Alastair paced back and forth at the edge of a table in his forge, dwarfed by the fire blazing beside him. He had shrunk himself down to about the size of a thimble to put the finishing touches on Adra's wedding ring; it was too precise to be done well on a larger scale. He stopped his pacing to closely examine the inside of the band, carefully carving another groove into the heated rose gold. Taking a few steps back, he continued to stare at the letters appearing as though they were formed out of branches- the whole ring was meant to appear as though made of small branches- for what felt like an age, feeling critical of his work but not sure what to fix. There must be something...
It has to be better than the last one, at least. He had spared no expense in making her engagement ring, and although Alastair himself placed little to no value in ceremonies, he knew how important this was to Adra. She was so excited to be married, so he was determined to make everything within his power as idealistic as possible.
Struggling only slightly with tools much larger than he was, he polished the four small stones he'd cut out from the Cullinan for the third time that hour. Adra had seemed so in awe of the stone's energy when she first held it, and he wanted her to be equally impressed with the energy of this ring. Admittedly, it was hard for him to gauge exactly how it would feel to her, but he had exhausted himself on multiple occasions trying to recreate her alchemical perception of stones within himself, and as far as he could tell ring's energy was perfectly balanced.
While he had devoted much of his effort to perfecting the energy of the stones, between the opal, philosopher's stones, and diamonds, he determined that he must be equally concerned with the shape and appearance of the ring. It had to be able to match in some respect the shape of her engagement ring, so that she could wear the two together if she wished to; he didn't know what was customary for people to wear on an everyday basis. And then, of course, it had to look stunning, regardless of whether Adra ever saw it, and it had to feel physically comfortable around her soft, remarkable skin.
He felt along the inside of the ring. Not good enough. Carefully, he began to soften the texture. If he wore the grooves in the metal down too much, he might spoil the lettering it had taken him days to perfect. What if I ruin it?
You'd still have time to fix it.
What if it doesn't feel right?
She will. You've been so careful- she will.
What if its energy is off? What if she hates it? Suppose I mess the whole thing up-
Oh, honestly. Calm down. You're being ridiculous. She'll love it.
He ceased his pacing again, tilting his head slightly to the side. Why on Earth am I so kind to myself all of a sudden? Slight laugher sounded softly in his mind. Aretha Tesla?
She replied with the equivalent in thought of a smile. It's beautiful, Alastair. Adra will think so, too.
He paused for a moment, taking that in, and nodded once. She was almost certainly right, but he still worried. How is Niccolò?
Better. Not perfect- I highly doubt he will be anytime soon- but he's okay.
Good. He considered, and rephrased. Thank you. I hope she'll be pleased. He let Aretha fade out of the forefront of his mind, and returned his attention to the task at hand. The branch making up part of the "G" in "Gaia" wasn't quite as deep as the rest. He pushed the ring closer to the fire, reheating it for just a few seconds, and carefully began to carve into the edges.
A/N: Takes place a few days before the Aladra wedding, on Christmas Eve of 2014. He found the time to do all of the mining, stone fitting, and sculpting all the gold pretty much any time he was away from Adra, or unable to sleep in the middle of the night, or during hours that he made for himself by freezing time.