Elabea rolled her eyes and began banging her bowl again. Areall gently stopped her drumming, and with a patronizing smile, returned to her chores.
The conversation was over.
After a moment of silence, Areall asked, “Would you like to continue learning how to knit?”
Elabea let out a dramatic sigh. “You know I hate to knit! And why aren’t you willing to discuss this? Why do you pretend all is well? Do you really like the night raids and wearing this?”
Elabea yanked at her tunic.
Areall flashed her another belittling smile just as Elabea’s father, Quinn, stumbled out of the bedroom. Bumping his forehead against the low threshold, he muttered something unintelligible. Rubbing his sore head and mumbling angrily, he staggered toward the fireplace. There, he fell into a wooden chair to begin another day, sitting and staring into the glowing embers that held no answers to his misery. Like the days prior, Quinn would slip further into despair, an occasional grunt about Min Brock shattering the silence.
“Father,” Elabea said, knowing when he was hungover it was better to leave, “I’m going to the meadow.”
Like the other parents of Hetherlinn, Quinn and Areall had banned her from visiting or climbing the oak. Despite their threats and even subsequent punishment, Elabea continued to visit. Overcome with their own personal pains, they resigned themselves to defeat, hoping against hope that the Cauldron would not discover their wayward daughter.
Quinn waved a rubbery arm while Areall huffed disapprovingly.
Elabea threw the door open. The cold breeze took her breath away; she pulled her shawl closer. A rustling sound near her ear made her turn to inspect. Embedded in the door’s rough plank was an arrow. Wrapped about its shaft and secured with a leather strip was a parchment. It was twitching in the breeze.
The THUD I heard last night must have come from this arrow!