The Faerie Blade: Chapter 26

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Chapter 26: Kaelyn in Loden

Kaelyn was just trying to fill her belly, but she got a lot more than she bargained for when she decided to save the life of a Faerie.

 

“Why did one of you not tell me to wear a glamour?” I hissed quietly to my companions.

 


 
Author's Note: Here's chapter 26 of The Faerie Blade. ~Amethyst.
 


 Chapter 26: Kaelyn in Loden

Sharai worked both Shava and me harder than usual. My cousin would likely be ready to start learning the second dance within the next few days, so Sharai had Shava watch me as I practiced it, after we had both gone through the first dance several times and practiced the various basic movements to my spirit guide’s satisfaction. She also had us pairing off against one another with our blades in sparring matches.

Shava needed to get used to using Fal’hevar in practice since it was very different from her wooden practice blade, and I needed to get used to moving around and using Neva’kul while wearing my new armor. I was very careful to keep my strikes slow enough that my cousin had enough time to react, while my armor protected me from any accidents on her part. Thankfully, my armor was not too heavy or cumbersome, so I was sure that I would be used to wearing it soon.

After that, we both practiced with our bows until Shava could barely use her arms anymore, with me often interjecting to offer pointers or correct her stance and her draw. As much as I could see that she wanted to complain, my cousin grimly gritted her teeth and endured it. She had asked for the training after all, and now she needed it and knew that we were not going to be easy on her any longer. The intense training session was even tiring me out.

We were both very tired and ready for a break when I finally finished our training session and led us back into camp for breakfast. We had been at it a lot longer than usual, even Master Nirlyn, Vesha, and the other non-Fae and half-Fae among the troupe were eating their morning meals when we arrived. Breakfast was a bit different than the usual oatmeal and dried fruit and nuts that we had carefully rationed during our trip so far.

The troupe had not been able to trade for anything or steal, while we were in Evalis, so our supplies had been limited to what they already had stored or could gather in the forests. They could have tried stealing goods, but even the little ones had to change into hawks to get in and out of the capital, and that would not have allowed them to carry much food, which was why they stole coin instead and Master Nirlyn smuggled it out in instrument cases.

The troupe had spent much of the day yesterday before Vesha and I returned resupplying in Loden. It was a good-sized town along a major trade route, so they had plenty to trade for and every wagon’s cold cupboard and food storage space had been filled with supplies for our trek eastward to Derevik. Still, I was somewhat surprised when our grandmother gave us both platters with griddlecakes, fried eggs, and slices of boar meat along with our morning peppermint tea. The meal had been cooked on a large metal plate that I had seen used before to cook our evening meals, which sat above the fire on removable legs of the same metal.

“Eat,” Grandmother told us. Her eyes were boring into my cousin though as she added, “You will need your energy for magic lessons.”

Shava winced and quickly covered up a groan as she took the offered platter and we both sat down with the others to eat. She did not complain though, since she seemed to know that it was necessary, and complaining would not change that. I think that she was also trying to be on her best behavior since she felt genuinely bad about resorting to the lengths that she had to ensure that she was the one to bond with Fal’hevar.

I just ate quietly as Master Nirlyn and Vesha made plans for the day. I had not had a breakfast like this since before my parents were killed and, while I enjoyed it, the familiarity of it after so long brought up bittersweet memories. I attempted to set the darker thoughts aside and just enjoy the good meal. I had a family again, bigger than I ever thought I would have. I needed to focus on them, and what was going on now, rather than dwelling on a past I could not change.

What was going on now was that my fellow Bards were planning our day. While most of the troupe would be planning our coming-of-age celebration and finishing any business they had in Loden today, Master Nirlyn had canceled our Bard lessons for the day. Instead, Vesha and Korine could take me into town to buy some proper sandals and other things that I might want or need since I had very little in the way of personal possessions. Once we were finished, we would bring anything that we had bought for me back to camp and collect some instruments so we could return to Loden to busk and make some coin until it was time to return to the troupe for the celebration.

Before we could do any of that though, Uncle Bryden wanted to see Vesha and me. As soon as everyone was finished eating breakfast and making plans for the day, he had the pair of us follow him to his wagon and then inside. The layout of the wagon was similar to ours, except that there was a large loft bed above the door to the driver’s bench and the pair of hidden pullout cots on one side of the wagon were blocked by a wooden workbench with tools, various bits of metal, and a pair of buckets filled with beeswax.

