Snow, Gingerbread and Fate Part XII

“Thank you both,” Simahaa said as she walked up to the strangers to take a closer look. The woman looked younger than the man, in her mid-twenties, Simahaa guessed. She had a warm and friendly face and long raven hair that looked out from under a green wool hat. His hair and well-groomed beard was black, too, although Simahaa could already spot gray hair in it. The woman’s cheeks were red, probably because of the cold. They both wore simple but neat and warm clothing and the woman had a large backpack hanging over her left shoulder.

And it was very obvious that the woman was pregnant. “Ah, nothing to thank for, good woman,” she said.

“Yes,” the man said. He put his bow and arrow away.

“We were just on our way home from the market and saw you rushing into that alley,” the woman continued, looking behind her shoulder, “followed by those two very suspicious looking boys.” As she turned her head back, she smiled. Then she reached out her hand. She was not wearing any gloves. “My name is Elna by the way. And this is my husband, Brennard.”

Simahaa hesitated and eyed the offered hand one moment, before removing her glove and shook Elna’s hand.

She also wanted to introduce herself but the sudden impact of a vision slapped her in the face like she was hit with a sledgehammer. She knew the moment it was happening that this was no ordinary vision. It all happened so fast and with such a force that she couldn’t make anything out of all the images and sounds which bombarded her brain. A young girl. A name. Wind and rain. Crying. Pain. Darkness. A long journey underneath the ground. And at the end… fate, chaos and Yldir Vac. Then nothing and everything at the same time.

Simahaa swayed and tipped forward but Brennard caught her.

“Good woman? Are you alright?” Elna said.

“I’m fine…” Simahaa’s voice trembled. “Just a bit shocked from the recent events…” She put her gloves back on and tried to stand upright again. Her legs felt like they were made of jelly.

“Are you sure?” Brennard said and let go of her.

“Yes, yes…” She saw Yldir Vac. Why did she have a vision of Yldir Vac?

“Why don’t you come with us?” Elna suggested. “Brennard and I are on the way to his cousin’s farm, just outside the city. It’s warm and they have plenty of room and food.” She smiled again. “And mulled wine and the best gingerbread from here to Silen,” she added with a wink.

Simahaa had to know more. She had to go back; a journey on the never ending and intertwined strains of fate again. But she was too tired and drained at the moment. “Well, yes,” she said after a while. “If you don’t mind, I could really use some wine and some gingerbread.”

“Then it’s settled!” Elna said, linked her arm with Simahaa’s and started walking. Her husband followed with a grunt.

“Do you already have a name for your child?” Simahaa asked after a few steps.

Elna laughed and rubbed her big belly proudly. “You can’t miss it, can you?”

“I offered to carry the backpack,” Brennard said, “but my wife said it balances the weight.” Both laughed. Simahaa smiled.

“If it’s a boy, we call him Finnán,” Brennard said.

“And if it’s a girl?” Simahaa asked.

“Arthema,” Elna said.

The End Beginning