Preparations

When the Child rose the next morning, the Sun’s rays had not yet appeared as streaks of light playing on the nearby mountains. She lit a candle from the small dancing flames in hearth fire and dressed quickly. A warm skirt, undershirt, rough woven over-shirt, thick woolen socks and leather boots would do nicely. It was still warm during the day, but fall would settle in quickly. Except for the undershirt, her clothes were all dark dyed from the roots of indigo or the hulls of chestnuts. She would less visible on her travels this way.

She sat for a time considering what she needed for her journey. She could easily fill the pack to the brim with this thing and that thing to remind her of home and her life in the village. But, it would be much too heavy to for her small frame to easily carry for any distance. It was imperative she pack with the barest necessities.

She decided on a pair of woolen socks, long but lightweight pants, her lightweight lambskin gloves, her journal with a charcoal writing stick wrapped in a soft Mullein leaf; a length of sturdy rope two times the length of her arm spread wide, and another half the thickness and half as long. She placed a small flint stone in one outside pocket along with a thin strip of leather for her hair. In the other she placed a bone needle and a few strips of flax thread for mending.  Her food stocks consisted of a meager weeks worth of flat bread, jerky, salty dried fish, two small handfuls of nuts and dried fruit, and a skin of fresh water.

Finally she was done arranging things just so and was pleased with her choices. The pack was only half full and light enough to comfortably carry. There was still room to roll up her cape or stash most anything else she might come across on her journey.

Carefully she placed the leather pouch her Grandfather made for her on her 5th year celebration around her neck and under her shirt as to be out of sight. The pouch contained small amounts of potent herbs for bleeding, sleep and protection. It was bad enough the Villagers took her for a witch because of her knowledge of cures and she wanted to bring no trouble from strangers making the same assumptions. The short handled knife she strapped the short handled knife to the outside of her right boot under her skirt.

At last she stood and arranged the long loose cloak around her, and tied it off with a thin strip of leather. In one pocket she placed the metal labyrinth the Old Woman Speaker gifted her last year for no apparent reason. In the other she put a hunk of hard goat cheese and a handful of dried fruits for breakfast.

She looked around the room and thought of her days in the small cottage with her mother. Yes, she would miss this place but now was her time for leave-taking. She paused with the thought of the Old Woman Speakers’ words and snuffed the flame from the beeswax candle. Carefully she placed it in the side of her pack and slung it over her shoulder.

The only light in the kitchen was the faint glow of the dying embers in the hearth. There was no flickering candle light from behind the curtain in her others room. Good, she thought to herself, I can….Her thought went no further as she heard her mothers voice from the darkest corner of the room.

Oh Child, I hate to see you go especially when winter will settle in a few short months. Did you not think I knew of your leave-taking and the journey you must make? Each one of us must take this journey in order to find our heart. I left your Grandmother and Grandfather when I was just half year younger than you.

Her mother sighed softly.

I have two gifts for you to take. The first is three gold coins. I have been saving them for this day. Take them and tuck them in the inner pocket of your cloak. You may need lodging in foul weather or passage across the waters. The second is a necklace I for you from my own hair. When the day comes, you will know how to use it.

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