November 11, 2010
InkScape is being derp tonight, as is rather strangely my university’s intranet…oh well, this means you all get to see the wonderfully confuzzling (In the “We know how this ends up” way) current ending to Brigitte by Vikkie Moule. Rest assured she has plans to make it less confuzzling later on.
The inside of the forge was almost bare. The first room they entered was the largest; round and spacious, with hard wood floors and whitewashed brick. The large fire, once used for making weapons and horseshoes and just about anything else metal, was now being used to boil a kettle and roast some ham at the same time. There were some charts of parchment tacked to the wall, and a thick rug on the floor. But other than that, and the candles that were dotted around in glass jars, there didn’t seem to be much of anything.
As Andrew followed the woman in, he smiled politely, not knowing what to say.
“It’s… nice.” He hazarded.
“Um… the house?”
“Oh…” the woman looked around, as if she hadn’t really noticed before. “Yes, I suppose it is, if you like that sort of thing.” She sat down on the rug, and smiled. “We don’t have any chairs yet. Would you like some tea?”
“Oh, yes please.” Andrew sat down opposite her, eager to put the conversation somewhere near the realm of behaviour he was used to. “I’m Andrew, by the way. Andrew Lamburg.”
“Brigitte Morg’han.” She smiled, and extended her hand. Andrew winced slightly, her grip being stronger than he had expected. Suddenly, one of the doors that separated the main room from the smaller chambers swung open, and a small boy clumped out, carrying a basket of clothes, and wearing boots.
“Clean and dry.” The boy mumbled, giving Andrew a wary look. Brigitte took the basket off him.
“This is Mr Lamburg, Erik. He’s come to say hello. Do you want tea with us?”
The boy, apparently called Erik, nodded, and sat down next to Brigitte, while she stood and poured out drinks. Andrew had presumed, when he heard of a woman and a small boy, that they were mother and son. But looking at them, he doubted that. For one thing, they looked very different. Erik’s eyes were round and blue, and his hair was a thin greyish blonde, which hung in messy clumps over his grey-brown skin. His features were lumpy and heavy, while hers were petite, almost elfin. That’s not to say the child was ugly, though. Andrew could guess his age at about five or six. His skinny arms and legs made his pouting features seem almost comical, and Andrew could guess the child would grow up tall, and probably formidable. Brigitte handed Andrew and Eric their cups, before joining them on the rug.
“Um…” Andrew was still finding it hard to get over the initial meeting, but he tried. “Why are you both wearing boots?”
“Spiders.” Remarked Erik, sipping his tea.
“We’re pretty sure they’re spiders.” Brigitte expanded. “We can’t hold one still long enough to examine them though, so we’re trying to squish one so we can get a closer look.”
“I see.” Andrew nodded, not really seeing at all. “I’m guessing that was all the stomping around at the door.”
Brigitte nodded, happily unaware of how mad she had looked. Andrew was confused. Brigitte was like no woman he’d ever met before; he could tell that much already. All the other women he’d known in Crestview were either simpering maidens who talked of nothing but children, weddings and flowers, or hardened housewives who talked of nothing but laundry, the price of meat, and the latest gossip. But Brigitte seemed… he couldn’t put his finger on it. The firelight and the candles made her seem mystical, but there was more to it than that. To say she seemed “wild” wasn’t right… but then saying she didn’t seem to care for social convention, while possibly true, didn’t sound right either.
“Andrew?” Brigitte smiled, a wry look on her face, as though she knew he had been thinking about her.
“Sorry… um…” Andrew flushed. “Drifted off. Look, if you find out what these things are and want rid of them, I can always lend you the shop’s cat.”
“A cat?” Erik looked at him, confused.
“Cats eat spiders.” Andrew explained, seeing the thought in the little boy’s eyes as he filed this information away for later. Suddenly, Erik’s head snapped around to Brigitte.
“Bridge! Tea’s finished.”
“Go put the laundry away then.” Brigitte smiled, as the happy, if excitable boy carried the basket through to another room.
“He calls you “bridge”?” Andrew asked, confused.
“He’s always called me Bridge. Or Aunty Bridge.” Brigitte shrugged. “Having him call me Brigitte would be a little too formal, don’t you think?”
“So he’s not your son, then?”
