Short Stories from Reborn from Ashes:
You've read the main story of how Sen-Mithrarin was reborn, and saved the kingdom of Falana once again with the help of allies both old and new. Now, find out what other adventures Dust and the other denizens of Falana got up to before, during and after saving the world from the Tyrant King.
A Blacksmith Comes to Town:
It wasn’t often that Dust helped out at the shop, but Mordecai was expecting a delivery that day and had asked Dust if he could lend a hand helping him and Kalyn take in the stock. With a playful warning from his mother to not get himself blacklisted, and a promise of pay for his work, Dust agreed.
“Thanks for helping out today, Dust,” Kalyn smiled when Dust arrived outside the shop promptly at the agreed time. “This really is a big help.”
“No problem,” Dust replied. “You know me — always happy to help.”
“Another thing you get from your mom,” Kalyn giggled, her only reply from Dust being his tongue poking out at her. “I’m kidding. But you both like helping people, though.”
“True,” Dust shrugged. “So, what’s the delivery today?”
“A blacksmith from Archers’ Pass is dropping by to restock our augments and rings supplies,” Kalyn explained. “Apparently she comes from a family of blacksmiths, though it’s just her and her brother running the place now.”
“You ever met the lady?” Dust asked.
“Uh…don’t think so?” Kalyn winced. “At least, I don’t think she’s come by since I started working here. Although Avgustin says she’s a nice girl — she’s apparently like a niece to him or something.”
Well, Avgustin was like an uncle to pretty much everyone, but if Avgustin thought someone was a good person then the general consensus in Aurora was that they could be trusted. Dust reckoned that this blacksmith must be nice if Avgustin of all people said so. Mordecai cam out to join the kids moments later.
“Ah, so glad to see you, Dust,” he greeted. “Miss Haley should be arriving any moment. Thank you again for your help.”
“Not at all, Mordecai,” Dust smiled with a playful salute. “Happy to help.”
“Hey! Mordecai!” a yell sounded. The trio turned to face down the street, spying a rabbit Warmblood with bright, peach-pink hair dragging a cart through Aurora. She wore dungarees over a light brown shirt, and her hair was tied back in a ponytail. Her eyes were kind and cheery, peeking out from a swept-back fringe.
That had to be Haley.
“Ah! Not a moment too soon, my dear,” Mordecai greeted. Dust and Kalyn smiled and waved as well as Haley pulled the cart to a stop. “I trust that this is everything?”
“Well, I’m not one to leave a customer unsatisfied so I jolly well hope so,” Haley laughed. “These your helpers for the day?” she asked, indicating the kids.
“Well, Kalyn is my official employee,” Mordecai explained. “Young Dust is just helping take this in.”
“Hiya!” Kalyn smiled.
“Nice to meet you, Miss,” Dust chimed in. Haley smiled as she greeted them back, but Dust could have sworn that her gaze lingered on him for a split second before she snapped out of a momentary trance.
“R-right back at you, kids,” she said. “Shouldn’t be anything too heavy in there — just take it through and I’ll sort out payment with your boss.”
“Got it!” the kids chorused as they got to work taking the stock through to the back room of Mordecai’s shop. As they did so, Mordecai began sorting out the money he owed Haley, who spoke to him in an undertone as Dust vanished inside.
“Mordecai…that’s never…is it…?” Haley whispered.
“According to Ms Ginger, yes,” Mordecai murmured back. “Although we’ve never said anything to him. We wouldn’t want to burden the boy with that.” Haley nodded in understanding.
“I see,” she said, just in time as Dust and Kalyn came back out to grab the rest of the stock. “Anyway, that’ll be what we agreed.”
“Of course,” Mordecai nodded, handing over a purse to Haley. The blacksmith weighed it quickly and, satisfied that it contained what she was expecting, tucked it into her pocket. Dust and Kalyn headed back indoors with the last of the stock from the cart.
“I can’t believe he’s actually been given another chance,” Haley remarked quietly. “I guess Fate really does work in mysterious ways.”
“Whatever the reason, it is good to have him back,” Mordecai replied. “He’s as helpful as ever, if a bit of a trickster when it suits him.” Haley chuckled just as Dust and Kalyn came back out again.
“Did we just miss a joke?” Kalyn smirked.
“Adult talk, kids,” Haley replied quickly. “Maybe when you’re older.” Dust and Kalyn both pouted, making expressions that were so close to identical that if it weren’t for the fact that one was a rabbit and the other was a fox Warmblood, Haley would have sworn they were related. Her laughter at their faces made them break into smiles fairly quickly, though.
“Is there anything else that needs doing?” Dust offered.
“No, no — you two got everything,” Haley smiled. “Don’t let your boss forget your earnings too.”
“I do not shirk paying wages where they are due!” Mordecai protested.
“I’m kidding, Mordecai, calm down,” Haley chuckled. She turned to face the kids, and once again her eyes settled on Dust. “Dust, right?”
“Yeah,” Dust nodded. Haley stayed quiet as if in thought for a second or two before speaking again.
“You know, you remind me a lot of an old friend,” she said. “I think you’ve got some great adventures ahead of you, kid.” Dust blinked in confusion for a moment.
“What makes you think that?” he asked.
“Oh, nothing much,” Haley shrugged. “Just a feeling I get from seeing you, is all.” She smiled and went to pick up her cart again, ready to head back to Archers’ Pass and back to her forge, where her younger brother, Matti, would be waiting. “Well, I’ll be seeing you guys around. That forge won’t be running full speed with just one person there.”
“Hope to see you soon, Haley!” Kalyn waved as Haley began heading back through Aurora towards Abadis Forest.
“Bye!” Dust called.
For a second, Haley was tempted to ask them to drop by the forge for a visit, but stopped herself at the last moment. This Dust, whether or not he had the spirit of the Dust she’d known before, had a new life ahead of him. Instead, she waved and turned her back away from the shop, focusing on her path home.
It was enough that Dust was living happily, and she would be ready to provide gear if ever he went on a new adventure.