Cradwick was asleep. Asleep was a nice term for it, as the master blacksmith was most often passed out from drink during the days. Ron himself now provided most of Cradwick’s smithy services and interestingly, no change in skill had been noted or accorded by their customers. A truly gifted smith, Cradwick had long been a member of the Romeny Blacksmith Guild and a respected member of the community. Ron fought to keep the old man’s reputation stainless.
He left a full jug of wine where the old man’s hand would grasp it and slipped out the back. The cool air of the small alley blew across his face, always a welcome respite after the heated confines of the forge. Ron tugged at the strings of his tunic and turned onto Wagon Way.
He nodded at customers and acquaintances upon occasion as he made his way toward Market Square. Ron was impatient as a blacksmith’s apprentice. Almost two years had passed already. He tried not to let his frustration overcome his features.
Ron fingered over cloth he knew was poor quality silk and expressed polite interest along with other customers in a spice merchant’s embellished story of new merchandise. He paid the baker’s apprentice for fresh loaves of bread, bought vegetables, and smiled at the shy girl at the fruit stand while her mother wasn’t looking. She smiled shyly back and took his copper for the pear.
Every four days was a market day, by Cradwick’s rule, and today was no different. Ron turned and glanced nonchalantly about the square. After a wagon passed, Ron’s eyes met those of a dingily dressed man across the square, who bit into the round of a pear.
Ron sighed inwardly and looked away. His assignment would continue.