~Chapter One~ The Hard Working Girl
Years ago when Enya was little, her mother would always tell her stories of beings that could control the elements and by extension the seasons themselves. Those who could were seen as the most powerful, the bravest at what they did when defending the people from monsters, revered by kingdoms and those of mystical nature like the Sidhe or Elven-folk.
But there were those who would misunderstand and lash out while in anger wishing for those who had such power to no longer exist while others craved it for themselves and would do anything to claim it, even if it meant hurting people to do it.
So people with those powers would hide, no longer known by man, only now seen as a myth, Enya wondered time and time again why her mother would often tell those stories. Yet whenever she would try the topic would change or a person from the nearby village would come asking for assistance with something.
Such was life, yet as Enya lay in her bed, that was covered in thick warm furs with the wind howling outside her window, rattling the frame as the snow wisped past in an endless dance to the snow covered ground below, she kept thinking of those who could control such things. Silently wondering if they had the power to control the elements of the world, why not control it to their advantage? Though with everything there would always be some form of cost that much Enya knew.
Her storm grey eyes continued to look up at her window, it was early morning but everything was still dark outside. Rolling on her side Enya’s small body curled up in the furs as she buried underneath the covers of her bed to stay warm. Even now she could still smell the scent of her mother. She opened her eyes when she felt something tug on the blankets of her bed, poking her head out she looked to see a red fox was behind the action.
“Roux stop it; you’ll tare the blanket and furs if you keep that up.” Enya told the fox before sitting up in her bed only to shiver from the coldness of the room as her warm breath left a puff of warm air whenever she breathed as she then wrapped the warm furs around herself before looking to the unlit candle that stood on her bedside table, grabbing a match box that was near and lit it so she would be able to maneuver around the blackness that was her home.
The fox named Roux ran around in circles before stopping and began barking at her, he did this as his way of telling her to get up out of bed, and he would continue to do so until she was up and moving.
With the furs still wrapped around her body, Enya took the candle and slowly slid off the end of her bed, her toe almost testing how cold it would be for her bare feet to touch the ground.
“Oh it’s cold…” Enya said softly to herself as her foot touched the floor. “Very, very cold.” She pulled the furs off of her bed and kept them around her body so that the rest of her wouldn’t freeze. Though in that moment she looked like a fur-blob monster, shuffling her way to the fireplace of her room that had gone out in the dead of night.
With it being very cold as it was, it made sense that the fire would not last the night but thanks to the furs Enya was able to sleep soundly. Going on her knees Enya looked into her small fireplace, the faint glow of embers could still be seen in the whiteness of ash.
Using the candle she burned some straw and placed it in the low glow of the embers of the fire before she took two small logs into the hearth, and before long the fire began to grow licking the wood hungrily as the heat began to warm the room. Her stomach began to rumble as the fox yipped again and headed into the main area of the house.
Bundling herself up in the furs once more Enya shuffled her way into the main room of the house following after the quick red fox.
Her home was a cabin, with four rooms in total, the large main room which consisted of the front entrance of the house, the kitchen, dinner table, and a big lounge chair, it was so large that Enya, her mother and father could all sit in it together and there was still some room and beside it was a big bookshelf filled with books. Then there was her room, her parents’ room at the far end and the bathroom. The house was dark and Enya knew that before she could even start to eat she needed to warm up the house first.
Shuffling along Enya lit the fireplace for the main room; Roux came over and curled up into a ball next to the fireplace when it got going. Enya then did the same for the kitchen stove before moving into her parents’ room. She stopped and stared looking at the emptiness of her parents’ room, even though it was so empty Enya couldn’t help but feel as if her parents would just suddenly appear but that wasn’t the case, at least when it came to her father.
Standing there in the doorway it took her a moment to enter the room, even though they weren’t here now she couldn’t help but feel like she was intruding in on their space. Entering the room she made the last fire in the fireplace, she learned that it was more comfortable to return to the house after it had been warmed through. She didn’t mind if it meant more work to clean out the ashes later, better to come to a warmed house then a freezing cold one.
Once that was done Enya headed back to the kitchen and made her and Roux breakfast of fried eggs and bacon, some would complain that you shouldn’t give a fox human food but Enya saw no issue since Roux would often hunt wild chickens or turkeys and bring them back home. She sipped a warm mug of broth that she had purchased from the market as she ate her food and looked to the outside seeing that the cold winds had subsided. With the cold weather so far she had been able to make it her food last but she would have to head out today to get more supplies after collecting the eggs and herbs and sell them at the market.
Day in, day out, the same thing every morning, that’s what it had devolved into since the snow began, it wasn’t much to complain about. It could have been worse, and by now she was more then used to her morning routine
After they finished eating Enya cleaned up and then headed back to her room to quickly get dressed in a black turtleneck, a cotton wool white blouse over top, thick black stockings and a long layered deep forest green skirt and her dark brown boots.
Her dark orange-red hair she took and made into a low ponytail that rested over her right shoulder. She then put the furs and her nightgown back on to her bed before leaving her room but then stopped and ran back the bedside table to blow out the wick from her candle. Heading to the main entrance of the house she saw that Roux was patiently waiting for her, sitting properly by the door with his thick red tail swishing slowly as he watched her with golden eyes.
The fox merely made a sound at her when she approached.
“I know, it’s cold, I remember Roux.” She told the fox as she then took her dark brown furred vest that was hung up on the wall by the door and put it on, then with a heavy winter coat that had black fur stitched into the inner lining, hood and cuffs for extra warmth.
Followed with the off black cowl that was made of soft wool and had three cream coloured buttons to do it up, Enya liked this more than that of a regular scarf, with this there was no worry of it getting caught on something or snagged in tree branches. It was something that was made by her mother and Enya treasured it deeply.
