Adrian woke up with the sun just starting to rise over the hills. Rolling out of bed she pulled on her boots and a jacket before going over to the basin in her room and splashing her face with water. She hated waking up in the morning preferring to sleep but her mother needed help with the horse so splashing water on her face was the fastest way to wake up. Trudging down the stair her eyes cast over the table where last night she had to give up the opportunity of a lifetime. Honestly reality sucked she thought, its why she loved sleep so much, in her sleep she had the ability to create amazing worlds unlike her own. She loved her family, and she didn’t mind working with horses, but it wasn’t something she loved like her mother.
Adrian grabbed some wood from the basket left by the door and loaded it into the stove. “Ignis” she whispered. Today the rushing feeling of the magic traveling through her felt like a taunt, to follow her dreams but also a slap in the face knowing she couldn’t. With the stove lit ready to warm the small house she left out the back door to the barn where her mother would be preparing breakfast for all the horses. Adrian had tried a few times to get out the door first in the morning and be at the barn first, but it was like her mother had a sixth sense, her own bit of magic, the allowed her to always be the first one there.
As Adrian walked up to the stables, she noticed that it was not as chilly as it had been previous weeks. Soon, she thought, the horses would go out into the pastures at night instead of the day. It allowed them to be in the shade of the stables during the hottest parts of the day and to wander and eat freely in the cool night air of summer. Walking into the stables Adrian gave pats to the horse who stuck their heads out their stales to great her and see if she had a treat to give them. She could see light coming from the feed room and heard grain going into buckets.
“Morning” Adrian said picked up the bucket labeled Rain and filling it with the horse’s breakfast.
“Morning” It felt stilted and awkward, like Isabell wanted to acknowledge what happened last night but did not know how.
“Are we still keeping Hell Fire in today or do you think he is healed enough to go out” Adrian asked, talking horses was always a safe topic.
“I want to try it this morning and see how he goes. If he starts running around though we are gonna have to bring him back though” Isabell sighed, she always got worried about every horse like it was her own.
“We could try putting him out with the older horse” Adrian suggested, “They might keep him quiet”
“Sounds good” Isabell said finishing filling the last bucket with breakfast, “Now we just have to feed them and get them rugged up”
They went down the row of stalls giving pets and breakfast to all the horses. Adrian’s family had 4 of their own horses and 10 horses from families in the area. William and Kate had horses that were in the older bracket and didn’t spook at all. Adrian was pretty sure that if lighting struck next to them, they would just continue to eat their grass unbothered. Isabell had a beautiful 10-year-old mare, Adrian thought the horse was a bit of a drama queen, but her mom loved her horse, cameo, with all she had. Adrian’s horse though was a young chestnut mare, only 5 years old. Her name was Flare and Adrian had raised her since she was a fowl when Adrian was 15. Flare was lean and fast and stamina for days. On the rare occasions that Adrian could go off for the day riding her and Flare was ride through the wild forest running through creeks and jumping over logs. No matter how hard they went though it seemed like Flare never tired, she had an unrelenting spirt for adventure. Coming to rest outside Flare’s stall Adrian thought that she would have loved to travel on an adventure seeing new things every day.
“Alright let’s get them rugged up and ready to go out” Isabell called talking Adrian out of her thoughts. They worked in silence pulling on light blankets on the horses to keep them warm during the day. It was still too cold for flies and other bugs to be out, so they did not need to put on fly masks to keep them off the horses faces. “You know Adrian” Isabell said as Adrian went into Flare’s stall, “Why don’t you take the day off and go riding with Flare. I know that Mrs. Carthy at the apothecary shop told you about the patch of floating sea and that you wanted to see them.”
“Really... you sure” Adrian asked sure that there were jobs that she needed to get done on the farm today.
“Yep” Isabell said
“That sounds really good” Adrian said a smile making its way to her face “You hear that flare we are going for an adven.... a ride” Adrian stumbled; it wouldn’t be an adventure, but it would be nice, nevertheless. “Floating sea are a plant that helps with burns, they are called floating sea because the flower floats attached to its stem. Inside the top of the flower is a liquid and apparently from the outside it looks like the sea.” Adrian started to gush to Flare. Floating sea grew in these parts but where usually really rare to find and Adrian had never seen them in person.
Adrian started to walk out of stables thinking of all the things she needed to bring on her trip. “Hey, we need to get the other horse out first you know” Her mother called out amused
“Right!” Adrian said sheepishly returning to blanket the other horses.
They brought out the horses putting Hell Fire in with the older horses and it seemed that it was going work on keeping him calm. Both Adrian and Isabell were thankful for that because Hell Fire had been kept in his stable for a week now due to an injury and wanted him to be able to get out and roam but not reinjure himself. They both walked into the house to the smell of bacon, eggs and William handing Isabell a cup of coffee. Isabell took her coffee and added her sugar and milk to it, after to many arguments about William’s inability to make coffee the way Isabell liked it they compromised to William making her a black cup of coffee and her adding her fixings to it. He could also only make bacon and eggs so when he woke up into to make breakfast that was what they usually ending up having. Nevertheless, everyone knew he was trying his best to help without making a disaster.
