Everyone avoided her, not making eye contact and surely not engaging in any conversation with her. Her crimson red hair flowed softly through the wind as she pushed it back looking at what the stalls had to offer. She felt the piercing gaze of the onlookers but paid no heed to them as she was only there for ingredients, some for food others for her potions. Pale cerulean blue eyes scanned the stalls one by one, the silence unbearable you could hear a coin drop if you listened hard enough. She stopped, the wind stopping with her as she looked at the purest of red apples, a smile graced her delicate face as she slowly made eye contact with the trembling merchant. She opened her mouth slowly.
“May I have three of these apples sir?” Her calm voice echoed in his mind as he processed what the young crimson-haired lady pointing at the apples. Ever so slowly he outstretched his hand to take her fefa gulping as he uttered out the price.
“F-fifty fefa ma’am.” She dug into her pouch pulling out the money and slowly, without touching his hand, dropped the money into his palm, making sure not a stray coin fell and just as quickly took the three apples and was on her way to the next stall. Whether the people liked it or not she was their best customer willing to pay their outrageous charges without making a fuss, as many had heard the crimson-haired women did. She was more docile than the rest but still as fiery as one could expect. At any moment they feared she would lash out and slaughter all of them because she was a powerful witch but why then did the townspeople act in such a high manner to the one the king regarded as his right hand? She swore an oath to the king, is what the townspeople heard, that so long as her domain be untouched by the filthy hands of other’s she would never lay harm to the people. Yes, to this day there have been none who have successfully found her domain even if they tried.
She approached the last stall, her favorite of them all. The herbs and spices were always a tremendous help to her when making healing potions or sleeping potions. This stall vendor was the only one who treated her like she was a normal person.
“Lia you’ve finally made it to my stall! I was beginning to think you’d forgotten about me!” The old man joked smiling wholeheartedly at her.
“Come now Ressie how could I ever forget such an outspoken man such as yourself?” The two had a lighthearted conversation as the other merchants hurriedly closed their shops for the evening, Ressie smacked his lips in annoyance.
“They should be happy the young lass is considerate enough to come when everyone else has done their shopping for the day!” He huffed looking in their direction. “Look at them! Running with their tails between their britches! If it wasn’t for the young lass we’d all be dying!” He yelled as the rest hurried home for the eve.
“Come now Ressie it won’t do if they ban me from their stalls.” She said picking out the herbs, the client this time wanted a sleeping concoction she could give to her husband to allow her and her three kids enough time to escape before he woke the next morning.
“Who are you working for this time, Lia?”
“A woman. Her situation is dire and so I need to make this potion as soon as I head back to my cottage.” She explained finally picking the last herb. “How much for these?” The stall was almost bare, no one needed his herbs as another stall had the finest ones. She made a point to always pass the stall as she was Ressie’s one and only loyal customer and she didn’t want to betray his trust.
“For you my dear customer it will be fifteen fefa and don’t try to overpay again! I’m still on last month’s payment!” She smiled, dutifully paying the fifteen, she waved goodbye to Ressie, whispering a small protection spell and began to walk back towards the forest, however she was stopped by a hand grabbing onto her arm. She turned around her pale cerulean’s locking on to a tall lean man whose cold sapphire eyes stared back at her. The silence between the two was anything but calming. She wanted to speak however, it looked as if the mysterious man was going to speak as well. Finally, after a long silence, she opened her mouth. “May I help you?” He did not respond, he only stared into her eyes as if to see a flicker of fear or anger but yet all he saw was confusion. Confusion as to why he stopped her, she had an important task she needed completed tonight. After all her client was waiting faithfully at her home. As if reading her mind he began to speak.
“Who are you.” His commanding voice was not asking a question rather, he was commanding her to tell him who she was. She stifled a laugh as she gleefully looked into his eyes a small smile gracing her face.
“I am Lia, a humble witch who needs to be on her way back to her home.” She spoke shaking her arm out of his grasp.
“Do you always come here at this time?”
“Are you aware there have been multiple vampire killings happening around this time?”
“No, I was not aware.”
“Do you usually come when it is almost dark out?”
“I always come a little earlier to buy food and herbs and by this time I am making my way to my cottage in the forest. If you are accusing me of any wrongdoing without any proof I can and will tell his majesty the king and report this as slander.” Hearing the mention of the king he backed away just a little, it was enough of an indication for Cordelia to assume the conversation was over. “My good sir if there is nothing else you need from me please allow me to return to my home.” Cordelia turned around and began walking into the forest at a steady pace heaving a sigh as she carried her bag full of ingredients.
“Follow her Seven and if she does anything suspicious report back to me. Six I want all the information you can gather on this ‘Cordelia’.” The two men shadowing the man nodded as Seven went to follow her.
Cordelia could hear his movements, not too fast but yet not slow. It was only natural he would not know she could hear him as this forest is her home. It had been her home ever since she was seven. She had become one with the forest as it welcomed her with kind open arms, she was beloved by the fairies inhabiting the forest as well as the fairy queen, Estrella. It was Estrella and the will of the forest fairies that kept Cordelia’s cottage safe from harm, of course, she wanted nothing more than to make the domain herself but reluctantly had agreed to the fairies making the barrier. Once they were past the velvet tree she would disappear into thin air and the person trespassing would walk around in a circle until they gave up, Cordelia stopped as soon as she entered her domain and looked back seeing the man who was following her.