Zasha, Looking Like May Day
The stable behind the Golden Book was filled with horses. Most of them had been rescued from the battlefield by Gethin Gwilym, the equerry to the Deae Matres. Zasha was too focused to give any thought to who was or wasn’t in the large barn.
Gethin had worked with Osabide to collect herbs for a concoction to calm the horses who had been traumatized in the fighting. He mixed chamomile, valerian root powder, and oddly, catnip. Then he filled a cored apple with the mix. The animals eagerly ate the treat.
Several of the summer’s bane wreaths hung from Zasha’s arm. Shifting the wreaths, she picked up one of the apples. She walked briskly to the stall where her beloved white mare waited. With a grunt, she hefted the saddle up onto Kiska. Then she led the mare through the barn.
Holding up the Staff of Ancient Chieftains, she inspected her handiwork. Maybe it was sacrilege, but Zasha followed an intuitive urge. With an awl, she made tiny holes in the staff, just below the place where Red Eye crowned it. She glued the thin iron arrows into the holes.
The magic of the staff is uncertain in my hands. I don’t know if adding the iron will make it more effective against nightwalkers… or if it will change it at all, she thought. But if I can’t make the magic work, at least I’ll have an iron spiked quarterstaff.
She opened some of wreaths and tied them together, creating one large garland of summer’s bane. She encircled Kiska’s arched neck with it, and then stroked her nose. She pinned the remaining wreath to her own head.
“We look like we’re riding to a festival for the first day of spring,” she remarked, looking down into the water trough at their reflection. “Would that it were so. Forgive me, my friend… for knowingly riding you into harm’s way,” she added, patting Kiska’s neck.
Dead of Winter — All the Journeys
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 13, The Harbor
Journey 12, Goddesses
Journey 11, the Sumelazon Escarpment
Journey 10, Pergesca
Journey 9, Doors of Attunement
Journey 8, The Lost Library
Journey 7, Revenant Pass
Journey 6, The Fluting Fell
Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls
Journey 4, The Old Road
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak
Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this midweek hump. I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged. Hugs on the wing!
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 and 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.