Nanna awoke to yet one more dreary morning. That the spring blossoms now promised to bloom mattered little to her. Without Sonsee-array, her life had no meaning, no purpose.
She’d thought of returning to the Temple and resuming her pottery, but she knew M’Lady was still there. No, that would be servitude, she decided.
Certainly the Lord of the Manor would give her a studio, but she had not yet found the energy to set one up. He was kind, but silent. He, too, missed Sonsee, his only child. How cruel fate had been to him. His adored wife taken so early, his son born dead, and now his only daughter gone to the crocodiles.
Crocodiles. Nanna could not think of the crocodiles without suspicion. Iona, Sonsee’s mother had wept at the tale of a young priestess, too head-strong, flung into the murky swamp and to the crocodiles.
Stop it! You only make your suffering worse.
Still, Nanna wondered. And the dreams. How many times had she heard Sonsee calling to her in her dreams?
Nanna flung her feet off the bed and stood. The sun hit her face, the warmth of it lifting her mood if only a bit. Today I will go out, to the market perhaps. She had not been there since Sonsee had gone from her life. How Sonsee loved the market.
Nanna dressed and saw to the servants. Each had a responsibility, but Nanna had always made sure each was settled, each was well, and each knew what they were to do for the day. An old habit and her way of making herself useful.
When finally the Lord was out the door and to his business, she left and strolled slowly along the not-yet crowded streets. She had always loved the morning and maybe, just maybe, she could find some of that joy again.
She wandered aimlessly, just thinking about….well nothing really. Just trying to get through another day.
Just past the butcher, she thought she heard her name. But not with her ears. It was in her head. Strange. Iona had been able to do that, talk into her head. It was a gift that had been passed down from mother to daughter and one Iona would have wanted her to develop in Sonsee. Iona did it with chanting, Nanna knew. Could Sonsee be….? Stop it. You only make your suffering worse.
She turned a bend and, looking up, found she was at the Temple stall. Nanna had always avoided this street. Too many bad memories. But this time she remembered the good ones too. How wonderful it had been to be selling in the market with Iona, freedom licking at their dreams. And then his Lordship’s son had passed by and caught Iona’s eye. It was wonderful to see her friend fall in love, but the road to marriage had been a long one. She did not want to think about that.
Nanna looked at the priestesses setting up their wares. She did not know either of them and that emboldened her. They would not know her either. She watched as they stacked their wares carefully, placing the prettiest pieces on hangers for display. One of the priestesses took a brightly colored scarf and flipped it open allowing the breeze to catch it. Something flew out. Nanna watched. It was as if the world distorted and slowed down. The piece arched through the air and fell at her feet before the world resumed its shape again. Nanna picked it up.
She was about to hand it back to the priestess, but the central bead caught her eye. Many years ago, she had made that bead in the glass studio. Think! Think! What happened to that bead?
As far as she could remember it had remained in the glass studio when she was sent out to Sonsee’s father. Well, that made sense. Someone had found it and made this piece for the market. She hoped that person did not have the gift of spell weaving for Nanna had made it when her mind was in turmoil. In it she had seen angry waves and fire. All her fury at M’Lady had poured into that bead. Yet, it had come out beautifully.
The colors. Nanna looked now at the color of the yarns, so like the tapestry Iona had woven for the Great Hall. But it was the bronze embellishment that meant the most to Nanna. It and several more like it had been brought from their homeland, rescued when their ship sank, and Iona had carefully attached them all to her amulet.
Could it be? For the first time Nanna did not push the thought from her mind. I need to buy this piece.
She stepped up the the nearest priestess. “Did you loose this?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,” came the reply.
The second priestess stepped forward and looked at the amulet. “No, that was not in our inventory.”
“Someone must have lost it then,” Nanna replied and slipped it into her pocket. “I’ll take it to the central square and hang it there.” She turned and left before the priestesses could think better of her decision.
The journey home was a quick one and, upon arrival, she retrieved the key to Sonsee’s room. Upon her death, her father had locked it and declared nobody should enter the room again. But the box with the amulet and tiles was in there and Nanna needed it now.
She sent the servants away and slipped into the room. The box was still hidden under the covers. She opened it, her heart pounding wildly. Could it be? She did not see the amulet. So she poured out the tiles. No amulet. She grabbed the box, stuffed the tiles back inside, and hurried quickly from the room.
“Gryffud,” she shouted hurrying down the long hall. “Gryffud!”
“I think he is helping in the smithery,” one of the servants said. Nanna hurried in that direction.
The smithery was hot and smelled of men hard at work. “Gryffud,” she called from the doorway.
He appeared, sweaty and covered in iron filings. “Yes, m’am?”
“When you took Sonsee to her school that day, what was she wearing?”
Nana could see the pain of that day cross Gryffud’s face. He had blamed himself, that much she knew. “Her usual I guess,” he mumbled.
“Nothing else? Nothing special?”
Gryffud’s face twisted and in it Nanna saw a man concentrating on unpleasant memories. “Yes, m’am. She went back and got a woven necklace. Just before we left.”
“What color was it?”
Gryffud’s face twisted in concentration again. “I do not remember. But colorful. Very colorful.”
“Thank you, Gryffud,” Nanna said as she turned away.
It was time to consult those tiles.