For the first time Petra feels the need to enter a town, What will she find.
Rose, a pretty nineteen year old, sat at her normal table with her brother, Skylar, who was almost twenty-seven, drinking coffee and just watching people walk by the cafe. The people she watched every week walked passed, some in a hurry, others stopping to chat before slowly moving off. Some still dress in bright colours of the festival season that most had put away till next year. Children ran around, one just scurrying out the way as a carriage raced down the road. Rose felt her heart race. She has been on edge all morning; it was like when she was waiting for something important. There would be nothing anyone could do to calm her down, she just had to wait and find out what it was all about. She leant over the table with a frown, she knew she had to be here but it was driving her mad. Suddenly a woman caught her eye, she stood out from everyone around her and it was not just that her hair and skin was so pale. She sat looking at her, she wanted to run out there and talk to her. She felt something inside her heart; she wanted nothing more than to make this woman happy, truly happy. Not this surface happy that she showed everyone around her. Rose stopped with a frown; she felt a strange connection to the woman dressed in sun yellow. Rose had never seen the style of dress before, fitted bodes to the lower hips, the off the shoulder top was topped with the purest white lace, then a soft flowing skirt to just above the ankles.
The woman squatted in front of a young girl who was in tears, not caring if her skirt became marked with dirt. When she touched the child’s cheek Rose was instantly aware that she had magic. Rose watched in wonder as she tried to understand her new ability to know someone had magic even though they had not used any. The girl looked up and smiled, to this the woman produced a large red apple with a graceful swirl of her hand and gave it to the girl who skipped off down the road smiling as she bit into the ruby red apple. The girl stopped as if she hit a wall and turned back to the woman with large eyes. Rose watched the woman slowly stand up; the girl gave the woman a huge smile and ran away down the road. The woman in yellow watched with a gentle smile. No dirt marred her skirt, Rose thought in amazement. Rose often only had to walk down this road and would find a layer of fine dirt covering her. Rose thought the dirt itself didn't want to detract from the woman’s beauty.
‘What has caught your attention so completely?’ Skylar touched his sisters’ hand.
‘That woman.’ She said in awe and pointed out the window.
‘Which.’ He stopped as he looked at the woman in yellow just in time for the sun to shine through the cloud cover, making her pale blonde hair and yellow dress look like they glowed. Then there was her skin, at this distance it looked like cream. A single thought ran through his mind at the sight of this woman. I have to keep her close, do anything to have her stay with me. ‘Wow.’
‘Yes that one.’ Rose said with a smile. ‘Do you know her?’
‘I’ve never seen her before, what about you.’
‘No, but I do know one thing about her.’
‘She has magic.’ She felt like something wonderful was about to happen.
‘How do you know that?’ He couldn’t look away from the woman who watched the people with interest, her posture and graceful movements captivated him. She spoke to an old woman that passed her, who nodded her head and pointed in their direction. The woman smiled letting the other woman pass before she headed to the cafe.
‘It’s just her presence that screams . . . magic.’
‘Yes.’ He said softly as the woman stopped in the middle of the road and look back the way she had come with a frown. A young boy ran out the door of a shop as a bottle hit the ground at the back of his feet, sending green shards flying. He cried out as a large man holding a followed him out the door.
‘Come back here, I will teach you to ignore me you little brat.’ His voice showed his anger, a woman followed close behind.
‘Dear please stop.’ She tried to pull him back to the shop but with a quick yank he freed himself and moved on.
‘Daddy, please don't.’ The boy whimpered.
‘Here, behind me, you will be safe.’ The pale woman called softly, the boy heard her clearly and gladly took refuge. She held both hands out beside her from the elbows, her fingers almost splayed. ‘Stop where you are sir.’ Her voice still gentle as if asking the time or something but he stopped in his tracks.
‘Get out of my way lady, I have to punish him.’
‘No you do not.’
‘He needs to learn.’ The man yelled holding the knife out in front as he pointed to his son.
‘What can anyone learn from pain?’ She asked as the wind blew her hair to the side and sending ripples through her skirt.
‘To do the right thing.’ He said plainly, the woman looked him in the eyes without blinking.
‘Did you learn when your father cut you?’ She slowly moved towards the man. She felt people moving towards them, she flexed her little finger on her right hand sending out soft assurance that she could handle the situation.
‘How do you know what my father did?’ He took a step towards her as the knife started to lower.
‘You don't need that knife; all you need is your voice to explain.’ She took a few more steps towards him, his posture relaxed a little more. With every moment she knew more about what had caused this kind hearted man to threaten his much loved son.
‘He never listens.’ His shoulders slumped as if under a great weight.
‘Have you told him that you are having nightmares, that even after a night’s sleep you just can't handle doing everything yourself.’
‘No.’ He dropped his arm to his side and came to a stop in front of her she saw the tears building. Her hand gently cupped his cheek.
‘Have you told him that you would be grateful if he would help out in the shop and would even give him what money you could?’
‘No.’ a single tear rolled down his cheek and onto her hand.
‘Do you know how proud he is of you and his mother?’
‘Proud?’ His eyes flicked to his son before looking back to the woman.
‘Yes, he loves the fact that his parents keep going, even through the hardest of times.’
‘I never knew.’
‘Do you want to try talking to him?’ She gently took the knife from his hand as she stepped aside to let him go to his son. A woman hurried over to her.
‘Thank you Lady.’
‘That’s alright Madam, are you all right?’
