Below is an excerpt from the fourth book of the Windfallow Chronicles, Carnivore. Cousins, David and Cory, are the guests of an artist named Krill and his children, Jade and Pax. They have been watching their host as he builds a table and decorates the top. They stop for lunch, then follow their host to his workshop.
First, Krill mixed the three containers of marble with a clear liquid that produced a heavy, malleable mix. He poured the mixture onto various portions of the tabletop filling it almost to the top of the rim. “This marbling will remain soft long enough to fill in the design,” he told the boys as he worked.
“What is that rim around the inside made of?” asked David.
“That is a non-heat conducting metal,” explained Krill. “You’ll see why it is necessary later.”
When he had the swirls of color to his liking, he placed the silver wire on top and tapped it gently with a small mallet. When it was even with the top of the marble he took tweezers and began picking up petals and leaves placing them along the wire and tapping them in place. Soon the design in the picture was duplicated on the tabletop.
“But how do you make it smooth?” asked Cory.
“Like this.” Krill picked up what appeared to be a lump of pale amber. He gave it to Cory. Cory’s hand sagged beneath the weight of the object. “That’s gold, Cory. We need to take it outside where Sare has the furnace heated.”
Krill’s wife, Sare, was tending an apparatus that David thought looked like a kind of barbeque grill. However, it was made of crystal and had a series of pipes fitted with more crystals. After Krill put the gold in the center of the furnace, he stepped back and Sare realigned the pipes and crystals to direct sunlight onto it.
“Here,” she produced four pairs of glasses the lenses of which were black, opaque crystal. Jade and Pax put theirs on immediately and the earthlings followed suit. At first they could see nothing. Then, a brilliant light began to grow in the general direction of the furnace. Soon the light was so bright that it lit the whole area where they were standing. David could see Sare and Krill were also wearing glasses and the light was coming from the lump of gold sitting in the center of the furnace.
Krill had two pairs of tongs in heavily gloved hands and he motioned for Pax to bring something over to him. Pax set the new table beside his father and David and Cory watched in awe as the artist picked up the blazing gold with both tongs and began to manipulate it. Slowly the lump became flattened like a pizza and, as Krill kept turning it, it became more and more transparent. When it was the right size, he lowered it to the tabletop in one smooth motion.
The epoxy holding the marble, gems and silver together kept the design from shifting and the gold settled onto it like a layer of transparent glass. Krill was tapping the gold layer with wooden mallets, smoothing and finishing the surface. “Come away now, children and let it cool.”
Cory realized he’d been holding his breath while Krill worked the white hot metal and now he began to breathe again and knew as he saw the smiles of delight on the faces of those around him that they, too, were overcome with joy. Suddenly he remembered a passage from the Bible. “And the streets were of pure gold like transparent glass…” He looked at David. “We’re seeing it!” he whispered to his cousin. “We’re really seeing it!”
From Carnivore by Donna Swanson c.2011