The sun was cresting in the east casting it’s warm light over the grassy hills. The shadows of the flock of sheep stretched far along the green valley. Striding amongst them was a large man with his walking stick. His cloak was tattered and well worn and his graying hair was shoulder length and wispy. His shepherd barked and trotted at his side, keeping the sheep in stride. Two younglings, about the age of ten pranced and skipped along behind the herd, laughing.
Tace watched her father and young siblings from a distance. She was hanging laundry to dry though what she wanted to be doing was wandering the nearby forests of Euanor. She’d heard tales of pixies and forest nymphs and the wonders they could bestow on people. She sighed heavily.
“And what are you sighing about, youngling?” her mother said to her as she set another basket of laundry next to Tace.
“Oh mother, the wonders of Euanor… The pixies and the beautiful nymphs!”
Her mother scoffed. “You’d best not let your father hear you speak of dashing off the forest. You know as well as I do what lurks in those woods! Why, the giants and tr-“
Tace interrupted her, exasperated “Yes yes, the trolls, and the wolves and the bandits. Father made sure to scare all of us multiple times with his tales of the dangerous woods!”
Her mother grunted and helped to hang the clothing. Tace continued “But nothing ever happens in the Grenshire. The most interesting goings on here are when one of old farmer Runknik’s cow’s milk goes sour. I want to see the world! Be sprinkled with pixie dust, see a snowstorm in Euanor, drink wine in Vina!”
“And how do you suppose a young Grenfolk is going to do all that?” chipped in Tace’s older brother, Tamor. “With your calloused farm hands, your mud skirted dress and wild hair – you’d fit right in with the rich folk of Vina, wouldn’t you? They’d laugh you out of the country – and Euanor? You wouldn’t last an hour.” He paused, taking a large bite of an apple. “I know! You can visit Radapeche! Maybe you’ll make friends with a demon.”
“What do you know, anyway?” scowled Tace. “Think you’ve seen the world since you volunteered to be part of the guard at this season’s trade fair?” Her eyes were steely grey as she glared at her laughing brother. Through her angered gaze, she could see the tips of Tamor’s hair starting to fizzle and smoke, and she felt a tingling sensation running through her body. Her eyes were starting to get hot. Blinking hard she turned back to the laundry, biting her lip. She hoped he didn’t notice. Her eyes hurt, and tears flowed down her cheeks.
“Tamor!” their mother shouted, seeing Tace’s tears. “Go clean out the stables”
“But mother, I didn’t do anything!”
Squinting at Tamor, his mother put her hand on her hip. Tamor threw his arms in the air and stalked off towards the stables, defeated by his mother’s glare. Tace breathed a sigh of relief – no one had noticed Tamor’s hair.
She continued to hang the laundry of her six-strong family, thinking about what had happened. It wasn’t the first time she’d felt the tingle and seen strange things happening. Whenever her anger boiled over, she felt a warmth deep inside, and noticed papers around her would curl and singe at the edges. Or when her mind wandered as she did her chores, such as the dishes, for example, she’d find that she finished them much faster than she realized.