my touch of sympathy, smoke curled and then whisped into flame. The familiar chills ran up my arms and I shivered briefly despite the warmth of the afternoon. ‘What’s the point of being an Arcanist if you can’t show off a little,’ I said in response to Tam shocked expression. I’d become unaccustomed to the nonchalance with which the people of Imre viewed sympathy, clearly the influence of the University didn’t extend this far north.

    Within a few minutes Tam had his camp pot boiling merrily and had tossed in some tea leaves to stew. While he ministered to the fire I rose and crossed to Bess. I had some thoughts about how to weaken the connection between the talon and the finder and wanted to try a small experiment. I carefully unhitched the pannier and brought it across to the fire. With a mug of tea now cooling gently beside me I decided to broach the topic, ‘Master Tam, we have a small problem, and I’m not sure how best to proceed.’

    ‘This about the finder right? It still points ta the talon. Ye dinna ken where ta go next?’ It wasn’t quite a question.

    ‘No, but I have a few ideas. The simplest would be to take the talon a long way from here, but that is no solution at all; the very next piece we found would cause the same problem. Better would be to break the connection between the piece and the finder, but I’d be worried about preventing the finder from working at all and would have to repeat the procedure for each bit we found. Neither of these is likely to work for us.

    ‘The best way that I can see is to shield the talon from the finder with a barrier. I believe I know how, but as this is all experimental I can’t tell how successful it will be. I’d like to test my idea but will need to vandalise your pannier,’ I raised the bag briefly for emphasis.

    Tam considered briefly, nodding his consent with a single ‘Aye.’

    What I had in mind was a fancy bit of sygaldry. To make the finder in the first place I had constructed a bridge linking the finder needle to the sample chamber. The sygaldry involved both strengthened the connection between the needle and sample, but also enhanced the sympathetic link between the sample and object being sought.

    By a corruption of the idea, I believed I could strengthen the nature of the pannier bag, or rather its’ leather, while at the same time dampening the signal of the objects within. In principal this should conceal the talon, or anything else for that matter, from the unwelcome attention of the finder. With the fire to draw on as a source I should have no problems branding the tough leather with the runes I needed.

    I gathered my thoughts, ‘Tam, this is going to take me a while, perhaps an hour. I’ll need you to keep the fire going while I’m occupied. It’ll try to go out but you need to keep feeding it. And don’t talk to me. This will be delicate work and tricky without my tools.’

    ‘Fair enough, anything else you want before you start?’

    ‘Thanks, but I think I have what I need. Just keep that fire fed.’

    I settled myself comfortably in front of the fire with the bag over my knees. My first job would be to bond the various pieces of oiled leather together by branding the rune uld over each seam. I began cautiously on the front drawing heat from the fire and focussing it to a tight moving point on the surface of the bag. A thin wisp of smoke curled from the leather and the acrid smell caught my throat. To an observer it would have looked like the intensity of my stare was burning it, much like a lens charring parchment under the heat of the sun. In a few quick motions the three lines of uld were seared into the leather and I moved my focus a few inches along the seam and repeated the process. It took nearly an hour before I was satisfied and lifted my attention again from the pannier. To a casual inspection the once glowing oiled leather looked ruined, however the runes I’d used had strengthened it significantly.

    Next I began on the tricky issue of shielding the contents of the bag. Only two runes were needed but their application was fraught. jol and eth were fairly safe when used separately but when drawn together emanated a discomforting sense of dizziness and disorientation. Prolonged exposure to them in this state could lead to fainting and eventually death. A third rune, hebog, would make the bag safe again, but I would be forced to draw it while under the influence of the other two. I checked the fire, which was still burning nicely, and drew more heat to the leather. I worked swiftly, anxious to finish before the effects became too distracting, and was pleased with the final result.

    Tam sensed I’d finished and moved closer. He looked a little pale and showed a light sweat; clearly the unfinished sygaldry had affected him. In fact, I was feeling more than a little shaky myself, both from the sygaldry itself and from breathing the leather smokes for so long. ‘It’s done,’ I said, letting a little of the tension I’d been carrying ease from my voice.

    ‘About time to. Tha’ was a bit edgy at the end,’ Tam squatted nearby clearly keen to get a closer look.

