Day Twelve

My peaceful morning was interrupted by Ulfgar. He arrived with the two criminals in tow and a cart of slate, apparently they’d been rather more productive than expected in the slate quarry and were here a day earlier than planned to fix my roof.

I think they may have been encouraged to get on with things while the weather held. The rain was never far away and a couple of dry days in a row was near unheard-of.

I was supposed to be picking up a new book for my collection though, word had come through from my friend the mushroom sprite that a certain thunderbird had dropped by with something she thought I would find interesting.

Ulfgar promised to stay and supervise. He’d even brought the crystal ball with him, so Chloe could play in the garden and still be able to communicate. I shook a finger at her.

“Now you behave around those bees remember, they’re still a little unhappy with you, and you know they’ll find a way to make life difficult if you don’t make amends.”

Chloe nodded seriously, then skipped through three flowerbeds and whirled around to the side of the house where I kept the hives.

I had to check. I poked my head around the side of the cottage and my impish little ghost was in front of the hives, bobbing a neat little curtsey and clasping her hands together. She actually managed to look repentant. The bees were wary, but clearly open to conversation, so I left them to it.

The path to the mushroom sprite’s cave took me through a small clearing, a very good spot for certain sun-loving herbs in the right season. There were no herbs there today, but there was a robed figure, wafting about the place in a swirl of floating flowers. Quite a feat given it was autumn.

They spotted me and drifted over. It was a fey, one from the Fire Plains if I was reading his dark brown skin correctly. He circled me, smug and graceful, I paused long enough for him to complete a circuit, then walked on.

That threw him, he came after me, slightly less graceful now and his flowers fluttered and sank behind him.

He said. “You’re supposed to stop and wait while I complete my augury.”

I raised a brow, and kept walking. “Is that what you were doing? I thought it might be some sort of courtship dance.”

(I didn’t but it was so much fun to see him choke and stumble.)

He recovered and stayed on my path. “Do you not wish to see your future?”

I laughed. “Where’s the fun in that?”

He stumbled again. “You aren’t a normal person.”

That made me snort. “There’s no such thing.”

I was nearly to the edge of the clearing and had to decide whether this burr I had acquired was a suitable addition to the gathering at the cave. They’d no doubt have some fun with him as well, and the dragon did enjoy having someone to debate philosophy with. I wasn’t sure the fey would be a terribly good debater mind, but fresh minds are fresh minds after all.

I continued on through the woods with the fey bobbling about behind me, a grumpy, incredulous floral cloud on an invisible string. The image made me smile.

He grumbled again. “Why do you not wish for my foretelling? There may be a handsome man waiting for you, or danger that you can prepare for.”

I eyed him suspiciously. “And how many handsome men appear in the auguries of pretty, young girls with too much romance in their heads? And how many of them end up in danger or trouble as a result.”

The fey drew his robes around him, chin raised. “I am no charlatan.”

I stopped and looked at him properly. The mists of future fates wound about his body, weaving through the flowers that still danced in his aura. “You’re right, you’re not. You’re just smug and arrogant.”

He spluttered at that, I continued on my way.

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