Loriwen: Defective

Loriwen stumbled blindly out of the healer’s hall, staring at her feet silently. Her cursed, cursed feet. Her cursed, cursed brain! What was she going to do?! Go home, that’s what. That’s what she was going to do. Go home.

She made her way, one step at a time. She watched both her feet carefully: left, right, left, right, left, right. Knowing what she now knew about her clumsiness, she didn’t know how she’d ever be normal again. When it was just bad luck, everything was fine. It was a joke! Aha, Lori fell over again! Aha, Lori ran into that doorway! What a clumsy, silly woman! But now…

Now she was defective. It was her brain. It didn’t talk to her feet right. Something was wrong with her. She was broken. What was she going to do? Every step she took, she consciously made the effort to keep it aligned with what she thought was the right spot. Left, right, left, right.

Everything had changed. She pulled her hand up to her forehead, wincing at the dull throb her head had obtained. Loriwen gingerly touched the bruise that no doubt already graced her forehead. Ah, the forehead that only mere hours ago held a normal brain. A forehead that only mere hours ago was fine. A forehead that only mere hours ago was being kissed by Tarlanc.

Loriwen stopped dead in her tracks.

Tarlanc.

How was she going to explain this to him? How do you look someone in the eye, and say “Hi, there! My brain’s screwed up?” How do you look someone you love in the eye and say that? What.. what was she going to do?! He knew she was clumsy, he didn’t care. He kissed her bruises – the ones about which he knew, anyway – and seemed to only care about her being more careful. But now…now things were different. Her brain was broken. She was damaged goods. Why would someone like him want to be with someone like her? He wanted children, she wasn’t even sure yet if she ever would. Especially after what she saw tonight. Pain, agony, tears. She didn’t want any part of that! But.. would he still want children with someone like her?

Loriwen’s eyes slowly filled with tears as the next thought dawned upon her.

What if it’s hereditary?!

Oh, no. What if … well, she never knew her mother! Maybe that’s why her father never told her about her mother! What if her mother had it?! Could … is that where Lori got it from!? Did she die from it? Is that why he never told her? So he wouldn’t scare her? Let her live blissfully ignorant until one day, she just stopped being able to function properly?

Panic quickly setting in, Lori sat down on the ground, breathing heavily. She looked up to the sky, eyes wide. She had to locate that Northern Star. She just had to. Where was it, where was it, where was … ah, there it is. The breath she didn’t know she was holding escaped her. Watching its faint but steady glow, she slowly began to relax. After a while, the cool but humid summer air began to stick to her skin and she sighed. Getting up very carefully, she straightened her body and wiped away the tears that had fallen in her descent.

Her eyes closed, she took a steadying breath. She could fall apart when she got home, but for now it was late. Outside of town proper or not, it wasn’t safe for her sitting on the road, crying. Logic dictating her movements, if not her thoughts, she began to move back toward Wildore. Left, right, left, right, left, right. Every once in a while, a small tear would make its way down a cheek.

I don’t want him to leave.


A Promise: Birthday Visits

Morning visits

The early morning sun glistened off her strawberry blonde hair, making it seem more blonde than red for once. The face her hair framed was surprisingly solemn, her teal eyes sad as they scanned the ground for any tripping obstacles. The bright red flowers she carried popped against the light blue shirt she wore.

Loriwen stepped into the cemetery. It was just as devoid of life and empty as it seemed the day they brought her father here. He insisted on being laid to rest in this old cemetery. His father, and his father’s father, and all the rest were buried here and he did not care if it was a run down plot or not. She looked around with a sigh. The day itself was lovely, warm with a breeze and sunny, yet the trees surrounding the cemetery made it dark and uninviting.

The shade engulfed her as she walked over to a stone. Bright red flowers already graced the plot where her father lay, and a sad smile sprung to Loriwen’s face. Anna was here today. Shaking her head a little bit, she placed the flowers next to Anna’s and gazed at the stone for a while.

