The Winter Witch

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~Chapter Twelve~ Heading Out

It would take them two days to prepare for what they needed in total. At least that’s what William believed, as he said he intended to remain at Enya’s home making a copy of the map that was in his book, noting several places that could be a good place for rest when things were to get dark.

Leaving Enya, Richard, Roux and Tula head into Bergdorf to gather supplies for what she would need.

“Are you going to be telling the people you know, where you’ll be going?” Richard asked, as Tula sat on his shoulder. “It would probably be the wisest choice, though many would tell you not to go, you should at least be honest with them. It’s something my father always told me before I came here a few months ago.”

“Is that why you were honest with the Mayor?” when he nodded Enya asked. “Why did you come here Richard?”

For a moment he was quite as they walked through the snow. “My father wants me to be protected, so he believed staying here with my uncle would be best since he’s closest to my father then the rest of my family, they don’t much care for me.”

“It sounds complicated.”

“It is,” Richard agreed before they reached the main hub of the village. “So, who do you want to talk to first?”

Enya thought about it for a moment. “Well, there’s Erich, he knew my Mother really well, he might be the best to talk to first.”

“Doctor Fortner?” Richard repeated. “Your mother knew the village’s doctor that well?”

Roux surprised a laugh and spoke lowly so no one else could hear him but the children. “She didn’t just know the man, they worked together, Enya’ mother is also a doctor. Probably the most skilled out of anyone in the practice in the whole village.”

“Is that so? Your mother truly sounds like a wonderful woman Enya.”

“Yes,” she said softly. “I know she is.”

As if noticing this Richard then added. “So, who else do you need to speak with?”

“There’s Emily, she and her husband run a bakery and often have a stall open in the marketplace. There are probably a few others there I can talk too as well when it comes to gathering supplies. But let’s go speak to Doctor Fortner first.”

“Why him first?”

Enya began walking in the direction of where the hospital was located. “He won’t go overboard in his questions because of my age.”

“Oh?” he said as he kept to her side. “And how do you know that?”

“Because much like my Mother, when I left school I would often help her and Doctor Fortner, not with any of the major patients, mind you, but I know enough of medicine to take care of myself if something were to go wrong. Not to mention he get’s right to the point and won’t dumb things down.”

“Do most adults?” he asked. “Dumbing things down, I mean.”

“You’d be surprised at just how much.” Enya then gave him a questioning look. “So, where you’re from they adults don’t talk in such a way to kids?”

“Well, no, not in this sense. Mostly they try to aggravate me because of who my father is, they know it would be a horrible idea to treat me younger then I am. But it won’t stop them from belittling, as I’m sure you’ve seen with my aunt’s nephews.”

“They do more then that, but speaking of family, I wasn’t aware that you were related to the Mayor.”

“You aren’t the first, though I’m sure my uncle appreciates it from my father. There have been a lot happening with the recent events like this snow, and the Grau-Böse …”

“Your father sounds like a very important person.”

Richard grasped his other hand which was gloved tightly. “He is, though I would be grateful if you didn’t really mention that around, not even my aunt’s nephews know anything and I’d rather keep it that way.” He then pulled the door to the hospital for her. “After you.”

Enya smiled. “Thank you, Richard.” After going inside the boy paused when the fox continued to stare at him.

“What is it?” Richard asked as the fox continued to stare with a blank look.

“Nothing,” he said softly. “I just find it rather interesting that a boy of your calibre is willing to go so far for a girl you practically just met. With William I understand, they’ve known each other for years but you seem all the more okay with helping her then leaving things alone.” He then strolled past the boy and entered the hospital. “It must be nice to be in love.”

Richard’s face turned slightly red before he shook his head and quickly entered the hospital, Enya continued to remain in the foyer glancing around with a faint frown. “Something wrong Enya?”

“No, it’s just that there seems to be more people here before, the last time I was here was bad but this… feels worse then before.”

But before Richard could comment Doctor Erich Fortner called out. “Enya, what are you doing here today? It hasn’t been that long since you came with your mother’s herbs so why…” he trailed off when noticing Richard. “Oh, you’re the Mayor’s nephew, is there something you need? Or did your aunt come to complain again about my so-called lackluster performance as a doctor once again?”

He shook his head. “No sir, I’m merely accompanying Enya is all.”

