Probationary Hire

Title: Probationary Hire
Time Period: July 12th 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Moira comes to Afanc Armors to see if Blake will honor the word of the absent Douglas Brown.

It isn't especially cold even though the sun is getting lower in the sky, but the twin chimneys of Afanc Armors are emitting a dark smoke. Beneath the useless sign, the front door is a few inches ajar; held there against the breeze that threatens to open it further by a wooden triangle lightly jammed into the back of it. From the overgrown path outside, it's easy to hear the sound of metal striking metal with a distinct rhythm of tap, tap, TAP, tap. From just outside the entrance, it's hard to ignore the heat that pours out of the barely open doorway even though the ironclad windows are all open.

Inside, no one can be seen manning the counter of the dim main room. The only light is a mixture of the white of an electric bulb and red of molten metal pouring in from the doorway on the other side of the brick; overpowering what tiny bit manages to filter in through the dirty windows.

It was a bit of a trek from the Lachlan farm, to Afanc Armors, so Moira didn't arrive nearly as early as she had intended. She had at least dressed for the 'ocassion' remembering what her father had always told her, to look nice when asking favors. Her hair -had- been neatly brushed, and her dress was relatively dirt-free, until she arrived. By the time she heard the tap-tap of whoever was working inside, there were various bits of stick and the like clinging to the hem of her long, black dress. Her fair shoulders were left bare, small straps holding the heart-shaped neckline of the bodice up. A matching black adder is coiled around her neck, coassionally shifting against her skin, particularly when her long, tangled hair sweeps down around her shoulders, the 'animal' trying to get away from the clearly irritating strands.

There is a hesitant pause from Moira, boots scuffing against the ground noisily before she steps into the doorway, knocking politely on the door and calling out in a smooth tone, "Hello..?" Presented with the heat coming from inside, the young woman's cheeks color pretty quickly, a red flush creeping onto her skin at the sudden change in temperature. She doesn't look at all phased by the heat, simply blinking into the light and slowly starting to peek her head around the doorway in an attempt to see who was there.

Polite as Moira's entrance is, the response that gets shouted over the noise of work is a rough and annoyed, "Keep your fuckin' pants on! I'll be right out." The sound of work stops, and Blake all-but-manifests in the doorway as he goes to peer around it to see who is calling; not recognizing the voice. In the process, he nearly headbutts Moira. He is undressed from the waist up, and completely drenched in his own sweat. His eyebrows are low and his expression accusatory as if him nearly skulling the young woman is her fault. "Don't tell me you're here for armor…" he inquires with the skepticism clear in his tone, but his gaze drops to the base of her neck; annoyance replaced by curiosity. He moves out of sight again, but only for a moment. Walking into the main room as he pulls an off-white tunic over his head, it immediately begins to cling to his form and dampen from his perspiration. The smell of heat and metal dominates all other scents in the room.

Moira's head rears back, looking suspiciously like her familiar as he does the same. Voltaic hisses quietly, putting 'words' to how Moira felt about the near-headbutt. A white brow slowly lifts above her left eye, the snake's tongue flickering out as its head lifts to observe the man. The young woman's dark eyes take a moment to look him over before speaking.

"In a sense. Are you B-," she starts before he wanders off to retrieve a shirt, lips pressing together to add a slight hint of frown to her otherwise placid features. She steps inside, just far enough to watch the man, and hopefully not far enough to impose, because she was apparently worried about that sort of thing. She wasn't typically insecure, but this was new territory for Miss Lachlan. "Are you Blake Esho?" she repeats, the name falling strangely from her lips, as if there was a slight hiss to the man's last name. Voltaic seems disinterested once again, but shifts so his head rests on her shoulder, bifurcated tongue flickering from his mouth from time to time.

Blake uses the bottom of his shirt to wipe off his face with no sign of concern for the fact that the tunic is rapidly becoming a sweat rag. After he drops the hem, he looks over at Moira, but not at her eyes. He is looking down at her dress, and then he looks around her to see if someone else is entering. A frown plays at the corners of his mouth. Only then does he answer her question. "Aye. What do you want?" Eyes on the counter, he walks in that direction to hoist up a waterskin; quaffing the surely-warm liquid within with great thirst. It is very hot in the building even though the roof is built high with intentions of wicking that heat upward. He gasps for air before a second long draw from the skin, then shakes the last drop of it out on the ground with that frown finally winning his face. The skin is tucked halfway into the waist of his pants as he begins to move towards the front door of the building.

