I hope you're ready to meet a new character! I must say Skilf has interesting friends. I just thought I should add: if you are ever wondering how I imagine the characters in Dusty Red look I have a Pintrest Board for it, so if you ever want to have a look please do!
A shadowy figure leapt out of the darkness and slammed into Flicks, pushing her to the ground in a whirlwind of damp leaves and twigs.
Flicks jumped to her feet once more, as did the figure who’d slammed into her. The small light trickling through a window of the house fell on the stranger’s face revealing a golden haired, smiling girl.
“Well, fancy seeing you here Skilf! Sorry I smashed into you, I didn’t see you at first,” the girl said.
Flicks took a deep breath to say something but Skilf interrupted her. “Hey Nainsi,” (pronounced the same as Nancy) she said, taking a step forwards.
“Umm…Skilf?” Nainsi asked, looking from Flicks to Skilf and back again. She rubbed her forehead,
“I’m really going crazy now. Knew I shouldn’t have eaten that Winslein gronida.”
“This is your friend?” Flicks asked Skilf.
“Aye, that she is,” Skilf replied, “Nainsi, meet my friend Flicks and her companions Ron and Kendal.”
Nainsi nodded slowly. “So…am I going crazy and coming down with a bad case of Fingrandio or do you,” she tilted her head to Flicks. “Look like her,” this time she nodded to Skilf.
“Aye,” Skilf replied, even if Nainsi had been talking to Flicks.
“Or,” Nainsi added deliberately, “Does she look like you?” Nainsi shook her head flashing a grin at the faces around her, “But why don’t we go inside? I’ve got a pot delicious stew on the fire, there’ll be enough for all.”
In a short time they all found themselves inside by a crackling fire. “It isn’t every day I get so many visitors,” Nainsi said, stirring the large pot over the hearth. Flicks settled down on the arm of a lounge, the inside of the hut was quite as strange as its keeper. Herbs and roots of all kinds hung from the ceiling and the wooden walls were full of shelves piled with all sorts of oddments.
Skilf, leaving against the wall in one of the only clear places by the door, spoke, “Well actually, Nainsi, we didn’t just come visiting, we have a problem.”
“A problem? And what might it be? Your Uncle again?”
Skilf tilted her head. “In a manner of speaking yes,” she said.
“And in a manner of speaking no?” Nainsi asked.
“Well, you know the magic stones I told you about?” Skilf began.
“Well I took them,” Skilf said. “And…”
“Buried them,” Nainsi interrupted.
Flicks’ eyebrows went up, “How did you know?”
Nainsi turned to her. “I’ve known Skilf forever,” she said as if that explained everything.
“I see,” Flicks said, replacing her eyebrows to their original position.
“And you want advice of what to do next?” Nainsi asked turning back to Skilf.
“Aye, we’re kinda stuck,” Skilf explained the situation quickly and when she finished Nainsi nodded thoughtfully.
“You do seem to be in a little trouble, what with uncles and wolves and all,” she stood in the center of the room staring at the floor as if it might give her inspiration. The only sound in the room was that of the blazing fire and the stew boiling forgotten over it.
Finally Nainsi broke the silence. “You can’t stay here or they’ll catch you, you can’t wander around in the forest forever ‘cause they’re bound to get you eventually. The only safe place is right where they would least expect you.”
“And were do that be?” old Ron spoke for the first time since entering the house.
Nainsi glanced around the room, “Well Skilf, what you want to do is stop this double crossing plan of Lord Cameron’s and ‘save the country’ as it were. Am I right?”
“And what you want to do,” Nainsi addressed the other three in the room, “Is get home?”
Kendal and Ron nodded immediately but Flicks hesitated.
Nainsi grinned at her, “Getting a thirst for adventure are we?”
Flicks didn’t reply but Nainsi seemed satisfied. “We’ll see when the time comes. But now we must go,” Nainsi said, tossing her golden hair.
Flicks stood, as did Kendal, Ron and Skilf. Nainsi crossed the room and began sorting through a stack of things on a shelf. Flicks watched, impatient now to be off. A sudden thought came to her and she spoke, “You never told us where we were going though.”
“Oh, I was thinking Castle Manirus was the best place. Full of doorways and other such things we’ll be needing,” Nainsi replied without turning around.
Everyone looked startled. Skilf opened and shut her mouth, speechless.
“A castle?” Kendal asked incredulously. “You do understand we don’t want a tour of all the amazing sights around here, we want to get out!”
Was Flicks just imagining it or did Kendal hesitate before saying ‘get out’? Flicks shook the thought away, after all why would Kendal want to stay here?
Nainsi placed a few things in a bag and Flicks watched in wonder. The things she put in there looked much too big to fit, yet they did somehow, and she put still more inside the pack. “Yes, I am quite aware of what you want and everything. But I assure you, it’s the only way.”
Skilf got her voice back, “But Manirus castle? Are you sure you didn’t mean Rocos castle?”
“I’m sure,” Nainsi replied calmly as though she hadn’t just suggested walking straight into the enemy’s lair. She swung the pack onto her shoulders, slipping her arms through the straps.
“But...but Manirus castle,” Skilf said again faintly.
Nainsi ignored her and kicked some dirt over the fire, looking regretfully at the stew. “What a pity you must be wasted,” she murmured softly. She then lifted a small cream coloured bundle from the side of the fire and carefully placed in in the pack over her shoulder.
She wiped her hands on her blue dress, looking around and her companions, “Now we’re ready to go.”
Nainsi walked to the door and opened it. A frown creased her forehead and Flicks peered out over her shoulder. Somehow, what she saw didn’t surprise her in the least.
The options are rather short today I'm afraid, I wasn't really fealing very inspired when I thought them up.
1. Lantern lights. Moving towards them.
2. It was a lizard. A flying lizard.
3. A half circle of growling wolves faced them. Flicks groaned, not again.
So how did you like Nainsi? I think she's quite an interesting person really, not that I know much about her! But as we go on we'll find out more I guess. Thank you all for reading and remember not to leave without commenting and voting for your favourite option. Oh, and check out the pintrest board while you're here.
Fare Thee Well!
~ Jane, Misty Maiden