Continued (December – 1026 YD)
Kesia and Mellena worked with Kengar for days on end, impressing him with what they had learnt and practised over the years. It was not long, however, before their rediscovered zest for weaving was overshadowed by their commitments. Kesia had orders to complete for her Alendae clients; Mellena had the flock to tend; they had lives to lead.
Kengar approached Kesia about setting her carpentry aside for a time to finish her weaving apprenticeship.
__‘I would love to. It’s just, I’m completing three commissions at the moment, for noble patrons; and if more work comes, I cannot afford to disappoint. Fashion is fickle and I find myself favoured. The winter is ever quiet; you plan to stay, so let us work together then.’
__Mellena was similarly apologetic. ‘The heat has been fierce this summer, and the flock needs care. Oran cannot alone tend them from dawn to dusk; we work together. I practice what you taught me in the field, and hunger for more—but the sheep won’t last the summer without our careful watch. By autumn I will have time to spare?’
__No word had come of Tàvae. More days passed; Kengar prepared texts, considered lessons, neatened the house. Copied texts. Refined lessons. Dusted. Weeded.
__On the fourth day, he walked down into the village.
__‘Kesia, I understand your commitment to your trade. I am sorry it is not the trade you first sought; yet I am proud of your diligence. If you cannot give me your days, perhaps you will lend me your evenings, and allow me to keep you company in your workshop? History and theory require only your ears.’
__A pang sliced Kesia. ‘Of course, uncle. You may have my evenings, and visit my workshop; though I work in silence when carving, so you must excuse me then.’
__He agreed. ‘Something smells nice. What are you cooking, Ànlisia?’
__ ‘Chicken, carrots, corn. Thyme.’
__‘Ah, thyme. That’s what it is.’ He rocked on his heels by the door.
__Ànlisia and Kesia hid their smiles. ‘Please, it is almost done; carve some bread, and eat with us.’
__‘If you’re sure?’ Kengar located the bread. ‘Perhaps I can bring something tomorrow evening—’ he collected the knife— ‘I couldn’t rouse the motivation to—when it’s just myself, you know—’ He ceased cutting, suddenly vacant.
__Kesia reached an arm out and rubbed his back. ‘It’s alright. I’m sure it won’t be for long.’ She kissed his shoulder quickly, then patted it with mild force. ‘Chop, chop.’
Kengar checked in on Mitchas’ wife often, impatient for news. Daldria had heard nothing from her husband either, and joked of their running off together. Kengar did not find this amusing; Daldria quickly apologised, and like Kesia assured him they would return shortly. In his visits, he soon learnt that Mellena and Oran were involved. He expressed his disappointment that he had not seen her apprenticeship through as he had first sworn. Daldria shrugged; Mellena was only eighteen, with ample years for study ahead. However, she regretted that her daughter was not taking the chance to train with him now. ‘She is young, and besotted. We rarely see them apart. He truly loves her; I hope she doesn’t break his heart.’
__Mellena and Oran guided the flock to the jagged country north-east of Gesula for a week at a time. Eventually she promised Kengar time on her days of rest, and to read what he gave her whilst away. And with this he would have to content himself, treading up the hill toward home. Twelve days had passed since his return. Twelve days; he would give Tàvae two more, then seek her out. He had been patient.
__Sighing as he opened his door, he halted at the wreckage of his home. Raising a lattice of blue protection around him, he stepped forward silently: over turned chairs and smashed pottery, emptied boxes, strewn rugs. Hands raised, he nudged open the library door with his foot, his heart knowing what hope resisted.
__It was desecrated.