She then grabbed her bright crimson red knit gloves that also could turn into mittens, a wonderful invention made by one of the seamstresses when the snowfall began, the lady who ran the place was more than kind to trade for some medical herbs. Then finally her white and black knit hat, some children her age wouldn’t bother with it, saw it as annoying to wear such a thing but she would rather be warm than anything else.
“Ta-da!” she said spinning to the fox with a happy smile. “How do I look?”
The fox merely snorted in response and for a moment Enya thought that he might have looked less than impressed. Then again she had been doing that type of reaction for the past several days; it was bound to get old for any kind of creature.
“Right, sorry. Let’s head out.” she grasped on the door and tugged it to open only to frown when the door showed no signs of budging. Enya frowned and pulled harder but it still wouldn’t move. “Oh no, don’t tell me it happened again.” she said to herself before looking back to the fox. “Looks like we’ll have to do what we did before.” She then grabbed two empty whicker baskets that were left by the entrance of the door along with a large metal bucket, and with the fox she headed to her parent’s room where the back door of the house resided. Opening the door only a faint breeze of cold air came in with some snowflakes. “Good, looks like the wind subsided today.”
The fox then scampered quickly out the door and began to bound in the snow almost playfully as Enya placed the wicker baskets by the door and carried the bucket over to the nearby well, her footsteps leaving large imprints in the snow as it crunched underfoot. The early morning hair was crisp and chilled, the cold air feeling sharp when she inhaled as faint signs of sunlight began to show, making everything look like a pale blue of a robin’s egg. Reaching the well she began to pump the water into the bucket, taking slow heavy lifts and plunges to get the water to leave the well. Enya quickly took it back to the house only to stop and call out at Roux.
“Roux! Don’t scare the chickens, you know you can’t eat them!” she said when she saw him almost pacing at the caged chicken coop. The fox then lay on his belly, merely sniffing the cage in response.
Enya quickly went into the house, and placed the bucket of water atop the stove and heated it once more. The slow burn would give her more than enough time to collect the eggs and herbs before the water boiled over. She had done it enough times by now she had become a pro. At least she thought so.
Heading back outside Enya grabbed the largest wicker basket and headed to the fenced chicken coop, making sure she shooed the fox away she fed the chickens and began to collect the eggs. Even in the cold weather there seemed plenty of eggs as long as the chickens were well-fed and happy. After she finished with that Enya placed the basket of eggs inside the house then took the smaller one and ran through the snow to a spot further away from her home. This time the fox followed her, trotting after her in the snow as she made her way to a small clearing where herbs were thriving strongly.
These were snow resistant herbs, ones that could be used for medicine and were often sought after but hard to grow but when they did they could thrive in any kind of weather condition. These herbs were originally cultivated by her mother; many people in the nearby village seemed to be extremely grateful for that, what’s more her mother had doubled as a doctor for those who were sick and needed treatment. But with these past few months that was sadly no longer the case.
Still, Enya knew the correct herb to pick, how to prepare and use it since she would often help her mother in process of boiling it or drying it, to be crushed into a fine powder or smashed into a paste. Skills like this and more that were given if Enya were to ever end up alone. Her vison began to blur when she paused recalling such memories, she rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, now was not the time for feeling sorry for herself.
She still had work to finish.
When she was done, Enya went back to the house and quickly took both baskets and placed them by the front door then rushing over with a thick cloth and grabbing the handle of the bucket were the water was boiling. It was so hot that she could feel the heat emanating from it at a good distance, close up it made her want not to be near it at all. Taking the bucket she quickly left the house and closed and locked the back door before running with the bucket to the front where the front door in particular had been frozen with ice from last night’s storm.
With all of her strength Enya threw the bucket of hot water onto the iced door, the water was doing its job instantly as steam began to rise from the wood; Enya took advantage of this with a small shovel and began to scrape off the ice vigorously.
Once it was done she inspected her job and then grasped the door handle and pushed it to open, and it did so with ease.
A smile broke across her face at the job she had done before placing the now cool bucket back inside and grabbing the two baskets and money pouch that she put around her neck then locked the front door.
“Let’s go Roux.”
The fox yipped then followed after the girl as they walked down a path through the snow and trees. The sky had now cleared showing a crisp blue, but with how many clouds there were Enya knew it wouldn’t last, it never did.
The snow could continue to fall, for how long no one would know. Enya stared up at the sky as the wind faintly blew sending flakes of snow into the sky. How wonderful it would be if she could grow wings and fly through that endless sky.
But was something she knew would never happen, human beings were not meant to have wings to fly. She recalled an old story that her mother told of a man who crafted wings out of wax and flew high into the sky. But the god of the sky did not favor this and blew a gust of wind sending the man to fly too close to the sun which ultimately melted the wax and the man plummeted to the earth.
It was a grim story but Enya could understand the meaning, what good you had you should not flaunt even though it may attract people around it could hold horrible intent.
Though Enya wasn’t sure what she was good at, she knew how to bake bread and pick the right herbs and tend to fires in the home. But everyone to anyone could do that.
She did have a fox for a friend that was pretty special.
But other than that she was stumped.
The two had walked a fair distance, with the heavy snow Enya had to be sure not to tire herself out too quickly, on reaching the end of the hill the girl looked to the village below. Even with the constant fall of snow the villagers there seemed to make due, they were a hardy folk and would do what they could to push through a harsh unforgiving winter.
That is if it was a normal winter, this one in particular was far from it.
But that was something Enya didn’t really care about at the moment; she merely wanted to finish with this first before thinking of anything else.
“Come on Roux, let’s go. There’s work to be done”
The fox’s tail swished in response and the two headed down to the village.