Hey everybody. Here is my snippet. I won't be around until later to get to read everyone's but I will get there *g*. I'm off to go up to Williamsburg to see friends and do some shopping. I work tommorow, so have a great weekend.
This snippet shows a little more of Adhara's family, and gives (I hope) a better sense of her girls. The cast in the scene is Adhara and Selene (both Traders and partners)- half of the girls are Adhara's and half Selene's. If anybody needs me to, I can write a list of which girl is whose. Hope you like it (please let me know if you think it's infodumpy).
“Mum! Mum! We’re home!” Mara called out as the laughing group of girls led Adhara into their farmhouse’s kitchen, to be met with what looked like the aftermath of a small war. It looked as if every pot and pan had been used, there was flour scattered around the counters, the floor, and the walls, and the ashes in the fireplace were piled so high they’d started drifting over the hearth and across the floor. Granted there were pots of soup on the hob and the smell of bread baking in the ovens but nothing that would have normally accounted for a mess this size.
“I am so-o mad, I could just spit.” Selene growled, stalking into the kitchen from her herbal, the room where she could make her salves and potions without messing up the kitchen, and stood looking at the girls who were all looking at her in various states of unease and/or guilt. “Oh, ease up” She told the girls, “I’m not mad at any of you. Come here,” she picked up Cintha briefly to give her a big hug and kiss. “Tell me about your morning, and I’ll see if I can regain my even keel.”
“Our morning went well,” Shala walked over to her other mum and gave her a kiss, leaning against her comfortably, “We had Mum for our class. No trouble, no surprises. We did happen to hear Brother Lorcan throwing a royal hissy fit in the older girls’ class. He called us all trollops, and then we came home.”
“So we’re trollops, eh? You should hear what they were saying in town.” Selene shook her head sadly before laughing, looking impishly at her partner, “Come here, you trollop you. I knew that about you, you know. Your mum warned me.” Walking over to Adhara, Selene leaned into her embrace, arms around her partner’s waist, “Oh well. Now that you’ve corrupted all of those impressionable young girls in your harem down at Winter Quarters, I guess you had to travel all this way so you could introduce even more young girls to your unnatural vices of thinking for yourself, speaking for yourself, and acting for yourself.”
“And defending yourself,” Cintha added, looking at her mum with a grin, “You mustn’t forget the Traders’ unnatural fondness of standing up for yourself. That’s practically heresy in some of the places we’ve lived.” The look Cintha gave Mara and Shala was terribly serious for one so young, and warned the others that they needed to talk, away from the adults.
“Why don’t we clean up the kitchen?” Mara offered, thinking furiously, “You and Mum can have lunch in the garden and then maybe take a walk in the woods?”
“You don’t mind?” Selene asked, looking suspiciously at the girls, who just smiled innocently back, “What are you up to?”
“Nothing, honest,” Shala insisted happily, putting her partner’s words into action, glad they could give both mums a break from their work. “We’ll even feed the munchkins for you.”
“Honestly mum, go enjoy the wonderful weather. You know everyone says that it won’t last.” And walking up to Selene, Mara gave her a big hug and kiss.
“Well, I don’t know what you’re up to,” Adhara quickly put together a picnic basket, filling a earthenware jug with soup, stopping it with a cork, and placing it and a handful of rolls from the oven into the basket, “Nor do I care. I am going to take you up on your kindly offer: take this scrumptious picnic, my beautiful partner, and go enjoy the warm sunny day.” And taking Selene by the hand, she led her out of the kitchen and through the yard where Mara watched them leisurely walk into the woods and out of sight.
“Honestly, I thought they’d never leave.” Mara exclaimed, walking into the kitchen and trading chores with Shala, “Oh boy was she mad. I wonder what she learned.”
“You mean besides the townspeople’s opinion of Traders? Whatever it was, I bet it was something to do with Cassie,” Cintha answered, drying the dishes as Mara handed them to her, “Nothing else makes steam come out of her ears like that, if it weren’t so serious it would almost be funny. She looked like a teakettle.”
“I think we can take it as given that it involves Cassie somehow.” Shala said, “I wish I knew what it was.”
“Why don’t we start by listing everything we do know and maybe we can figure it out,” Dahlia suggested, sweeping her way through the room, “I’m sure there are things that you know that we don’t and maybe even things we’ve forgotten to tell you. It’s getting hard to keep track of who knows what.”
“Let’s have lunch first,” Aludra countered, setting the table and putting the clean bowls next to the soup kettle, “I don’t know about you but I’m hungry, and we did just promise to feed the munchkins.”
