Vreni chuckled softly at William's story of woe. "At least you were able to find employment in your chosen line of work, Will," she told him, tucking a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear. "Try being a female blacksmith."
She paused, the corners of her lips curved upward in a small, rueful smile. "I found work as a cook in a small in just outside of Strasbourg," she began. "I also did some smithing on the side, though no one knew it was I who was crafting the good weaponry and armor. One day, this noble from England comes to abed at the inn. Says he has some important jousting tournament to attend in the city proper. He's managed to misplace his chestpiece, however, so he is inquiring for a new one.
"The innkeeper lends him a piece from my own forge, not telling the noble who had crafted it. The noble uses it in the tournament the next day and is apparently immensely successful. He comes back to the inn that night and demands to know who created the chestpiece, so that he may thank the smith and perhaps request a custom piece. The innkeeper brings me out from the kitchen and introduces me to the noble. Blasted Englishman took one look at me and laughed, then asked the innkeeper to be serious. The innkeeper, bless his soul, was earnest in his assertions that I was a most excellent smith, but the Englishman would have none of it. He threw the borrowed chestpiece down to the ground and stomped off."
Vreni stopped again, taking a small sip of water before continuing. "I heard the next day he had found a different smith to craft him up a new chestpiece. Unfortunately, the material wasn't very good and the craftsmanship was shoddy, since it buckled upon the third impact of a lance and crushed the poor sod's chest to mush. Oh well."