Rojer Snowberry of Bree
26 Solmath – 16 Mede
55 years

This is always odd at first. Where to start?” Loriwen sat down in front of the flowers, never taking her eyes from the tombstone. “I mind as well start out with the obvious. I miss you. I always miss you. I’ve taken to writing Grams letters; I hope that isn’t too crazy.” She poked one of the flowers, tracing her finger along the petal. “My woodworking is going better than ever. Have a lot of people who know my name and I get letters from many folk in the area, asking for various things to be made. I made a maple lute a few weeks ago. It was lovely, stained dark and white ivory turning keys.”

Mmm, I suppose something I should probably mention is the farmhouse. I sold it. Couldn’t handle that much land and house on my own, and old Wheatley was keen to pick it up. He gave me a more than decent price for it, think he felt bad for me. Still was a good deal for all of us involved, he got to almost double his land and I got enough coin to buy myself a small house with a small garden. Well, more coin than just that, I have a bit of a savings now. It’s good to have padding involved, makes any emergencies that may happen less of a hassle.” She absentmindedly scratched the top of her right hand, sighing to herself when she snagged a bit of a bandage.

She looked down at the hand, fixing the wrapping and looking back up to the stone, a rueful expression on her face. “Still being a clumsy, crazy old woman. That will never change. Do you know I managed to get a black eye from a book a while back? Absolutely unbelievable. I was writing a letter to Grams and tipped my chair back, and hit the bookcase. Looked up to make sure everything was alright, and bam! My right eye took over a week to heal.”

She shook her head, laughing hollowly. “Ah, that will never change. I’ll always manage to get myself into barely real situations. Whether it’s falling off a bridge, being punched by a book, or even as far back as when I got myself stuck in that tree, you know I’ll find an even weirder one to top the last.”

You know, I’m thirty today. Seems so old to my eyes, then again most younger people these days end up married around half my age. Leastways, they did back when I was that age. Seems more and more folk are shacking up and not marrying at all or they’re waiting until they’re older. Times change quickly, it seems. Folk who travel from the South and from the East bring dark words and stories with them. It’s becoming more dangerous around even Bree-land. It’s worrisome, but what can I do? I’m a simple wood carver with a serious case of bad luck.” A memory struck her and she stopped speaking. Slowly exhaling, she brought her hand from the flower down to the grass and ran her fingers through it as if it were hair.

Continue reading “A Promise: Birthday Visits”

Letters to Grams: Stars!

June 28
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

Stars!

Oh, Grams. Stars! I’ve never professed a love of them before tonight, but how I wish to proclaim it this late night. I had just finished draining my bath, was settling in to relax for the late evening.. and a knock at the door! Tarlanc showed up, quite unexpectedly, dressed up all fancy. He even brought a bottle of wine from far away to share. He wanted to get my approval of his outfit for Friday. The dance, that is. Such a silly notion, of course. He could show up to the dance wearing a dirty and ripped farming outfit, for all I care. It was a wonderful sight to see, particularly when it was unlooked for! He even had someone else cut his hair and trim his beard. It was a bit of a funny sight, me being so used to seeing him unruly and roughly kempt. He kept hinting at seeing my dress, but I held firm. He shall not see it until Friday!

We shared mugs of wine, given that I have no interesting glasses or anything of the sort. Too easily breakable, don’t hold enough liquid. Leastways, that’s how I’m seeing it. It was quite a peculiar wine, from distant Forochel. He said it was…ice wine? Ice wine, yes. Cooled the body, which is always good on a late summer day. It reminded me of winter, with the fresh, clean and cold taste it had. Apparently he has a second bottle stashed away, and he said he’d keep it until winter comes around. To compare, that is. I still can’t believe Tarlanc has never seen a winter. To only have seen snow from a distance? Ah, what a shame! While it can be a bit too cold for me at times, snow is still dreadfully fun to play in. We’re going to try to create some snow-fish when the first snows fall. That will be a day to remember, just as tonight is.

