“Mei Mei! Come here!” Mei Mei stops begging your mother for scraps and pads over to you. You pick her up and carry her over to Elise. “This is Mei Mei.”
“Puppy!” Dolls forgotten, Elise holds out her arms for Mei Mei. You hand the puppy over and Elise giggles as Mei Mei enthusiastically licks her face.
With both puppy and little sister occupied, you approach your mother. She is bent over a basin, peeling potatoes. “Can I help?” You have a lot of experience peeling potatoes from all those detentions with your Dragonblooded circle.
Your mother is surprised at your offer and gratefully hands over a sharp wood handled knife. “Be careful, it’s sharp.” You take the knife and peel and slice potatoes. Your mother observes your work for a moment. Satisfied you know what you are doing, she fries up some bacon.
“Does Anders come to the village often?” You remind yourself to be careful not to say “My Father.”
“He visits every couple of weeks. He lives in Wallport, where his ship is docked.” Brows furrowed, your mother stares out the window at Bendt.
You slow in your potato slicing. “Is there something wrong?” All you see out the window is Bendt placing a log on the chopping block.
“Sometimes, I wish Anders would stay away,” your mother whispers to herself.
“Why?” you ask.
Your mother is startled at your question. “All his visits do is get Bendt worked up. “ She restlessly wipes down the counter.
“About what?” Maybe you can figure out why your parent’s aren’t together anymore.
“Bendt carries the blood of the dragons, like you do. I tell him there is little chance of him exalting, but he still hopes.” She goes back to the stove to check on the bacon. “Anders coming by and telling stories of Bendt’s grandfather doesn’t help.”
“There is always a chance he could exalt.” If Bendt did exalt, your brother could join Chiyoko’s circle.
“Yes, but I’m afraid Bendt will try to do something stupid to trigger it.” You mother checks on your potatoes. “Those potatoes need to be cut smaller or else they will take forever to cook.”
You cut the potatoes into smaller pieces. The subject of your brother’s exaltation makes your mother uncomfortable, so you change the subject. “What about you?”
“Me?” She frowns. “I’m not anyone important.”
“Everyone is important to someone. How long have you been a healer? Where did you get your training?”
“I’ve been healer for… ten years? Hayashi Gudleifr, she is a Wood Aspect up at the Garrison. She noticed I had a talent for Thaumaturgy, so…”
“You’re a Thaumaturgist?!” You are impressed. “That is so cool!”
Your mother shrugs. “I only know a couple of wards.” She smiles mischievously. “Medicine is easier than magic.”
“Not many mortals can do Thaumaturgy. What wards do you…” A cup shatters on the floor.
“Linnea!” Your mother leaves the stove and checks on her. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” Your older sister says in a shaky, thin voice. Linnea picks up a straw broom from the corner and begins to sweep up the ceramic fragments.
Your mother pulls another cup out of the cabinet and sets it besides Linnea. “That should be enough potatoes, Svante.” She swipes your potatoes into a bowl and tips them into the hot pan.
You set the knife down. “Is there anything else I can do? Set the table?” You want to be helpful and make a good impression.
“Linnea can set the table. She knows where everything is. I appreciate your help, but you are a guest, Svante. Sit down and relax.”
Later, as you eat a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and potatoes, you listen to your mother explain to you the various Thaumaturgical wards she’s learned from the Wood Aspect at the Garrison. You’ve learned many of the wards already from the Owl, but you stay silent. You and Elise take turns giving Mei Mei breakfast tidbits from the table.
“Svante, do you have any Dragonblooded in your family?” Bendt asks between forkfuls of eggs.
Your mother sets down her cup of tea and rolls her eyes. “Bendt, you have done nothing but pester the boy since he got here.”
You answer Bendt’s question. “I don’t know much about my family. I know I am descended from Cinead Torkil. He was a Fire Aspect stationed in the North. Most Northerners with Fire Aspect markings are descended from him.”
“Cinead Torkil…. Maybe he’s my ancestor too. I’ll have to ask my father about him.” Bendt is about to ask another question, when your mother interrupts with a question of her own.
“Svante, how long were you planning on staying in town?”
“I don’t know.” You figured you’d stay until Akachi comes and gets you. You weren’t looking forward to confronting your guardian.
“Do you have a place to stay?”
Your cheeks burn and you shake your head. You didn’t plan this trip well.
“If you don’t mind sharing a room with our patient, you can stay here. He doesn’t have anything contagious.” Your mother assures you. “He just broke his leg in a fall.”
“You don’t have to do that.” You fiddle with the remains of your bacon with your fork.
“It’s not a problem. None of my children have the patience to listen to me blather on about Thaumaturgy.”
“Thank you,” You are relieved. Your mother is a really nice person for taking in a strange boy who showed up on her doorstep.
Linnea, who has been quiet during breakfast, asks “Can I be excused? I promised Elowen I’d visit her this morning.”
“Linnea, you haven’t eaten much.” Your mother observes.
“I wasn’t really hungry.” She picks up her full plate and sets it on the counter.
Bendt scrapes the last of his potatoes from his plate. “Have you been around town yet, Svante?”
What do you do?
- Go with your brother for a tour around town
- Follow Linnea when she leaves the house
- Stay with your mother and Elise
((I like the Ex3 Thaumaturgist merit for mortals. It means that not everyone can do it, thus you can’t buy your way into magic and leaving options for social mobility. ))