Uncle Bryden did his jewelry making there and I assumed that Aunt Sivelle did her work there as well. Her gift was similar to Glimma’s, but where Glimma was able to speak with her owls, Aunt Sivelle was able to calm bees and other insects and sometimes influence them as well. The ability allowed her to gather honey and wax whenever Hagen and Mara found beehives while scouting. She made beautifully sculpted candles for the troupe, and sometimes for trade as well if she had enough beeswax.

Uncle Bryden opened one of the drawers in the workbench, pulling out a small satchel, which he emptied onto the workbench to reveal over a dozen carved wooden rings and long pegs of various sizes. “Let’s find a good fit for you, lasses, so I can get to work,” he offered with a smile.

It took several tries, but we both managed to find rings that would neither be too tight nor slide off the appropriate fingers at an inopportune moment. Once we had, Uncle Bryden placed them on the corresponding pegs and returned the rest to the satchel. It was not what I had been expecting at all from a ring fitting though, to be fair, I had never been measured for a ring before. “That is all?” I asked, having expected the process to take much longer.

“Aye, Kaelyn, that’s all I’ll be needing the pair of you for. I will form the rings around the pegs. Having it fitted like this will allow me to get the size right the first time and concentrate more on the craftsmanship. Now, off you go! I have work to do and, unless I misremember, you two need to go into town to get some things. Today is the only chance you’ll get since we’re leaving on the morrow.”

At my look of disappointment, Vesha placed a hand gently on my shoulder and I looked up to see her smiling reassuringly. “Worry not, we’ll make it to Hindra in four days or so, and we’ll stay a bit longer there. Loden is merely a town along a trade route, but Kalidar’s capital is a major trade center and a true city of wonders. We will be able to make good coin there, and there is so much to spend it on too,” she told me with a grin.

“It will also be the only major city along our route until we get to Derevik,” my uncle put in as he shooed us out of the wagon, “so you had best enjoy your time there. Any other stops will be short, like this one.”

~o~O~o~

After changing out of my armor and feeding and spending a bit of time with Zaiya, I returned the owlet to her makeshift nest so I could accompany Korine and Vesha into Loden. Both of them had visited the town several times before since it was on one of the major trade routes and they were able to remember where some of the better craftsmen were located, as well as the market square. The town was actually a lot like Greendell, where I had grown up, but that was hardly a compliment.

I had forgotten just how bad towns like this could smell, and my nose was far more sensitive since I had become a Faerie. At least Majair had had a sewer system to help keep the filth and waste from both humans and animals from being underfoot and to limit the stench, but Loden was not so fortunate. The smell made me queasy; it was no wonder that Fae other than voyagers largely avoided human settlements.

As we got to the area of town where the craftsmen made their livings, the smell was lessened some as the scents, sounds, and sight of tanners, blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers, apothecaries, enchanters, and other artisans all vied for our attention. However, we seemed to be getting plenty of attention as well. At first, I attributed it to the large Salamander girl who was being very protective of Korine and me, but then I realized that I had forgotten to cast a glamour before leaving camp.

As rare as it was to see Voyagers in town, they did often pass through here, and not only our troupe, so Korine was barely getting second glances. Vesha was a little more unusual, and the clothes that she had gotten from Ulielle in the Temple of Fire were a little more brightly colored than people around here wore, but she had been here several times and had dealt with some of the artisans here on previous trips. I, on the other hand, was a Faerie walking openly around town.

“Why did one of you not tell me to wear a glamour?” I hissed quietly to my companions.

“It’s not exactly something that we’re used to having to think about,” Korine whispered in reply, “and it isn’t like we’ve been trying to hide that we have a Faerie in the troupe. Before you got back last night, some of the curious townsfolk that came to get Tanna to read their fortunes caught my mother practicing her dancing in your form.”

I silently cursed until Vesha put an arm around me, kissed me softly, and said, “The troupe wasn’t planning to hide what you are, Kaelyn. At worst, people will assume that you’re an adoptee like me, but really, who you are isn’t anyone’s business but the troupe’s. If you’re on your own, don’t want to attract too much attention, or need a disguise then feel free to use a glamour, but we don’t expect you to hide yourself like that all of the time. I’d rather see your beautiful face than any illusion.”

