Get The Coals Going

Title: Get the Coals Going
Time Period: July 13, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary:The campfire is not the only thing heating up when one of the Travellers sets her sights on one of Dornie's citizens.

The evening story around the campfire, now one of the faire's most popular attractions — especially because it's free — has come to an end. Some linger, caught up in the magic of the story brought to life by Merripen's voice and Simza's illusions, but it's late and the crowd begins to thin as parents carry sleepy children home and those without children head off to catch one more ride on the pleasure wheel or a fortune from Deya.

Over at the head of the fire, Jibben has brought his father and Simza each a mug of hot tea; the clear night is crisp and chilly and just a touch damp, and at least for Merripen, his voice needs the soothing properties of the tea and honey.

Niall remains behind as the people filter away to tend other duties and delights. The man props himself up against the "corner" of the audience (corner being somewhat of a misnomer given the generally circular nature of the surrounding gathering), and as the Gadja move along, he remains behind. An amused smile quirks on his face, as if he were savoring the wonders he had just beheld and soaking in the last of the night's quiet. Or, he could just be loathe to rise given his still sore trunk of a body. The blacksmith ignores what social cue there might be to rise and leave the Travellers, though, and willfully lingers.

Rising from the log she sits on, Simza murmurs something to her fellow Travellers, then walks the perimeter of the fire to where Niall rests. Without asking, she sits beside him. Perhaps it's something different in their cultures; perhaps it comes from being so much within herself for so long as she painted the pictures to accompany the story, and all day long to create the magic of the carousel. But whatever it is, she doesn't make small talk, but instead goes directly to the question that most relates to her.

"Did you like it?" she asks, her dark eyes studying the side of his face as she lifts the mug to her lips for a sip of the tea. "I've been hoping you'd come by."

It says much of the culture Niall's grown up in, that he doesn't even blink when Simza seats herself closely. Personal boundaries are his present worry anyway. "It was like nothing I've ever seen," he starts as the smile subsides, a thoughtful line replacing it. "Except for the year before. And the one before that." The smile rushes back over, crooked humor dancing at his eyes. "But more to the point… you were looking for me? I saw you glancing over, like maybe you thought I was one of your illusions that would disappear any moment." A sidelong glance twitches over to the illusionist.

The gypsy woman shakes her head. "That wasn't me, any other year, but don't worry, Smith, I will not hold it against you." As for if she was looking at him, she doesn't say, but her cheeks color and she looks down at her boots in the grass. One hand comes up to tuck a ringlet of dark hair behind her back, and she looks up at him through long, dark lashes.

"I think of the two of us, it's more likely me who is gone in the blink of an eye. Here today, gone tomorrow. Such is the way of our life." There's something just a touch wistful in her tone. "My sister… Blythe. She's better at this than I am… Talking to people. Talking to…" she gestures to Niall, and her eyes lift to smile at him, "men, I mean. I'm not as good at it, but I… I wanted to talk to you." Her shoulders lift, and she looks up at him.

Niall blinks blankly at the gypsy with her correction. Then it's his turn to clear his throat and glance to the fire, scrubbing at his shaved head sheepishly. "Heh, well. Then I really haven't seen anything like it before, doesn't it?" he recovers, and turns back to her. "I mean, your performance, it was grand. And I've not spoken with your sister, so I guess I'll say you're doing just fine talking to me." He eases into a wider smile too, meant to encourage as much as allay her doubt. "Just curious, but I'll guess that you're the older?"

The Traveller smiles, and dips her head in the affirmative. "'The quiet one,' I think is the most common phrase you'll hear. But you," she says with a grin, as if giving him some grand privilege that no one else gets, "can call me Simza." She offers her hand — like the rest of her, it's slim and fine-boned, though the callouses suggest she works with more than just her mind to earn her keep in the community.

It's hard to say when it happened, but they are now alone at the fire; the fair itself is quieter, though not completely empty.

