He looked back up, surprised. “Yes?”
She hesitated a moment. “What is your name?”
“Greyson,” he answered promptly. “Retnik Greyson.” He looked at her with a degree of wonder. Under no circumstances could a commoner refuse to assist or answer a warrior of the Crown, but for a warrior to ask the full name of the commoner in anything but the most dire of circumstances—well, it was unheard of. Such a breach of conduct, she knew, would not go unnoticed. She would have to face the consequences later.
“And to whom do I speak?” he asked.
She didn’t answer. It was his right, of course, to know her name in return, as per the rules of the Crown. But something about this Retnik Greyson made her pause for thought. He had spoken like a noble, and he was a bit too willing to meet her gaze. Yet the calluses on his hands, the muscles in his arms: these spoke of the true art of the smithy.
Her eyes flicked to the window of the small cottage. Already the darkness outside was beginning to lift. Details of the smithy’s home began to come into focus: the fire pit in the corner, the skillet hanging on the wall. She must be gone before sunrise, riding hard back to the city. She knew what she had to do.
She stood, sheathing her knife. The candle’s flame guttered out for a split second before surging back to life. “Ayalah Tarall. Two weeks,” she reminded him.
She stepped to the door and was gone.