A quiet knock but with weight, on the wood door of my shop. Deep evening, winter’s blue black and the hush of deep snows.
“Come in,” I said.
Cloaked figure stepped through, gracefully, balanced muscle and power. Greying hair. Two half-wolf dogs slipped in behind him, circling the room, settling at attention, tails to the hearth.
He looked at me appraisingly through one clear eye, the other covered by a patch. Snowflakes rising as steam from his woolen mantle. I nodded.
“Please make yourself comfortable. Mead?”
“Yes, thanks.” he replied.
He studied my tools, the layout of my workspace, builds in progress. “You have a certain mastery,” he said. “I value the precision in your work.” He continued: “Skill and trust are the coin of my realm.”
I recognized him as a leader of men.
“I have…an adventure ahead.” His eye glinted with mirth.
I intimated thoughtfully, almost as an aside: “Perhaps related to the follies of Lear.”
He smiled, then his features hardened. “Many suffer from the foolishness of the few. This world does not abide weakness.”
“Return again in Spring, the first month of green grasses. Your build will be ready.”
We stood, both wolf-dogs bounding out the door into the night. He clasped my forearm strongly, then strode forth beneath breathtaking stars, diamonds in darkness. High above the western horizon, Mars shining red.