Suddenly glad that she chose not to wear the shawl that went with the dress, Moira runs he rhands down the skirt, as if straightening the fabric, stepping inside more fully so she didn't have to raise her voice. "I spoke to Douglass some time ago. He said I could have a job here… But. Seeing as no one's heard from 'im lately… I was wondering if the offer was still…valid," she asks, a small smile spreading over her lightly freckled features. Voltaic's head tilts slightly at Moira's smile, as if he were attempting a similar gesture, head lifted just slightly off her shoulder. While awaiting an answer, or some form of snarky retort, she suspected, she takes the time to look around, staying where she was relatively near the doorway, hands clasping in front of her. "Do you work here by yourself now?" she asks as an afterthought, clearly noting no one else around, at the moment.

About to head out to the well, Blake instead stops the moment Douglas is mentioned. The frown leaves his face, but his expression is much more intense as he turns towards Moira and looks her right in the eyes. He hears her out, staring the whole time. He doesn't reply during her pause, and he doesn't immediately answer her question. He stares for a few extra seconds before he speaks. "Master Brown," he begins with no small amount of pointedness to his correction, "is the person you would have to talk to about such things. When he returns." For the most part, his accent is perhaps a tad more subtle than many locals, but his R's do bounce against the roof of his mouth like most. As if that wasn't defiant enough, he drops his gaze to look Moira from ankle to eyes in no hurry and adds, "What was he plannin' to hire you on as, anyways? You barely look like you can lift your skirt, let alone a hammer."

At Blake's clearly irritated tone, she offers a small, sheepish smile. "Apologies. Master Brown," she amends. Voltaic rises from her shoulder to help Moira stare him down, her dark blue gaze not at all faultering. She hadn't done this man any wrong, after all, so she refused to drop her gaze until he did. A hint of a stubborn streak, perhaps. She can't help the hand that comes to rest on the soft curve of her hip, the adder slidding around her neck and partially down that arm, Moira clearly unperturbed by the movement. The snake looks like he might be trying to direct the man's gaze. Though Voltaic had been bored before, if a snake's eyes could show mirth, then the look he had now was it. "I can lift an 'ammer just as well as you. My family has a farm on the outskirts. One they've chosen to abandon. -Master Brown-, " Moira emphasises, "Didn't mention any particular job. But I do need one. There's no place else that'll have me." There's another pause, and then, "The armory is closer to the farm than most other places here. It'll let me keep an eye on things back home," she explains, the hand not currently resting on her waist sweeping back through her hair. Perspiration had begun to break out over her forehead, the long hair probably nto the most comfortable. After a moment, the arm that Voltaic was beginning to twine around is lifted, directing him back to his perch, although he still stares down Blake. As if just -asking- him to say something else. Come on. Something. There's a quiet hiss as he settles, eyes unblinking.

Despite his attitude, Blake doesn't spit out words the first chance he gets. His eyes do narrow with offense, however, as she's informed she can lift a hammer as good as he can. Sweat drips from his noise as he states with a tone of nastiness rather than helpfulness. "Would you like directions to the Dovetail? I hear they're hiring uppity girls from rundown farms." Before she can really respond, he adds to his statement. "Actually, allow me to show you how full of shite you are first and spare them some o' that lip." He pulls the waterskin he was holding, half-drops half-throws it to the ground and walks back towards the workshop as he waves a hand after himself for her to follow. "Come 'ere." There is no question in his words, but the indifference of them makes it less commanding; like he expects her to just turn and walk out instead and that wouldn't bother him.

