I collected the pieces I needed.
As I wandered I hummed an old tune, vaguely remembered from a childhood centuries ago…
If I only had a heart…. the melody lacked form as my skills did not manifest in that way.
Wood for strength but flexibility through storms
Steel for a strong foundation in all its forms
Stone for the unbreakable quality of its part
I uttered the last line of the charm quietly, it does not do for the uninitiated to overhear these things and misuse them.
In my cabin, as the young man lay in pain, eyes filled with hope, I hummed the tune again, trying to remember where it came from. I kept thinking of a steel man for some reason.
I cast over the ingredients I had collected, muttering the chants and chimes I had absorbed from generations of those who went before.
When the piece was complete, I held it up to refract the light. I had used some glass as well, because strength and fragility were but sides of the same coin and to leave out one was to introduce a monster to our midst. It was a pretty thing, robust and delicate at the same time. I was satisfied and ready for what came next, despite the bloodiness of it.
The young man lay back and as I prepared his body for the sacrifice, he gripped my hand.
“Please, please….” was all he uttered. It was enough.
I nodded, unable to break my focus to offer any words and gripped his hand in return with to let him know I would take care of him and his…. change.
After 3 days of toil, focus and sweat, invocations and pleas to the gods, it was done. Now to see if the gift was enough. If my focus had wrought the change he sought, the outcome he needed. I could but wait.
Lightning struck outside, shaking me from the tired trance I had fallen into. He sat up. He took a deep breath. He swung his legs over the side of my gnarled wooden work table and stretched.
“I slept,’ he yawned, while stretching. “When are we going to get on with it?”
I laughed, a pure sound of joy.
“It is done!” I responded to his quizzical glance my way.
“It beats inside you. These last 3 days it has grown, taken root, put down foundations and anchored in your body.”
“You mean?” He practically gasped.
“Yes.” Said I. “A heart is within you now.”