A continuation (as suggested I might try) of first line friday: now is the season of our discontent (and a stand alone tale, too, I hope)

The evening table at the Inn was grim; nothing was right with this spring awakening. They ate silently; few comments filled the spaces of conversation. Sleety rain coated the windows; a raw wind blew nothing but trouble and sorrow.

Later in her room, she took two small wooden cases from her sling bag. One was painted in bright colours; images of trees, fruits, flowers and fantastical beasts, all rendered in miniature. Nestled inside was an embossed leather pouch containing her lighter fortune beads. These she cast at fairs, if such was not looked upon with suspicion. This fetched a ducat or two, or perhaps bread and cheese in barter. The Newmarkettown early fair should prove to be profitable. Most at the Inn had some scheme or plan to fatten purses made thin by the wintering.

She need not front-see, nor back-look to tell fortunes; people showed their stories in a facial muscle twitch or a slight head nod. Their mouths might freeze into a hard line at first; yet that rigid expression would melt away into tears. Any close observer could do this, she thought; one need not be an inuit.

It was showmanship: placing the beads in the seeker’s cupped hands, laying hers atop; instructing them to think only of their query; then to let loose the beads. Brilliantly coloured glass, they clattered down onto whatever makeshift surface she might utilize.

Where the beads came to rest, their colours mixing into prismatic rainbows, she studied, perhaps hovering her hands over the formation. She might pick a few to be recast. She then created visions bringing peace to troubled mind. Provide hope or respite. Maybe even expose the faint traces of infidelity, thievery or lies.

This box she returned to her bag; the contents of the other she need consult. It was eld; the wood polished by the touch of many hands. The writing upon the lid so faded, she barely discerned the words; perhaps written in tradition or even runish. It held a tightly folded, faded cloth and small, plain pouch. She spread out the cloth, gently smoothing the aged wrinkles. She spilled out the beads – each different with an intricate heart-stone surrounded by varied shades and patterns in the glass.

Once she had taken a risk in allowing someone else to hold the beads for casting; Tayman bore the burn scars upon his palms the rest of his life. Comrades in the cadre, she had let slip her secret. Much younger then, she had not yet realized how these beads’ power was attuned to her alone.

Now, she must fair allow this was a beautiful mistake; it brought her to the eld ways; put her upon the ancient path. A beautiful mistake, too, when hands salved and bandaged, Tayman thought upon his question, and she cast out the beads. She need guess the nature of his query, for in truth, the beads formed an answer to her unasked question.

These long years past, she could still feel how it was the first time they lay together. His gentleness, his caress. She never would have ventured to seek his touch had not the beads spelled out the story of their potential as lovers.

Now, with all the sorrow and bleakness upon the inn, she thought to cast the beads. She shivered as if someone had walked across her moon; was this a premonition of a darkness to be revealed?

mlmm saturday mix: opposing forces (front and back; freeze and melt), the sunday whirl 501; and mlmm sunday writing prompt: beautiful mistake

whirl wordle words: in bold

feature image: santa3 on pixabay.com