    I passed the bag over to him and watched as he turned the bag back and forth admiringly. ‘Not my prettiest work,’ I admitted, ‘but it should do the trick. Shall we test it?’ I fished the finder out of my coat and checked the needle; still dead steady on the talon. ‘Ok, put the talon in the sack and fasten it shut.’ Tam moved quickly to do so while I watched the needle. As he brought the talon close by the needle wavered, then spun to a new direction he slipped it in the bag.

    ‘It works?’ asked Tam in response to my sudden broad grin.

    ‘Aye, see for yourself.’ I passed the finder over for him to hold. He passed it back and forth around the pannier, then unfastened it and withdrew the talon again to see the needle respond. ‘It actually worked far better than I had hoped. I’d expected there to be some residual signal but it actually seems perfect.’

    ‘In tha’ case shall we press on? We’ve maybe three hours til dusk.’

    ‘Yes, just give me a few minutes to get a bite. That much sygaldry is hungry work.’ Tam circled our impromptu rest spot gathering up odds and ends, while I pulled a piece of hard cheese and an apple from my own bags.
  2. I woke the following morning shortly before true dawn, rested but unsure what had startled me into wakefulness. My nerves jangled until I heard a cock crow loudly from the yard below. City life had obviously left me unaccustomed to country noises.

    I pulled my clothes on and made my way down stairs to the kitchen where the morning’s baking was already well underway. The kitchen was warm and the smell set my appetite off. Before settling down I went out to the yard where I had spotted the innkeeper in deep conversation with another local, presumably my assistant. ‘Ah, Master Kvothe,’ the innkeeper began his introductions, ‘this eer is Tam. ‘Ee’s ‘ere as ya asked.’ To my relief he had lost the anxiety from the previous evening. Tam himself was a sturdy looking man, probably around 40 years of age. He had the toughened look that some country folk get, like he’d been preserved rather than aged, and I didn’t doubt that he was every bit as hardy as he looked. He was broad chested , though not excessively muscled and had a spattering of grey through his hair. It was easy to see why he’d be keen on anything that would get him away from his mother for a few days.

    ‘Morning,’ I ventured, shaking Tam’s hand ‘shall we head along for a bite of breakfast?’ and nodded towards the kitchen door.

    We settled around a table in the, now empty, common room. I began to outline the venture to Tam as we broke into a warm loaf of bread. ‘So you see,’ I finished, ‘I need someone with a pack horse to act as a second pair of hands and eyes. I can pay a full talent, plus expenses, for three days and possibly a bonus if everything goes well.’

    Tam nodded his assent but I could see he still wasn’t quite satisfied. ‘Fair enough, I can do all tha’ for ya, but what are we actually gonna be pickin’ up? Seems ta me ya could be doin’ this by ya self.’

    ‘Sorry, I can’t tell you yet, not until we’re out of town. I don’t want word spreading until I’m sure it is safe in our packs. I’ll tell you in just a few hours, but until then you’ll just have to wait. Can you agree with that?

    ‘Aye, seems fair. But if I dinna like wha’ I hear the deals over,’ replied Tam with a caution in his voice.

    ‘In that case I’d like to depart within the hour. Can you pick up a few extra bits and pieces to add to the pack? We’ll need a pick and shovel, plus I’ll ask the kitchens to prepare us a bundle of food for three days.’

    ‘An hour? Can manage that,’ said Tam as he rose from the table and nodded before turning to leave.

    The hour passed in a quick rush of packing and final preparations. Before too long we were stowing my meagre possessions in Tam’s saddle bags. I kept my lute in its case slung over my back and the finder was stowed securely in one of the many pockets of my heavy green woollen coat. The horse Tam had brought was nothing much to look at, a typical farm work horse; strong and tough like Tam himself, brown with various blotches of grey. ‘Her name’s Bess,’ Tam said, patting her flank affectionately. She whickered back at him and stamped a foot impatiently.

    I led the way at first, north along the road out of town. The road here was good under foot, crushed rock from the local mines, but this gave way soon enough to bare earth and mud. We continued like this until out of sight of casual observers, before slipping into the trees and heading west.

    Up until this point casual conversation had been limited, the hidden purpose of this expedition was a barrier for both of us, but one I intended to remove now. I withdrew the finder from deep in the folds of my coat and gestured Tam to come close. ‘Know what this is?’ I asked?

    Tam shook his head but went on to venture ‘Looks a bit like a north finder, but its ta big, and pointin’ the wrong way.’ His curiosity was obviously tweaked though and I took my cue to elaborate.

