Aithera Decides to Stay
Jira finds Aithera in her room and as she enters the open door, she sees her standing in front of the window looking off into the distance.
“You have been quiet for the past couple of days, anything you wish to talk about? If there is trouble, anything I can do to help?”
Aithera turns from the window and looking at her friend, she finally makes up her mind and smiles.
“I have been wondering what I was to do now that Devon seems to be back to his old self and my part in his adventure is over.” Aithera moves from the window and sits in one of the overstuffed chairs in the room. “I want to return to ... Visit with my friends in Orodreth and see how they faired after my leaving, maybe pick up where I left off, maybe I could make a place for my self there.”
“Sounds interesting, but I hear a big ‘but’ in there somewhere.” Jira states as she takes a seat in the other chair.
Aithera nods, “Yes, there is a but. I feel that I have come home here, but, I was raised in Earwens Landing and have found interests and friends in Orodreth. I wish to go, but I feel I must stay.”
Jira lets out a whoosh of air. “My, that is deep and very troubling. You want to be someplace else and feel you are where you need to be. How do you get your self into these predicaments?”
Aithera laughs lightly, “Very good question. Now what are your plans. Going to return to your family and the farm? Marry another farmer and have lots of little ones to take care of as well as the men folks?”
Jira laughs as well. “Oh no. Not me. If my parents are ok with me staying here, I want to stick around and see what happens. I like this new Devon, or is it the old Devon, this could get ones head to spinning. Any ways, I really didn’t seem to fit in with the farm life, not to my nature it seems.”
“I thought you might feel that way, and I am glad to hear you say so. Now that has helped me make up my mind.” Aithera gets up and moves to the window again. “There are still things that I will need to attend to, but I am going to stay here as well. Devon may be able to take care of him self, much better now, but this feeling of being home for me is very strong. If things had been different, I was slated to be here any ways.” She turns back from the window to look at Jira. “And I think I need to keep an eye on you and keep you out of trouble.” She says with a smile.
“Keep ME out of trouble? And who is going to keep YOU out of trouble.” Jira says with a smile as she skips out the door.
“Now wait a moment, where do you think you’re going?” Aithera calls after her and then laughs. Shaking her head slowly, she follows her out the door. After some hunting around the many empty rooms, she finds Jira in the kitchen with Bridget.
“Miss Tera,” Bridget greets her as she cleans around the kitchen. “Miss Jira tells me that you are staying. I am so glad that you wish to remain here, and Beth will be really happy to have you all here. She thinks it is her responsibility to take care of both of you.”
“Thank you Bridget.” Aithera says smiling. “Your daughter is such a joy to have around. If at times, she is a bit loud.”
Bridget laughs. “That she can be. Miss Tera, if I might ask. If you are going to be staying with us, what about your foster family, Galien and Tess.”
“I was thinking that I need to visit with them, show them that I am still among the living and let them know that they have a place here if they wished to visit, if that is all right with you that is.”
“Oh Miss Tera, guests were always welcomed, I am sure they will be again.” Bridget looks over her shoulder to her. “You being the lady here, have no need to ask permission.”
Aithera just rolls her eyes and Jira stifles a giggle and then speaks up. “I too should really visit my folks and see what they think of all this. Papa might be disappointed somewhat, but I think mama will understand. I was always a hand full for her.”
Aithera looks at them both and nods. “Ok, I guess we need to tell Devon and then pick a time to start out. By the way Bridget, have you seen him lately?”
“No Miss Tera, not for a day or two, but worry not. His lordship was always known for showing up at odd times, and being missing for short periods of time.” Bridget turns to face both of them and wipes her hands on her apron. “Though he did bid me prepare travel arrangements for both of you. You can leave on the morrow, at first light if that be your liking.”
Aithera and Jira look at each other and shrug almost at the same time. “How did he know we would be going out?” Jira asks.
Aithera shrugs again and looks to Bridget who just smiles. “It would seem that he does indeed know more then he lets on. We will have to have a good chat with him later.”
The next morning Aithera opens her eyes, something had disturbed her sleep, the lingering images in her dream, a dirty ragged traveler entering the valley and being very cautious. She could not remember seeing his face or much about him, yes, her impression is of a him, from his dirty attire. Not someone she recognized, but the lingering feeling that he was looking for her. As she was getting up and sitting on the edge of the bed, her door opens and Bridget enters with a bundle in her arms.
“Nice timing there Bridget, and what is all that in your arms?”
