January Update

The sun has set on January (at least where I am) and I’m checking in with myself and you.
I’m very grateful that this year I’ve taken up bullet journaling, it makes looking back and keeping things in perspective really easy. I’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit, and much more than I thought from the top of my head.
For ten minutes or so each day I’ve been doing full body stretching and I’ve found that my back is much less painful, I recommend it!
Though the month has been overall good, there are things that I definitely need to work on in the coming months. Getting up early, getting out of the flat and more reading are the biggest things.
Posting more regularly is something I want as well, the problem with that is I’ve been working on world building, which I can’t really show, and my other projects are taking quite a while. I will have some cross stitch content coming up in the next few days but after that I’m not sure.
I’m in the midst of soul searching, trying to figure out what I like, what I want and how I want to present myself. For so long I’ve been a shallow person, somewhat of a shadow person and I’m ready to be a full, solid, colourful person. So for a little bit I may be a bit short of content, but I’m never too far away!
That’s it for my little end of the month update, in short, all is well and I’ve had a good start to the year. I hope that it is the same for you. Good luck for February.

The Crier and the Shopkeeper

The following is a short moment set in my universe. It is a fantasy world and this is set near the end of winter.

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The sun gazed dimly down upon a blanket of cloud, unable to see through it to the white world below. If you listened closely perhaps you could hear a far off sigh.
Far below, nestled at the foot of the tallest mountain, sat a city; an old city who some say was the first.
“The Dark Days are approaching!” The crier’s voice rang through an old market square, escaping and echoing down the alley ways between buildings. Bouncing from stone to stone.
In one of the buildings a shopkeeper looked forlornly around her empty shop. A narrow building, dark for lack of windows, but filled with a wonderfully enticing smell. A few bags were displayed, filled with the colourful and tempting sweets, but the bulk of the stock was safe behind the counter. Ella and her assistant Bes had learnt the hard way that people sometimes get too tempted by her wares.
“Be ready for the dark days!” The voice rang out, closer this time, heard through the slightly ajar front door.
“He’s getting closer.” Bes remarked, in a bored sort of way, as she fiddled with a ribbon around a small woven bag.
Ella noted the bell that accompanied the shouting.
“I have an idea.” She swept out from behind the counter and off to the front door.
Ella poked her head out of her shop doorway, eyes scanning to find the source of the proclamation.
“The Dark Days will be here soon!” The bell clanged along with his heavy tread.
“Aha!” Ella stepped a foot out into the the street, thought better of it a moment and went back inside to grab her cloak. “I’ll be back shortly, Bes, keep the shop running.”
Once outside, she struggled to find the crier again,so many people filled the narrow street. She walked in the direction she had last seen him, dodging shoppers. And there he was, walking towards her, a very short man with the largest beard she’d ever seen, it was a deep brown with a variety of metals and stones decorating it. He wore an emerald green woollen hat and tunic. The golden bell was gripped tightly in his hand.
“Good morn, fair crier!” Ella called out to the man, she raised a hand in part greeting and part beckoning.
He stopped and turned to look at Ella.
“And a good morn to you.” He nodded his head to her.
She took a step to close the gap between them, and was almost knocked over by a woman carrying an overflowing basket.
“Watch where you’re going!” The woman bellowed in Ella’s face before she pushed passed and on down the street.
Ella felt her face flush, her hand clenched.
“Never mind her.” Said the crier. “The dark days can bring out the worst in people.” He patted her elbow and they stood off to the side of the pathway.
“Was there something that you needed from me?” He squinted up at her, and she saw a glint in his dark green eyes.
Ella pulled back her shoulders and nodded.
“I have a proposition for you.”
The crier’s eyebrow rose but he didn’t say anything.
“I have a shop. An empty shop, and I wish that it were not.”
“And I can help with that?”
“I’m certain of it.” She pulled from a cloak pocket a bag of her wares. “Whether they realise it or not, everyone listens to you when you shout.”
“I wouldn’t just do this for fun.” The crier’s moustache twitched and his eyes twinkled.
“Hmm, I have met people who do like the sound of their own voice.”
He chuckled and waved his hand for her to continue.
“Well, people need to know what they need, what would make the dark days a little more bearable.” She swung the little bag back and forth.
“Is that something that will help?” He nodded to the little bag.
“It is. A succulent morsel, which will sweeten the long dark hours.” She passed over the bag. “Have a taste, I’m sure you will agree.”
The crier tore open the ribbon and removed a buttercup yellow oval sweet. He placed it in his mouth and pocketed the rest.
“Mmm.” He finished the sweet. “Very nice. An nut in sugar?”
“Yes.” Ella, was impressed. “I visited the great city a number of years ago and encountered this wonderful sweet maker, he taught me a few things. No-one else makes them here.”
“And yet your shop is empty.”
“It’s a busy time, people are getting other things ready, worrying about keeping safe and having family around.”
“Perhaps they should be worrying about bringing over a sweet treat for a special time, hmm?” The crier winked at her.
“Exactly.”
“What’s in it for me?” He eyed the pouch at her waist.
Ella shifted her stance, her cloak fell, covering her money purse.
“For each sale, I’ll give you a penny.”
He narrowed his eyes as he looked up at her. “I think you could do a better than that, hmm?”
“Two pennies?” She asked, not holding on to much hope.
He chuckled. “Five pennies and a few more bags of sweets, I think my family might enjoy them. And five pennies upfront.”
Ella thought for a moment, she sold each bag for ten pennies, losing half was almost too much. But on the other hand if she didn’t sell any she would be much worse off. Looking up into the sky she noticed the lightening, and realised that it would soon by turning to the second half of the day.
“Better hurry, not much light left.” The crier jangled his bell.
“A deal, then.” She stuck out her hand, the crier grasped hers in a firm, warm grip.
She dug into her purse, pulled out five pennies and passed them over to her new business partner.
She told him where her shop was and a few details about her sweets and left. She was excited by this idea, but her expectations were low, it was like nothing else she had ever tried before.
She returned to her shop, the enclosed space was slightly oppressive after the brisk air of the streets. But the sugary smell was a comfort.
“Where did you run off to?” Bes demanded, as she bundled up a selection of sweets, the white confections made a satisfying sound as they tumbled together in the bag.
“To carry out my idea, we shall soon see if it bears fruit.” Ella joined Bes behind the counter once she had removed her cloak.
Outside they could hear the crier, Ella smiled.
“Stock up on your sweet nuts, take a gift of sweets to your dark day sanctuary!”
Bes stopped in her wrapping as she heard the crier’s words.
“You didn’t?” She turned to Ella who was now by her side.
“Maybe.”
They laughed as the door opened and a couple of new customers walked in.

