People who follow my DA might have seen this already, but I figured I'd put it here too. It's mainly about Tor's dad and his life with her mother, and at the moment I have two parts to it.
Ganikin turned into the market district and glanced around. If what he’d heard in the upper city was true, the place should be somewhere around here.
He was in his 150s, with a short, stocky build that often caused people to underestimate his physical strength. He had thoughtful green eyes like a scholar’s, but they could just as quickly turn hard as steel when he was threatened. His hair was naturally a dark grey that he kept trimmed close to his head, though a few stray tufts on the top always managed to rebel against his attempts to comb them down.
As he moved from stall to stall his leg pained him, reminding him again why he was doing this. He’d been fighting with a band of mercenaries since his 60s and had avoided serious injury until last month, when a lucky spearman had gotten through his defenses with a strike to his thigh that almost made him die from blood loss. Their healer had done her best and managed to save the leg, and though she’d told him multiple times that it would probably not affect his ability to fight he’d had enough. With nary a goodbye he’d set out on his own and come back to the city to look for a real job.
He walked by a food stand and felt his stomach growl at the smell, but alas he had only enough money to get him through one more meal. He probably still had family somewhere in the city, but he neither cared about them nor particularly wanted to see them again. He’d left them on a bad enough note that going back would just be tempting fate, and he’d already seen enough of his blood outside his body for one lifetime.
But luckily fighting was not his only skill. When money was short, which was often, he made jewelry from whatever was on hand and sold it to pay for food. They weren’t exactly made for an Ill’haress, but he thought they were decent enough, and it had gotten him through more than one tough period. And if what he’d overheard was correct, there was a jewelry shop right around here that was looking for another worker.
Now if only he could find the damn place. This made the third time he’d walked down this one street looking for it. He finally swallowed his pride and asked the owner of a meat pie stand, but it was only after he forked over a few of his remaining coins for a dry and tasteless pastry she pointed him in the right direction. He then found himself standing in front of a small storefront that apart from a sign advertising its wares looked just like any other dwelling on the street. He shrugged and stepped through the split cloth curtain that served as a door, figuring that it was at least worth a shot.
Once he was inside it was apparent that the tradesmen who had described it the place “small” were not kidding. Besides the counter and a small forge in the corner there was only enough room for two adults to stand side by side. Another curtain in the back separated what he supposed was the living area from the rest of the shop, but so far he could see no signs of life or of the owners.
“Hello!” he called after taking a moment to inspect the jewelry under the counter. “Is anyone here?”
“Just a moment!” called a voice from the back, and a moment later a woman came out from the back. She was tall and willowy with a rounded face, but any illusions of softness were crushed by the sight of her blue-grey eyes and the intensity within them. Her hair was dyed orange and hung down her back in a long braid, and several gold circlets adorned her arms and wrists. She was certainly beautiful, but Ganikin got the distinct impression that she was not one to put up with any sort of nonsense, especially not from males. He would have to play this carefully.
“Can I help you?” she said as she examined him and his worn equipment. It was clear from her expression that she didn’t expect him to buy anything, but she hadn’t thrown him out yet, so he still had a chance.
“Yes Ma’am,” he said, linking his hands behind his back. “I heard that you’re looking for another worker, and I’m here to offer my services.”
Her eyebrow curved up as if asking “Oh really?” but he kept his composure. She was obviously trying to catch him off balance, but he’d been prepared for this.
“Do you have any experience making jewelry?” she asked after a moment.
“I do,” he said, reaching into his pocket for the last piece he hadn’t sold. It was a simple circlet of intertwined gold and silver that he’d made from scrap metal, but he was proud of it and considered it to be some of his best work. He handed it to her and let her inspect it for a moment until she looked back up at him.
“I take it you have a metal affinity?”
“Yes Ma’am,” he answered with a small smile.
“Did you use a forge for this?”
“No Ma’am, just my mana.”
She nodded and handed it back to him. “I’m impressed, most people can’t do this level of detail with mana alone. Alright, I’ll give you a chance. What’s your name?”
She looked sidelong and him and smiled. “I’m Aya’la, and you don’t have to keep calling me ‘Ma’am’. Just Aya will do.”
“Yes Ma… Aya.”
This made her smile as she turned away and moved to the back of the shop.
“I’ll show you around. It’s a bit cramped in here, but it worked for my mother and me, so it should work for us too.”
Ganikin grinned as he followed her through the curtain into the living area. This was working out even better than he’d predicted. He not only had a job and a place to stay, but a beautiful woman to share it with. Who could ask for anything more?