I took the last sip of my tea feeling the warmth of the sweet Chinese spender coated my throat and warm me to the core. I took a breath through my nose; the clear crisp autumn air filling me with grace. Sadly, I had to open my eyes and return to reality. I was sitting in the attic of an old pub, the muffled sounds of laughter and brawls from the drunken thieves, hunters, and commoners below filled my ears. Here I was sitting in front of a Decandrian soothsayer awaiting my fortune to be told to me. I placed my cup down gently on the table between us careful not to make a noise. I failed; my hands trembled and the china clinked together. The first china I had ever seen and I almost chipped it! The old woman raised her slender silver eyebrows at me and reached forward to take the cup.
Her hands were fragile and her flesh wrinkled; her fingers were long and bony, she wore many fabulously coloured shawls beaded and decorated in died bone's. She had shoulder ornaments of raven skulls and quartz crystal. She stared down into my tea cup and tuned the handle towards herself. Here piercing aqua eyes as bright as ever stared intensely at the patterns the leaves made in my tea cup before she closed here eyes and placed the cup down between us. The woman raised her head, the cloaks slipping down to her shoulders revealing her entire face. She was beautiful even in her old age. She had horn's that parted her hair ever so neatly, her silver hair that still grew thick and long had braids and dreadlocks layered throughout it. Each was decorated in bone beads and other items used in her trade. Her bangs were loose and brushed and they framed her face a stony gray face. Her skin that was once a stony blue with dark tattoos of her trade decorating her body Wrapped around her cheek bones and connected with her silver eyebrows that framed her eyes, old tired eyes that burned with knowledge and wisdom, her sclera was black like all Decii and her pupal was its own unique aqua blue. Her eyes were still fixated on the candle flame lighting our table. She was cloaked in shadows but I could still see the Decandrian woman who was a grandmother, but she was old and knowledgeable she had many years of reading and studying; it showed in the wrinkles around her face, from scowling for hours from reading. Just as she was doing now as she read my tea cup.
"Tell me, 'ow long 'ave you been practicin' your trade?" she asked me in her heavy Decandrian accent., She like all Decandrian's grew up in a tribe down south. Its warm there, my Father used to tell me stories about his travels there.
I cleared my throat to answer her. I was cut off, an owl was heard hooting in the trees close to us. The owl continued to hoot the soothsayer looked at me and great sorrow filled her eyes.
"Jacinda!" the wretched tone of over pulped vile filled my ears as I woke to the mistresses reached tone. She called it endearing I called it ear breaking. The sun had already risen I must have slept in. That will mean ten lashings.
"Jacinda!" she spewed my name like poison. I bound my hair with a leather strap and got dressed in my linens and my apron. I opened the doors and made my way down to the hall to the kitchen to fetch the mistress her breakfast. The cook pulled a cord on the wall witch rang a bell in the mistresses room to tell her I was fetching her breakfast.
"Jacinda your late, that means lashings for you. I'm sorry dear." the cook placed her hand on my back and sent me off with the wooden tray of food for the mistress. I walked to her room, thinking about my dream. I was supposed to travel to the city to get my reading. All the orphan's of Uraith have a second chance at life when the reach 15, they get to speak to a soothsayer and endure a months of challenges to test their skills and usefulness to the Uraithian Courts. If you are chosen you get to leave the commoners life and life as a slaver, maid or whatever your misfortune has done to you and re-right your own future.
I rid my mind of the dream, I was about to enter the dragons lair, and soon my back would be scared again. I was finally standing in front of the mistresses bedroom doors, I took a deep breath and stood tall, opening the door and smiled; "I am sorry my mistress, I am late bringing you your morning tea and fresh scones. Please accept the cooks morning greetings, a bouquet of hyacinths that she had specially arranged for you." I bowed and bestowed the wooden tray upon her breakfast table. Still she scowled.
"You are an orphaned child, starving and on the street my husband was good enough to take you in." she stood up already dressed in a tight flowing daisy yellow gown that draped to the floor, she was in her mid twenties, tall, slender and her long brown hair was pulled up in a loose bun. A few loose curls framed her perfect face, pale skinned with full lips green eyes and rosie cheeks. If you did not know her you would love her, but I new her soul, her cruel hand and mean spirit. She was a monster in my eyes, a dragon, a stain, a burden on Uraith. "Now that the war drums have sounded again you are in my care and you will do what you are told, at least until your fifteenth birthday." she looked at a formation of stones in a dish, and returned to stair at me. "sadly I can not give you the lashing that you deserve, for your woulds will not have healed for your journey. So instead your chores have been doubled, now get out of my sight you swine."
I bowed gratefully and left, the poisonous vile that spewed from the dragons mouth smelled as pungent as they always had, but they sang joy to my ears. I will not be beaten for today's mishap. Once out of her room I ran to the garden, my garden, my sanctuary. I ran through the front doors, my bare feet pressing into the autumn leaves. They were cool between my toes as the crunched under foot. I continued to run and made my way through the orchard, past the fence and into the garden. The smell of herbs, and fruit filled my nose, and my heart melted.
My mother was a herbalist she had a garden and taught me about the fungus of the forest the herbs of the wild, how to make potions and elixirs that could heal or kill an person, she taught me droughts and antidotes and how to cultivate and care for the plants of Uraith. The garden was were I felt closest to my mother. I made my way to the little hidden green house I had made from supplies I had stolen from passing merchants. Inside I had kept an electric blue water hyacinth that I created a wetland like habitat for. It was my mothers Favorite flower and I will protect it for her.
I spent most of my day tending to the garden and running errands for the rest of the house hold staff. Picking apples for the cooks apple pies, trading pies and wine fore other necessities for the tailor, the Gardner, the house medic, and the huntress. I was the youngest and the girl with the most time. The other house staff teach me my basics, how to read, write, and basic city manners. The huntress teaches me how to hunt and honor the spirits of the wild. A kosher kill she calls it. ``Nothing is received in good fortune if not given in respect.`` she would say to me all the time. The tailor taught me to fix my clothing and create new clothes out of scraps. She also taught me how to make reinforced armor out of the animals bones from Shawna`s `kosher` kills. I will miss my staff family hear but I will be glad if I can get out of the dragons grip.
I went to bed that night ready to sleep but worried about my dreams, I fear I will receive a dark omen on my reading and if I do, I will not even get to show my strengths as an asset to the Uraithian courts. I closed my eyes and drifted into an uneasy sleep.