The moon had danced her way back down behind the granite, white mountain peaks and the sun was began her ascent. The butterflies were flittering and fluttering their through Auntie May’s garden in the back as the birds called out to each other in their sharp, quick mornings songs. Adelina rolled over and felt herself land with a loud Thud! She gasped and sat upright. She blinked when she saw her attic room, not the firefly and cornflower field she had fallen asleep in.
“What? How did I?” She stopped herself to process last night. Did I ever leave in the first place? Could I have been sleepwalking or just dreaming? Adelina broke herself free from her tangled blanket binding her. She went over to her chest and opened it. It made no clicking sound, which was odd. Did Rosy come up to borrow something again? Adelina spotted her cloak placed neatly on her straw and elmwood chair in the far corner.
“That’s never there unless….” Adelina felt something in her tunic pocket and slowly reach her hand inside it. She also found it extremely odd that she was already dressed for the day as she felt something cold and round in her pocket. She grabbed it and pulled it out, revealing a clear small vial filled with a silver dust.
Adelina’s two colored orbs widened in shock. “Is this…..Moon-“
“ADELINA! TIME TO RISE AND START THE DAY!” Adelina jumped in surprise at Auntie May’s voice and up the vial went. She gasped and reached up to catch it. It slipped from her gasp and she ran around the room, tossing it in the air until she finally clasped it close to her. That was too close. She sighed and put it back in her pocket, deciding to study it later.
Adelina slid down the old, creaking steps, ran through the living/heath room and hopped through the doorway into the kitchen. Auntie May was busying flipping the pancakes on the iron pan on over the fire. Adelina gained and picked up the wicker basket standing the on counter. “I’ll get the eggs.” She said to Auntie May’s back, hoping to get some fresh air and thought outside. Auntie May turned around and smiled. “Of course. The others are already getting their chores done.”
Adelina nodded. She smiled as the she stopped int he doorway to watch the busy little bodies zip around and across the yard. Gary and Rosy had their tiny hands full tending to the horses, Dan and Don were working hard on gathering water, Pearl and Opal sat back to back in the garden pulling weeds and many other little hands were hard at work. Adelina grinned and walked across the yard towards the chicken coop. She gently lift the latch to their pen and closed it behind her.
Adelina strode to the far left corner where the hen house was. She knelt down to the east side and slid a slender board to the side. Behind the slide was the eggs, she reached in and began to gently place them in the basket. She grinned and blew a loose red strand out of her face as the chickens began to wake up. Clucking and crowing began to erupt inside the house as she finished gathering the eggs. “Easy now girls and guys.” she said in a soothing voice as she turned to front door. She opened it and out they flew, free. Suddenly she frowned.
Adelina was walking slowly out of the chicken pen with the eggs when the wind blew gently against her face. She raised a hand to keep hair of her eyes, but something thin and white hit her hand. Confused, she took the piece of paper and opened it to unveil beautiful lettering, saying thus..
Meet me in the town’s tavern at 3:12 sharp. We need to continue our talk.
Adelina stood still, staring at the little note. What are the chances this came to me? But the wind wasn’t blowing before… She slipped the note into her egg basket and quickened her pace. The other children looked up as Adelina flew past them and burst through the back door. Too many questions were burning through her once clear mind. The midnight meeting, the note, her memories, it was all too much for her.
Auntie May looked up from her knitting as her oldest child chased through the door, looking flushed and bewildered. “Adi, calm down child. What happened in the pen?” Adelina brushed away her hair and looked at May straight in the eyes. Her two colored pools stared deep into Auntie May’s steely gray eyes. Adelina swallowed hard, putting down the basket with a thump. “How did you find me? How did I first enter this house?”
Auntie May’s eyes widened in surprised at the sudden question. She bit her lower lip, seeing the younger children beginning to crowd in the doorway. May inhaled and stood up. “Children, return to your work. Your big sister and I need to speak alone.” Adelina glanced back and watched the younger kids nod and walked back to the garden. Some, however, gave Adelina curious and worried looks.
