Secrets & Candles: Goodbye

((I apologize for just how tragic this is. This has been, in Sky’s life, several years in the making. It was time. With all the fun things popping up recently, sorry for such a downer.. but it was necessary. Also sorry for the length! It got longer than even I thought!))

The sun slowly rose, a shaft of light inching its way toward her face. That would normally be her favorite way to wake up – if she were asleep. She had not slept all night, her thin face plagued by dark circles and worry lines that were forming on her forehead far too early for her age. Her stomach churned more than once in the night, making her main activity curling on her side and wishing she would just die. If she died, she wouldn’t have to do what she was about to do. Everyone would just be confused and sad about it…no one would suspect anything was off about her, and all would end well. It’s not like she would be missed by many people or anything..

She shook her head again. Brushed more tears onto the rough pillow. No. She wouldn’t die. Maybe everything would be all right. Maybe everyone will laugh and hug her and accept her and everything would be wonderful. Just maybe.

That hope was strong enough and lasted just long enough to make her limbs move; she got out of bed and quickly dressed. When her eyes drifted over the already packed sack, her pajamas being the only thing missing in it, her stomach fell through the floor again. That was everything she owned: all her clothes, all three pair of them, the money she spirited away and made on the side, and the fingerless gloves that gorgeous barmaid gave her. She quickly shoved the pajamas in, extracting the gloves and putting them on. She never took off her brown scarf or necklace last night, finding no small amount of solace in the gifts from her friends. Friends who knew and were still friends. She walked into the main room.

“Sky, ’bout time you got up.” Her mother smiled warmly and gestured to the leftovers of breakfast on the table: a small bowl of oatmeal. “C’mon now, git goin’ and eat. Gotta git a start on th’ day.”

Ridgley’s ash-brown head popped out from behind the table. “C’mon, Sky! We’s gonna go an’ git some food t’day! Hurry-up!”

Great. Ridgley was home. Sky cleared her throat, hoping her voice didn’t quaver as much as it felt like it did. “Ma.. c’n I talk t’ ya an’ Pa?” She paused, with an intent look to her younger brother. “…Private-like?”

Continue reading “Secrets & Candles: Goodbye”

Wandering Poet: Abandonded Kittens

An unfamiliar head of golden-red hair, a most intriguing shade, popped through the Cask’s doorway early in the morning. Blue-green eyes looked around and the short woman walked in quietly. She carried a white kitten which was streaked with multiple dye colors. “Hello? Am I too early for anyone?”

Tegil looked up at the strange woman, then blinked widely when he recognized the animal she held carefully. He put his book down and walked out of the study into the main room. “May I help you, miss?”

She blinked, looking very confused. “Who’re you?” She inspected him, taking such a length of time that it began to make him uncomfortable; right when it was about to be too much, she tilted her head and said, “Wait, you’re from Gondor, aren’t you? Oh, hey! You’re wearing red. You’re that Tegil guy. Hey, you know Ceswyn then, right?”

Shifting and tucking some hair behind an ear, he nodded. “Aye, I am Tegil of Gondor; I also know Ceswyn. And you are?”

“Gondor, eh? Invasions.. heh…” She snickered to herself for a moment, before blinking and going, “Hah! How rude of me, I always forget to do that. Introduce myself, that is. I’m Loriwen Snowberry, but everyone calls me Lori; well… leastways, most do.” She blushed for no reason at all.

Tegil steadfastly ignored the blush. He probably didn’t want to know, anyway. “Well met, then, Lori. How may I help you?”

She held the kitten up, still properly holding her; the woman clearly knew more about cats than Ceswyn did. “Oh, I’ve got Snowball here and I was hoping Ceswyn’d be around so I could give her back. Didn’t want to hand her to Nethali last night, and I was watching her while Ceswyn made me up some paint.”

A black eyebrow raised, curiosity plain on his face. “Snowball?”

“Oh! That’s just what I call her. Calling a cat ‘It’ is just weird, isn’t it? Cats deserve real names.” Loriwen scratched behind the multicolored cat’s ears and was quickly rewarded with a purr. “So Ceswyn’s not in right now or something?”

“Nay. I apologize, I have not seen her yet this morning.”

The woman got a mischievous look on her face. His stomach twisted for some reason. “Yet, eh? You waiting for her?”

Tegil shook his head quickly. “Nay. I was not. I was enjoying a tranquil morning by the fire with a most prepossessing book. Would you care for some tea while you wait for her? While I am technically a patron at this establishment, I have become quite adept at procuring tea.”

If there’s one facial expression Tegil quickly grew to know well in Bree, it was the one this woman now displayed. She had no idea what half the words he just spoke meant. She blinked, latching onto his question. “Oh, tea? No thanks, never been a big tea drinker. Actually, I’ve gotta get going. I was really hoping she’d be here. Hey, you mind taking Snowball for now? Since you stay here and she works here, you’ll probably see each other.” Before Tegil could reply or even blink, she was already stepping into his comfort zone and pawning the cat off onto him.

The streaked kitten immediately leapt from her arms into his, and snuggled its head against his chest. Perhaps sneaking over to play with her whenever he could paid off well enough! Tegil smiled and hugged the kitten. Before he could get out another word, the strawberry blonde laughed and said, “Awww, she likes you! Thanks, gotta go!” He looked up and all his eye caught was a flash of sea blue clothes and a black cloak slipping into the front room and out of sight.

A quick scratch behind furry ears and a deep chuckle were rewarded with a purr. “I suppose you are my charge for the time being.”