Prologue

The Metal-Worker


Turning, turning, turning.

The sound of the water wheel as its paddles splashed through the running river, turning, turning, over and over.

The sound of the bits of metal scraps being tumbled in the barrel, turning, turning, over and over.

The sound of birds returning to their nests, of horses returning to their stables, of children returning to their homes, as the heavens turned dark, the constellations rose from the horizon, the skies turning, turning, over and over.

Snip.

The aged silver shears in her roughened hand were rusted over with use and time, though sufficient for her task. Snip, snip, and strips of thin black leather fell upon the wooden table separating her from the window. From where she stood, she could only just see the fast-fading remnants of twilight as it descended into the western horizon. Dark skies turning darker. Soon, it would be night.

Shears were abandoned in favour of matches. The candle at her side was half-burnt, but it would suffice for now. A brief hiss, a gentle, but warm flickering - and then there was light.

How many more are needed?

She glanced over the mound of carelessly-strewn strips. A quick estimation revealed that there were enough to thread the hundred or so pieces of tumbling scraps. The pieces that, even then, continued to spin in their seemingly endless cycle.

Forged from scraps of soldiers' blades. Pieces of the defence that were unwanted, left behind - yet in their spinning cycle, would come to acquire meaning.

She disengaged the gears that had kept the barrel turning since the previous night, and checked on her new batch of metallic droplets. Satisfied with their shapes, sizes and the smoothness of their surfaces, she began to bore tiny holes into their pointed ends with a sharp hand tool, the veins on the backs of her hands bulging with the resistance in the relatively soft metal.

This piece was soft. Probably not from a sword, then. Perhaps a piece of light armour.

The tool pierced the metal droplet. She withdrew the tool, blew through the hole to clear it, then threaded a strip of leather through it, knotting the ends. One down. About a hundred to go. She considered the end of her week after the following day; maybe she could afford to be lazier tonight.

The simple pendant gleamed as she turned it in her hand, catching the amber candlelight. So warm, yet it would be cold by the time it reached the one for whom it was made. And he, or she - a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, a son, or a daughter, would clutch it and weep as they remember their loss, remember the one they loved, as cold as the pendant in their hands.

Raindrops, she reminded herself. Chastising herself for already thinking such morbid thoughts, when she had only finish one pendant. They're raindrops, not teardrops.

As raindrops fell to the earth and returned to their roots, so did warriors fall and return to the earth. Twenty years ago, there was a storm. These raindrops fell all over Sanctuary, tears shed for the blood of heroes, which was spilt to water this land - a land burnt and parched by the fires of hell, stained by smoke, corroded by sulphur - and returned to it life, joy, and hope.

But now, another storm is coming.

And sometimes, surely even the heavens must weep.


Authors' Notes:

Em: Okay, I feel inclined to point out that Oph wrote most of this chapter. Sneaky little person, writing while I'm out making dinner.

Oph: I had fun. And let ME point out, then, that we HAVE divvied up the jobs pretty well, if I may say so myself. She wrote the fic-description.

Em: Fair point. Many of you may wonder why we named the fic 'Raindrop Pendants'. If you think it sucks, we'll point out that we came up with it in the middle of the night. If you think it's great, however, we'll tell you we came up with it to match the acronym for the words 'role-play', because that, really, is what this fic came from.

Oph: This baby didn't even have a name until we're, what, three, four years into our 'RP'?

Em: Well, now it does! We should also warn you guys - if any of you had been, or are currently reading our Diablo II fics, Oph's Bowslingers and my Footsteps of Glory-

Oph: Gosh I hate that title.

Em: I hate it too. Mine, that is. BUT, the point remains that if any of you are reading those, beware. There be spoilers ahead in Raindrop Pendants. You have been warned!

Oph: Don't think the spoilers are any obvious ones, and even if they are, they're not popping up any time soon, but best to cover our asses early on. Speaking of ass-covering, here's our disclaimer: WE DO NOT OWN THE DIABLO SERIES. BLIZZARD DOES. However, we do own our brains, and unless you're a zombie, you shouldn't go around eating brains.

Em: Here she goes again, with those zombies... anyhow! We hope you've enjoyed this peep into our magical fantastical whimsical fic! Do check back for an update, and remember to drop us a review!