That night, Henry slept but his visions were even more persistent. The next morning when he awoke, his frustrations seemed heightened. For a moment, he wondered if this young woman was some kind of sorceress who had cast a haunting spell upon him. But he dismissed the foolish thought at once. Rising from bed, he dressed quickly and made for the shop. His blacksmith duties had taken second priorities since he'd become captain of the royal guard, but there was still a part of him that enjoyed being elbow deep in black coal, dirt and sweat, working and fashioning with his tools; there was something about the heated work that gave him a sense of calm and peace within himself.
Once there, he discarded his outer robes, replaced them with his blacksmiths apron and set to work. Heating the fire pit till it whas white hot, he set about pounding a long piece of iron into a rod that when placed upon the ground, stood a foot past his own height. Once finished he then began heating and pounding out the rough edges and ripples in the metal until all angles of the rod were smooth. Next, he took a smaller piece of steel, roughly the size of a javelin and began to pound it out and shape it so it sloped into the shape of an arrow at the top. When completed, he would weld the spear head to the top of the rod and insert the rod in a carved wooden shaft to reinforce the rod's strength. His thought was to re-fashion a spear and to test it and if it proved stronger than the ones which his men regularly weilded, he would fashion more after the same likeness. After many hours, he'd become so invested into his work that he did not notice a pair of dark eyes watching him.
She stood outside the shop, just across the way so as not to be readily noticed. Her dark eyes were trained on the tall handsome stranger whom she had spotted weeks before at the festival. His strong hands worked deftly and easily at his present task and she was fascinated at how quick yet efficient and skilled his hands were. Just then, a clanging of metal with iron followed by a low curse, broke the crisp morning air. She glanced anxiously to see Henry holding his hand against his waist, his face twisted and grimacing. The sight of red trickling down the side of his hand and onto his wrist, alarmed her. within moments, she was across the way gaining entrance.
"Are you hurt?"
A soft voice sounded from close behind him and Henry, startled stumbled to his feet in haste. When he turned, the sight that met him left him frozen in shock. There she stood; raven black hair gathered beneath the hood of a deep green cloak with pensive brown eyes beneath long black eye lashes, a gaze of concern turned towards him. Her features were petite but her figure was tall, slender and curvey. The top of her head reached perhaps to his shoulder and her skin... it wasn't milkey white as was so often seen of the young maidens of Daggerhorne...her's was a golden honey tone that caught the dancing shadows of the flames from the fire pit. He had never beheld such an exotic creature of such dark mysterious beauty...the novelty of it was both unsettling and intriguing.
"Forgive me but, I was passing by and I saw your...accident. Your hand is it bleeding?" Her dove-like voice questioned.
"Uh...um yes it's...no! No it's completely fine." Henry stuttered over his words; his usual poise and eleoquence was lost in the presence of this creature whose eyes and voice captivated him keenly.
"Look...regardless of what the rest of the villagers here at Daggerhorne may have told you, I'm not some kind of sorceress and I will most certainly not hurt you."
"I never said that you were, I-"
"Your eyes say enough, Lazar."
Henry was stunned. "How...how do you know my name?"
She laughed then; the sound brought a warmth that spread to Henry's entire being. "You don't know how famous and loved you are even among your own people?"
He smiled somewhat sheepishly then. "I suppose...I never really took time to think about it. I follow my duty to protect my people...I don't expect anything in return."
"Well. As much as I wish to refute you on that point, right now all I want is to take a look at your hand and stop the bleeding...so... may I?"
He hesitated a moment; unsure of whether to trust the young girl with the task of tending to him...he knew nothing of her and perhaps even this small act of kindness was a door opened too soon. But then, his mind resounded with Mira's words: "...As for this young woman, don't dismiss the visions of her for they may be well in bringing you to your destiny...get to know her..." He knew then what his decision would be. "Thank you...that is very kind of you."
She smiled and nodded, advancing towards him. The scent of Cinnamon and Twilight wood mixed with Mhyrr, assulted his nose as she stood just before him. Taking his injured hand in her delicate one, she turned it over, inspecting the deep cut. "Hmm, it's a deep cut...the biggest concern right now is infection. Even though it's the dead of winter, infection is just as prevelant as in the summer months..." she trailed off as she removed a small pouch from beneath her cloak. Opening it she procured a small mixture of herbs and spices which she dispensed into a nearby cup. Leaving Henry for a moment, she went to the well and drew some water. Returning, she poured the water into the cup and began mixing the contents with her fingers. Henry watched her, acutely aware of every movement and gesture she made. A period of silence fell between the two as she tested the paste, assenting that it was sufficient. Setting it aside, she took the little water left in the laddle and thoroughly bathed Henry's cut. He grimaced once or twice which was followed by a sincere "sorry" from her. Then, before he knew it, she bent over and taking up the hem of her dress, tore off a long piece about four inches in width.
"Miss, please!" Henry protested.
"Oh don't mind it, this dress is as old as my grandmother and besides I have a few others that are better than this one." Taking the strip of cloth, she spread the paste as evenly as possible over its surface and then commenced carefully binding his hand. Her hands were efficient but so gentle and caring in their ministrations that Henry secretly wished he had cuts and bruises that covered both hands and arms...this angel of mercy paid him with such tenderness and kindness, he did not wish to be free from her capable caring hands. But all too soon, she had finished and secured the bandage with instructions as to keeping the wound clean and dressing changed frequently. His time was running out and Henry had to find some way to keep her longer or to at least ensure her return at some point in the very near future. He fumbled in his mind when suddenly it occured to him.
"Before you leave, I must thank you for your kindness but I can't properly thank you without a name."
She looked at him quizzically then it dawned on her and she blushed a bit. "Oh forgive me...Yasmina. Or if you would prefer, the translation for your language I believe would be Jasmine."
Her name, just as mysterious and lovely as she was, burned in his memory that very moment. "Yasmina... for your services and kindness, I thank you." And he bowed like a perfect gentleman which only caused Yasmina to smile even brighter. "Well might I have the pleasure of your name...your given name that is?" She eyed him with a modest and innocent playfulness that made his eyes sparkle and for the first time in two years he genuinely grinned. "Of course. Henry. Henry Lazar...but please, call me Henry."
She nodded with a warm smile that reached his heart, the warmth spreading through him. "Well Henry...I best be returning home, it is late but I will be by again later...tomorrow perhaps to check on your wound? I mean I think it's best that you keep it dressed with the ointment and nothing against you but I don't trust anyone else to prepare the ointment besides myself because... it has to be a certain kind of amount of mixture to water and the consistency..."
"By all means, I wouldn't want to further risk myself contracting infection; I will happily relinquish myself to the ministrations of your capable hands. My home, it isn't hard to find...its the third one in the third row on the south side of the square."
She nodded. "So tomorrow then?"
He smiled broadly. "Yes, tomorrow then."