Prologue

The Metal-Worker

Turning, turning, turning.

The sound of the water wheel's paddles splashing through the running river: turning, turning, over and over.

The sound 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 rising from the horizon, the skies turning, turning, over and over.

Snip.

The silver shears in her roughened hand were tarnished from age and wear, though sufficient for her task. Snip, snip; strips of thin black leather fell upon the wooden table between her and the window. She could barely see the fast-fading remnants of twilight as the sun disappeared behind the distant hills.

Soon, it would be night.

The shears were abandoned in favour of matches. The candle at her side was half-burnt. A brief hiss, a gentle flicker… and then there was light.

How many more are needed?

She glanced at the mound of carelessly-strewn strips. A quick estimation: there were enough to thread the hundred-or-so pieces of tumbled scraps. As she counted, the pieces continued to spin in their seemingly endless cycle: turning, turning, over and over.

The pieces were forged from scraps of soldiers' gear. The broken pieces of defence that were unwanted, left behind - yet in their turning, they would 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 tool, the veins on the backs of her hands bulging from the resistance of the metal.

This piece was soft - probably not from a sword; perhaps a piece of light armour.

The tool pierced the metal droplet. She withdrew it, cleared the hole with a soft puff of her breath, then threaded a strip of leather through it, knotting the ends.

One down. About a hundred to go.

She considered the end of her work 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. 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 chastised herself for 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 warriors fell and returned to the earth. Twenty years ago, there was a storm. Raindrops fell all over Sanctuary - tears shed for the blood of heroes, spilt to water 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.


A/N

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!