Ah, tonight! Grams. Grams, I am so happy. We’ve known each other a scarce month, but there is this connection. Everything is an ease to talk about, even the more difficult things. He spoke of his uncle tonight, a steadfast and hearty man. Spoke of his death, as well. I can tell his uncle was a true hero of his…I wish I could have met the man. Apparently a fish hook caught his leg and it caught an infection that took over his body. It sounded slow and horrible. They actually do let dead sailors into the ocean when they die at sea.. I had no idea it was actually true! When he told me, I tried to comfort him, but I guess it’s so far in the past that it’s a distant ache, much like what happens when I think of you and Dad. Something that will never heal completely, but not something that one breaks down over every time they think of it.

Then he asked me about Dad, if I ever visit him. That is coming up next Friday, isn’t it? I always visit on his birthday, and on mine. Actually having a group of adult friends to talk with and have a birthday party with is new to me, very new to me.. I will make sure everything is set up the evening before, because I want to make sure that I have all the time I need in the morning to visit. I could visit another day, but that’s not the promise I made. We’ll always celebrate our birthdays together, even in silence and without cake. That is not a promise I will break.

Ah, now I think of important but sad subjects. I have a rather peculiar question for you, Grams. I know you can’t answer it, stars, how I wish you could… Ah, stars! Now I am reminded of the part of my evening that was so wonderful. Forget the question, it’s not important. Stars, stars, stars. After drinking our mug of wine each and having a rather tender and simple conversation about berries, we headed outside to look at the stars. Laying down in the grass, the warm summer air surrounding us, nothing between us and the naked sky…it was perfect. He began to name the constellations in his tongue, most of which I couldn’t pronounce properly if my life depended on it! Such lovely names, regardless of my inability to speak them. I will remember the northern star’s name, though. Fornel. A lovely and simple enough name. I certainly won’t be able to find it again, all the twinkling dots look the same to an untrained eye! He promised he would find it for me if ever I asked, he’ll be my compass. Actually, he got a weird look on his face when I asked that, but I didn’t press. It’s as if my question was a different question to him, very odd. I was just asking if he’d find a star for me!

I think my arm is near ready to fall off, and I really should head into bed. I will simply end my telling of this wonderful evening with the following statement: everyone should fall asleep with the one th beneath the stars at least once. Nothing is more relaxing, more fulfilling, or more romantic. I’ll now go (alone, don’t you fret) to bed, and sleep the rest of this wretchedly short night away. Tomorrow, I need to make the final adjustments to my ales and head into town to clean Mother’s earrings. That will be a busy and fun day, to compliment the wonderful night I just had. Good night, Grams.

Your little pumpkin,
Lori

Letters to Grams: Ramblings

June 21
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land

The wonders of talking.

Ah, my faith in just telling someone how you feel has proven to be the right thing to do, yet again. Not only is it nice to have myself proven right, but everything makes so much more sense in my life. Let me apologize in advance, for this letter is going to be even more dull than the previous.

Oh, wait! I planted some strawberries. That’s how interesting I am. Ah, perhaps I’m a bit too hard on myself. I saw Anna the other day, that was wonderful. I missed her so much, and I think she missed me, too. Gave me a right big hug when she saw me! That was wonderful. I love hugs…not enough people give hugs these days. It’s a shame. But Anna. Yes, I went into town to find a dress for that dance I mentioned in my last letter. The best place to go to get a dress is most certainly Anna’s shop. Her work is fine, and I know she puts her heart into every piece she makes. After fussing over me for a bit, she went into the back and pulled out a special order that had never been picked up.

It is gorgeous, Grams. Gorgeous! The fabric is soft and smooth, flowing beautifully. The sleeves are long, which is good because of how much I manage to mess myself up with running into things. Can’t see any bruises if you have longer sleeves on. The bust isn’t too low, but it’s no average dress, either. The color is what caught my eye, both literally and so to speak. It was dyed a wonderful shade of teal, the exact color of my eyes. Ah, I looked at it in her looking-steel and it was amazing how well it matched my eyes. The only thing that didn’t fit was that it was a bit too long, so she shooed me out of the shop and hemmed it right up for me. My measurements certainly haven’t changed since the last dress she made for me, so she knew what was what.

