Elfwood is the worlds largest SciFi & Fantasy community.
- 149202 members, 4 online now.
- 14323 site visitors the last 24 hours.
|Here continues the story of Talin as she receives a letter from her father.||
Talin got home just as her mother was clearing the tables. The latter merely took a look at the girl in reddish brown, then, wiping her hands on her apron, she took out a plate of thickly cut bread and a cup of goat milk. It was understood that her mother trusted her, since Talin went away almost every other morning to catch the sunrise. Sometimes, the girl even felt a little guilty at the unquestioned trust.
Like her mother, Talin did not speak, but sat down and started on her breakfast. The bread was already getting cold, but its freshness was unmistakable. The milk was warm and a little sweet. While she ate, Talin looked at her mother, a woman already past her prime. Although her mother’s face registered past beauty, it was her love for Talin’s father that made her so admirable.
When Talin was but a child, her dad had told her about her mother. He said she used to be a nobleman’s daughter, but instead fell in love with him, a poor trader. They had to fight against many odds to get through with their marriage. Being a poor man’s wife was not easy, but Talin’s mother never complained. Her once fine hands got blistered and caroused, but she did not protest. She had to get up earlier and sleep later, but she did not protest. It was this strength that made Talin look up to her mother, a strong woman, and she did it without hesitation.
She was still finishing up her milk when the goat herder dropped by.
“Morn’n Mrs. Von Treb.”
The man with a small fluff as a beard took off his hat. Even though Mrs. Von Treb carried no air about her, people always were awed in her presence. The regal upbringing of Talin’s mother made her impressive no matter what she wore.
“Morning Bonba. The goats are in the pen as usual.”
“Umm, I haf a le’er and a parc’l for ye ma’am.”
Taking the package from the tall man’s hands, she started opening it.
“How is your mother?”
“Mi’ty fine. The salf ye sent her made her feel much so efer be’er, and she wan’s me to thank ye for it.”
Talin watched as her mother read the letter, her face impassive and calm.
“Bonba, did you have any breakfast?”
“Vell, ma’er of fact…ma’am…I…”
“Talin, get some food for Mr. Bonba and put some water on the stove.”
Talin obeyed the orders immediately, for her mother never asked much. Peeping curiously at the package, the girl filled a tin pot with water and put it over the stove. As she was lighting the fire, she asked Bonba for the latest news from the city.
“Vell, aside from aw the usual gossips, nothin’ much happened. Vell, there’s Chubby Chuca’s dau’ter of course. She ‘ad a son, as chubby as can be. It goes in the fam’ly I tell ye. They ne’er had a son that wasn’t chubby. Heard they name this fella Chug. Mi’ty suitable name, ye know.”
“Any news about my father?” Talin wasn’t interested in the usual gossip. All she wanted to know was whether her father’s ship made it to the city. If it did, he would probably join them before dinner, since Bavoth was only two miles away from their cottage.
“A ship landed, yeah…but vether yer father was onit o’ not, I din’t check. Had to do my job, yer know. Say, this is mi’ty good bread!”
Talin gave up trying to ask him any more questions and turned to count the number of goats Bonba brought with him.
When she got to thirty-seven, her mother called the goat herder over and gave him some coins for his service.
“And come here earlier tomorrow, I have an errand for you.”
“Yes, ma’am, yer sure I vill. Thank ye ma’am, and haf a great day!”
“You too Bonba.”
After the last bleat trailed off in the distance, Mrs. Von Treb turned to her daughter, holding out the letter.
I get to read it?
Why do you think she is holding it out to you?
Dumbfounded, Talin took the letter and read. It was from her father!
To My Dearest Lidora,
I hope all is well at home. How is Talin? Has Sig grown? It is time they get some new articles, so I sent some small tokens that they might find amusing. I also saw a shawl that would match your color, so I bought it. When I come home, wear it for me.
Fortune has indeed dealt me a double hand this time. The carpets I bought were all sold at the highest prices, and my profits were enormous. I was overjoyed and planned to hasten home. As it is, I caught an ill wind and a mild sickness. The healer said it is called minith. He said that as long as I don’t travel in the next two weeks, I would regain my health.
Two weeks seem an eternity while we are separated, but I dare not come home for fear that I spread the disease. I know that you would not have approved had I traveled, so I could only send this letter in my stead.
I would write more, but I feel very weak. Give my love to the children. Oh, I miss you all so!
Damik Von Treb
“Is minith serious, mother? I know father says that it is mild, but he might not want to worry us.”
Lidora Von Treb looked thoughtful.
“It is not usually serious, but if the sickness is dragged long enough, it can become chronic and fatal.Your father is wise not to travel. Yet…”
Talin was all attention as her mother went to her herb cabinet and drew out a silk pouch.
“The sooner he recovers, the better.”
Taking out a crooked looking stick, she continued,
“This is called the gentile root. It is rare and has great healing powers. It is a definite cure for minith.”
“Then we have to send it to father!” Talin exclaimed, full of relief and impatience.
“Think you wise to let an ignorant person carry this precious herb?”
“Is it really so precious?”
“It grows in two places only. One of which is no more than a myth.The other is in the King of Sath’s Garden of Herbs. Also, this root must not be bruised, lest it lose its value as a medicine.”
“Then, how is it used, if it must not be bruised?”
“Good question, Tal, it is not to be used, but smelt.”
“Mother, it is a really valuable herb then, and must not be sent off so easily.”
“That is what I can not decide on.I might not need Bonba on an errand after all.”
You can bear it!
But I have never traveled farther than Bavoth, and that is only two miles away.
It is time you started to see something of the world. Didn’t Diara say that on a journey you would find what you seek? May be this is the journey, short as it is.
You saw the seal on the cover of the letter, did you not?
Yes, it says the letter was from Cynth.
Which you know is three day’s travel from here.
Of which, one is spent on a ship!
What is so scary about water? Your father rides ships all the time.
But this is the first time! I am too… unprepared!
Stop pitying yourself.
“Mother, I will bring the root to father?”
“Are you sure?”
“Your father and I talked about your growing up one day, and traveling into the world on your own. It has come, I see.”
“You mean you expected me to volunteer?” Talin was incredulous.
“Not expect, but I had a feeling you want to show some of your independence. There is always a first. Let this trip be yours.”
Talin was speechless. She did not anticipate this at all. Freedom…it was a little scary to her.
“Of course, I won’t let you travel alone. Bonba will accompany you.”
“Yes, he might sound ignorant, but he is a good man, and knows the ways of the world well. I trust him, so he will go with you.”
“Then, I start tomorrow?”
“Yes, tomorrow morning.”
|Chapter 9 (Cynth)||Chapter 7 (Odd Pair)|
|Chapter 1 (The Stone)||Chapter 6 (The Changing)|
|A Visit to the Past||Chapter 5 (Bavoth)|