“look grandpa!” Fae (Maven) yelped excitedly as she stuck her head out the trap door in the loft ceiling where she was suppose to be searching for her grandfather’s gloves after she had lost them amongst the hay playing riding cobbler, and pointing across the entire valley where mere coin sized horses could be seen in the distance “their riding today!”
“Shut that door this instant,” he said hurriedly, coming up the latter, despite his old bones and pulling her away from the opening with one hearty hand about her midsection. He latched the trap door closing off the view from where Fae could see across the whole town to the no man’s land just beyond the city gate. The mechanical horses still stomped and pranced atop the hillside in her head, as her grandfather set her on the ground before him, wiping his hand over her face where she had smudged it.
“Now then, we don’t have anything to do with the likes of them you hear?” he said hurriedly, for once serious, holding her shoulder almost pinching her between his hands.
“Your parents are not here to tell you so, so you will have to take your old grandpapa’s word for it, those riders may do this town and our brother and sister town a service every year, but that’s naught life one chooses darlin’.” Wenter drew his hand over Fae’s little blond curls. “No indeed darlin’ your grandmother, were she living. Bless her soul; she would never forgive me if I let you leave those gates. You’re a fine little rider, but that is where the interest must stop, understand?”
Fae nodded, slightly disappointed as she limbed step by step back down the ladder after her grandfather, and sat on one of the old unused anvils her grandfather had tucked under the back window of his workshop. The sounds of his hammering metal commenced as it always did, and Maven steeled another glance over her shoulder out the window to the valley beyond the gate. The metal horses were gone, as were their riders.
It was a rare day when the metal horses were seen on the hillside. Their lives were so far away from her own, she thought, and always had been. The town’s people never interacted with them, at least not knowingly her grandpapa had said. And the only time she was aloud to watch them openly was with the rest of the town on racing days. But she was never aloud to leave the city gates. No one was when they were around. One didn’t mingle with the Toppies or Stashes, and one certainly didn’t deliberately cross paths with a witch or a wizard.