The overgrown dirt path led the witches out of Hanging Ferns Forest. Soon, the landscape began to flatten, and farmer’s fields painted the ground with varying hues of green.
“Malinda, how much farther is it to your cousin’s house?” Alice’s tired brown eyes betrayed her discomfort and anxiety.
In her haggard state, Malinda’s normally well-maintained appearance left her looking as ancient as she truly was. “It shouldn’t be much longer, now. Justine, come along, and quit lollygagging!”
Lugging the suitcase she’d confiscated from the site of a carriage crash, Justine rolled her bright, green eyes, “Come on Malinda. We’ve been walking for forever. Let’s just take a break. Please?”
Malinda looked around, her keen eyes on alert for anything suspicious. Finally, she gave a sigh and acquiesced, “Alright, Justine. Let’s take a few minutes to rest. But we mustn’t take too long. Jaicor’s house is only a bit further. And we’ve no idea if the Duke knows where we are or where we’re going. Best to not stay in one place for very long.”
“Look, there’s a mill up ahead! We can hide in there for now.”
“Good eye, Alice. That has to be one of Jaicor’s moss-powered mills. For the life of me, I will never understand how or why we began cultivating moss at these levels, or who realized layering our waterfalls with moss would increase the power output of our mills. It was probably some random, abstemious farmer from the outskirts of Andar. We have produced many an eccentric person from those who border the Kaphlin mountains.”
“Well, it’s decided then. On to the mill.” Justine clutched the suitcase in one hand and her skirts in the other, leading the way to the old mill house.
Moments later, the witches approached the the white-washed, mud-brick building. They hurried through an open wooden door, carefully latching it behind them. As the bolt clicked into place, Malinda, Alice, and Justine let out a sigh of relief.
“Do you think the Duke knows about your cousin, Malinda?” Justine placed the suitcase on its side, shifted her skirts, and rested upon it.
“Jaicor? I doubt it. Duke Ebrius only concerns himself with those who affect his power. He would have no reason to come to Crippen, let alone look for Jaicor.” Malinda made her way around the large room, closing and latching windows as she went. “Alice, will you make some light for us? Not too bright, mind you. Justine, look inside those coffers for some food. With any luck, there will be some preserves or something stored in there.”
The women went about their respective tasks in relative silence. Only Alice’s soft, smooth tones could be heard uttering, ‘Igneum leppo,’ as she created a small orb of warm, amber light. Justine, now able to see better, located a jar of plumonberry jam and a box of stale biscuits in one of the large trunks lining the far wall.
“Ugh, I abhor plumonberry jam.” Justine’s face hosted a flicker of disgust before Malinda’s sharp words sliced through the still air.
“Don’t be ungrateful, child! We’re very lucky there was food here at all. Jaicor, is as ascetic as a hermit. He doesn’t visit the mill very often. Finding any kind of sustenance is nothing short of a miracle.”
Shamed, Justine cast her eyes to the dusty floor, her hands trembling as they grasped the jar of ancient fruit preserves. As she smeared the chunky spread onto the crumbling biscuits, Justine tried not to be bitter. Quietly, the witches munched on their snack, hoping against hope Jaicor’s kindness would extend to a hot, home-cooked meal upon their arrival.
You’ve successfully peeked behind the curtain and ventured into the realm of Andar, witnessing An-Kishar history in the making. There is so much more to know of this world and its inhabitants. Stick around, as more will be revealed in the days and months to come!
Kindness – Life -Trembling https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2021/04/27/three-things-challenge-581/
Photo challenge #363 https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2021/04/27/photo-challenge-363/?fbclid=IwAR2s935tAgNYNcaFOKZEXPq_8Eb1Enwb04Gw49tg_6KNDy1SsUNI6s2cwHs
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