“I knew someday you would get curious. I suppose it’s time anyway.” Adelina whipped around at Aunite May, who resumed her seat near the fire pit with her knitting. “Auntie May, I know I never asked before, but something happened and I need to know. How did you find me? Please..” Adelina strode over to her Auntie’s feet and sat down. She watched as May merely smiled at her, but it was a sad smile, like a great and terrible secret was about to be shown. “Well….all is well. Sit tight.”
Auntie May sighed and began to speak again while Adelina hugged her knees close to her chest. “It was only 15 years ago, I had been in the town a few years and I was quite well known there. This was before I started my orphanage out here in the woods. I was a part time bookkeeper then. It was after the watchmen had called out the 10’o clock hour chime. I was alone, reading by the fire when I could have sworn I heard a woman’s voice.”
“My curious nature urged me to investigate, but recently there had been a humorous accounts of break-ins with thieves so my cautious side begged me to remain where I was. However, when the wind died down, I could hear more clearer what the woman was speaking. It was an old language that only a few handful of people know these days.”
“So, I got up slowly and walked across the cold, wooden floor to the heavy oak door. I could feel the woman’s words hitting my heart though I knew them not. I reached out my shaking hand and unbolted the door. The voice stopped and I swung the door open. The wind blew into my eyes and I raised my arms to block the it and the debrief flying in it.”
“Finally, I opened my eyes to see quite the sight at my porch. The woman was there, but she was wearing a heavy linen black cloak with a hood to cover her hair. She wore long black gloves and a lacy choker ‘round her neck. Her outfit seemed to be a simple dress and dark leather boots. The woman also wore a full mask, ceramic with a face like the moon, but puzzled in expression. She appeared as if she had just run form the woods with ease, like the wind.”
“I looked from her to a basket that lay in front of her and my door. Inside was a small child, eyes bright as the stars floating above and was dressed in a simple white dress. I knelt down, slowly as not to startle the strange woman, and peered at the child. I had so many questions, but my voice had escaped me. Silence remained between us as we both looked at the innocent child.”
“Suddenly, she spoke to me in a quiet voice. “Can you protect this child?” I gazed at her confused, why would she want me to keep her child? “I…I..I could, but is the child not yours?” The woman shook her head. “My lady, this child’s mother, feels her home cannot her daughter much longer and to save both her land and her daughter, she sent me to find her a home here.” I listened, nodding slowly as I gradually lowered my eyes to the cheerful girl, cooing int he basket.”
“Suddenly, I had an urge to care for this girl, who was far from home and in possible danger. I understood I would be putting my normal life in danger as well, but this girl was helpless against the evils of the world. I looked at the woman straight in the mask, not the face since I could not see her eyes. “I will care for her. Pray, does she have a name?” The woman nodded and reached into her clock and removed two items.”
Auntie May stopped her tale there, getting up and walking towards her room. Adelina looked form the chair to Auntie May and back, a bit puzzled and helpless. “Come here Adelina, I have something to give you.” Adelina gave her Auntie a quizzitive look, but got up and followed her into May’s room.
Adelina stepped into May’s room and sat on the ottoman at the foot of the small wooden bed in the middle of room. She watched as Auntie May went to her desk and from the upper left hand drawer, she pulled out an old envelope and and a smooth, small, polished, almost glowing stone. Adelina held out her hands and Auntie May slipped the envelope and stone into Adeline’s fingers.
“She said the letter was for you as well as the stone. However, I do not know what they are for or what the words on the back of the envelope means.” Adelina frowned and flipped the paper over. In amazing lettering, a phrase in blue ink was etched on the papyrus.
An nin precious -iel
Adelina swallowed. What is this? I can’t read it and who was that woman? If she referred to my ‘mother’ as a lady, does that mean I’m a lady in training? Also, what is this stone? She transferred her attention to the lovely stone laying quiet on her palm. It seemed to have a tiny light in the center, flickering and beating like it was a heart.