She also gave me a bit of a talk on not letting a man get away from me if I care for him. I feel so bad for her! How could Dad have never noticed? Well, noticed is the wrong word. Did anything about it is the better word. Poor Anna loved him before he left for his travels, and he married Mother later on. She always did love him.. it breaks my heart to think about it. Even now, she treats me like I’m her daughter. She still has tears in her eyes when she thinks of him. It’s not fair to her! She’s such a wonderful and warm woman, why would he not want her, even years after?

Ah, I don’t understand it, but I guess that’s a foolish thing for me to go on about, isn’t it? I never knew Mother, never even knew her name. Whatever happened to her affected Dad so deeply that he never even considered another woman, even years later. I wish I knew so much! Even people around town didn’t know her, it’s as if she didn’t actually exist. The only description I ever got of her was her long blonde hair and stern face. That’s it! That’s all I know of my mother. Anna is more of a mother to me, so I suppose that’s why I seem so indignant on her part. I know Mother didn’t intend to die, no one truly does…but I’ll always wonder. Did she love me? Did she run away to get away from me? Was it something Dad did? Did she run off and get attacked by highwaymen? I’ll never know. I don’t even know her name. My own mother’s name, I don’t know it.

I don’t even know why she insisted on my name as it is. Loriwen. The only story Dad ever told me of her was that one. I asked why I had such an odd name, as all my friends were named Helen and Sue and other short and normal names. My name had that “wen” on the end. Everyone always called me “Lori” as it was, so why was my name different? He told me that my mother insisted my name carry “wen” at the end of it. She liked the name “Lori” well enough, but Loriwen would be my full name. It clearly wasn’t any kind of fight, as it’s just a name, but he did give in and allow it. He told me it changed my name’s meaning from “leaves” to “lady of leaves.” That it made me special. Then he asked me to help you with the dishes, he had to be alone. Now I can only assume that means he wept, but I don’t know for sure. He was quite sad. You remember that day, don’t you? It’s the day I hopped up to help you with the dishware and told you I was a proper lady, my name even said it. That I was going to marry me a rich man and wear lady-dresses. Oh, what a fond memory! I had forgotten all about that second part until just now. I hope you remember it as fondly as I do. What a typical girl-child I was!

In some ways, I miss those days, and in others, I wouldn’t trade now for then. I do miss you both dearly. So, so dearly. I hope you’re reading these letters as I write them. You two are what I miss about those days most. Childlike innocence is nice, and I think I’ve still retained a bit of it, but what I really miss are you and Dad. I look to the past too much in these letters, I think! Probably because I’m uncertain as to the future. My future’s been certain for a long time: I’d grow old, make friends, carve wood, and grow my garden. These same things have kept me happy and content enough for the past ten years since both of you left. Romance, peh! Everyone wants romance, but every time I even thought of it with someone, they turned me down quite promptly.

Even that Camus fellow. I never wrote you about him, but that was quite upsetting at the time. Quite some time ago, when I first discovered the Broken Cask (that tavern I frequent) I met a cousin of the innkeeper. He name is – was? I’m not sure, I haven’t seen him in months – Camus Locksley. Same surname as Rosie’s before she got married, that’s how I know it. He was a quiet enough man, a bit younger than me, though. I figured there would be no chance, but he took what I thought was an interest in me. He’d actually talk to me without others around, and I thought I’d catch him looking at me. Things were crazy then, what with the flood and plague spreading around. He disappeared for a while, and I was a bit worried he had perished along with so many others. I even found myself a vial of the cure and saved it for him. I saw him one time after that, talked with him for a short while. Gave him the vial, it seemed like he enjoyed talking. Never saw him again. Quite odd, quite disappointing. Ah, but there is a point to this little story. I’d gotten over that long ago. My point is that it has happened to me a lot, constantly thinking a man may have an eye for me but then completely ignoring me or showing up one day with another woman on his arm. I’ve become used to being alone, even began to enjoy it. Could go where I wanted, when I wanted, didn’t have to worry about worrying anyone else.

