1. A Suitable Blade
The smith raised an eyebrow and Salgant nodded.
"A blade is a blade, no matter how small."
The smith was not convinced.
"This is no more than a letter-opener, though. What use would it be in combat?"
Salgant smiled, shrugged.
"I do not mean it ever to be used in combat, my friend."
The smith raised his eyebrow a second time.
"Then why ask for such enchantments? Why pay for such fine detail? Surely you would be better off doing the work yourself!"
Salgant shook his head.
"Perhaps I would, my friend- but as this blade is meant as a gift, such shoddy workmanship as I could manage would never do. I came to you because I hold you in high esteem as the finest smith in all of Gondolin- refuse me and my gift shall be made by another, albeit a little duller, a little blunter, a little…"
The smile rolled his eyes.
"Spare me your flattery, harper. I shall make the blade as you ask, and there shall be none finer in all of creation."
"Perfect. When shall it be ready? I mean for it to be a gift for a friend, after all."
The smith bristled.
"First you ask for the finest blade in creation and then you chivvy me as to when it shall be finished? Who is this sword for, great Turgon himself?"
"Nay, friend, not our king. His grandson, perhaps…"
The smith's eyebrow raised for a third time.
"Young Eärendil? Why did you not say this earlier?"
Salgant shrugged, affecting nonchalance.
"I merely thought that you might make a lesser blade if you knew it were destined for a mere boy- a mere half-elf boy, at that."
The smith grinned.
"That boy is worth ten of you, harper. Long have I spoken with him on many topics, and long has he watched me work my bellows. Nay, now I know whom the blade is destined for I shall work twice as hard and twice as fast, that he might know how prized he is despite his being but half-elf."
"Then it is settled, my friend. Have the blade ready by the Gates of Summer and I shall pay you double for your efforts, and I shall write such a song in your honour that all of Gondolin shall remember you and your efforts."
The smith nodded.
"It shall be ready, friend- you have my word."
The two shook hands and the deal was done, the smith turning to his work even as Salgant was departing.
A blade was a fine gift for the boy, the harper smiled to himself as he wound his way through the streets back to his home, a fine gift indeed. He could practise swordplay with it as a youth, and when older could hang it above his fire and display it as his first blade, with thanks first to the smith and second to the childhood friend who ordered it made.
Yes, the blade was a fine gift, Salgant thought, luxuriating in the warm spring breeze and its promises of summer, a fine gift indeed.
It might have been small, granted, but its sting should not be so.