Elruban came to the furnace just before sunrise, as he had every morning for the last two hundred years. He started the fire and stoked it for a few minutes, then let it get hot while he perused today’s ledger.
Ah, the princess had another request of him. A tear fell, uncontrolled, almost immediately. He read carefully: A glass goblet, with a teardrop stem, wildflower filigree, in any one of Elruban’s signature colors.
He smiled. Such a request would have normally taken but a few hours. After a bit of sketching, Elruban decided to take the entire day.
He checked the fire, then prepared his materials. Since she had not specified a color, Elruban would use blue sand today. It would accentuate the teardrop, and with careful use of yellow sand, he could make the request flowers appear as forget-me-not’s.
The first glob of glass was almost always the most challenging for glassblowers, but not for Elruban. He knew it was all in the balance on the blowpipe, combined with just enough time to cool before the first blow.
It had taken him all night to finish, but when he had, he held aloft one of most beautiful pieces of art he had ever created. He burned its image into his mind, for he would never see it again, just like the princess.
Elruban hoped she would enjoy it. Once again he had placed inside the stem a single pearl, made to look like a bubble, as he had done for every piece he had made for her over the years. She probably would never notice, but that was fine. He was determined to return her pearls to her, even if it took him two hundred years more.
A father gives good gifts to his children, and he would be no different. But she would never know that was his reason.
(The word prompt today was “Blowout.”)