Another snow day
Riei and I and Vurian went through the secret tunnel with Hylti and Arni, and yes, the floor was all muddy, but we’d borrowed wooden pattens to keep our shoes clean. (Well, the tunnel wasn’t so secret now, but it had been when the bad baron was still there. Now the doctors used it when they didn’t want to go through the weather.)
We’d promised to help with the doctoring, at least by lending them some of our anea when they ran out, because they were expecting a lot of accidents. And accidents there were: mostly broken bones and torn tendons because people were slipping on the snow. One young man stayed for soup after Hylti had set his shoulder because he was there when we were going to eat anyway, and then she sent him with a bucket of sand and ashes to throw on the slide he’d made right down the street. “Playing is okay!” she said, “but don’t make unsuspecting passers-by play your game willy-nilly! I had three people come in with broken ankles from that slide.”
At the end of the day we were all tired and went back to the stone house for a bath and dinner, and found that Rovin and Jerna had improved the snow house with a sideways chimney! If it hadn’t still been too cold to sleep inside I’d have wanted to spend the night there. But instead we slept in Jerna’s bed again, not only all three of us girls but Vurian and Rovin as well.
In the morning the air was clear and the sun was shining! “I think we can travel,” Vurian said, and we packed our things. “If you want to come with us,” I said to Jerna, “better pack as well so we can leave as soon as possible.”
“I haven’t talked to my father yet!” she said.
“We’ll do it,” I said, and Riei and I went to find the baron while the boys helped Jerna pack.
We found Jeran in the kitchen, eating porridge. “Leaving?” he said when he saw us in travel clothes. “Good day for it. It’ll stay clear for a while now.”
“Yes,” I said, “and there’s another thing, Jerna would like to go to school in Turenay very much, and she can travel with us now we’re going anyway. So she’ll be in time for the next term.” Vurian had told me that, classes started a week after the Feast of Timoine.
He looked taken aback. “But…” He shook his head as if to clear his ears. “I’ll miss her a lot. She’s all I have. My son is too busy on his farm to come here often.” I knew that Jerna had an older brother, and when she told me she didn’t much want to be baroness after her father I’d said “can’t your brother be the baron then, and you the farmer?” but there was no way she or her father could persuade her brother to do that.
“She’ll be back!” I said. “Every summer, and it’s only for a couple of years.”
“And perhaps when Jerna is away you can ask Cynla to come and live with you,” Riei said. “Instead of spreading her legs for anyone who’ll give her money.”
Obviously Jeran hadn’t thought of that yet. “Now that is an idea,” he said, and turned in the direction of the stables. “Have to see to the girl’s horses.”
Do you think he’s turning away so we don’t see him blush? Riei asked in my mind.
Jerna had a mare a bit larger than the boys’ horses, and an even larger gelding as a pack-horse, so we were now five people and twelve animals! Quite an expedition. It was nice weather to ride, though, and we had plenty of food from the baron’s kitchen.