    ‘Actually it is similar. We Arcanists call this a finder needle. This particular one is tuned to certain items of value that I know to be in these hills. I intend to use it to track these down and recover them.’ So far so good, but this is where it might get a bit sticky. I unscrewed the based of the finder, prised out my draccus scale and passed it over to Tam. Much like Master Kilvin had he hefted its weight and looked at it closely. ‘This is a scale from the hide of the beast which devastated your town and destroyed your work shop,’ I continued. ‘Each scale is worth a small fortune to a skilled Arcanist. When your mayor falsely declared the draccus a demon and ordered the body burned he destroyed a fortune that could have paid to rebuild Trebon many times over. While the draccus itself is dead any scales it shed will be scattered where they fell. With your help I hope to recover as many as possible.’

    ‘I can see why ya didna wanna talk of this in town. If they mayor had got wind of it ya would have been run out of the place in an hour. Feelin’s run pretty strong there right naw.’

    I relaxed, and let out the breath I had unconsciously been holding back. It looked like Tam was going to go along with things; I had half expected him to go haring off back to town screaming of demons. I reassembled the finder carefully and checked again the direction. ‘Well if you are still with me let’s get going. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you everything before.’ I gestured onwards and Tam fell in beside me, clucking at Bess to move her on. ‘What has happened in Trebon since the fires? I was surprised to see so few repairs taking place.’

    ‘Well, I guess folks have lost ‘art. Most have moved in with others but some ‘as packed up and left.’ Tam shrugged rather eloquently. ‘For me sel’ I’m stayin’. Been here since I were a lad. Folk’ll always need boots and I make the best ‘tween here and Imre. Or I would if ma shop were open.’ We walked on a while further in silence. Quiet of the forest was scarcely disturbed by our passing. Tam walked with the steady tread of one well used to the outdoors – perhaps I’d had the good fortune to hook up with a local poacher – and Bess was scarcely louder. Tam clearly wasn’t big on exchanging pleasantries and, after a few more words, we settled into a comfortable silence.

    I halted our small party periodically to check the finder. The signal was strong but at the same time indistinct. I suspected that it was picking up multiple fragments of draccus hide and the conflicting signals were confusing it. Fortunately they all seemed to be in the same general direction and it wasn’t long before we stumbled out into a cleared swathe of foliage.

    The damage caused by the stampeding draccus was tremendous. Whole trees had been snapped at the trunk like they were no more than match sticks. Root balls had been ripped from the earth scattering rocks and soil across the loam of the forest floor. Huge gouges in the soil, and across timbers, showed where the lizard had clawed in its haste and a broad swathe of light shone down through the broken canopy. Our first encounter with the beast’s path was daunting, a reminder of the devastation it had caused in Trebon.

    I gestured Tam to stay back with Bess and proceeded to clamber out over the damaged terrain. ‘Believe it or not the draccus was actually a herbivore. I saw it devouring whole trees, smashing them to the ground and crushing whole trunks in its jaws. I found the scale that is in the finder in the debris from such a feeding. It must have been dislodged when the draccus brought the tree down.’ I pulled the finder out of the recesses of my coat. I suspected we were very near now, the needle had stopped its confused wavering and directed me steadily along the path. I clambered over and round obstacles, checking the finder often, while Tam directed Bess through the clearer space under the trees. After a few hundred paces of such erratic progress the needle had settled on a small patch of disturbed soil, perhaps a stride across. I hollered to Tam who hitched Bess up to a tree and joined me with the spade.

    It didn’t take long to find our prize. Tam dug the area with the spade while I checked each load over with the finder. In this case it was unnecessary as the spade quickly rang out against something metal. Within a few minutes we were passing between us an object both familiar and surprising. I had expected to find scales loosened by the draccus’s passing. Instead we’d found something even more substantial – an iron talon, the length of a child’s forearm but weighting at least three kilograms. A piece this size would be worth a small fortune, at least fifty talents, back in Imre and had already justified the trip. Its size also explained why the finder had been drawn so strongly to it, rather than some other piece of scale nearby.

    ‘Let’s get a brew on,’ I suggested ‘I’ve some thinking to do before we continue.’ The strength of the signal from the talon was going to continue to interfere with our search. Indeed the finder was pointing directly towards Bess’s pannier bags where it was stowed. Unless I could find someway to break, or weaken, the link between them our venture was doomed to frustration from here onwards. And even if we did find more pieces of draccus the combined signal would just get stronger. Our one advantage in this search was about to be lost unless I could come up with something.