Adelina’s hands started to shake, it felt like too much, but yet she needed to know this. Auntie May gazed at her oldest orphan with sympathy. “I know this is a bit much, but maybe you needed to know this. Now tell me, do you believe me?” Auntie May bent down to Adelina and lifted her chin. Adeline’s orbs were on verge of tears and words were lost to her. She could only manage a nod as she clutched the stone and letter hard.
Auntie May embraced Adelina, softly shushing her and rubbing her back. “It’s ok….It’s alright…” she murmured, although she wasn’t convinced herself all was well. Auntie May loved all the orphans dearly and wanted them to leave and have their own lives at some point, but she was afraid the most for Adelina. She never truly knew why Adelina was dropped off for her or why Adelina looked and sometimes even acted different from the other children. But, deep down, she had a feeling Adelina needed to find out for herself.
Adelina cried, out of fear, our of shock and even a bit of angry tears spilled from her eyes. What now? Too much has been going on…first Aiden, then the meeting and now this?! What’s a confused girl supposed to do!??!! And the scholars exam, what will become of it? “Auntie….I need some space…” Adelina hastily said as she tore from the embrace and ran out the bedroom and up the creaking stairs to her own room. Auntie May watched in silence. “Take your time, child. Choose your next trail wisely.” May spoke in whisper as she rose up to return to her knitting.
Adelina lay still on her bed covers, staring blankly at the wooden floor as the morning light cast a warm, green glow onto it’s bare planks. So much new secrets…too many strange events…all flowing through the recess of her mind. Maybe…Aiden knows what happened. Wait, why am I thinking about him?!?! Well, he did seem to know quite a bit about me. it’s worth a shot, but I need.. Her stomach interrupted her thoughts, sounding her mental alarm for lunch.
“I suppose all this crazy fairy and orphan dilemmas can wait until after lunch.” Adelina said with a small laugh as she slowly got up from her bed. Lunch in Auntie May’s house was rarely formal and that was proven by the squeals and loud yelling from the younger children. I’ll grab a light lunch and go eat with Ae galad. Adelina forced a smile and slipped in among the mob of hungry children and grabbed a pre-made sandwich and a canteen of some drink. “This will work.” She quickly put them and a book in a basket and rushed out the front door.
Adelina flew down the main path with swift feet, eager to meet her fawn friend in the little stream where most animals came to cool down and play at this hour. She turned a tiny, unnoticed trail to the left and pushed past the branches and bushes before bursting out into the open. All the little animals, bunnies, squirrels, birds, deer and even a skunk looked up from their drink to see Adelina approaching with a solemn look.
Ae galad bounded over the stream and nudged her hand gently, big blue eyes peering curiously into her face. Adeline managed a smile and rubbed the fawn’s small, fuzzy head. “Oh Ae galad, I knew you would make me smile for a bit, but a lot has happened since yesterday….” The animals gave her curious looks, but most went back to drinking from the clear, cold stream. The animals were used to Adelina and even became friends with her, but Ae glad was the closet to her.
Adelina sat down next to the stream and slowly began to eat her cucumber sandwich as the animals gathered around. She had so many questions, but wasn’t sure where to start or even who to ask. Adelina reached into her pockets, pulling out the tiny vial of shining, silver dust, the glowing heart stone and the old envelope and laid them on the ground. They are seemed connected to her in some way, but why? Who was she that all these events were happening o her?
Just why am I different? What do these mean? Who would know…Aiden! I know, I still need him to explain himself after last night. Plus, Martha and I have the exams today… Adelina frowned and waved her fist in the air. “He’s gonna get it for that, but maybe he would know what these are.” Ae glad laid his tiny head on Adeline’s knee to which she smiled. Rubbing his head gently and sipping her drink, she calmed down a bit. “Yeah, I really need to keep my head about me. Ae galad, do you wanna come into town with me to meet Aiden?”
At the name, all the animals seems to stop and looked at her, but the expressions she saw she could have sworn that they would speak to her and say things that would move her shock level higher. But it was a fleeting moment and the animals returned to their drinking. Adelina frowned, feeling her heart slow down as if it had sped up. “That was odd….” she mused, shrugging it off and standing up. “Come Ae galad, we must head to town.”