“Morning Miss Tera. These be some of the travel arrangements that his lordship wished thee to have. I know they will fit and Miss Jira has hers, she is dressing, I hope, as we speak.” Bridget sets the clothes on the foot of the bed, nods to her and turns for the door. “I will have a light breakfast ready by the time you are dressed.” she says as she leaves.
Aithera smiles and then gets up and examines the clothing, she frowns and then raises an eyebrow turning to look at the door, shrugs and begins to get dressed.
Entering the kitchen a short time later, her hair pulled back and tied with a strip of leather. The soft leather boots making very little sound as she steps across the stone floor, she stops after just entering the door and before anyone notices that she is there and looks at Jira, as she is similarly dressed. Jira is wearing dark green trousers tucked into dark leather boots, the sleeves of a slightly lighter shade then the trousers seems to be some sort of peasant blouse. A vest that looks like it could have been made from the same material as the trousers, covering the rest of her. Her hair too is tied back.
Jira turns from the pot and stops seeing Aithera standing in the doorway. Her eyes go wide. Aithera’s dark brown trousers tucked into her dark boots. The tan sleeves from the leather shirt partially covered by the sturdy bracers on her forearms. Her dark vest drawn up tight. Over her arm is the cloak that was among the clothes.
“Wow.” Jira says. “That sure is a different look for you Tera, very nice though.”
Aithera moves over to the table and drapes the cloak over a chair. “Bridget, any idea of why Devon asked you to bring me these? I am not adverse to wearing trousers, but that is not how I normally go about,” her hands seem to run over thighs on their own, “though I will admit they fit exceptionally well and are very soft.”
Jira nods. “That they are, me, I am all for trouser when traveling and most of any other time. I guess I don’t make a very good girl I suppose.”
“Oh nonsense Jira,” Aithera says, “you are all girl when you need to be. If I had grown up with older brothers I might prefer trousers to skirts as well.”
Bridget chuckles as she brings her a cup of hot tea. “His lordship said that you would not be comfortable portraying a deception, but that it was something that thee would need.”
“Miss Tera has traveled about, is known and though the mind behind those that seek thee is no more, there are those that still hold to the idea of finding thee. The nature of Miss Tera is known, now thee are less like her and will stand out less.”
Aithera sighs and looks around. “Putting it like that, I see his point. I will try not to be like me if I can.”
“Speaking of those looking for me, Jira, do you think we can make a little side trip. I wish to check on Greta and see if she is all right.” Aithera states as she looks slightly up and off into the distance.
“Not a problem, I think that is a good idea.” Jira says. “I liked her. Yes, we need to go see her first before heading to my parents.” Jira says as she sees Aithera frowns slightly.
“Tera, um Aithera? Is there something else about wanting to go to Gretta?” She asks.
Aithera looks back to her and nods. “I had a ... dream ... I think. There was a lone, cloaked man looking for me. I got the feeling that he was not far away.”
Jira nods. “Ok, let’s get going then.”
In short order they were heading out, heading west. Jira looks questioningly at her. Aithera smiles, looks up to the sky for a moment and then down to her.
“There is a pass that leads out to the West and just before I woke up, I thought it was a dream, but I think it was something else. There is someone entering the valley from this pass and instead of hiding from everyone, this one I want to check out. There is something about him. Chaka is looking for him now and the pass is the closest to Greta.”
Jira looks around getting her bearings. “If my direction sense is not messed up, is this pass going to be putting us close to your old home?”
Aithera nods. “If we turn slightly south, when we leave the pass, we should be able to put some distance from there. Haulden is more to the West, but we will not need to go into the town itself.”
Aithera pulls up suddenly, just before they are about to leave the trees and enter the climb up into the pass. Looking at the sky, her eyes return to normal as she looks over to Jira.
“There is someone up in the rocks just ahead. He seems to be watching the trail to the pass and is slowly moving in this direction. Chaka cannot see anyone else around. He seems to be alone. I think I want to see who this is, instead of avoiding him.”
“So how are we going to do this?”
Aithera gets off of Tina and Jira follows suit. Aithera steps slightly away from the horses and once Jira is standing next to her, she raises her hands. A soft glow forms around her hands and then in both saddles a glow begins to form into what looks like her and Jira sitting there. Once the shapes are done, Aithera lowers her hands. “Ok you two, make it good.” She says and the images of them look over at the two on the ground, and then as the horses move out the heads turn back forward.