‘Yes, he didn’t hurt me.’
‘That’s good; your husband wouldn’t forgive himself if he did.’ She handed the knife to her with a small smile. ‘They will be alright now; and to stop his nightmares just burn rosemary incense.’
‘Really?’ The woman looked at her in surprise.
‘Yes, it’s just the aroma of the new candles that has his past coming through. Once you burn it, the nightmares will stop, and change back to the old type of candles, just plain bees wax.’ She turned and walked to the cafe, entered the shop and sat at a table near the window in such a way as she could keep watching everything outside. The man, woman, and boy had already gone back inside their shop.
‘Skylar did you see that?’ Rose whispered softly so the woman couldn’t hear her.
‘Yes, she used magic to talk him down.’ He watched the woman unable to look away; he had the strongest urge to stroke her cheek to see if she used powder to make her skin that perfect pale cream colour.
‘No, she only kept people away from them.’
‘I don't understand.’
‘She used some kind of spell which stopped people from trying to help. When she cast it I felt sure she could handle it without any help.’
‘I didn't even think of helping her.’ His brows drew together as he wondered at his own inaction.
‘It’s all right; I think you would have broken what she was doing.’
‘So she just . . . talked to him?’
‘Rose, I think we should get to know this woman.’
‘I agree, she is amazingly strong.’
‘Hm.’ Skylar said as he watched the woman in yellow talking to Hattie, the old waiter who always looked like he wanted to hit you rather that take your order. She smiled up at Hattie and he nodded hurrying away with a smile.
‘Well I'll be.’ Skylar said.
‘She just got old Hattie to smile.’ Skylar said in a whisper.
‘Are you sure it was not just a sneer.’ She glanced over her shoulder as Hattie walked into the kitchen.
‘I think I know the difference, though I have never seen one on that old man.’
‘Wait here.’ Rose stood up and walked to the back of the shop returning a short time later. ‘She asked for a coffee and anything Hattie himself would eat.’
‘So that's the trick . . . flattery?’
‘Would you mind if I talk to her before you join us?’
‘Not at all.’
‘Skylar promise me you will not just sit there staring at her like that.’
‘What?’ He frowned, at last turning his attention to his sister.
‘You will make her worry about your state of mind.’ Rose smiled at him as she tapped his lightly coloured cheek, and then went to the woman.
Skylar watched the two of them chatting for a few minutes before Rose waved him over. Picking up his cup he walked over and, trying very hard not to stare at this incredible looking woman, sat down in the only seat that wouldn’t obstruct her view out the window.
‘Petra, this is my brother Skylar Taru Adair, Skylar this is Petra Dessa Malka. She is new to our fair city, only been here an hour.’
‘Really, how do you like it so far?’ He couldn’t look away from her eyes; they were the most beautiful lilac colour. He’d never seen anyone with eyes like hers.
‘Interesting, I haven’t entered any town since I left my home and I am glad I chose this one.’
‘Thank you for helping the boy.’ He said gently.
‘The man was the one that truly needed help.’ She looked across the road to his shop. ‘But all is well now.’
‘How long have you been travelling?’ Rose asked and was surprised at the pain that seemed to run through Petra's eyes as she turned to her.
‘A while now, I turned nineteen when I left . . . home.’ She took a sip of her coffee. ‘Mm.’
‘How old are you now?’
‘Rose, do you remember what Widow Black said about that question?’
‘Oh, sorry Petra.’ A light blush rose on her cheeks.
‘It’s alright and if I could tell you I would, all I can say is I’m older than when I left home.’ She looked out the window with a sigh she could not suppress.
‘I'm sorry if I have said something wrong.’ Rose said.
‘No, you haven't, it's just that . . .’ She smiled at the pair trying not to let them see beneath the surface. ‘It has been a great while that I have been travelling and I have the strongest feeling it’s time to stop.’
‘Where are you staying?’ Rose asked with a growing smile putting her hand over Petra's.
‘Nowhere yet, what would be a good hotel?’
‘What’s a hotel?’ Skylar asked.
‘Sorry, different lands use different words. It’s an inn or guest house.’
‘There are many around the castle . . .’ He glanced at Rose.
‘You can stay with us.’ She looked at Skylar. ‘Please say she can.’
‘I think that is a great idea.’ Skylar said as Petra frowned a little.
‘Neither of you know who I am, nor why I have nowhere to be.’
‘No, but I can tell you are not a bad person.’ She watched Petra. ‘If you were, you wouldn’t have helped that family. If you don't mind,’ She looked to her brother. ‘And my brother agrees, you could be one of my companions.’
‘I don't mind.’ Skylar said with a smile almost reaching over and giving his sister a hug for not making him suggest it.
‘What is a companion?’ Petra asked looking from one pair of large green eyes to the other.
‘You’ve never heard of a companion?’ He frowned lightly. Where has this woman been that she has never heard of a companion.
‘Well it just means we will be friends.’
‘And you keep her secrets . . . if she tells you any.’ Skylar said with a small nudge to his sister.
‘I have no secrets.’ A small blush rose on her cheeks.
‘If you insist.’ He smiled at his sister as he sipped his coffee.
Petra could tell that they were good people as she stepped into the cafe but at the same time was surprised that she felt pulled to stay with them. ‘Okay.’
‘Is there anyone you need to inform?’
‘There is no one.’ She said as she bit into a chocolate biscuit, she looked over to the waiter and gave him a smile and a small nod of her head.