Muddled Mornings

Delphine awakes with a soft flutter of eyelashes, the morning sun muted by curtains and shutters. Nestre had drawn them during the night, and closed the wood shutters, too. She has moments of kindness and, without children of her own, exerts a maternal fondness for her pupil.

Memories of the bitter feelings of her previous evening bring a sigh to Delphine’s lips. You smile, knowing that the young woman is finally waking, finally reasoning and wrestling with the world. Having planted the seed you are happy to see it sprout so soon.

Delphine swings her legs over the edge of her bed and stands, linen nightdress cascading to the floor. She opens the curtains and reopens the window, taking a deep breath of the dewy outdoors. As she moves to leave the room, though, she notices something amiss.

Cervus’ flowers are missing.

All good feelings for Nestre flood from her in a rush of boiling blood, and she spills from her bedroom in a childish rage.

“What have you done with my garland?” she screams to the quiet house. There is no answer but from the chirruping of birds outside.

Delphine storms to the kitchen only to find it empty. A few dirty dishes are stacked beside the water basin, and a note is pinned to the table under a smooth stone.

“Lady Nestre?” she calls out meekly. The note catches her eye, and Delphine removes it from under the weight.

Went to the Kuriakon at first light, wished not to wake you.
Please wash up and follow when finished.

Another sigh, and an invisible cloud of frustration vents from Delphine’s body. She complies with her teacher’s instructions, washing the dishes after preparing some food for herself. The simple tasks give her opportunity to think, to dream, and to ponder the visions you have sent her.

Delphine takes these ponderous thoughts and expands them out of doors, walking with a head full of questions into town.

Nestre makes her home in the countryside, outside the low curtain wall ringing the busy town. She had been raised a farmer’s daughter, or so she had told Delphine, and couldn’t cope being cooped up in city life. And so she, and Delphine with her, have a cottage at the foot of a hill a short walk away.

As Delphine crests the hill, her musings come to a solid conclusion, which she whispers to your delight. “I awake too early each time. I cannot fear the stag.”

Her progress is astounding, especially in the absence of Nestre, and you know that she is ready for another vision. Perhaps tonight as she sleeps, to keep the dreams away from the prying older woman. For now, the girl has more worrying things to fret over.

Smoke rises from the chimneys of the Kuriakon as usual, but today it is not white. Today, it is black.

The End

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