“Morning Dad, smells good, just make sure the bacon isn’t burning” Adrian called out walking up stairs to gather her things.
“Shit” William muttered turning back to the stove, well he usually got bacon and eggs right.
When Adrian got to her room, she started thinking about the things she should take with her. She instantly grabbed her notebook, pencils and watercolors to draw and take notes of the plant. She then grabbed her backpack off the floor putting the things in it. Don’t forget the paint brushes, she thought turning around and also grabbing those. Her eyes drifted over the plant container that Mrs. Carthy gifted her last harvest festival. Floating sea was a plant with magic in it but didn’t need magic to be gathered properly, still Adrian wasn’t sure if she would be able to successfully harvest the plant and its roots. Still it would be worthwhile. Mrs. Carthy didn’t have a crop of floating sea and it would be really helpful for the burns that she treated. Trying can never hurt, Adrian thought and grabbed the plant container. She carefully activated the button on the side that shrunk the container and placed it in the bag.
Happy that she had everything she needed Adrian headed down stairs for breakfast running into Kate who was still wiping sleep from her eyes. Kate had a habit of working late into the night on her studies and therefore hated the morning with a passion. She usually was not up until mid morning though.
“What are you doing up so early” Adrian asked as they walked down the stairs.
“Need to send a letter this morning about my application to the Royal academy” Kate yawned. There was only so much about building, physics, math and engineering that Kate could learn from the teachers and builders in town. Kate wanted to learn even more and had set her sights on going to the Royal academy to study in the capital.
“Everything alright?” Adrian asked worried that Kate wouldn’t be able to apply this year
“Yeah, just wanted some more information about the process and when I should hear back about whether I was accepted or not” arriving down stairs Kate went straight for the coffee and poured herself a big mug before drinking it black.
“I don’t know how you can drink that stuff, let alone drink it black” Adrian said grabbing herself a glass of water.
William had finished cooking the bacon and eggs and Isabell placed down a plate of toast on the kitchen table. They all sat down and started eating their food. All that could be heard for a while was the sounds of cutlery on plates and mugs being picked up and place down. Even though William and Isabell were used to walking up early their brains only seemed to really turn on after their first cup of coffee and for Kate it was more like her second or third cup.
“So...” Adrian said hesitantly “Do you know when Lady Elysian will be off?” There was a stutter of cutlery on plates before it picked back up again.
“She said that she had a few things she wanted to get done before moving on” Isabell said, “She said that she would probably leave tomorrow morning”
“Cool...” Adrian said playing with her food. William, Isabell and Kate looked at each other, William leaned forward as if to say something but Isabell shook her head at him and he leaned backwards. Not wanting to continue to stay in the awkward silence any longer Adrian finished her food. “Well I’m going to head out ok? I’ll be back in time to help you bring in the horse Mom.”
“There’s a sandwich on the counter for you” Isabell said. Adrian grabbed it and was out the door.
She raced towards the stables quickly running into the tack room to grab her saddle and other gear before going over to great Flare. Giving Flare a pat she took her out of stable to tack her up. With other horses you would have to put a halter on them and put them in cross ties but Flare was very well trained to going move with permission. Quickly putting the saddle on Flare and then the bridle. Adrian quickly went to the feed room and snagged a few carrots as treats for Flare. She gave Flare half of one before putting the rest in her bag. Putting her foot in the stirrup she pulled herself up onto Flare. Grabbing the reins and giving Flare a gentle nudge they walked out of the stables. They headed for the property line on the right side towards where Adrian heard was a patch of floating sea.
Once they reached the property line Adrian nudged Flare into a gallop. The world around them seemed to blur as Flare ran on. Mrs. Carthy said that she saw the plant along the river that ran through the woods. At Flares top speed it took them 30 minutes to reach the river. Pulling to a stop Adrian brought Flare to the water so that she could have a drink. Mrs. Carthy said that the plant was on the west side of the forest. Waiting for Flare to finish her fill of water Adrian soaked in the nature around them. It was in the middle of the forest surround by nothing man made Adrian felt alive, like anything possible could happen, like the rest of the world was at her fingertips to explore the unknown. However, that was just a dream, in truth Adrian knew these woods like the back of her hand and could probably navigate it with her eyes closed not that she would ever want to try.
