Cedar-woman: To Work

Tuija shifted her body, pulling the sling she carried closer to her breast. Soft breathing made its way out, bringing a smile to her face. Lempi was asleep, and how; worn out after the activities of the previous evening. It was an unexpected surprise, meeting that young woman, that near-neighbor. When she – her name was Gilnes, no? – spoke the language of Tuija’s people, if only to say the standard greeting and farewell, it threatened to bring tears to her eyes. Remembering the conversation brought a wave of memories back to her, even as she walked now. She wished she knew this language more clearly, for she couldn’t describe her land properly – even to one who was a neighbor.. and now, ystävä. Friend.

She said last night that Forochel was beautiful. That it had “green sky, purple.” That the “snow sparkle like sun on water.” Those words were not adequate to describe her beloved home land. The snow sparkled like a million small diamonds in the sun, which peered down from a clear, deep azure sky. The cool air showed her that which should not be seen: her breath, in white whisps of fog. Her eyes watered as a frigid breeze blew across the camp, toward the lake. On the edge of it, children played on their luistin. The clean smell of never-melting snow mingled with the scent of her pot of stew, causing her to jump up and go to stir it as her mother and older sister laughed at her forgetting dinner.

Only one word in Westron – which she knew, at least – could properly describe the village of Sûri-kylä. Home. She ached for it, with every fiber of her being…but then the warmth pressed against her reminded Tuija of why she was still here. Her daughter. Half-Lossoth, half-Bree. Given names of both, Lempi and Aimee. Both meaning “loved.” Since her husband passed, she called her child by the name of her people, Lempi; so that the little girl would not forget she also came from Sûri-kylä. The large, beautiful village in the snow. In respect and love, she did take his last name, both her and her daughter. Lawson sounded incorrect next to their Lossoth names, but it would be what it was. Rememberance would be maintained.

Even with the Bree-lander’s name at the end of her own, Tuija was rightfully very wary around strangers. She had lived in Bree-town proper for almost a year, but never took up a permanent home or work. None cared for the strange foreign woman who was so quiet and spoke with the language of a child, and even fewer trusted her. Sure, there were offers of a night here or there; and some times, they were tempting. It was a lonely life, and Tuija felt the ache, the want of a companion. Yet every time she looked down at her daughter, she knew there needed to be more than the promise of one night and whispers in the dark. She needed a husband, if she were to ever bring a man into small Lempi’s life. A man who would love her as his own.

Loosening her shirt a bit as she walked, Tuija let some of the – to her reckoning – warm air breathe into her clothing. It was so hot here, how can the people stand it? Poor Lempi was already used to the warm climate, but even she felt some of the Lossoth blood coursing through her veins. She liked the cooler sling during this weather, their harvest breeze rustling through the mostly-bare trees. Soon there would be snow, and both of them would rejoice. For Lempi, it would be her first taste and touch of snow; for Tuija, it would be that small piece of home with which she could share with her daughter. If only for a short while.

The woman tossed back her shoulders, standing prouder and more hopeful with that thought. Soon their winter would arrive, and she would – hopefully – have more steady work. Her ystävä, Gilnes, had given her odd names. Heart-wood, Dar-steed. Said they often found work for those who needed it. Tuija needed it, and so she had walked south. She stood in front of the door of what those in this Dar-steed town told her was the Heart-wood Estate. Full of hope, and full of a burning desire to prove herself, she knocked on the door.

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