The next morning was a bustle of activity as, both, mother and daughter prepared for their impending parting. Arahlynn shuffled around the limited space of her bedroom, rummaging through drawers and pulling things out from beneath her bed. She had no idea what she would need, but she couldn't take most of what she found, not in the small knapsack she would have to carry.
“Do you have everything you need?” Her mother asked, appearing in her doorway.
Arahlynn flopped onto her bed in despair. “I do not know what I'll need,” she whined.
“Just some clothes and food. The food I have prepared should be able to sustain you until you can hunt.”
The young woman was a good hunter, stealthy, her small frame afforded her that attribute among others. She could hide in the smallest of places. One time, she managed to hide in a narrow crevice and use her bow to kill a deer for the village feast. It had been a tight squeeze, and still, with no room to move, she managed the shot. The shot was not accurate, but the arrow had hit its mark and hindered the poor beast, making it an easy kill.
Standing, she placed her small beloved dagger in her belt. The same one she used to end her prey when the time arose. “Thank you,” she smiled, looking over at her mother.
The ageing woman wrung her hands, suppressing the need to voice her concern. “I have something for you, it was your fathers.” Spinning on her heel, she took off towards her own bedroom with her daughter at her back.
Stepping up to her wardrobe, the woman pushed back the curtain that concealed the interior. Hiding behind the hung wool dresses sat a beautiful wooden trunk, a wedding present from her husband. Placing her hand to her chest, the woman's fingers fumbled for the tiny key that was nestled there.
She leaned closer to the trunk and used the key to unlock it. The lid groaned in protest as she lifted it from its resting place.
“What is it?” Arahlynn asked.
The woman turned to her daughter, in her hands she held a a large cloth-covered object. It had a strange shape that Arahlynn couldn't decipher. “This was your fathers.” With one hand she pulled back the cloth to reveal a tarnished lump of metal. She had never shown her daughter this and had only decided to give it to her to better her chances of returning home.
The young woman picked up the unusual item. She turned it over in her hands, noticing the weight and slight rattling sound it made. “What does it do?”
“Your father called it a revolver,” the mother answered, closing the trunk and replacing the curtain. “It is like a bow, but smaller and more deadly.” Retrieving the revolver from her daughters hands, she dislodged the chamber and counted the bullets. “You have five rounds, use them only when needed.” The woman replaced the chamber. “This is how you use it, watch carefully.” Gripping the gun, she pointed to the hammer, “pull this back until it clicks, then aim and shoot.” The mother pointed the barrel at the wall and feigned pulling the trigger before handing it back to Arahlynn.
With the firearm secured in the back if her waistband, the young woman headed back to her room with her mother trailing behind. The duo part ways halfway down the hallway, to finish preparing for the trip. Both needed time to sift through their thoughts and feelings as the time for departure drew nearer.
They pondered ideas of never seeing seeing each other again, and what it would be like to be alone. Arahlynn wondered If she would actually leave the woods like she believed, or if her mind was tricking her with desirable outcomes. Her mother evaluated what her life would become; quiet, dull and despairing.
“I do not wish you to go through life alone should I not return,” Arahlynn whispered, placing her knapsack on the kitchen counter. “I promise to try, with everything in me, to return. I aspire to redeem our family name.”
Her mother smiled sadly. “It is not your burden to carry. I am truly sorry that you feel as if it is.” Packing a small amount of food into her daughters bag, a small tear trickled down her cheek. “You are my only daughter. Please come back to me,” she cried.
Arahlynn moved to hug her parent. Rubbing small circles into her back, she kissed her tear stained cheeks in turn. “Everything will be alright,” she cooed. “We need to go.” Stepping back, she buttoned up her rabbit-fur jacket and slung her backpack over her shoulders.
Mother picked up her Shaw. Wrapping it around her shoulders, she followed her daughter to the front door. She tried to brush aside the fear that blanketed her heart. She could worry and cry later once her precious Arahlynn was gone, but for now she would try to wear a brave face.
They trudged through the village, passing row upon row of wooden shacks. The further they got to the woods, the smaller the houses became. They were weather beaten, the wood having been cracked and and warped by harsh winds and torrential down pour. The cobblestone path had gradually eased into a dusty and downtrodden dirt path.
A light breeze blew around the pair as they made their way to the treeline. They could see the six counsellors waiting for them. Picking up their pace, their grips on each others hands increased. Their sweat soaked palms implied that they were nervous and full of fear, maybe, for the mother it was true. But Arahlynn had a sparkle in her mischievous eyes. She was excited, the coming adventure called to her, enticed her.
“Good morning,” the counsellors chimed in unison.
The elderly greying woman who lead the panel stepped forward, pulling the hood of cloak down. “Are you ready, my dear?” She asked the young woman.
Arahlynn turned to her mother and squeezed her tight, “I love you,” she whispered. Spinning to face the elderly woman again, she replied, “I am.”
“Then we wish you a safe passage on your journey. May you return quickly.”
“Noveria vale,” the send off committee called together.
The only one who seemed affected by the young woman's departure was her mother, who sniffled quietly into a corner of her shawl.
Arahlynn stepped up to the tree, the woods looked dark and uninviting, almost scary. The trees seemed to groan at her as she got closer. Lifting one boot, she slowly placed it over the border.845Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ0TAsyVlF6F