Last Friday I was all
so I didn’t get any writing done. I was probably lucky I got anything done that day. I was soooo sleepy. But I’m back today and I’m fresh from Sunday’s rest day so here we go!
======== The Path of Moonlight ========
The old woman climbed back down the stairs. She didn’t look to see if I followed. I stayed where I was as I watched her descend the steps and disappear from sight, unsure what to do. There was no way to escape from the loft I was in and even if I did, I knew I wouldn’t get far with my head screaming in pain the way it was. In the end I followed her down.
The fire was once again crackling, the short flames attempting to reach the pot hanging out of reach above them. The old woman was finishing sprinkling herbs into a squat, plain mug. Whatever was in it was steaming and the warmth of the mug felt good against the palms of my hands as the woman handed it to me.
“Let it steep first for several minutes,” she instructed.
“What is it?” I asked though more out of a dull curiosity than out of suspicion. I knew I’d drink it even if it was boiled goat urine. I perched on the edge of one of the worn chairs as I peered into the dark mug.
“Only water and herbs,” she said. “Nothing fancy like the court healers will give you. My potions are simple but don’t mistake simplicity for ineffectiveness. Those court healers get bogged down in their own complexities, trying to appear mysterious and powerful. When I give you something, it’s simple but you know it will work. Drink it.”
I did as I was told and wrinkled my nose, not bothering to cover my distaste. “It’s bitter,” I said.
“I also don’t sweeten things,” she said. “You want something sweet, go to the marketplace. Your teeth will rot out of your head, but you’ll get your sweetness. You want something real and good for you, come to me. It will taste worse if you let it cool.”
Cringing at the thought, I braced myself against the scalding heat and the tongue-curling taste and forced myself to drink half the cup. The effects were immediate and the lessening pain encouraged me to continue till the mug was empty, herbs and all. I frowned as I peered into the cup.
“I thought you said you added herbs.”
“Of course I did,” the old woman responded. “You didn’t think they’d stay in there, did you?” She clucked and shook her head when she saw my confused face. “They’re not plants to sit in the bottoms of ladies’ teacups. Give them a few minutes and they melt into the water, adding their medicine directly to the drink. It’s more potent than a mere tea.”
I sat in silence, relieved to be out of pain and able to think again but now plagued by too many questions. Which one did I ask first? Perhaps it was because she had taken my pain away or perhaps it was a product of the drink, but I had decided to trust her.
“What did you mean about the storm?” I asked.
She peered at the thatched ceiling of the cabin as a fresh round of thunder surged overhead.
“It’s searching,” she said.
“Searching?” I asked, disbelief plain in my voice. “How can a storm search?”
“How does an animal search?” she asked me instead. “With its senses. This storm has eyes and ears. Not its own perhaps but they are there just the same.”
My confusion was growing and I wanted to ask how that was possible and what she meant but I didn’t. Perhaps it would be easier to understand her if I suspended my disbelief and accepted everything she told me. After all, it wasn’t like anything made sense to me since I escaped from the crawlspace a few days before.
Instead I asked, “What is it searching for?”
“You,” she said. “What else? They’re using the storm to search for you, but they won’t find you if you stay in here. I didn’t think you’d believe me before and it wouldn’t do to have you wandering the hills with them looking for you.” Her face became grave and she shook her head. “No, it wouldn’t do at all.”
“Who’s they?” I asked. I fidgeted as I struggled to accept what I heard.
“The Dosanya,” she replied.
I stopped fidgeting. This I could understand though I had no idea what or who the Dosanya were.
“I’ve heard that word before,” I told her. “I was running away from my guardians when they said it. They said I couldn’t escape from the Dosanya, that no one could.”
The woman nodded. “Yes, that’s true enough. No one the Dosanya have aimed for have ever gotten away. They may find shelter for a time but they’re always caught in the end.”
More questions bubbled up in me. “Why do they want me?” I asked. “Who are they?”
The old woman peered at me as if judging my current condition then sighed and sat down.
“You’ll have to be told eventually,” she said. “I suppose it might as well be now. We won’t be getting much sleep with all this crashing going on overhead anyway.”
======== End of 18th Installment ========
And now I get to run errands! Yay…