One upon a long time ago, there lived a princess. To the citizens she had no real name, heck; to them, she pretty much had no face. This princess, who spent her days gazing sullenly out the window of her cottage, was an unimportant and forgotten one. Her parents, both vain and greedy people, had favoured her younger sister, who had been born with looks and a fantastic ability to manipulate the minds of people. Sometimes, the forgotten princess thought that this ability would be of supernatural origins.
Her parents, wanting the younger sister to rule the Kingdom, had kept their rightful first child deep within the embrace of the thick wood and managed to convince their citizens that she had been adopted. They built her a quaint cottage, and provided her with money every month. However, they forbade her to reveal her face in public, giving her dozens upon dozens of scarves to wrap around her head. Being the loyal and obedient one that she was, the forgotten princess agreed, though she only wore it when she went to the market for food
Thus, the forgotten princess earned her nickname of "Mummy", based upon tales of people in faraway lands who wrapped their dead up in linens.
Every other day, Mummy would take her reed basket and head down the rocky trail through the woods until she reached the kingdom gates. The gates were open to visitors to pass through freely during the day, so she had little trouble walking past the guards. In the early mornings that Mummy went to the market, there were much fewer people strolling about. The street vendors seemed more cheerful in the morning, and their produce would have been the freshest in the morning. Though people were initially afraid of Mummy (it was hard not to be, with her face all wrapped up like that, they eventually grew to like her.
You see, Mummy was always a kind and quiet person.
They managed to accept her face-less-ness and treated her as an equal.
But one morning, when Mummy awoke from her slumber with the multiple layers of wool blankets wrapped snugly around her and cool rainwater spraying onto her bare cheeks, she could feel that something strange was going to happen.
But at the moment she, along with her blankets, was getting wet so she thought little of it. Standing up on her knees, she leaned out the window by her bedside and pulled the wooden shutter boards shut. Wiping her damp cheeks on the back of her hand, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed and padded across the cottage and towards the dying fire. Her cottage had no rooms. Her bed was pressed up in one corner with her chest of clothing (doubling as a side-table) beside it. Across from her bed was the kitchen, where the wood burning fireplace sat by the wall, her box of groceries by that and all her cooking utensils hanging from hooks on the wooden walls. Her eating table sat in between the two places. She had a sewing area in on the other end of the cottage, as well as a place to hang up heavy winter cloaks or wet rain ones.
Otherwise there was nothing else but an idle, padded seat that sat, facing the other window, and the front door.
Changing out of her nightgown, she pulled on her undergarments and a simple yellow dress. Folding up her nightgown, she set it ontop of her chest and went about tidying her bed as well as herself at the washbasin.
Throwing on her rain cloak, she wrapped a deep red scarf around her face snugly. Making sure that it wouldn't fall off, and that there was enough space for her to see through, she pulled the hood of her cloak on. She bent down and slid into her boots before grabbing the basket and walking out the door.
The rain outside really wasn't so bad. It was more like a light mist than anything. Mummy felt a light smile tug at the corner of her lips; it was cooling – relaxing almost. She swung her arms lightly as she stepped carefully on the soft, moss covered ground. The plants seemed to be extra saturated in colour, every green was incredibly green and every blue, yellow or pink looked exceptionally cheerful.
Upon reaching the gate, she nodded her greeting at the ever-stoic guards before walking past the gates. Her feet automatically turned the corner and took her to the lightly buzzing market. The stall closest to hers had a chubby lady selling fruits. The lady smiled at the sight of Mummy and waved her over, "Good morning, Mummy. Fine day huh?" She laughed warmly.
Mummy smiled, but then remembered that the Fruit Lady, as she mentally dubbed her, couldn't see. "Yes, ma'am," She said, hoping that the smile was evident in her melodic and smooth voice. "Is there anything particularly nice today?"
"Oh yes! Here, take a look at these, we just recently got a box of them from a merchant. Lychees and pears, from the Orient – I tried one last night, sugar sweet, I swear it!" The Fruit Lady went about gesturing to the new items and telling Mummy about the freshness of the fruit, each lovingly displayed in large reed baskets or in canvas sacks. In the end, she bought a few of her staples – apples and oranges, before deciding to try a few of the lychees and pears.
Moving slowly through the market, she visited the Veggie Man, the Cloth Girl, the Dairy Boy and the Medicine Lady. Walking out of the gates and toting with her a basket full of fresh produce and a small crate of bottled milk, she nodded her good-bye to the guards and veered off the main road and headed towards home.
As she climbed up the hill and towards her house, however, she spotted a dark figure lounging on her doorstep. Mummy paused, blinking, now who would find her doorstep so awfully comfortable that they would take a nap there? It wasn't like the overhanging roof provided much protection from the rain either. Closing up on the figure, she soon found her toes right by the mysterious body. She nudged it with her toe. Mummy couldn't see the identity of the person, the body was wearing a dark rain cloak, and the hood was pulled up just enough to cover their face. Crouching down, she gently pulled the hood back and gasped.
For starters, it was a man under the hood. He looked worn with long locks of brown hair and stubble all over his jawline. But that hadn't been what made Mummy gasp, there was a dark stream of blood running from within his hair, down his temple, over his chin and down his neck. His eye seemed bruised, and his cheek was scratched.
Fearing the worst, Mummy straightened up and pushed the heavy wood doors open. She used her basket and crate of bottled milk to prop the door open. Carefully, she wrapped her arms under the arms of the mysterious man and hauled him up. She grunted at his weight and backed up into the cottage. Mummy paused at the doorstep, trying to decide where to lay him.
Telling herself that the injured was more important than the healthy, she dragged him further into the house and hoisted him rather roughly onto her bed. Carefully taking off his rain cloak, she went about to feed the light smoldering of the fire, filled a kettle full of water and hung it over the flames. While she waited for the water to boil, she hung up his rain cloak, closed and locked the front door and set her groceries into the food box.
When the kettle whistled loudly, she carefully un-hooked it and poured the steaming water into a ceramic wash basin. Dipping a handkerchief into hot water, she winced a bit at the burning pain but managed to squeeze out the excess water and start cleaning his wounds. After she had dabbed and wiped away most of the dirt and blood, she set the wash basin aside and went to fetch her box of medical supplies.
Seeing as though it would be hard to treat him with so much hair in the way, she took a pair of scissors and completely chopped off his ponytail of hair. Mummy went on to quickly trim the remaining hair. Now with much shorter locks, and a notion that he would probably be very angry when he woke up, Mummy rubbed some medical ointment on where she felt the wound to be wrapped his head in strips of linen. She rubbed the same ointment on the other scratches but didn't wrap them up. She would have also placed ice on his eye, but she didn't have any ice handy. Instead, she filled an empty milk bottle with cold water and lightly held it to his bruised eye for a while.
By the time she took off the thick vest, boots and belts of the stranger and tucked him under the wool blankets, it was early in the evening. Stretching, she took out the cast iron pot and filled it with water and threw in a few wild roots and vegetables before setting it over the fire. It was still raining outside, and she was feeling rather chilled. A nice hot soup would do her good.
When she had drunk her fill of the soup, she took the pot out of the fire and set it aside. She could give the stranger the leftovers in the morning, but for now she ought to pack up for the night and go to bed. Well, not really bed. Placing more wood into the fireplace, she grabbed a spare, thinner, blanket and curled up on the padded chair. It didn't take long for her to nod off.