by Mari Ness
The blacksmith has several objections. For one, he does not make shoes. Oh, horseshoes, definitely, but that is an entirely different matter, and something that he does with a local farrier, quite an expert, if the prince is in any need. Human shoes, however, are an entirely different matter. He is not even certain where to begin; surely a cobbler would be of more assistance? Those shoes, too, could be heated, if really necessary. For two, as surely the prince knows, it is one thing to get a shoe on the foot of a calm horse while others hold the horse; the horse, after all, has hooves. And as a purely practical matter, his forge is nowhere near the prince's hall. He will not be able to keep the shoes red hot, as requested. He does not think the fires in that hall--he bows, with the utmost respect--will hold the same heat as his forge.
He swallows as the cold iron brushes against his throat.
In the end, they compromise.
His throat is already bleeding, after all.