Bittersweet Makes a Terrible Drink

It’s been so long since I’ve seen or heard from anyone at home. I was glad to see Thyre, she looked healthy, and it gave me a little hope that our village was doing just fine. I was glad to hear how she was preparing for spring product and what she was hoping for in the coming season. But her response made a piece of my heart twist horribly.

I miss the family tavern. I miss experimenting with ingredients, the excitement of new things to enhance Mom’s product. I miss seeing familiar faces of the village, the wandering souls passing through and stopping for a night, even the grumpy ones that sometimes were a nice distraction. I miss the stories, the drama, the connections people can share over a moment of peace and nourishment.

Worst of all, part of me actually misses Mom and Dad. I blame that drink test. I blame my opponent for being Thyre. Of all the people to show up, why her in the first place? Then again, why would anyone like her or I be in Runeheim?

The test was a bit entertaining at least. The first drink was sickly sweet like mallow root, that coated the tongue in almost a thick syrupy feeling that was hard to swallow. It was like medicine, not the best tasting kind, but I can see how it’d help someone. The second, it about burned my tongue from the spice of it, though it had a certain warmth and satisfying kick once the flavor settled. Then the third, perhaps the best and the worst. It tasted like home. A gentle warm, vanilla, and honey-like flavor. Like the feeling of being out all day in the cold winter, before returning home to a warm bath, and a freshly made bed to sleep like a bear.

That taste reminded me of the hard nights where sleep was nowhere in reach, and Mom was willing to stay awake with me until I could find peace. It reminded me of Dad, when he told me I’d be a good hunter when I caught my first rabbit, after a morning of frustration that brought me to tears over my first trapping lesson. He must have redone my trap while I wasn’t looking. Either way, having a dad like him, I had to take whatever praise he was willing to tear out of his stone heart when I could.

Part of me regrets letting Clemens join along. I appreciated his presence of course, I barely know anyone in Runeheim at this point beyond a name or startings of friendship. But I wish he didn’t finish the third drink, if it meant I got to hang onto that feeling for a little longer. But he had fun too, at least, I think he did. He’s always nose deep in some mage related business or whatever that I’m not really sure what he’d find fun in.

I think I need to start making drinks regularly again. Mom would be proud if she knew her little girl was making it big in Runeheim. At least, I hope she’d be proud.

The Haunting Figure

Black as night. Its face was nothing more than a white bird mask. Nearly taller than the door as it loomed over the threshold.

And at the worst time of a woman to face a situation such as that. I should have remembered at least one of the tales Mom told me as a child. Tales of strange creatures terrorizing women and girls when they least expect it, and what was the common thread? They were alone and their guard was down. They’d freeze like statues, when they should have done something, anything to ward off a potential threat.

But those were just stories, meant to teach children basic survival skills. What does a grown woman do when she sees something out of a tale, in real life? Was it luck for me, or perhaps the figure just lost interest? I feel a little lucky at least, that hopefully it didn’t see me as a threat and moved on.

Perhaps it was just a figment of my imagination. I haven’t been in Runeheim for long, but one would be a fool to not see the stress and pressure everyone seems to be under. Maybe I’m part of the afflicted, my mind playing tricks as a result. Nothing a good drink and time with familiar faces could fix, I’m sure.

Perhaps I’ll bother Clemens to ramble on about anything at me. So long as it heals my mind of whatever this cursed figure has manifested itself from. And if he manages to keep my attention.