Prompt: May 11, 2012 - Alive http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alive?s=t. . . . . This last job had made her a fortune. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that she'd ever tell Badge exactly how much - even half of how much - because he'd roll it into a marketing scheme for khorium-enhanced belt buckles or something like that. She'd play it way down, very under the table, and simply make quiet sure that whenever he needed the coin for something, it was somehow always in his pocket. This sort of fortune could last her a few years if she played it out right.
. . . . . But there was...one...indulgence. At the noisy claims room of the auctioneer's house in the Trade District, the plain trader's wife with the hood over her bandaged eyes handed over her claims chit and then a sack of coin which would make Badge's neck veins pop. It wasn't receipt of the crate which had her smiling as she placed her heavy burden on the wheeled cart so thoughtfully provided, but the mental image of Badge's face turning purple in anticipation of a very long shouting match. It was a very silly mental image which rarely failed to make her smile - and therefore crossed from mental image to physical reality quite often.
. . . . . The trader's wife navigated her cart out and to a secluded alleyway near the Mages' District with surprising deftness for a supposedly blind woman. Once she was well-assured of her safety and relative solitude, she shed her disguise of Miss G. Ulricson and stuffed the robes and runecloth bandages behind the newly-acquired crate. Ilva tugged at her leathers until they resettled comfortably on her frame, then plucked her gnomish army knife off her belt to pry off the top of her purchase.
. . . . . Nestled in a bed of straw was the final component, its aphotic gleam smooth and even, sixteen slender bars of obsidium ready to be worked into bolts and plating. Now, she just had to call in that favor Lilliam owed her for a workspace.
. . . . . Working obsidium was a right pain in the arse. Too cold, and it snapped - brittle. Too hot, and it flowed - amorphic. One entire bar was wasted in learning the precise shade of cherry red the metal needed to be heated to in order to be formed.
. . . . . Once she had it, though, the plates moved fast - it took her about a day. The schematic was good, entirely images and arrows. Her talent for letters might be lacking, but mimicry was her bread and butter, so the designs were quickly transferred and the plating formed, cut and shaped. The bolts took a little longer - about three days, but she wanted each one to be as precisely functional as she was capable of crafting.
. . . . . Assembly took her a further day of work. Any burrs on the articulation had to be filed smooth, any irregularities of form had to be carefully reheated and corrected. The bezels for the jasper took an hour apiece to grind out, file, and set. The innards were leather tubing lined on the inside with embersilk for fire-hardiness. A trap door with protected hinges allowed access to the simple two-button controls and the socket for the energy source - volatile, expensive, dangerous when tightly compressed, electrified ether.
. . . . . As a final vanity, she broke out her expensive metals paints, usually reserved for the top disguise jobs, and she painted a delicate, sunny yellow design on the lightless metal, utterly ruining it for any possibility of stealth. The hinges loosed the trap door. Eight vials of tempered glass with time-delay enchanted wax seals lined up in the chamber. A pop as the first timer expired. A hiss as the electrified ether sped through the innards. A glow from the energy indication chamber on the posterior.
. . . . . Its nose wrinkled. Wire whiskers twitched. Cli-click - obsidium plating painted yellow blinked over sightless green jasper. Another hiss as the pistons engaged and Ilva's brand new mechanical rabbit hopped off the table into her lap.
. . . . . It worked! It was alive!