Title: Lighting the Darkness of Winter
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Date in Calendar: 3 December 2009
Word Count: 1014
Summary: Rebecca teaches Amanda a lesson in generosity for the winter
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Disclaimer: The characters and universe belong to the Davis-Panzer company, and were created for the Highlander TV Series.
Rebecca had settled into a small village almost equidistant from both Remi and Parisii, giving her ample ability to trade and barter for more supplies as needed from the caravans still bold enough to roam the lands. With the Northmen raiding going on unchecked by any of the kings of the Frankish lands, such commerce was growing more and more scarce.
The village was a poor one, but then, what village wasn't in these times? The news of Arabs raiding the South, Northmen raiding anywhere they chose, and then the very fact that the lands kept getting carved into different slices to appease too many children of the bloodline meant those merchants that could travel did so only when profit potential was very high.
As it stood, she'd only be facing one birthing through the winter, and another who might need to be told to slow down about midwinter. The usual complaints would abound, but generally, she could look forward to a decent, slow winter to gather her wits and practice her healing.
If her own kind steered clear, she amended.
With a thought to her needs in mind, she waited in hopes of one last caravan as the fall turned decidedly for winter, never mind what the days of the year said about the matter.
The healer came from her small home to see several of the children running close from the woods nearby. "Yes?"
"Wagons! Wagons on the road! They'll be here by midday!"
The healer smiled at them for the knowledge, giving each of the six a treat from the dried fruits of last season that were too close to spoiling for storage. They all ran off happily, giving her time to get together what she had in the way of trade goods. Some woven cloth, a few trinkets she'd picked up along the way, and some ready made herbals would do the trick. She gathered it all up and into a basket for easier carrying, just to be ready when they rolled into town. All done with that, she set about making stew with the latest brace of game traded to her for setting one of the men's arms during the summer.
There it was, the sensation she had long come to dread. A frisson of alertness tingling its way up and down her spine made her start scanning the area around the wagons, looking for the one responding in similar vein. An Immortal, and so many people around meant they'd have to be cautious. As far as Rebecca went, the other could just go his, or her, merry own way, but must needs and all that ridiculousness.
"I hate that I can't ever surprise you!" came a plaintive whine from the woman stepping out of the shadow of one of the wagons, making Rebecca smile and put down her basket in joy.
The two women embraced chastely, though Amanda's eyes smoldered with a wish for far more. Rebecca had to smother a laugh for her hot-blooded student's ways.
"What's in the basket?" Amanda asked with all the curiosity of a litter of kittens just weaned. Rebecca shook her head at her student's moods, but reached down and picked it back up.
"Things to trade in hopes they have simples and herbs I don't have stocked fully, and any other things I can manage to make the winter easier."
"I really don't understand just why you put yourself out so much for people," Amanda told her, as confused as she ever was by the generosity.
Rebecca looked the other woman over, wanting to sigh, knowing it was pointless. "And just why, my dear friend, are you now here, when I distinctly remember you were going to the city in hopes of charming some Duke or Count to provide you a warmer winter?"
The tone and the little girl look on Amanda's face were unmistakable.
"I had a perfectly..."
"...good reason for why, I am sure." Rebecca regarded her sternly. "Tell me true, will the King's Law be searching for you?"
"No. I did deem it proper to leave when I did, but as these burly men in furs and armor passed through town about the same time I acquired my treasures..."
Rebecca had to sigh at that. "Only, you, Amanda, could cause me such distraction." Her tone implied a rather noticeable dismay and disappointment in Amanda, something that stung the student far deeper than Rebecca even realized as she went to where the trading had already begun.
The trader was none too sure about bartering with a free woman, but the village headman pointed out she was a woman of healing, and the brokering went smoother after that. Rebecca was vaguely aware that Amanda had wandered from her side, but was too caught up in the details of the dickering to go looking. It was only as she gathered up what she had managed to purchase on the promise of stew to take on the road as well as her trade items that she had a moment to look around.
What she found touched her heart to the core, for Amanda had acquired her travel trunk, and was with the women and the children, parceling out woolens and the like, in a rare moment of generosity. Rebecca waited until she was done, sure that the trunk was not all she had kept from her escapade, but happy with the gesture nonetheless.
Sure enough, Amanda gathered another small trunk, one she could carry easily, and joined Rebecca for the walk back to her home.
"I've never seen you be so giving, Amanda," she said softly as they walked. "Thank you. Some of those had very little for garb in the cold."
Amanda's eyes shone as she smiled. "It's not as if I don't have enough,' she said, as if that was all that mattered, but Rebecca could see how it made her step taller to have Rebecca's grace.
So it might not be generosity for being generous's sake, but it was a beginning, Rebecca decided.