  3. My preparations for the journey to Trebon were a little less frantic than last time. With no pressing time deadline I was able to both shop around for cheaper supplies and to take my time over the journey itself. My intention was to walk to Imre and find passage on one of the many small trading vessels that worked the river. They were slow, taking three days over the same journey that I had covered in half a day on horse back, but very cheap.

    On this occasion I was particularly fortunate and found a trader departing imminently who was short on crew. I was offered a berth and two meals a day to work my way up river with them, helping load and unload at the small settlements we passed, spotting for obstacles in the flow of the current, and generally assisting with the many small jobs that keeps a boat running smoothly.

    With my hands kept busy and jovial company from the Captain and his Second, the time passed quickly. In the evenings we pulled in to well used rest stops and sat around a small campfire as dusk fell, talking well into the night before retiring to our berths aboard ship. I played my lute endlessly and the others regaled me with tall stories of life on the river. Never since my childhood with the Edema Ruh had I felt such a melancholy homesickness for a time that couldn’t come again. Without a task to draw me away again I might have stayed on past Trebon and not returned to Imre at all. Never-the-less we eventually pulled into the small dock and after some hearty goodbyes went on our separate ways.

    Trebon was little changed in the months since I had last seen it. There was some evidence of repairs to fire damaged buildings taking place but a number of them appeared to be still untouched. The scale of the task was daunting. Fully a third of the homes had been damaged in some way and, of those, half were razed totally; the remains of the timber framed structures jutted like decaying corpses into the dusk air and the stink of damp ashes lingered in the streets. Despite this the main street was bustling and the mood was one of stoical confidence; the worst had happened and turned out not to be so bad.

    I drew a few worried glances as I entered the inn and was very aware of conversations halting abruptly. The lamps and firelight made my red hair shine and my height marked me. The innkeeper hurried over, ‘Welcome back, sir. What can I do for you this evening?’ His expression was fixed and a little ashen. My last visit to this place would be forever linked to the ‘demon’ that had rampaged through the town and I had done little to elucidate my role in those events since. Rumours abounded and my reputation was both that of hero and devil, depending who you chose to speak to.

    ‘A room please, and could you bring up a hot meal. I’m a little travel weary.’ In all honesty I felt fine, but an evening in that common room with so many uneasy sets of eyes watching me wasn’t appealing. The innkeeper directed a serving girl with a nod who took one of my bags and led me away towards the back stairs. Her heavy-set features and dark eyes marked the girl unmistakably as the innkeeper’s daughter, perhaps about 15 years of age. She clearly knew her business though and steered me towards a spacious room at the front of the building, obviously the master guestroom and, after a polite inquiry to see if there was anything I needed, left to me to my unpacking.

    When she returned with the meal, a short while later, I was sitting on the large bed. I had the finder out and was considering the best way to tune it to my lizard scale. ‘It’s our own ham,’ she said briefly as she set the plate down on the small side table. From the obvious pride in her voice I suspected she had a hand in the pigs’ keeping. ‘Anything else?’

    ‘Yes, actually. Could you please ask your father to bring me up a mug of wine, and one for himself. I have a matter to discuss with him privately.’ Her eyes widened briefly at that and she scurried from the room. Her footsteps retreated hurriedly down the corridor and away to the common room. The background hum of common room chatter dropped away briefly to nothing, then rose again to a new peak. My request had obviously caused some consternation and tweaked a small, satisfied smile from my own mouth. A few minutes later the innkeeper arrived, backing carefully against the door with a mug of wine in each hand.

    I directed him to the easy chair, remaining where I was on the bed. The poor man was obviously uneasy; a slight sweat was breaking out on his brow despite the cool evening. ‘Master Innkeeper,’ I began, ‘thank you for seeing me. I’m aware that we parted on….confused terms. You suspect many things of me; that I am a powerful Arcanist, that I had a hand in the destruction wreaked upon your town, that I saved your town by slaying the beast. In some ways all of these are true; however I mean you and your town no harm. In fact, I think I can help relieve your plight in a small way.’

