I was thankful that no one had been ready to immediately begin our quest; it gave me the time I needed, and was using now. I crept through the dewy, rain-kissed grass of the mountains, collecting herbs, fruits and vegetables for the group to eat. I collected the dew in a glass flask, as an alternative to the icy water which trickled from the glacier which sat between two peaks. I collected some of the icy, burning water in a second flask, and then looked about for the final item on my mental list. The flower of the Aven plant. My namesake had been important to my family for many generations. I plucked the bud from the emerald stem, and began to paint my lips with it. The women of my family did this every morning, well at least, the virginal ones. For purity was what was signified. I still remembered my father's words to me. "Your mother's lips were still as white as the Aven when we wed."

I wanted to be like my mother. I did not want to give into temptation. I pondered all this as I placed a few more buds, along with the other items, into my roseleaf bag, then hurried down the mountain to where the others had congregated, my lips as white as my ashen-faced parents as they watched me. I loved them, and one thing was certain.

We would miss each other greatly.

The End

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