“No… I consider him an adopted sibling, although I’m the one that adopted him.” For a moment, there was a flicker of sadness in her eyes, which caught in the firelight so beautifully, Andrew found himself suddenly struggling with the urge to hug her tight and kiss her cheeks. And then he found himself struggling with the urge to keep his eyes from following the route of an imaginary tear, following the soft curve of her cheek, to the alluring shallow by her lip, over her chin, down her delicate neck and collar, and towards her…
Andrew sipped at his tea and focused very hard on the pattern on the cup. Brigitte didn’t say anything, if she had seen him staring, but she did flash that wry smile of hers again.
“So what do you do, Andrew?”
“Do?” He flushed, his voice croaky.
“Oh.” He smiled, relieved to have a topic of conversation that he found hideously unattractive. “I work on my dad’s bait stall at the market. We prepare fishing bait for the whole village, and any travellers that pass through.”
“It isn’t. I spend all day chopping up little fish and blending them together. And then being told I’ve done it wrong.”
Brigitte laughed, a laugh that sounded like rain trickling through the leaves of a forest. This made Andrew smile, and start chuckling himself.
“What about you?”
“Oh…” Brigitte shrugged, and waved her hand dismissively. “We wander. We go where we might be needed, then basically become odd-job people. Healing, sending, delivering… it’s all just a front so I can do what I’m really interested in.”
Brigitte put down her tea, and gave Andrew a long, hard look. Eventually, she seemed to decide he was worthy of her secret.
“You really want to know?”
“Alright… I’m putting together a list of all the different plants, minerals and animals in Arcania. Like an index. Where they can be found, what they can do, what use they are to spellcrafters.”
“Ah!” Andrew smiled, feeling like he’d been flooded with light as everything suddenly fell into place. He began to laugh, wondering why he hadn’t seen it sooner.
“What?” Brigitte looked at him, perplexed.
“What?” She insisted, shuffling nearer.
“Tell me!” She pouted, hitting him on the knee.
“Ok…” He laughed, holding his hands up. “It’s just…. I was trying to figure out what it was about you that was different to everyone else around here. You’re a spellcrafter.”
“Is… is that a problem?” She sat back, her brow furrowed.
“What? No, it’s just… there aren’t many spellcrafters around here. Well, not in the village anyway. They only really visit.”
“Oh…” Brigitte stood, clearing away the tea cups. “I prefer the term Witch, if it’s alright with you.”
Andrew stopped smiling. He sensed he had touched a nerve. Cheeks now bright red, his eyes not so much “laced” as “fully embroidered” with panic, he tried to backtrack.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to offend you or anything! I just… there hasn’t been a spellcraf… um… a witch or a warlock or anything in the village since… um…”
He fell silent. He shouldn’t talk about that. Not with someone he only just met anyway. “Not for a long time.” He finished, meekly. “But that’s not to say you won’t be welcomed with open arms. I know everyone in the village is very curious to meet you. I’m sorry if I offended you at all. I think I should go now.” He stood, and began to make his way to the door, when he heard a voice hissing at him from another room.
“Mister! Mister Lamburg!” Andrew looked around to see Erik poking his head around the door, eyes wide with amazement. “You use fish to catch other fish?”
Andrew found himself smiling.
“I don’t fish much, personally. But my dad says if you use minnows as bait you’ll get much bigger fish. He claims he once saw a man catch a fish as big as his arm.”
Erik marvelled at this for a moment, before ducking his head back around the door.
The next morning, Brigitte and Erik wandered into town, bought some fishing poles, and picked up a small jar of minnow bait, introducing themselves to all the housewives as they went. Andrew was also told that it was definitely spiders that the old Forge was full of, so could he please bring the cat around that afternoon and he would be welcome to stay for dinner. Arthur noted that Andrew didn’t stop smiling all day.
Wasn’t that nice?
Speaking of nice, a scheme be hatching here at Remember. The donate button, despite Greatwise’s sword-y promptings, is being remarkably neglected. This is not good (for everyone really, readers and writers alike).
So here’s a thought: If you donate more than, say, £5 ($8 approx.) or so, we could put together a tshirt and send it to you as a sort of “thank you”. That way Remember gets funding, I get to keep ignoring the existence of the rather horrid cafepress service, you get a nice warm feeling, and a nice warm snazzy shirt to prove it. Actual pricing may vary depending on the availability of materials if this goes through, but probably not much different to the above.
Any suggestions for slogans or designs and do you think this would be fun to do?