“Trust you to plan the windows before you plan the rest of the house.” Dan bumped shoulders with his brother-in-law as they sat having their noontide ale at the Snowman’s Mug. It was a basic working man’s pub with sturdy oak tables that their grandfathers had carved their maker’s marks into. The surface was so rutted as to make it unclear which marks were which, by this point.
Brent grinned that same sunbeam of a smile that Dan hadn’t seen since Mellie passed, but the energetic planning… that was entirely new. “Well it’s all about the windows, see? Look, here’s the design for the first few. It’s like a… memory wall, right? Like we have at the glassworks. I’ll need three full wall-spans and either side of the front door. But it can’t be too big a building, right? Just space for a lamp-table and something comfortable to curl up on. And it’s got to have a fireplace, right? So she can go out there in the winter. But the windows have to open, so it gets summer breezes. And shutters, so neighborhood boys can’t break the glass. And it needs to lock from both sides… and…”
Dan was laughing outright by now as he clapped Brent’s shoulder. “Oh you do have it bad! And you want this built before the main house?”
Brent’s nod made him snort. “You’re daft, Glazier. But you’re paying guild-rate when you don’t have to, so who’m I to complain?”
Brent said jovially, “After that set of jewelry you had me do for Soffie’s birthday? And that ridiculous glass bird for Sallie’s hat? And…”
“Fine! Fine, you’ve got me. Nothing wrong with treating your lady like a queen.”
Brent sat back with a contented smile and said, “She is a queen. A fey queen.”
Dan started to make a few preliminary sketches on his slate. “Fey queen, eh? Then you’ll be wanting fancy woodwork. See if we can’t get Lonny Gardener in on it… where’s this going again?”
Brent pointed to the map marking his newly acquired bit of bargain land. “Here. You know where the bean field went to seed with woods? Reckon we thin out the saplings some so we get a few good strong maples. Put a swing there where the old oak is, see? And Lina’s hut here, where she can see the trees but still get some sun.”
Dan grinned and offered his hand. “Righto, Brenty-boy. I’ll draw up plans and bring them by next week. But no more windows, eh? It’s got to have walls in it.”
Brent whistled his way back to the shop as he always did these days. Geffy was up with Tessa for the afternoon now, and he had hours ahead of him. He looked guiltily at the Mistletoe’s order of lace-glass plates, but resolved to make it up tomorrow. Today, he needed to finish up one more pane.
The first two were already done, rushed to existence after Lina had given him the notion. “Pictures of memory for later” indeed! What would that brilliant sprite of his think of next? These were done in paintwork; thin layers of glaze were painted onto the cut panes, carefully fired, and then leaded together to make stained glass that was half picture, half patchwork.
One pane showed a stripey cat napping on a hearthrug; both the hearth and rug identical to the entrance hall at Lond Sennas. The second was creamy shades of white, save for a redbird perched on a branch of Holly. The milk glass dotted the translucent background in a fall of snow. The pane he was making tonight was trickier. The green lawn and summer sky were unpainted glass, as was the oak. The girl and her dog who sat under the tree were rendered in careful brush-strokes, a sweet, happy smile lighting the lass’ face as she held a book in her pale hands. Tomorrow, he’d add a pane of Geffy and Cookie the Guilt Pony, and the next day…
He glanced at his order tablets again and sighed. If he was going to build a house, he’d have to keep his contracts. He had two weeks to make these, after all.
Two weeks? He had a lifetime to fill those walls with happy memories for his Lina. He left the paint-glaze to dry as he dutifully heated the glass for plates.