The bronze feels cool against the ragged flesh of Fíli's arm as he tries to hold still, not sure what to think of the khuzdinh who is examining the useless limb. He knows she's said she can help him, and that Nori had vouched for her ability, but he doesn't know how she's supposed to do that. He's not able to feel much in his hand, nor can he close it properly. Óin had said the warg did too much damage, and he's lucky he has the arm at all.
"You will not be able to hold a sword in this hand again, but you knew that much." The khuzdinh steps back, watching him with an expression he can't read through the scars on her face. The bronze contraption on her left arm clicks and clatters as she moves her hand, and Fíli glances at it again, still uncertain what it's for. It's too unadorned for jewelry, and too open for armor. "Even with something like this, you will not."
"What is it?" Since she mentioned it, it's not too rude to ask, and Fíli is curious.
He can tell she's smiling, at least, a flash of teeth. "My hand." She waits a long moment before stepping closer, turning her left hand over so he can see the palm, covered by a glove. She taps one finger against the part of her palm furthest from her thumb, and it rings like metal underneath. "I was caught twice too often. I cannot be what I was, but I can still work with this."
Fíli is still confused, and after a moment, the khuzdinh huffs, turning her left hand over so she can undo the buckle across the back of her arm, carefully taking off the bronze and leather, setting it on the table to the side. Underneath, half of her hand is missing, the scars thick and strange.
"It was cut off for thieving." Those words explain why Nori had known her, though and the state of her hand - both without the glove and with it - why he had said she could help him. Fíli hadn't known she was missing her hand. "I cannot use the bronze fingers as I might real ones, but they allow me to at least hold things with that hand again."
"But you can't make something like that for me."
The khuzdinh sits down on the other chair, resting her half-destroyed hand next to her glove. "I can design a brace that will let you use your arm to carry a shield, and wield it with some practice. To do some work in the forge, but not with the same ease as you might have before - and not to use the hammer with that arm."
It would be more than he can do now, though Fíli cannot help but wish he had more strength remaining in the arm. He looks at the glove and the mangled hand on the table for a long moment, then down at his own hand, curled in on itself as much as he can close it any longer.
"I would like that."
Notes: Fíli's arm has sustained some nerve damage, and he probably won't get full use of his arm back in the long run, but he'll have more ability over time, I think. Certainly he's going to push himself to try to make the arm work at the limits of its ability. The khuzdinh he's speaking to will not give me her name, but I'm not terribly surprised by that.
When I needed a word for ruby, I also worked out a word for bronze that was more than a simple combination of two other words. Cu for copper became Ku because of the lack of the letter c in the cirth, Sn for tin became simply s, and As for arsenic (once used in a alloy that was called bronze) became az, resulting in kusaz.
The original title was Makalzihwir because makal is copper and zihwir is tin, and those are the two metals known to be used to make bronze.
khuzdinh = dwarf-woman
kusaz = bronze
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