Backstory

Keshina’s First Shoes

Dressed by mother

Lessa tugged at the simple top until Keshina’s mane of red hair came though. Picking up a brush, she began to brush the unruly mop of hair until a freckled face appeared from the mound of hair.

Lessa stepped back and looked at her daughter. Keshina was now five but lean and for her age. Her skin was a pale pink covered in light freckles that seam to multiply every time she went out into the sunlight. Her curly red hair cascaded down her face and back in little ringlets. Keshina’s lower fur showed fresh and youthful, brown in color with dark lower legs ending in delicate hooves. Her Mother, Lessa had just dressed her in her favorite top, a simple linen top, sleeveless and the color of a robin’s eggs.

All right dear, are you ready for your first shoes?” inquired her mother. “Yes mama, will they be pretty?” asked Keshina. “Of course dear you’ll see, Smithy has promised me you have one of the prettiest set of shoes in the village. Now let’s go, Smithy is waiting for us.”

As Lessa and Keshina walked in the bright spring morning, Keshina wondered how metal shoes would feel. When they reached the door to the smith’s forge, Lessa opened the large wooden door and ushered Keshina into the building.

Meets Smithy

A large centaur was working at the anvil, his skin as dark as oiled leather and his hide black as midnight. He wore no hair on his head and had arms as big as tree trunks. As he lifted the drop the great hammer he held, the air shook from its passing.

Keshina’s mother called loud enough for him to hear, “Mr. Smathorius, you have a new customer.” On his next blow, he set the hammer down on the anvil and turned to face Keshina. Keshina looked up at this giant of a creature. Clinging to her mother’s side not know what to do or say next, and stood motionless just staring at him. He looked at her with a smile that melted all fear out of her and spoke with a voice as gentle as a summer breeze. “Greeting little one I’m Smathorius, but you can call me Smithy, everyone else does.”

Her first shoes

“A little tongued tied, yes?” Smithy chucked, “Well I’ve got something that will untie that knot.” Turning he takes a small round stick out of a jar and plunges into another jar pulling out a piece of sweet honeycomb. “There you go the house special, candied honeycomb!” Taking the stick of candy, Keshina gently licked at it, feeling the sweetness trickle down her throat. With a surprised look, Keshina plunged the end of the sweet into her month. Laughing, Smithy says, “Ah, another satisfied customer!”

“Well, Keshina, come here and let me show you your new shoes,” continued Smithy. “I believe a fillies first shoes should be special, don’t you think?” Keshina with the candy still in her mouth could only nod. Smithy continues, “So a have made a special set for you.” Smithy holds out in his hands a set of horseshoes, small enough to fit Keshina’s little hooves, and polished to a high shine. On the bottom of each shoe, Smithy had carved the word ‘KESHINA’. “All we need to do is the final fitting.”

The Fitting

“Let’s go over to my fitting room my dear,” Smithy said smiling. Smithy leads Keshina to a corner of his forge. In the corner next to a small forge and anvil is a raised platform with a ramp. “All right little one let me put you up on the fitting room platform, so I can see what changes I need to make.” With that, Smithy lifts Keshina up in his broad, strong arms and places her lightly on the platform.

Lifting up one of Keshina’s hooves, “Ok let me see the bottoms of your hooves, hun.” With a practiced eye, Smithy compares the new shoe with Keshina’s hooves. “Hmm, I see you have nice hooves, my dear, looks like I just need to bring them in a bit.” Smithy says aloud. The broad smith puts the shoes into his forge’s fire and turns to hand Keshina a rope attached a large bellows above the forge. “If you could, can you pull this rope up and down? It will help my fire be nice and hot.” Keshina takes the rope with her free hand and pulls the rope up and down pumping the bellows.

Smithy then takes the first shoe out of the fire gives it a few taps with his hammer and looking over to Keshina’s hooves with a practiced eye, nods in satisfaction, and plunges the new shoe into a vat of water. Afterwards, he takes a stiff brush and buffs the tarnish from the fire and water off returning to their former shine. Smithy repeats the process for the other three shoes, and smiling, turns to Keshina. “Ok dear you may stop now. I’m going to put your new shoes on now you feel a dull thumping as I put them on, but not to worry, you won’t feel a thing.” Keshina nods, but lets the rope go to hold on to her candy stick with both hands. Smithy picks up her hooves and quickly and painlessly nails the first on. Then he progresses to the next hoof and continued the process until he nailed all four shoes onto Keshina’s hooves. “See, you didn’t feel a thing!” Smithy with a tinkle in his eye explains. “Now I’m going to give your mother some polishing paste and a soft cloth so you can keep them clean. If one of your new shoes becomes loose or comes off, you have your mama bring you back and I’ll put it right back on!”

Admiring her new shoes

Smithy helps Keshina back down and with a smile, gives Lessa jar of polish. In a low voice, he tells Lessa, “If they give her some trouble or begin to hurt bring her back and I’ll make what adjustment needed to correct the problem. Make sure you use the ‘polish’ every night until her hooves get adjusted to the nails.” “I understand, after all I made this for you remember!” Lessa says laughing under her breath.

Keshina was floating on air as pranced all the way back to the house. Every time her hoof would strike a stone, it would make a high, soft tingling sound, so much she spent most of the day going around the house listening to the sound. By nightfall, her father had to carry the tired filly to her sleeping rug, still clutching the now empty candy stick in her little hands.