There's a slight roll to Moira's eyes. Uppity. Well..maybe she could have approached this whole situation a little better. Her head shakes, filling that realization away for later. Following, she feels Voltaic tense around her neck, a glare offered to the adder before she lifts an index finger to prod at his face. As she walks through the shop to follow blake, she stoops briefly to pick up the water skin, placing it on the nearest available, not-scalding-hot surface she sees, and then continues on to the workshop behind the man. "Yes?" she asks sweetly to the 'Come'ere', her general indeifference to his attitude slipping just -slightly-, although that small smile remains on her features.

Blake heads back into the hot, lit room he was in when Moira entered, moves to the center of it and stands on the far side of the knee-high anvil that sits there. "This anvil is over a century old. It hasn't been moved in thirty years. I use it to pound ingots into sheets, as does Master Brown, as did two generations of Master Woosencrafts before him. If you can manage to pound the smallest ingot of brass - my softest alloy - into a sheet, then I will hire you on until the master returns. If you give up before you manage to do so, then you go back to your dead farm and waste no more o' my time." A touch of a smile plays at his eyes and lips; suggesting either amusement at the thought of her toil or some trick up his sleeve. He clears his throat and adds, "Do we have a deal?"

Moira takes a slow look around, as if commiting the area to memory, left arm and hand lifting slightly as Voltaic moves away from her neck. The familiar slides slowly down her arm…carefully onto the floor and moving out of the way. Clearly Moira wanted the job, because she reaches into a hidden pocket in her dress, and pulls out a length of matching black ribbon. Her hair is tied back quickly, a few smaller strands clinging to her lightly perspiring face. If she had sleeves, she would have rolled them up…but instead, a small smile mimics the one Blake gives to her as she holds a hand out. "Deal," she agrees, not nearly as wordy as the man, it seems, hand offered over the anvil since she now stands on the opposite side.

"I would show you how not to break your back doin' it, but…" he gives her a look as he trails off, not repeating her earlier words but certainly inferring at them. Stepping to the one of the back tables, he pulls out a drawer and pulls out three sizes of ingots all of the same copperish hue. "Just so you know I am no' cheatin' you, these are the sizes I have." He waves a hand at the sizes and then picks up the narrowest of the three; pinching it between his thumb and index finger. How much hand strength that requires might not register until he sets it on the anvil. It clanks heavily even though it was not slammed. "Take your pick of any hammer in the room." His arms cross with the statement, and there's an overconfident look on his face as he stands there.

Presently, there are over a dozen hammers in the room. Some have rounded heads, but most are approximately flat along their striking surface. They vary in size from a tiny little ball peen hammer used for tacking tiny nails into leather, to a black-headed hammer with a head the size of a maul's, but a much shorter handle.

Moira's familiar watches from a safe distance, coiled neatly under the nearest table, eyes staring at the two humans. Quietly, the young woman nods, retracting her hand so she can walk around to the plethora of hammers. She doesn't go for the -biggest- one, but damn near close. She knew her limitations, after all. Without a word, she makes sure the ingot is steady on the anvil, takes a moment to shake her head slightly to toss her long hair back behind her shoulders, and then lifts the hammer, pausing just slightly before bringing it down with a resounding ring. She looks as if she's done this before, certainly, but she was by no means a master at the art. Stronger than she looks, Moira finds a rhythm, trying to make quick work of pounding the ingot into a sheet. "Quick" work is relative, of course. She doesn't tire out quickly, but she does eventually tire out, taking at the very -least- two or three times as long ot pound the ingot into a sheet as Blake would. She would keep going until he'd tell her to stop, brow knitting slightly into tiny wrinkles, and a strange noise beginning to accompany the ringing of the hammer against the metal. Upon closer inspection, it would appear that little static sparks would be traveling along the flat-ish (sort of…there was progress at least) ingot, and down the anvil to the floor.

Blake does look a little like the rug was swept out from under him when Moira doesn't fall for the classic blunder of choosing a small hammer that would uselessly bounce off the metal. He watches without comment with both arms crossed stubbornly over his chest. After a couple minutes he walks out of the room. Returning a quarter of an hour later, he is carrying two buckets filled with water. He slides these under a table, glances at Moira's progress, and leaves again. This process repeats a handful of times before he finally, without even a hint of sympathy on his face for her exhaustion, waves a hand. "Stop." He holds out one of the two buckets he brought in this trip towards her. "Have a drink and explain those… sparks to me. They aren't really sparks, are they? Are you using some spell?"