Why did my thoughts turn here? I promise, there’s even another layer of a point: Tarlanc. I know, my letters seem to always begin and end with him. He is admittedly on my mind very often. Strange that I’d find myself enamored with and being courted by a Gondor sailor of all the types of people in the world, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He took me aside the other day, told me that the risks I take when I gather my timber concern him. He wants to help, to protect me. I’ve never had someone care about what I do. He really listens to me talk about what I’ve carved. He actually wants to hear stories of you and Dad. Whenever I hurt myself by accident, he softly tells me he wishes I would be more careful. He cares about me. It’s new, and I’m still reeling from it.

He told a lovely story last night at the Cask, a most adorable story about a rainbow fish that could feed an entire village for a year. He modified it a bit, apparently, to be friendly for the Hobbit-lass we were…well, we weren’t taking care of her, but I guess we were. She had fallen asleep and missed her Ma. So I held her and he told her a story to calm and quiet her. The story was adorable…I could tell he has those nieces and nephews he’s mentioned before. I’m beginning to wonder if he wants children of his own. He always mentions his family first, warns me that they’d be asking about children in the first five minutes of meeting me, but he mentions it a lot himself. I wonder if he realizes how often it’s brought up, and always by him, not me. Even as early as our second real meeting, he was mentioning how a woman of my age can carry a healthy child just fine! It scares me quite a bit, Grams. I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a mother, at all. I’m just too clumsy. I’d be more apt to drop them or feed them the wrong food than not. I do love children, but to actually be in charge of one? Oh, no. I just don’t think I could do it. I don’t even want to think about it anymore.

Ah, this letter has gone long, hasn’t it? I really should wrap it up, I have to finish cleaning up my house. I’ll write you again soon, and perhaps even with the length I showed here! Give Dad a hug for me, a big hug.

Your little pumpkin,
Lori

Memories: A Promise

A soundless sneeze echoed through the farmhouse. Loriwen sniffled to herself, rubbing her nose with a sleeve. It was warm, but her Grams insisted she stay under the covers. Best way to get rid of a sickness is to stay in bed, she said. So Lori stayed, miserable, overheated, and constantly coughing.

A well-trimmed mop of red hair with gray speckled throughout it trotted through the doorway, Rojer beneath it with worried eyes. “Hey, pumpkin.” He kneeled down on the floor, sitting on his heels. Running his hand through his daughter’s sweat-soaked hair, he felt her forehead. Burning up still. He frowned. “Here, I got this for you.” Pulling a large bottle of medicine from his pouch, he grabbed the spoon that was in her tea.

Loriwen shook her head, making a scrunched frowning face. Covering her feverishly flushed face, she made it very clear she was not interested in taking the awful medicine.

Pumpkin, please. If you take it now, you’ll feel better later. Don’t you want to feel better on your birthday?” Rojer pleaded softly with his daughter, holding the spoon carefully.

The small girl relented a little, but still didn’t open her mouth.

I’ll ask Grams to give it to you instead.”

That straw broke the girl’s back, and she opened her mouth reluctantly. Making a rather funny face, she eventually swallowed the medicine, it tasting even worse than she had feared. Loriwen looked to her father sadly, pointing to her throat.

I know, I know.. this medicine is supposed to make it all better. You’ll be able to talk soon, I promise.” He patted her hand, smiling sadly. “It’s just a touch of sickness, you’ll get your lovely little voice back soon.”

Unable to speak but understanding, she settled down into bed sadly. The sight about broke Rojer’s heart. He smiled and ran his fingers through her hair again. “Loriwen, let’s make a promise. We’ll always be together on our birthdays, even in silence and without cake.”

Loriwen’s eyes sparkled once again, nodding slowly. She held out her hand with a weak smile. Rojer put on as happy a smile as he could muster, giving her a hand shake.

Eleven years later, now a grown woman, Loriwen Snowberry found herself in the opposite position. Kneeling in the same pose, she sat next to her father’s bed. Wringing a rag in cold water, she placed it on her father’s forehead quietly. After a long time of silence, she reached up and held his hand. Never a good liar, she cleared her throat and managed to choke one sentence out. “Everything is going to be alright, Dad.”