    I paused, thinking carefully how best to continue. I was hesitant to reveal too much of my plan, yet too little and I wouldn’t get the help I needed. ‘Sirrah,’ he interrupted my musing, ‘I saw ya wounds before they were dressed. Aye, and helped carry ya away fram tha beast after. I holds no truck with them as say ya were ta blame.’

    His thick accent almost surprised me; I’d spoken to so few souls since leaving the University. His words as much as his voice amused me however; I was certain he would have been gossiping with the best of them in my absence. ‘That’s good of you man but, blame or not, my project was interrupted on my last visit by the beast. I had to abandon some items precious to me at my camp. I have a need of them now and would like to make an attempt to retrieve them.’ There, that was relatively innocuous, while close enough to the truth to be believable. ‘What I need is a reliable man with a pack horse to travel with me for a few days. I can pay hard talents for a few days’ work and I know there are many in need of it at the moment.’

    The innkeeper visibly relaxed, I was no longer a possible threat, just another patron in need of some assistance. ‘Well… there might be wan or two I cad think of. Ald James lost ‘is barn roof. Or there’s Tam the cobbler. His ald mam teken him back in while he rebuilds ‘is shop.’

    ‘I’ll leave it in your hands. Just ask them to meet me here for an early breakfast, ready to depart straight after.’

    ‘Sure thing, sirrah. I’ll send a lad out ta ald Tam, I know he’ll be glad ta get awa’ fram his ma’s place for a few days.’ He left and I turned my attention back to my meal.

  4. Twenty-eight Silver Talents! Fees were never openly discussed in more than a general sense, but twenty-eight talents was absurd. My purse contained little more than one and that would scarcely see me in board and lodging through the break.

    A black despondency fell upon me as I left the hall and I found my feet leading me away from the University and over the river towards Imre. I don’t know what I hoped and certainly didn’t find it there. Denna was no where to be found for company and I didn’t even seriously consider approaching (money lender girl) to discuss my dilemma. Since returning from Trebon I had paid back my debts in full but knew that she would never agree to lend the full 28 talents. Even if she had I would have no way to repay even the interest on an amount that size. I returned to the University near dusk as frustrated and anxious as when I had set out hours before. I had a project at the Fishery that would earn me a little when finished and sleep was far from my thoughts so I went there.

    This late in the evening the Fishery was still bustling as students worked on their personal projects late into the night. The east end still showed the after effects of the fire caused by the bone-tar spill. Much of the roof was still missing and scaffold covered almost the entirety of the end of the building. The soot blackened stone had been carefully scrubbed but the stink of damp ashes still haunted the air. Repair work was progressing rapidly but it would be many months before I could work again at my usual bench. In the interim Master Kilvin had found me space sharing a bench with another R’elar named Milar, a likeable young artificer with erratic work hours and a wicked sense of humour.

    The project occupying me was a tricky one – a wealthy landowner was convinced that there were sizable deposits of tin in the hills around his farms. He had had a geologist prospect the area but the results had proved inconclusive; tin there for certain but the location of the main vein was undetermined and there was still the question of the size of the deposit. This gentleman had offered a generous reward to Master Kilvin for a definitive answer one way or the other.

    The device he had thought up in response was both elegant and brilliant. With a sample of the ore a simple dowsing finder needle could be built to guide a user towards seams. In itself this required sophisticated sygaldry and a deft hand to assemble; Master Kilvin had allocated this element of the project to me. However, the real value of the device was to be its ability to determine the size of the deposit based on the strength of the dowsing signal; Master Kilvin was working on this angle of the project personally. If successful then not only would Master Kilvin be able to claim the reward but he would have also invented a valuable new device for the Fishery to make and sell.

    In return for my assistance building the finder needle Master Kilvin had offered me two full talents, a sizable sum given my impoverished state; however I was beginning to regret accepting. The job had been fraught with unforeseen difficulties and the advanced sygaldry involved on such a delicate object had taken many hours to perfect. I had begun to suspect that sticking to simple sympathy lamps I could have earned my two talents more quickly. Never-the-less I had pressed on and, provided the final case assembly went well, I expected to be finished this evening.

    When I arrived my work space was quiet though cluttered. Milar was obviously out, although the debris from his latest project was littered over his end of our shared space, and there was a small island of calm around my workspace despite the buzz of the Fishery. I steadied myself for the task in hand and carefully thought through all that I intended to do. Until the case was sealed the finder needle was exceptionally vulnerable both to physical damage and contamination. The needle itself was a fine sliver of star-iron alloy – a hard but brittle metal nearly impossible to work due to its fragility. Once installed on its spindle, the needle had to be carefully tuned to a sample, which could be practically anything. This involved installing the sample in a second hermetically sealed chamber beneath the spindle. Any contamination to the chamber, or of the sample itself, would lead to at best an inaccurate finder or at worst non-functioning one.