Mid-swing, Moira stops, though the hammer continues and drags her hand with it down to the anvil again. Balancing it carefully, she pauses to take a drink, and then paws at her face with her free hand to pluck away the strands of hair that were now sticking to her skin. Though her dress had looked just a little dirty, before, it was pretty bad, now. Walking into town with it was the longest she'd worn it, aside from the funeral it was initially intended for. A lopsided little smile forms over her features, shoulders shrugging tiredly. Eventually, her lips manage to form words. "It's just from the fatigue…the reptitive motion," she says, motioning to the anvil that was now static-free. As if that explained everything. Her hands lift thereafter to rest on her hips, shoulders slouched as she takes a moment to breathe. Her face is flushed a bright red, and she's perspiring of course, but doesn't seem to mind, although she did look like she wished she had a place to sit.

If Blake notices Moira's desire to sit, he certainly doesn't show it. Instead he looks at the anvil with one eyebrow high, then looks at Moira with them both raised and states, "That was possibly the worst fuckin' explanation I've ever heard." He looks at the half-flattened ingot as he continues. "I guessed you a mage from the serpent you wore like a scarf on the way in here. That or some witch that escaped drowning. You some kind of electricity mage or something?" He turns his gaze back to her and elaborates before she can continue. "I would not give a fuck about your talents, but such things can affect metals in strange ways…."

Moira can't help a laugh. Maybe she was -that- tired, from the long walk, physical exertion, and everything. Instead of sitting, she chooses to lean a little on the anvil. "Apologies," she says, a little less breathless now, mirth still clear in her tone. "My magic is typically channeled through physical movement with the help of specific phrases and words. When I'm particularly tired, it's sometimes hard not to turn to the comfort of magic. Although I don't usually realize it at the time. But don't worry. I've only ever magnetized a handful of metals before. It takes quite the electrical current to do such a hting," she says, probably the longest 'speech she's given in days. The young woman looks a little disconcerted as she eyes Blake. "Does that explain things a little better, mister Esho?" she asks, without sweet tone, simply trying to determine whether or not heunderstood. She wasn't too sure she understood half the time, you see.

Blake is obviously thoughtful at this news, but manages to give a distracted nod and "Aye" after a pause. Turning around, he walks over to the table in the room that stands out the most; the one covered with bowls filled with ground or shaved metals of various kinds. Hoisting one of the pieces of pottery that sits there up off of it, he turns and lifts the little pot to indicate it. "This is oil of vitriol," he tells her. His use of the archaic term rather than 'sulfuric acid' shows his knowledge is more practical than academic. He then sloshes the container around to show via sound how little is in there. "Sometimes I use this dangerous shite to pit the metal for a certain effect. It's also used with electricity to anodize, but I doubt it would go unnoticed if I started using so much." Blake returns the oil to the exact same place he moved it from. "If you were given an apprenticeship, would you be willin' to assist in some experiments?" His gaze sweeps over her face in an examining fashion.

Moira nods, leaning a little more heavily on the anvil now, head craning jut slightly to see the acid. "I would be willin', yes," she says, pausing. Voltaic moves from his 'hiding' place to slither across the floor toward her, interested in these 'experiments'. "We always do enjoy learning," she elaborates, and then says, "I don't know a great deal about these sorts of things. Only what was hepful around the farm. Me an' my da were pretty much working the place by ourselves there for a while." Another pause, looking around for that water to take another drink, and take a moment to run her hands back through her hair, right hand seeming a little more shakey than usual. "If you'd teach us," she begins, eyes shifting to Voltaic where he slides up the anvil to be more at eye level with the humans. "We would greatly appreciate it," she finishes, a broad, friendly smile forming over her features. Of course. She needed the job, pretty desperately, but this was certainly one area she'd always found at least interesting.