Flare came over to Adrian nudging her shoulder with her nose. “Ready to keep going?” Adrain said, “Yeah, let’s go then”. Adrian hopped back up on Flare again. Adrian only had Flare go into a trot as she kept on the lookout for the plant. As they wandered along the riverbank Adrian took in the fish swimming in the river, the little animals scouring about on the forest floor and the chirping of the birds. Over the years of exploring the area around their small-town Adrian had drawn and cataloged most of the plants and animals in her notebooks taking care to draw and paint them properly and take notes about them. While Adrian loved learning about apothecary and the ability of using plants to heal and for magic her favorite thing to see in the forest was the wave fish. Many animals had magic that they would use and the wave fish was one of them. On its forehead was a part that glowed bright blue that would keep water surrounded around the fish. This allowed the fish to swim above the river creating waves at the water stayed around it.
After 45 minutes they came across the patch of floating sea. It was even more amazing than Adrian could have imagined. She slipped off Flare and walked slowly towards the meadow of plants. She knelt down reaching out her hand to out the top of one. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Flare nudge one and then quickly try to it eat it. “No, you can’t eat it” Adrian said pushing her head away laughing a little. “Alright I’ll take you over to a nice patch of grass before I look at the floating sea.” Getting up Adrian walked away from the patch of plants and towards a patch of grass near the river. Grabbing rope that was attached to Flares staddle and tied it between to trees. Adrian then attached Flare to the rope giving her ample space to eat the grass around her and drink water from the stream. “Happy now” Adrian asked Flare as she munched on the green grass.
Walking back to the patch of floating sea Adrian took a set grabbed out her sandwich, notebook, and pencils. Carefully sketching out the plant for her notebook she ate her sandwich. Adrian had read about floating sea in Mrs. Carthy’s apothecary books and saw the pictures accompanying the description but even know after looking at the plant for a few minutes she could see some differences. The book she read made it sound like the flower was completely fully full of liquid. However, the flower was only about half full, when pushed the liquid inside would swish around mixing. Getting the initial sketch done she wanted to get some other observations of the plant done.
Pushing on the top of the plant she felt resistance on the plant going down however there was tension releasing in the stem when the flower was pushed down. The flower part really was floating not just imitating it. Adrian wondered how high the flower would float if cut from its stem. Grabbing a knife out of her bag she separated the flowers until she had one in her hand. She cut the flower from its stem and let it go. The flower floated up about 3 feet rising to hover there. The flower being pushed and pulled by the wind. Adrian thought that this must be how the seeds traveled to new sights to grow. It would be magical to see them freely floating through the air until they settled down.
Done with her observations she spent the next hour using watercolor to paint in the colors of the sketch. The time passed quickly and freely without any worries the only thing in her mind being the plant in front of her. However soon she could see the sun was now falling instead of rising and it was getting to the time when she should head back home. First, she wanted to see if she could harvest one of the plants.
Adrian thought back on all the Mrs. Carthy taught her about plants and repotting and harvesting. First things first if the soil is too dry wet it so that it becomes firmer and stickier. Then isolate the plant that you want to harvest. Finally in a wide circle around the plant dig it out trying to get as much of the roots as possible. Gathering the plant, she carefully placed it into the re-sized plant holder. She then shrunk the plant holder to its travel size and put in her bag hoping the plant would still be alive by the time she got it to Mrs.Carthy’s.
Packing up the rest of her things she walked back over to Flare who was still happily eating the grass and plants around her. “Had a fun good time” Adrian asked. “Let’s get you geared back up and then we are gonna be off”. Adrian quickly took down the rope, readjusted the saddle and hopped up onto Flare. Continuing west along the riverbank Adrian knew they would eventually hit a bridge and the main road that continued into the town. It took two hours to arrive in front of Mrs. Carthy’s apothecary store. Along the way into town Adrian waved at the farmers working the fields and cattle ranchers moving their cattle. She also raced along with some children who were trying to race Flare. It was a good town with good people, it was a good place, a good life, was it bad that she wanted more.
Hoping off Flare Adrian tied her to the fence post and gave her a carrot before heading into the store. The store bell rung through the store as Adrian opened the door and stepped inside. The apothecary was always a bit of a chaotic mess, but it felt right for Mrs. Carthy’s personality. “Afternoon dear” Mrs. Carthy called out coming from the backdoor that lead out to the greenhouse.
“Afternoon, I see that you were handling the royal blots again” Adrian said dryly, unamused, “I thought I told you to tell me when you were going to handle them or have your grandson help” Adrian walked behind the counter to take a look at Mrs. Carthy’s hands which had small burns on them “Are you at least using the thick hide gloves I got you to help stop the shocks”
“You know that I can’t felt the lighting flowing through them as well with those gloves” Mrs. Carthy answer as Adrian tended to her wounds, “The flow of lighting...”
“Yes, I know the flow of lighting indicates healthy plants from sick plants” Adrian chuckled, “I swear one day these plants may be the death of you.”
Footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs. “Adrian, perfect timing” Cole Carthy, Mrs Carthy’s grandson stated clapping his hands together, “Maybe you can persuade my grandmother to let me help her with the more... lively plants”
“You two need to stop ganging up on me, I’m a fragile women you know” Mrs. Carthy said with a smile
“Fragile women my ass I still remember the massive bon fire you set in the winter” Adrian replied.
“Fine, so what brings you here Adrian” Mrs. Carthy asked.
With Adrian finished on tending to Mrs. Carthy’s wound she grabbed the plant holder from her bag. She set it on the countertop and pressed the re-size button. The holder grew larger and when the growing was done Adrian was delighted to see that the floating sea was still alive inside. “I had the day off from the farm and went to see the patch of floating sea you told me about” Adrian said excitedly, “And look I was actually able to harvest a plant, I thought you would like to have it since I know you don’t have the plant in your greenhouse yet”
“I see that all my lessons have paid off” Mrs. Carthy said with a big grin, “This really is an amazing specimen Adrian and will be so helpful in treating the burns from the blacksmith and farrier”
“And treating your burns” Cole said quietly, Adrian grinned at him and Mrs. Carthy swatted both of them with the back of her hand.
“Come on then bring it to the back and we can transfer it to its new home” Mrs. Carthy said walking through the back door to the green house. “I think in the back there with Elder root away from the Royal Blots will be the best.” She called out wandering off to get a pot from the storage closet.
Adrian loved coming into the greenhouse. It was full and alive, all the plants interacting with each other, whether it is the lighting storm that can be created by the Royal Blots or the Blaze vines trying to snake on to other plants and set them on fire. There were also much more docile plants like Diamond Root and Frosted Canes. However, Mrs. Carthy did have a hobby of collecting the more dangerous plants even in her old age. Mrs. Carthy arrived in the back with the new pot and Cole went to grab a bag of soil. Adrian let Mrs. Carthy re-home the plant as she had a much better green thumb then Adrian. Finally, Cole topped it up with soil and gave the plant a good water. It would have a good home in the greenhouse and once more plants are cultivated they would be extremely helpful for the town.
“So, a lady came by today, said her name was Lady Elysian” Mrs. Carthy said, “She asked about you.”
“Oh...” Adrian said surprised, she did not know why Lady Elysian had sought out Mrs. Carthy or even knew to talk to her. “I’m sorry if she bothered you”
“Oh, she did nothing like that, just wanted to know more about you” Mrs. Carthy said, “I told her that you were a realist and that unless you get a push you may never see those dreams in your head become reality” She finished with a sad tone. Adrian did not know how to respond, everything Mrs. Carthy said was true, but also, she was scared. Dreams are safe when you do not try to fulfill them, they hurt a lot more when you try and fail Adrian thought. “I’m sorry I’m going on aren’t I dear” Mrs. Carthy said. “You should be getting home now” she said pushing Adrian out of the store.
“You sure?” Adrian asked, Mrs. Carthy was always one to keep talking it was not like her worry about keeping someone.
“Yes, yes, now give me a hug” Mrs. Carthy stated, and Adrian obliged, “Don’t be scared to make those dreams real ok” She whispered in Adrian’s ear and patted her on the back before letting her go. “Off you go”
Adrain unhooked Flare from the fence post and hopped up on her ready to head home. “Bye” Adrian said before riding off home. She wondered what Mrs. Carthy was up to and what Lady Elysian had to do with it. I will not know until I am home so I should not worry about it until I am there Adrian thought. It took 45 minutes to get home and along the way Adrian waved to her neighbors along the way. She dismounted from Flare when she got to the entrance to the stables noticing that the horses were already in. She looked to the clock on the wall and realized that her mom had brought them in a little earlier today. Quickly untacking Flare, she put away her riding gear and gave Flare a brush down and pat and her final carrot. Adrian then brought Flare to her stall and gave her dinner. The other horses all neighed at her to say hello after not seeing her all day wondering what she had been doing. Adrian then went and grabbed two biscuits of hay for Flare that would keep her good on food for the night. Finally, Adrian checked her water bucket and refilled it with fresh water. With a final pat on the neck for a good day’s work Adrian headed home.
The sun was just setting below the horizon as Adrian walked towards the back door of her home. She could see the lanterns lit and saw shadows moving in the kitchen and living room. Dad must be back from the store already and Kate from the builders in town already, Adrian thought. “I’m home” Adrian called out as she came through the back door to the smell of her mom’s famous stew in the air. Adrian realized that she was wrong, it was not just Dad, Kate and mom who were home, but Lady Elysian was there as well. They were all sitting around the table a piece of paper between them. “What...” Adrian started.
“Hey, now before you start because I know you and right now your brain is going a million miles an hour but just listen to us, please” Isabell asked her eyes asking for Adrian to trust her and be patient.
“I... Um... Ok” Adrian said softly sitting down at the table.
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