“Lu, if you could put Chara and Rosie in their chairs, and give them their lunch, Mara and I will feed the babies,” Shala suggested, taking the rest of the bread out of the ovens and setting it to cool on the clean countertop. Serving the soup, she handed each girl a bowl and a good sized roll, carrying a tray of bowls to the table for Tansy and Pansy who were too young to carry their own.
“So what do we know,” Mara began, once everyone was seated and eating. She paused to savor her first bite of the wonderful tasting lamb stew. “It all started with Adharshala’s dreams.”
“Actually, I think it would be closer to the truth to say that it started with Lyra’s letter,” Shala disagreed, dunking her bread into the soup and taking a big bite. Slathering butter on the remaining half of her sourdough roll, she continued, “Adharshala told us kids about her dreams right after they started. It was hearing Adhara read Lyra’s letter that made Adharshala decide to tell the grownups about her dreams. I think.” Shala concluded. “And then Lyra died.”
“Poor Captain Calla, she must have loved Lyra very much,” Cintha played idly with her spoon in the last drops of her soup, “She sounded heartbroken when she told mum and Adhara about it.”
“Hang on,” Shala interrupted, “I thought Adhara told Captain Calla about it the morning after Lyra died.” Both sets of children tended to call both women mum, so when discussing them among themselves, the children also tended to call each woman by name, they had quickly discovered that it saved a great deal of time and confusion.
“Oh no,” Cintha insisted, “Captain told mum and Adhara that night, right after it happened. She almost couldn’t talk, she was in such pain.”
“Why don’t I remember?” Mara complained, resting her elbows on the table and her head in her hands, “I’ve heard so many conflicting stories that I can’t keep it straight in my head.”
“You, Zo, and the girls were with Da and Corvus,” Cintha explained, “The night Lyra died, Captain Calla and I were the only ones home with the babies. Mum and Adhara came home that night and she told them then. The next morning she, Mum, and Adhara told Da and Corvus.”
“I just thought Campion had told the mums and they had told Captain Calla,” Shala added, “That was the only way I could figure how they found out, how else would they have known? We all know that Captain Calla isn’t an airhead.”
“No but Lyra was,” Cintha admitted, staring out the window as a string of geese winged its way across their farmyard, “That’s how the Captain knew, she felt her die.”
They sat in silent sympathy before Mara spoke what they were all thinking, “I wonder if Adharshala’s dreams are just dreams, or if she has dreams like the kind that Da and Uncle Corvus have? She did go to a lot of trouble to explain that it was just a dream.”
“You think Adharshala knows they’re real but doesn’t want the parents to know? Maybe she feels it’s not her place to tell other people about things that Cassie might want kept private.” Shala thought for a moment before turning to Cintha, “Does Cassie even have Air Magic? I can’t tell. Cintha, you’re the best at spotting a fellow talent, is she?”
“Oh yeah,” Cintha assured them with a smile, nodding her head vigorously, “Something’s odd though, I don’t believe she knows that she has it, or even what it is. If I’m reading her right, she thinks her dreams are just that: dreams. For some reason, Cassie doesn’t think Adharshala’s real.”
“Boy is she in for a big surprise.” Mara laughed, “I’d love to be there when they finally meet.” She and Shala shared a knowing smile. From what Adharshala had said and what they now knew she had not said Mara and Shala quickly realized that Adharshala and Cassie could very well turn out to be Soul Mates. They had grown up hearing about Soul Mates from both parents, but had not thought that it could happen to people only a little older than themselves.
“That’s all terribly interesting,” Aludra interrupted, “But none of this tells us what got Selene so mad today. It had to have been something specific, so how do we find out?”
“The same way we find out everything,” Mara suggested to Shala, laughing, “We eavesdrop.”
“Could you do it the other way, Cintha?” Aludra asked, “Find out what your mum’s thinking?”
“I could but Mum’s been waiting for someone to try just that.” Cintha apologized, “Da told her what to look for. They think it’ll come from Mara though.” Cintha laughed, “They all think she’s going to be an airhead when her Talents start developing.”
“Let’s try not to get caught,” Shala suggested, “We’ll find out eventually, let’s just use the opportunities as they happen.”
“I wonder what other surprises Cassie has in store for everyone,” Dahlia said what everyone else was thinking, “I think everything so far will turn out to be the tip of the iceberg.”
“Yeah, let’s just hope we’re not sunk by it.” Mara voiced a common sailor’s prayer, as everyone else knocked their knuckles lightly against the wooden table, and Mara reached over to lightly knock her own knuckles on the top of Cintha’s head.
2 days ago