Hagan awoke early in the morning. The sun was bright in the cloudless sky, sending Long beams of light through his window. He rubbed his black eyes and stretched his shoulders before dressing. He walked over to the basin near the door and scrubbed his face with the cold water and rinsed his hair. A strange thought troubled his mind as he went about his morning routine.
I still feel the same.
Hagan walked to the front desk and pulled out a bottle of ink, a quill, and some parchment. He started writing a note to Lotho; instructions for him to follow in his absence.
Lotho, I’ve decided to take some time off from the shop. My friends and I have some pressing business to attend to and I’m leaving you in charge of the shop until I return. I’m leaving you my ceremony book should you require anything special for a customer. Just remember to keep track of things in the log book and I’m sure everything will go smoothly. Any equipment you should need is in the back room. I have every confidence that you will do a fine job. I’m leaving some extra coin in the lockbox should you need anything else.
Hagan folded the note and placed it into his pocket. Better not let Lotho know he was leaving just yet.
He unlatched the door and pulled it open, leaving it unlocked as he walked the cobbled path into town. He ran his fingers through his hair almost unconciously. It was nervous habit around unfamiliar people. This mild paranoia was amplified by his dhampir blood. The fear that came with this knowledge was almost not worth the trouble.
What if somone can tell what I am? Is my secret safe with those who know already?
Hagan couldn’t help but wonder if the strength that came with his acceptance of his lineage was a double edged sword. He had gained the strength, but now the Blackbournes knew what he was as well. Yes, they needed his help now, but would his secret be forgotten after the war, or would he have to remain subserviant to them for fear of being exposed?
Amidst his doom-and-gloom mindset, a small ray of hope emerged. The Blackbournes knew what he was, but he knew what they were. More importantly, they knew that he knew this. Still, had they revealed their hand as a sign of trust, or a slip of the tongue? Either way, Hagan had a plan if he were exposed.
As was usual for him, heavy thought made Hagan hungry. He changed his course and headed to Hot Buns for a snack. He pondered speaking with Illyana should they meet, but reasoned that she would either be in her shop, or with Sauveli.
He bought a large cinnamon roll and a mug of hot chocolate before resuming his walk to his original destination; John the Hammer.
He finished his snack moments before John’s smithy came into view. He decised that the incessant noise of a hammer striking hot metal was proof enough that John was there.
Hagan walked through the smithy, admiring the weapons and fine armor on display. John seemed to have a sense of when somone was in his shop; even though his back was turned to Hagan, he shouted to him.
“Be with you shortly, sir!”
Hagan did not respond, but kept peruzing the assortment of armor layed out on crates about the shop. Many were to heavy for him, others simply didn’t fit his style.
Suddenly, Something caught Hagan’s eye. A helmet that seemed to fit his needs. The overall design was simple; riveted plates to cover the head, but with spectacle-like guards for the eyes. Upon closer inspection, Hagan saw that there was also a chainmail aventail that hung from the bottom edge of the helm and could be tucked under clothing or armor. Somthing about this unasuming helm appealed to Hagan. It was sufficient for combat, but it needed somthing. All Shadar-Kai weapons and armor were adorned with markings unique to their owner.
“Can I help you, sir”
Hagan turned quickly, but saw no one. Then he looked down and saw John the Hammer’s soot covered face looking up at him. Hagan handed the helm to John and checked his pockets for his coins.
“How much for this Helm?”
John turned it over a few times, trying to appraise it.
“Well, it’s a simple design, but the aventail makes it worth a bit more…How does 20 gold coins sound?”
Hagan pulled out coins and counted them out before handing them to John.
“How much would you charge for a custom design on this? Nothing too fancy, just some engraving. And can you alter the color of the metal with heat?”
John looked perplexed at Hagan’s question, but thought over the procedure carefully before answering.
“I suppose I could treat the metal in certain spots, but that isn’t easy, so it costs a bit more. And you said you wanted some engraving done…35 gold coins for the whole thing.”
Hagan handed the coins to John who took one and bit down on it, checking its authenticity.
“For the design, I was hoping to have a handprint on the front; having the palm just above the eye guards and the fingers running to the back. And the engraving would be around the edges of the design. How soon can you have this done?”
John thought about it for a moment before responding.
“Throw in another 5 gold coins and I can have it done before dinner.”
Hagan handed John another five gold and bowed slightly as he left. On an impulse, Hagan took a detour down the waterfront. He walked down the coast, past the docks and the ships to a rocky stretch of coast. He stoot on a particularly large boulder and faces the ocean, feeling the cool breeze blow inland off the water. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, smelling the salt in the air. He allowed himself a beif moment of peace before his thoughts consumed him again. Should his company fail to defend against the Volturi, this place he had come to call home would be burned to the ground. Hagan had been drawn out of his first home; he would not loose this one.
Taking one last breath of the saly air, Hagan walked back to the shop. He checked the log book and saw that no one had been in today.
If things keep going this way, Lotho is going to be one bored halfling.
Hagan spend the afternoon inspecting the chainmail in his coat; checking for bent rings or gaps. Then he polished the leather on his coat as well as his boots before walking back to the smithy for his helm. John had done a fine job on the helm and Hagan thanked him again for it before walking to the Drake for his dinner. He decided to spend a bit more for the steak dinner since it might be his last meal at the drake for a while. After a good dinner and a few mugs of ale, Hagan went home and lay awake on his bed. no matter what he did, he felt unprepared for the challanges ahead. As dusk settled on Stony Cross, Hagan drifted off to sleep after a short prayer for the strength to endure the trials to come.