AR 1212-01 Krunch and Tizzy
It was Tizzy's 16th birthday and Krunch had managed to get the young woman alone for a few minutes. Now that he had her alone, he found himself unexpectedly nervous. They had grown up together, been best of friends for their entire lives, but as they had gotten older things had changed.
He looked down at the cloth in his trembling hands. The cloth itself was fairly unremarkable, a simple embroidered handkerchief he had purchased in the market. The kindly woman selling it to him had promised him that his sweetie would appreciate it with a knowing wink. But truthfully, Krunch hadn't really looked at the handkerchief. His mind had been on what it would hold.
The medallion wrapped in the cloth was an ancient gold coin from some long-lost realm held in a circle of weapons-quality silvered steel. The coin was worn with age and use until the images of a noble dragon on one side and a three pointed crown on the other were almost impossible to see.
Steadying himself, he held out the handkerchief to Tizzy and carefully unwrapped it.
"Tha coin has little value ta anyone else other than tha value of tha raw gold, but ta me it's value is in what it represents." Hesitating momentarily, lost in memory "Long ago, I found this coin when I was hidin' from me mother … I mean patrolling one of tha caves near tha keep … when I came upon it. I checked with grandda and some others but they ha' no idea where it may have come from. To me it came to represent adventure and exploration, far-off lands and hidden treasure." With a wry smile he looked into Tizzy's eyes "I'm tha son of a king and for a long time this has been me most treasured possession."
The next words came out in a rush with Krunch delaying the next part of what he wanted to say "I've fashioned it inta a cloak pin fer ya, but ya could use it as a broach just as easy." Rambling now, the young dwarf continued, barely taking a breath "Normally when ya create a medallion ya use a mold to create a bezel out a silver or pewter and just kind of hammer the edges over to hold the coin. I did na want ta do that because I wanted something stronger. Something that could take a beating and still hold together." Words came tumbling out, seemingly of their own accord "So I forged a weapons-quality silvered steel bezel to set it in. Usually ta get something like this ta fit ye would expand the bezel with heat and let it shrink and cool, but I did na' want ta damage the coin so…" stopping himself with a deep breath exhaled slowly "It twas na' easy."
Handing the medallion to Tizzy, he pulled a piece of parchment from a pouch, he grumbled to himself "But it twas easy compared ta this." With a quick look of apology and "I'm no bard" he read from the parchment.
"Smith's hammer, clanging steel against steel
Forging white hot metal hammering like bells they peel.
Taking ore and coal, mixing in sweat and silver and ash
Making this time something to bind, not a hammer to bash.
Not a soft thing, nor etched with flowing leaves, not overly ornate
Dwarven made and dwarven feel, something elves would surely hate.
A ring of fine steel around an ancient golden coin
A promise, no more, of a future where two may join.
To Tizanera Highbrand my heart and my life is eternally bound
Much as steel encircles the coin of gold once lost but now found.
Fixing the soft coin of ancient lands in a ring of steel is done
To stand as a symbol of my hope that we will someday become as one."
Krunch carefully put the parchment away and looked down at his feet. Courtship amongst dwarves was traditionally initiated by either the man or woman by the giving of a gift, but it was always the right of the recipient to accept or reject the offer. If the answer was no, he would not ask again.
Krunch waited for what seemed to an eternity but was in truth only a handful of hammering beats of his heart before Tizzy's hand gently lifted up his chin so that he looked into her eyes.
Filled with tears of joy, she simply said "Yes" before pulling him in for a slow gentle kiss.