Blake doesn't confirm the offer. Instead, he gives Moira a scolding look. "Are you the fuckin' queen or somethin' and you failed to mention it? If not, drop the 'we'. I don't give a rat's ass what your familiar thinks." He turns his head to the right, towards the small room of the building that Moira hasn't seen, and shouts like he's trying to speak through it, "You as well, fucker!" As if nothing has happened, he looks back and manages to find more fault with Moira. "Are you tryin' to mount my anvil? Pull over a stool if ya need a sit. Not like your skinny arse is goin' to break it." Picking up one the last of the eight buckets he's hauled in, he slides it under the table with the rest. "There's a well about a five minute walk from here. Don't use the one just at the top of the hill here. It smells like rot." He comes back to the anvil to hoist up the flattish chunk of brass. "Where are you stayin'?"

Moira's eyes roll, a sracastic, "-Maybe-" slipping out, although her hint of a smile still remains. Apparently Blake's surliness was quite amusing. Other than her father, she'd never met anyone quite that…upset with the world. A brow quirks at the exclamation, head tilting to one side. She doesn't ocmment, though, that further cementing her thought that, just maybe, he was a little nuts. She does pull up a stool, though, even if it does take her a second to find one. Her eyes peer outside briefly, as if looking for the well, about to say something until he asks his question. "Ehm.." she says,having not really thought about that. "At home?" she says a little uncertainly. apparently she'd plan to walk all the way home after this, a light flush coming to her cheeks, making her face all the more red. "I hadn't really thought about it, to be honest. I'll probably find a place in town somewhere. Maybe."

"Unless you get a room at the Dovetail," he just glances over and stops speaking for a second to allow the insinuations of that to sink in, "there isn't much close. Whatever the fuckin' case, I want you here at dawn every mornin' even if that means you're sleepin' behind the counter. Tomorrow I'll walk you through your daily chores. You should be done with them by noon or so, and then if you prove yourself not to be a complete fuckin' numpty, we'll start the real work in the afternoon." He steps closer and points down at her like he's about to make a threat. "If ya think you 'ave just landed yourself an easy job, I suggest you don't even bother to show the fuck up. Understood?"

"I guess I'm sleeping behind the counter, then. Took me over half a day to get here on foot. Granted, that was in a dress," she muses, and then just shakes her head, a hand lifting to run back through her long hair. She clearly ignores the quip about the Dovetail, honestly not -too- sure what it was, but able to glean that it was probably another insult. There's a pause, Moira's head tilting up to peer at Blake when he points down at her. "What makes you think I thought this would be an easy job? I'm not used to easy, Blake," she says, leaning to look around him to the door in an attempt to figure out what time it was, by now. It was getting late. "I should get my things, though. Here by dawn, you say?" she confirms, moving to slide off the stool she'd come to sit on, and reaching for Voltaic, who's starting to look a little agitated, constantly moving, tongue flickering with the ocassional, quiet hiss. Her head just shakes to him , as if in answer to a question. Apparently she intended to run aaaalll the way back home, and then back here by dawn. If only she wasn't wearing the damn dress…

At the mention of the dress, Blake doesn't even try to conceal his roll of the eyes. He looks down at the hem of mentioned garment and then back up at Moira's face with an obvious expression of disapproval. "Mister Esho." While the correction to title and surname is pointed, it is yet another sign that Blake has yet to accept his mentor as departed; apparently without a guild to promote journeymen there is only one master of the shop at a time. "You'll never make it through the 'morrow without rest. Fetch your things the next day." His eyes narrow thoughtfully as he stares. "…That way you don't waste your fuckin' time if I end up firin' you by evening."

Voltaic pauses, about halfway up Moira's arm, both of them turning to peer at Blake. "Apologies," the young woman offers, the adder instead curling up atop the anvil again. Moira's hands brush down over her wrinkled dress, feeling far out of her comfort zone. "Mister Esho," she amends, looks around, and then hops up onto the stool again, face quite flushed still from the heat and the exertion. Her dark blue eyes flick to Voltaic, again, head shaking minutely once more, and then offering a small smile to Blake. "Thank you for giving me the chance," she says, feeling a little stupid, and not entirely sure what to do at this point. She wanted to ask him about himself…about Afanc Armors…but it appears she's trying to get up the nerve to talk to him…he certainly wasn't making it easy, so far.