Rojer’s head shook quietly, more gray than red strands falling into his face. A small, sad smile was plastered on his face. He brought his hand up to his daughter’s face, weakly poking her nose.

Loriwen’s eyes began to fill up with tears. “You have to be here for my birthday. We promised. We’ll always be together on our birthdays, even in silence and without cake.”

A raspy, thin wafer of a voice wafted into the air. “We always will. Visit me?” Rojer winced at the talking, lapsing back into silence. His own face had tears running down it.

She nodded slowly, her voice cracking with barely contained emotion. “I promise.” Her lips quivered as she attempted to hold back the tears practically brimming over.

He nodded slowly, lifting his hand to touch her cheek as he gave his daughter one last weak smile before slowly closing his lids.

Unable to contain herself anymore, Loriwen threw her head into the bedspread and sobbed.

RP Prompt: Dress Shopping

Lori walked into the dress shop. Dresses lined the shop, creating a sea of silky color. She sifted through dress after dress, not really knowing what she was looking for, and every once in a while plugged her nose long enough to look at the shoes. She did hate the stink of leather…

Finally summoning the courage, she walked up to a rather busy, heavyset woman and smiled brightly. “Hi, Anna. I need a dress.”

The woman stopped sewing and looked up at Lori, peering with a keen eye through her white bangs. “Why, slap me silly! Little Lori?” Anna rose quickly and enveloped the much smaller woman in a huge embrace. “I haven’t been seein’ ya in years, girl! What’s been goin’ on?!” She pulled Lori back to arm’s length, looking her in the eye. “You need a dress, now, d’ya? Ah, I have jus’ the thing.”

Lori smiled nervously as she watched Anna disappear into the back. She milled around for a bit, almost pacing. Anna finally emerged carrying a rather smooth and delicate dress, dyed the perfect hue to match Lori’s bright teal eyes. Those eyes began to widen in surprise and admiration. “Oh, Anna! It’s.. lovely.”

Anna grinned, wiping her hair to the side quickly. “Had t’ make it fer some other young missy like yerself, only she di’nt come t’ pick it up! C’mon now, go try it on! I’ll fix it on up fer ya t’day.” She very forcibly began to shove Lori toward the back room and privacy.

“But are you s–”

The large and quite jolly woman cut her off with a “Tut tut tut!” and a laugh. “Am I sure?! Lori doll, I havn’t been seein’ ya in years. ‘Course I’m sure!” She waved the young (to her eyes) strawberry blonde on further into the room.

Lori emerged minutes later, the hem dragging a bit. “This woman was tall, huh?” She looked down at the dress and ran her hands down her sides in awe as Anna smiled proudly. “It’s… absolutely amazing.” She looked up and blinked. “Anna, is this appropriate for a first dance?”

“First dance? Whatcha talkin’bout there, Lori?”

Lori looked back down at the dress, watching her hands. She tried (but failed) to hide a smile. “A dance, where people gather and I sit in the corner quietly, trying not to break anything.”

Anna blinked, watching the woman. “Yer goin’ to a dance? With who?”

The not-so-well-hidden smile blossomed on her face as Lori looked up to the kindly woman. “A really sweet man from Gondor. I… I asked him. It’s one of those dances, where the women ask the men to escort them.” Her face flushed and Lori ran her hands along the sleeves, admiring them.

“Well, it’s ’bout time, I say. Yer father always been worried sick ’bout you not findin’ a man one day, y’know.” She grinned and bopped Lori on the back, hugging her again. “He’d be right glad t’ see ya so happy. Y’ know that, right?”

Lori’s eyes filled up with tears as she hugged Anna back. “I hope so.”

“Whelp, then! You get yerself outta this, and I’ll be fixin’ that hem up fer ya.” Anna stepped back, faint tears in her own eyes.

She gazed at the woman briefly, her eyes sad. “I’m sorry my father never understood.”