-They are right,- Sharai, contributed as I blushed from Vesha’s words. -Eventually, word is going to get around that your troupe has a Faerie in their midst. Vesha and Nirlyn are already rare enough to attract attention, and keeping yourself under a glamour all of the time would be impractical and constantly drain your mana reserves. You should be able to be yourself when with your family. Besides, you will find that outside of Evalis, most people still worship the Gods and respect the Fae. Surely, some do so through fear, but Fae are not as maligned as they seem to be in the country of your birth.-

I let out a slow breath to calm myself. “I… Okay. I shall try to relax and ignore the stares. Sharai says that keeping a glamour on all of the time would be impractical anyway.”

We stopped as Vesha and Korine found the place they were looking for. “This is Aldus Cobbler’s shop,” Korine explained. “He’s one of the craftsmen in Loden that we deal with regularly when we pass through to get things we can’t make on our own. We have specific people that we deal with in practically every town and city on our travel routes because they’re willing to deal with us fairly and don’t judge us simply for being Voyagers. There is the most amazing apothecary in Hindra that we’ll have to take you to when we’re there, she has a gift and makes the most wonderful potions and salves.”

We stepped inside, and a bell above the door announced our arrival, though Vesha playfully called out, “Are you here, old man?!”

“Is that you, Vesha?! I heard your troupe was in town! You haven’t burned another pair of my fine shoes to a crisp, have you?! It’s been barely three months since I made you a new pair!” a grumpy-sounding voice called out. “I’ll be with you in a moment!”

Vesha blushed and looked down at the floor. Her last sandals had been burned, along with the rest of her clothes, in the Pillar of Flame until there was nothing left when she communed with her family. “Maybe…” she muttered quietly before calling back, “Nah, I’m good for shoes! We came here for Kaelyn this time!”

“Kaelyn? Is that one of the little ones? I don’t recognize the name,” an elderly man said as he parted the curtain to step out into the shop. He had barely passed the curtain when he stopped dead in his tracks, stared, and gasped out, “Merciful Gods, as I live an’ breathe. One of the fair folk, here, in my shop. Fair Lady, what may this humble cobbler do for you today?”

Words failed me at the awe in his tone, and on his face. I did not know how to respond to this and had been half expecting to be cast out or yelled at. Was Sharai right about people outside of Evalis? Well, at least some of them, it seemed, since he seemed to be on good terms with the troupe as well. Such people in Greendell had been both rare and silent, for fear of the Church of One.

Thankfully, Vesha quickly realized that I was at a loss for words and made introductions. “Kaelyn, this is old man Aldus. Old man, this is Kaelyn. She’s Mama’s new apprentice and was recently brought into the troupe. She was living alone and didn’t have much when she joined us, so she needs some proper sandals, and maybe some boots to keep her feet clean in town.”

“I… umm… well met, Aldus… Sir,” I stammered uncertainly as I tried to rein in my errant tongue.

The man’s look of awe turned into a kindly smile. “I see. She’s still young it seems, and probably not used to being around so many humans. You Voyagers are different; you’re practically Fae yourselves with your respect for nature and the way you hold grudges. At least she’s polite, unlike some of her troupe-mates,” he said with a teasing tone as he looked at Vesha before turning that kind smile back to me. “No need to ‘Sir’ me, lass, I’m a humble cobbler and shoemaker, not some knight.”

“Sorry,” I quickly apologized.

“No need to apologize for being polite, lass. Maybe you can teach that fellow apprentice of yours a thing or two, but I won’t hold my breath waiting on it. Now, come into the back and have a seat so I can measure you properly,” he offered as he stepped back and opened the curtain to his workroom.

© 2022 - 2024 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

Further chapters are available to the public on my Patreon page.

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Comments

Yes

Amethyst's picture

For those of us who aren't 'normal' and just want to be treated like any other person, social interaction can be extremely stressful and mentally painful.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Definately

Wendy Jean's picture

nice to make a new friend. As long as they aren't faking it.

We'll find out next chapter...

Amethyst's picture

which is now posted :)

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Coming of age

Well, it will be interested to see the shift in responsibilities once she is full on adult.

She is already active in the defense of her troupe far more than would be expected of someone her age.

Her social role is likely the only really major change.

There isn't really that much

Amethyst's picture

There isn't really that much change, except for no longer being thought a child. Voyagers are fairly open with their kids after all. She may have other duties to contribute to the troupe later, but for now she is doing plenty in her role as a defender.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3