Blake walks away with quick steps without warning. He angrily snatches at the painted canvas that separates his room from the rest of the building and yanks it open; the bronze rings sliding along the galvanized steel rod creates a sound like someone loudly and angrily sharpening a blade with one stroke. He snaps as he glares into the exposed room, "Then get the fuck out there and catch yourself some food!" An ugly toad stares back at him, blinks, stares some more and then hops out of the room. The creature stops there, turning to stare silently at Moira and Voltaic in turn. Blake makes a soft noise of frustration, "You stupid cunt. Go hunt if you're fuckin' hungry. Starin' contests won't put a thing in that lazy gut." The stare returns to the proprietor in defiance.

Moira quirks a blonde brow to blake when he starts yelling at the toad. Her head shakes, turning briefly to Voltaic and leaning down so she was more at eye level with him. "Yes, go on," she coos quietly. "Just be careful, you don't know them," she says, a little more quietly as the adder moves to join the toad, quite hungry, himself, and making sure to mention that as he slithers out the nearest doorway. Her voice raises slightly, feet drawaing up to rest her heels on one of the higher rungs on the stool, hands resting in her lap, "That's your familiar?" She's curious, of course, not having personally met any others like herself. Seen them, yes. Met them? Never. Moira leans slightly forward to get a good look at the toad, offering a kind smile, should it happen to look in her direction at any point.

As Moira smiles the ugly toad distorts, swells and sprouts clumps of gray fur out of its warty flesh. In a moment, it has shifted into a mangy wolf that appears to be of rather ill-temper (if the way its snout is curled up at the sides to expose teeth can be trusted). Turning about, it runs out the door with an intentionally poorly-aimed bite at the adder either to hurry it up or show it who's boss around here.

Blake looks over at Moira with an annoyed twist to his eyebrows. "That's Pighead. He's about as much my familiar as a mole on my back is my friend. Stubborn fuck." He shakes his head and changes subject. "Chicken? Throwin' some on to cook 'ere soon. Should be enough for your skinny arse."

Moira winces slightly when the mangy wolf aims a bite at Voltaic, that wince turning into a laugh she attempts to stifle with ah and. Her familiar shifts as well, perhaps a little more fluidly than Pighead. He wasn't as much a fan of fur, but appears comfortable enough as a red fox, most of the white tinted fur a strange grey color. "You two seem to suit each other," she comments to Blake in a sweet tone, echoing what Voltaic had said to her on his way out the door. Standing, she tugs up at the front of her dress, becoming increasingly more uncomfortable. At least she could sort of let up the heat, reaching in to a hidden pocket in the dress and pulling a matching black ribbon from within. Taking a moment to tie back her hair, she asks, "Can I help with dinner?" If she was going to stay, she may as well make herself useful, right?

The only response Moira's statement about Pighead gets is a low, huffing exhalation of breath. The offer to help with dinner, however, is more than readily accepted. Blake nods as he juts a thumb over his shoulder. "Chicken's hangin' from the eaves. Got a firepit at the top of the hill. Height keeps the smoke from stinkin' the shop up. Pot is under there," he points towards the counter. "If you know how to use a bow you can take mine up. Should be able to get at least one shot off 'fore a threat gets to you if ya see one." Eyebrows dropping as he reaches out towards her left arm with his right hand to try and give it a rough, warning grip. "Don't be too careful out here, aye? I 'ave seen things through these windows that would rob your sleep."

Well…she'd offered to help, not -make- dinner. But ah well. Nodding to him, she moves to retrieve the pot from under the counter. She nearly drops it, though, when he grabs her arm, shoulders hunching up, brow knitting together when she nods hesitantly to him. "I… I think I'll take that bow, thanks," she says quietly, his warning tone not exactly a comforting thing accompanied by the grip on her arm.

Blake sends Moira off ahead as he fetches and strings his recurve bow, grabs his quiver and walks it up the steep hill to her. At least the chicken is plucked already. By the time he gets back to the shop, Pighead has already returned and is sitting on the counter in typical fire-bellied toad form. Blake gives him a sideways glance and nods; speaking even though the two share a telepathic link, as always. "Aye. I'll work her to the bone tomorrow. …She won't last a fuckin' day."