Gabriel walked slowly through the west side of the market. Enjoying the relaxed nature of the people around him, even so he kept his hand discreetly on the hilt of one of his swords. He paused as he saw an old couple with a stall of weapons. He stopped to look at a pair of hand axes.
“Try them?” an old woman said he quickly realized that the woman’s partner was making a drink near the back of the wooden wagon behind the stall and he had been standing staring at the axes for a few minutes without moving. The woman passed the axes to him, they were lightweight and fitted into his clawed hands easily he smiled.
“I have no money,” he realized putting the axes down.
“Nor do we.” The woman smiled “you have never been to a gathering before, have you?”
“No” he replied.
“We are traders” she said “half of your leather tie will be perfect,” Gabriel looked at her as she lifted the end of his braid.
“Huh?” he said “you're not serious?”
“Do you want the axes?” the woman said.
“They’re beautiful” he said longingly “I would love them but…”
“No buts,” she smiled “is that a yes?” Gabriel nodded and the woman used a tiny knife to cut half of the tie in his hair, then she retied it tightly. “Let me show you.” He followed her to the rear of the table and she sat down the tie in her old fingers. Miniscule slivers of metal ran from inside her sleeves and down to her fingers joining together, they stopped as a shining broadsword sat in her hands its handle was wrapped in leather.
“How did you do that?” Gabriel asked
“The leather you covet, a psychic link is a powerful piece of magick and we are metal smiths.” The woman’s partner joined them
“Metal is all around us, in the Earth in us in you. It answered our request and used the energy from you to form what we wanted.” She smiled. “The weapon is good, you take care of yourself well.” She tested the blade and Gabriel smiled as he saw the blood that seeped from her thumb was a copper colour.
“Metal smiths” he said the two women nodded.
“There are a lot of rare crafters here” the first woman said “we are common, if we surprise you you'll be amazed at some of the others.”
“Well,” Gabriel smiled. “Thank you.” He said gratefully tucking the axes into his belt. “And thanks for showing me.”
“You are welcome.” The women said together “and thank you for a fine bit of magick.” Gabriel left the stall.
“Nice guy” one old woman said the woman beside her carefully put the sword on the table.
“Nice manners.” The other nodded.
Dawn and Lou waited in their small tree house, the roots had lifted to form a kind of wooden igloo.
“So why are we here?” Dawn asked.
“Waiting” Lou answered Dawn sighed as he tried control his impatience the band on his wrist flared. “They should be here soon, do you want to look at the market?”
“sure.” Dawn said he pulled his hood up to cover his face in shadow, he didn't feel like being social with anyone who recognized him.
“I agree with that.” Lou smiled pulling his own up. “I'm not feeling social just yet.”
“Besides everyone thinks you're dead.” Dawn growled.
“There’s that too,” Lou grinned.
“Will the bags be safe?” Dawn asked as they got outside the tree shivered and the igloo closed tightly.
“I’d say so” Lou nodded he rested a hand on the tree and closed his eyes.
“Lou?” Dawn said after a few moments
“sorry.” Lou smiled looking at him “the magic here is old its nice, new magick is so harsh.” Dawn nodded as they walked into the darkening market. Lamps were being lit and strings of lights were draped over the tree braches.
“daemons.” A voice said behind them they turned to see Pan stood behind them a hood of leaves covered his head.
“The trees welcomed us.” Pan smiled pulling his hood down and Lou sighed in relief.
“As did I” Pan said “you are more than welcome. Your friends are deciding whether they can move about freely.”
“Are there any other daemons here?” Dawn asked as Pan looked up at the cloudy sky.
“There are many others that are similar but none the same as you two. The sun has set.”
“Its getting cold,” Dawn said.
“Not cold just wet.” Lou said as the first drops of rain began to fall.
“There are shelters that go up” Pan said “there is also food” he seemed to be paying more attention as he looked closely at Dawn. “You are unwell.” He frowned.
“I'm okay” Dawn said shuffling his feet Pan looked around.
“Go down there, to the left third right and left again.” Pan pointed with a long finger, “there is an apothecary that may be able to help. There is a metal smith to its left.” Lou nodded and bowed slightly as Pan said goodbye.
“Come on” Lou's said following the forest spirits directions.