�Mother?� She heard him say. �You know I have to do this.�
She settled the breastplate into place carefully, over her worn arming jacket � the blue-enameled titansteel a slice of starry, morning sky, fitting her like a second skin.
�It is what I have been training to do. To keep them safe ��
Tassets styled into the edges of racing clouds went around her waist, and the sabotons covered her legs and hooves with the sky after a storm, filigreed birds taking wing above her ankles in an inlay of silver, subtle linework that remained hidden until the light hit it just so, when it flashed like lightning.
�I have my father�s armor, my grandfather�s blade, and my mother�s blessing. I have that, don�t I?�
Pauldrons built as the wings of great herons wrapped around her shoulders, their golden eyes fierce and their expression triumphant. Her power filled them, aided by the nearly-dried blood above her unbeating heart. Frost flowed from them, the ice setting each feather to shimmering, dancing, in the early morning sun at Westguard.
�Always,� she said, softly. �I am proud.�
�I know.� His armor shown gold and brass in the setting sun of the Plaguelands, touched here and there with his sister�s jewelwork. �Don�t worry, mother. I�ll come home in a month or two � with stories to tell. You�ll see.�
�Yes.� She strapped on bracers studded with stars � her gauntlets were dipped in silver, knuckles and tips of fingers flared to fearsome talons, gleaming truesilver that glittered and shone with her own magic. The runework was exquisite � almost imperceptible, spidering in whorls and twists of gleaming mithril across the spotless enamel.
�You never came home, Kuru�nai.� She flexed those talons, shifted the armor carefully. It moved with her, the weight carried well across every strap.
�I know, mother. You know why. But -she- can come home. You can help save her.�
�Yes. Is it alright to hate them?�
�The demons? They won�t care.� She could see him, standing at the edge of the forge � the sunrise shone through him. He cast no shadow� and he smiled, a bit sadly.
�It does not matter. I need to hurt them, kuru�nai. I need them to fear me. I cannot lose another child.