A Mysterious Egg – Part One

“A-ha!” Swooping a gloved hand into the undergrowth Rafie pulled up a glorius specimen of a Hedgehog mushroom. She admired her treasure for a moment before placing the fungus gently into her basket.
Sunlight streamed through the canopy warming the air, making the afternoon pleasant. Rafie had already filled the small wicker basket, but, enjoying the atmosphere, she carried on around the narrow forest path. Birds chirrped from all around, insects buzzed, her boots crunched fallen twigs. The path snaked around trees, patches of wildflowers released their intoxicating scent into the air. A sleepy peace washed over Rafie.
Some time later Rafie reached the oldest tree in the forest, as large around as her own cottage and taller by many times. Squirrels darted up the tree at her approach, flowers and plants quivered as unseen creatures escaped to their hiding places. Five strides took her right up to the trunk, its deep brown bark was almost smooth, many branches stuck out far above her head, full of deep red leaves. She placed her basket by her feet, after straightening and removing a glove she rubbed her hand over the trunk, a common ritual, bringing comfort to both woman and tree.
For over twenty years Rafie had lived on the edge of the forest, drawn to the area by this tree. Her sensitivity and openess led to a quick friendship and over the years they had become family.
“Do you need anything today, Lady Time?” Rafie closed her eyes, slowed her breathing and listened.
Above Rafie’s head leaves rustled, a branch creaked and something fell with a thud behind the tree trunk into the soft ground.
Slowly Rafie opened her eyes, adjusting back to the light, removed her hand and moved to investigate. Raking her eyes over the ground she searched for the fallen object.
It took only one pass to spot the item, a yellow egg the size of her head. It shone amongst the dark undergrowth. Carefully, Rafie scooped up the egg, it was heavy, cold on her ungloved hand. It was slippery so she cradled it in the crook of her left arm and went back to talk to Lady Time.
“Do you want me to take this somewhere? Look after it?”
Leaves rustled but only those which faced the way back to her cottage.
“Home?” A question, but not really, she could feel the answer, she was to take the egg to her house and wait.
A gust of wind rushed away down the path swaying all the trees.
“I’ll do my best.”
Egg and basket in hand Rafie made her way home, the air cooling.
When Rafie emerged from the forest evening was turning to night, dark blue sky smeared with the reddish pink of the setting sun. Her cottage glimmered in the waning light, smooth white stone topped with dark brown thatch. Her garden expanded around her house, bordered by a low stone wall. Behind her dwelling sprawled a wildflower meadow and far on the horizon a village visible only as a silhouette against the sky.
With her hands full Rafie backed into her door and leaned an elbow down on the handle, the door swung open.
Despite there being no light and the counters being completely covered with plants, bottles, clay sculptures and scraps of cloth, Rafie unerringly placed the egg gingerly on top of a pile of fabric. Turning her back on the egg for the moment she walked over to the wide fireplace, placed the basket of mushrooms next to the pile of logs and set to building a fire.
The fire and candlelight filled the one room cottage with a flickering glow, light bounced off pots and pans, illuminating herbs handing from thick black beams in the ceiling. Dusting off her hands Rafie stood, a great huff of air escaped her as she gazed at the mysterious egg.
“What are you?” She walked around a chair and leaned on the table where the egg now sat.
Rafie wondered whether the egg might want warmth. She picked up the yellow egg, cloth bedding and all, transfered it to the rug in front of the hearth.
Rafie eased herself into a plush armchair, kicked off her boots and pondered the new addition to her home. How long would it be until it revealed itself? She gazed until her eyelids and head grew heavy, still in her walking clothes. In the chair in front of the fire Rafie nodded off, and the egg began to shake.

To Be Continued…

This story is set in a world of my own devising, one in which I plan to set many stories. This particular story was only meant to be a short practise piece, however, as I began writing I realised I wanted to expand it a little. So here we end and next Saturday I will post the next (last?) part. Follow along and see where this takes us!