"Simza," the smith repeats, trying out even the accent she speaks it with and butchering it all the same. To her hand comes his, thick knuckled but long, roughly calloused and definitely one that suggests his is a life earned in work ethic. "You could call me Niall. Niall Dunmore. And if you ever need some metalwork done, I run one of the forges in town, Dunmore Forge. 'When you need it done, you need it Dunmore.'" He starts to go on, pausing as he catches himself. "Oi, listen to me prattlin' on now like I'm a storyteller. Or a seedy town hawker." He shakes his head at himself, watching his 'game' take a nose dive in front of the young woman.

"Niall," she repeats, and she doesn't let go of his hand. "I told you I wanted to talk to you. You can talk all you like. I'm a good listener. I've never seen a real forge — we have the tinworkers, of course, but that's nothing I'm sure compared to what you do. Can you show me your work? Perhaps tomorrow morning, before I have to work the fair? I can bring us breakfast if you like." Her dark eyes study his face, and it seems she's holding her breath — despite the forwardness of her actions, there's a tension, an uncertainty at work as well.

Is this what it's like? Flirting? And more, how did the Dovetail girls make it so easy to just have a conversation? Niall would have to ask some time. Whenever he mustered up the courage, anyway. He closes his hand around the gypsy's, giving it a light squeeze. "You're most welcome any time to the forge. Fire's low now though, as I've not been working on too many things, but that's ne'er been my problem to get the coals going again." He starts to look towards the storyteller's fire, but her studying of his face draws him back in. Eyes meet, her dark to his lighter. "I mean that in an actual way. Not, you know, 'symbological'. Like, I could show you now… even…" A beat skips. And he leans forward to give her a brief peck on the lips.

Her brows draw together with some confusion as he says the fire low, clearly not understanding what he means, and about to ask when he kisses her. There's the tiniest of gasps but as he pulls away after the brief peck, she leans forward the tiniest bit before catching herself and pulling back again. A quick sip of tea is taken and she lets her eyes move to the fire; her cheeks are pinker than they were a moment before and she can't help but smile.

"Show me?" she echoes.

At first it seems like he may not have actually meant to do that. Niall's eyes dart around as if expecting an authority of the camp jump in and toss him out. Still, the electric tingle at the edges of his mouth spur him on. As she turns to look at the fire, Niall sucks in a breath and lets the 'that just happened' aspect slip along. He embraces the feeling, channeling it towards his fingers and outwards. One hand in hers, the other lifts, palm up to entice the low lying fire in the center of the storytelling circle to grow. Slowly but surely, the flames crackle to life and warmth, reaching up and up with height not normally reached by the lack of fuel to burn.

Then he twists the fire, curling his fingers towards his palm and a lick of the fire swims like an illuminated, faceless snake towards the pair. And it comes to a rested coil in his palm, burning only by the virtue of the air and his will keeping it alive. "What I meant to say was, you really are welcome to stop by the forge any time. Even… tonight, if you can. If you'd like."

When the serpentlike stream of fire comes her way, Simza leans backward, eyes wide, and reflecting the flames like mirrors. She holds her breath, watching that coil in his hand and how he doesn't burn. She shakes her head, dark curls swaying around her cheeks. "My gift is only illusions — this is amazing," she breathes out finally in a shiver.

One hand comes up as if to touch the fire but stopping just above it, as if to warm her hand against its heat.

"Tonight would be fine," Simza murmurs, tucking that hand in his elbow, that solemn expression shifting into a sweet, pleased smile. The mug is set down on the ground, and she rises, all long legs and floaty skirt as she steps over the log that keeps them in the circle. "Shall we?"

The fire swirls in an ever active, truly burning state held tight by Niall's hand. It curls away and eventually dissipates into the night once he lets it go, though the heat lingers between them. He stands along with her, even ignoring the stubborn throb that reclaims its position in his healing side. In the face of that smile of hers, nothing else seems so bad. As he steps over the log and joins her on their way out of the area on the path back to town.