~The Mending~ pg 8

Emotion threatened to make her a sobbing mess once again so she shoved the possibility to the back of her mind and focused on Civyl. The fire had not consumed him. It had helped him instead. That was good… but it left her with so many questions. “Why didn’t it burn you this time? It tried when you picked up the burning stick. I saw that.”

Civyl shrugged. “Maybe because I didn’t try to wield it when I fell. I was too distracted with the pain in my arm to try to fight back anymore and then I was unconscious.”

Fiora shut her eyes with the possibilities. Something still wasn’t adding up. The wind carried a puff of smoke from the hearth to her nose as if to help her remember. “The smell, though,” she whispered out. ”It was the same smell as the… the… as burnt flesh. I smelled burnt flesh.”

Civyl smiled with a sheepish half-grin. “Yeah… In addition to burning all of the clothing I was wearing, it also burnt our supper. Sorry to say that we will not be having rabbit and grouse soup tonight. They were turned completely to ash.”

The wild game… she had smelled the wild game burning… Fiora allowed herself a smile. Civyl was alive! The fire had not taken him from her. She had not failed and Civyl’s quest, whatever it might be, could also be fulfilled. It was a good feeling. Especially with him sitting right next to her. She had one last question on her mind, and she asked it while she smoothed down the hairs on his leg. “How did you find me?”

“It wasn’t too difficult to follow four sets of horse prints,” he shrugged as his hand rested on the top of her head in affection. “I had to find you. I had to make sure they weren’t hurting you.” 

She turned her forehead to lean on his leg. “I’m so glad you did,” she whispered with closed eyes.

“Hmmm…” The old woman was staring at them thoughtfully when Fiora glanced. Her hand rubbed her wrinkled chin while her eyes squinted in concentration. She stared at them long enough for Fiora to wonder if she would ever say her mind. Abruptly, Nivia stood. “That reminds me. If we don’t want the rest of that hare I butchered to go to waste I should probably cook it up, hmm? I’m afraid I don’t have a spare grouse, but some rabbit stew does sound quite nice for tonight.” 

By the grumbling in Fiora’s tummy, she knew she would be most grateful for food. “Can I help with anything?” she offered.

Nivia scoffed, “Not dressed like that, you can’t. You’ll need to wash up first. Upstairs, third door on your left. There must be something in my closet that you can change into. And you’ll find a washtub full and waiting right across the hall. Quick as you can, now. I’ll be needing your steady hands to cut the frithnip root for the broth.”

Frithnip root? Just the thought of the tender plant made her mouth water. Fiora hadn’t had frithnip root in ages and her hunger made her eager to have it again. “Yes, ma’am!” she jumped up and headed for the stairs heedless of what else she might find at the top of them.

The End

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