Anna waved her hand dismissively, still some tears in her eyes. “Men will be men, ya hear me? Don’t be lettin’ yer man get away, now. If there’s goin’ to be one missy who deserves t’ be happy and loved, it’d be you. Now get!” She swatted at Lori as if she was a small animal.

Lori tripped on the way back in, but eventually emerged unscathed with the dress in hand. Anna quickly grabbed it from her, waving her off.

“At th’ end of th’ day! I don’ be carin’ what ya do, go see yer man and make sure he don’t be goin’ nowhere!”

Anna refused to respond further to Lori, so she eventually walked out with a sad smile on her face. She looked up to the bright morning sky and her smile turned happy as she saw a bird poke through a fluffy cloud. “I plan on it.”

((Originally posted here.))

RP Prompt: Memory Lane

Loriwen Snowberry pulled the bucket of water from her well with great effort. Holding it to her side with both hands, she awkwardly made her way toward her house. Putting it down briefly to open the door, she took a long glance at the waterfall, smiling at the water’s comforting roar. She made her way inside and began clearing her sturdy office table. The table always reminded her of her father: strong, sturdy, and practically immovable. It also helped a little bit that he carved it. Lori ran her fingertips along the tabletop, feeling the smoothed grains carefully, lost in thought. A few moments later, she snapped out of it and finished clearing off the desk.

The last item she reached for was her father’s whittling knife; now hers, to be specific. She held it in her hand, as she had done thousands of times before. She looked at it, holding it up to the light. The cherry-wood handle glistened, freshly waxed; the steel blade still shiny despite the numerous chips on it. She smiled softly, being brought back to the first time she was allowed to use it.

Lori walked along the stone wall toward her father, extra slow. She was clumsy, and she knew it. Always was, always would be. Giving up and hopping down into a soft pile of dirt, she ran over to her father. She was a bit big for him to lift up, but Rojer did it anyway (with a bit of effort). Safe in her father’s arms, Lori felt closer to a little kid than the whole eight years old that she was! Her father poked her on the nose, causing a quick swat and shake of the head.

“Hey, pumpkin-face. You want to learn some carving today?”

Lori’s face lit up, her bright teal eyes glowing with excitement. “Oh, yes! Please, pop; I’m old enough to use the knife!” She tumbled down out of her father’s arms, falling on the ground with an “oof!” Not to be deterred by falling down, she grabbed his hand and attempted to drag him along toward their farmhouse. He followed, laughing the whole while.

Her father sat her down upon his knee and handed her a large wood chip. “Now, Lori, this is important. When you carve wood, it isn’t about making the wood look the way you want it to. It’s about feeling the wood and understanding what it wants to be. Do you understand?”

The young girl’s head bobbed, strawberry blonde hair flying everywhere. She refused to keep it up or back, just like her mother. “I understand, pop!” She did as he had taught her: she held the wood with her eyes closed, running her fingers over it slowly. Lori looked up at her father’s dark green eyes—so unlike her own—and smiled brightly. “I think it wants t’ be a necklace!”

“Oh, ho! A necklace, do you think? What makes you say that?”

Lori looked down at the wood chip; it was no more than three inches in diameter. “Because it’ll make a sure pretty rose if you put it on a string!” She looked up at Rojer, searching for approval of her decision.

Rojer paused for a few moments of thought, looking from his daughter’s anxious gaze to the wood chip and back again. He nodded. “A fine choice, indeed! Let’s get started.” He wrapped his arms around his daughter, his only true possession in the world, and began to guide her hands in the carving of a rose pendant.

“First, you’ll want to hold the knife just like this…”

Loriwen blinked out of her reverie, realizing she had some tears in her eyes despite the smile on her face. She shook her head, as if the memory could be as easily shaken away. “Ah, that was so many years ago…”

She put the carving knife into a special pouch on her belt, which was clearly made just for it. Patting it quietly, she looked to the table her father carved before she was even born. It was a wedding gift to her mother, an intricately carved table upon which her mother could sew. Running her fingers over the table once again, she closed her eyes. “I understand, Dad.”

((Originally posted here.))