The Swamp – Day Two

It was a good thing it didn’t rain that night. The cauldron had done more damage than I’d thought on its way down, and Cernunnos found he had neither sufficient wood, nor time, to fix things before the sun went down.

I waved him off with thanks and the promise of a good breakfast the next morning, then returned to my poor, battered home and glared at the pot.

“Well, I suppose you’re here now and some idiot is going to find out. I’ll have no peace until words gets around that someone’s stolen you.”

I huffed and eyed my health plant. It had been another gift (ha!) from the double rainbow some time ago and seemed to reflect both my health and state of mind. Or at least it did once the poor thing had recovered from being flung off a rainbow and into the middle of my favourite apricot tree.

The tree took some time to recover as well, and still quivers whenever the damn thing appears above my island.

I wrapped my arm around the plant’s hefty earthenware pot and picked it up. “How about a visit to the orchard, see how your outside friends are faring?”

The plant’s leaves fluttered in a non-existent breeze and I felt my own mood lighten at the thought of wandering through my pretty orchard in the cool dimness of the evening.

It was such pleasant weather, I left the plant out, next to the apricot, for the night. It didn’t generally like being outside but once in a while it seemed to need the change of scene.

I took the chance of the clear space on the floor to give the whole area a good sweeping. We’d lugged the table outside earlier in the afternoon to have room to work on it and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen my main room so empty.

As I wriggled my broom into grooves and notches in the floor boards, one caught, and lifted a little. Wonderful, that was all I needed, yet another thing to fix.

Setting the broom aside, I was all but done anyway. I knelt to investigate and discovered it was deliberate. There was a loose floorboard underneath my health plant, with a secret cache underneath.

Right now, that cache held a plain wooden box and I grumbled as I pulled it out. I built this cottage. Who had finagled their way in here and added their secret to my home? I was not happy, and they would be very unhappy when I found them.

I opened the box and pulled out the scroll inside. Unrolling it revealed a map. At least it wasn’t a spell, or some lost last will and testament.

Strange though, no matter which way I turned it, I could not make out what place the map was supposed to be portraying. Finally, I rolled it up again, and tucked it back in the box.

I didn’t return it to the cache though, I had other uses for that little hole, such as storing a couple of odds and ends I’d rather not have the casual visitor, or cauldron quester, stumble over by accident. I put the map and box on the sideboard and headed for bed, I would deal with it, and the rest of the world, in the morning.

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