    Tonight I intended to seal the finder needle beneath the twice-toughened glass face and prepare the chamber in the base of the finder to take the sample of ore.

    The work totally absorbed me; my training in sympathy fell into place and the job of holding my mind in the correct state for sygaldry pushed more personal concerns aside. I can’t be sure how long I held myself in that state for, it was certainly longer than an hour, but when I surfaced I became aware of Master Kilvin standing quietly beside me. His presence unnerved me a little, especially when I realised he must have been standing there, observing, for some time.

    ‘That was a neat job, lad,’ he said, stepping forward. ‘Little wasted effort and a first class finish. I’m curious though, why did you use goth instead of amn there?’ Master Kilvin gestured at some runes I had marked into the sample chamber.

    ‘amn would hold the sample more securely,’ I agreed ‘but goth should interfere less with the sympathy connection between the it and the needle. This way should be more accurate.’

    ‘Well thought out, Kvothe, although I think in practice there would be little difference.’

    The silence drew out as we both considered the device in front of us. When sealed it would be a flattened orb about the size of a large cooking apple, the case was a burnished bronze, turned down to a smooth and comfortable finish on my small bench lathe. With a sample in place it would probably weigh in at about three pounds and, even now, felt reassuringly heavy when held. It held promise and my thoughts raced on.

    ‘Master,’ I tentatively began ‘you know my predicament. I have no means to pay 28 talents in just a few weeks time. The small amount I can earn working here sustains me well enough to live but little more.’

    ‘I know all that well enough Kvothe, but I’m surprised to hear you speak of it so directly. I’m in your debt for your quick thinking during the fire, but you must know I cannot interfere once the fees have been set.’

    ‘I wouldn’t bring it up at all Master, but for the fact that I begin to see a solution that might benefit all of us.’ I paused and crossed to the small safe under then bench where I currently stored my more valuable materials. ‘Do you recognise this?’ I asked, handing over a heavy object.

    Kilvin turned it in his palms, examined it closely under the bench lamp, and hefted its weight experimentally. ‘By its weight I’d say it has to be made of metal, probably iron, but the shape and markings resemble scales? I have seen organic-iron bones before but I can’t envisage iron being useful for a fish! Where did you get hold of it?’

    I recounted briefly my encounter with the enraged draccus in Trebon, although not my part in its demise and my suppositions about the iron from local rocks being gradually absorbed by skin, scale, and bones.

    ‘How much might a substantial sample, many times this, be worth to the Fishery?’ I asked, ‘Because I believe I can find substantially more.’

    ‘You are thinking about the finder aren’t you? Using your single scale as a sample? I hate to be a bearer of bad news, Kvothe, but the draccus you would be tuning it to is dead, burned, and buried by your own admission. Also, that piece is a commission, paid for by the client. It would be wrong to remove it from the Fishery.’

    ‘I still believe I could get something useful from it. At the very worst I might return disappointed and a little travel weary. The Finder itself is next to unbreakable, you saw the runes I used assembling it.’ I tried not to let my excitement show too visibly, lest Kilvin begin to think me unhinged. However; as we were talking ideas were blossoming inside my head. It would work, and could even work amazingly well if luck was on my side.

    Kilvin was obviously thinking deeply, his eyes still locked on the scale turning between his raw, scared hands. ‘Organic-iron… incredible stuff.’ He mulled it over, ‘when alloyed with titanium it forms a hardwearing metal, when forged it makes blades that hold the sharpest edge. Oh, I could find a use or two for it, lad. It’s just a shame you can’t use the finder.’ His eyes sparkled as he glanced up at me, and a mischievous quirk touched his lips. ‘Oh, how long did you say you would be visiting your parents for this break?’

    We were playing a game now and life on the streets forces you to be quick on the uptake. ‘My aunt, actually. No more than two weeks, hopefully a little less.’

    ‘Well, make sure you lock that Finder up somewhere safe while you’re gone, we can continue with the project when you return.’ And with that he nodded and returned his attention to the rest of his domain.