The Doctor looked to Enya with a slight concerned frown. “Have you become ill as well Enya, is there any fever or you feel you cannot keep food down?”

“No,” she said with a shake of her head. “Actually, Doctor Fortner, there’s something I need to tell you about in your office if you have time.”

The man merely looked at her in silence before motioning her over to follow him to his office, something of which Enya and Richard did, with Roux trailing behind this time. When reaching his office Enya went and explained to the man what possibly could have happened to her mother and why she might not have heard from her in so long. While also avoiding talk about the Winter Witch and the connection of the Schnee family out of it for safety reasons. Many people were wary of those of magic, feared even, and though she greatly trusted Doctor Fortner she still wanted to be cautious in who to tell.

“Kidnapped?” Erich said after allowing the information to sink in. “Well, your mother had always been the type to get a letter to you whenever she was at another town or another village. But going out on your own is not wise, you should speak to the Mayor about taking someone experienced with you.”

“That won’t happen,” Richard suddenly explained drawing the Doctor’s attention. “With the recent attacks from the Grau-Böse, many of those men have been deployed to guard the surrounding area of the village, to keep watch if any of them come close. And with people becoming ill, they, much like your hospital, have become short on people. And my uncle is adamant in keeping this place safe. Though he knows Enya’s mother he would not be able to do much. On top of which if they cannot fight or have magic they would not last out there.”

“Then how dose Enya intend to survive out there?”

“Because I will help!” Tula said suddenly, immerging from Richard’s collar shirt. Landing in front of the good doctor, and to both children’s surprise, they saw the Doctor’s line of sight follow the tiny flower fairy to where she landed on his desk. “I have magic that will be proven useful to her and keep her safe too!”

Doctor Fortner could only stare in muted silence before laughing softly to himself with his head lowered before throwing his head back and laughing even harder, causing the children to give a look of concern as he looked down to the small creature. “Now it makes sense why you would come to ask me such a question in regards to medical treatment for that of the Sidhe, no wonder…”

“You, you can see her?” Enya said with slight surprise as the Doctor nodded.

“I’ve seen them for what feels like my whole life, ever since I was a kid. I know that this village puts a large emphasis on staying away from those of the Sidhe, but I know not all of them are horrible or tricksters either. In fact, when I was a boy, I was friends with one whom I’d call Mari. Short for Marigold since that’s the flower it reminded me of.”

“Actually, her name is Meri, not Mari.” Tula said suddenly. “Though in past many years our Queen has restricted contact with those who are human. But when I spoke with her a few times she always mentions a boy she liked.”

Erich gave a warm smile. “So, she’s still around, that’s good to hear, though I doubt she’d even recognize me now. So, Miss…”

“Tula!” she cheered happily.

“Tula, you intend to help Enya in finding her mother, may I ask why?”

The Sidhe gave a rather sheepish smile. “Because I feel as though I owe her far more, she and the two boys helped me when I was in great need, and finding her mother and reuniting with her feels as though it is the best way in what I can offer to her as thanks.”

He then looked to Enya who was now looking at some medications. “I can understand, the girl has been through much. If her mother is out there, then I hope she can find her. But I wish, that the adults, myself or another, could help her.”

“She won’t be alone. I was given the task to remain with and protect her against the Grau, with my powers associated with Spring, I have things that can thwart the creatures in keeping far away from us.” She smiled to the man, a smile that looked much more mature in comparison to how young she seemed to be. Then flew off to join Enya and spoke with Richard.

After Enya had collected everything she needed two days later in the early morning. Where the sun just began to rise in the sky. But even before she was able to reach the boarder of the village she was greeted from those from the market, Emily and her husband as well as Doctor Fortner. Though she did not really expect it she found comforting.

There were those who asked if she really had to go, part of her was scared, greatly so, with a great unknown out in the world. But with so much time having gone by, she needed to find out what happened to her mother. And to at least try to reason with the Winter Witch, if it were at all possible.

Both Richard and William walked with her, there plan was to part ways at the border of the village’s entrance, where all three children were suddenly greeted by the Mayor of Bergdorf waiting with that of a regular sized horse. It’s coat a mix of white and dark brown as it was prepared for the winter storms ahead.

“Uncle,” Richard exclaimed as they reached the man. “What are you doing here?”

“You honestly think I wouldn’t at least give my well wishes to one of our own?” he proclaims with a smile. His hair a light shade of grey that was left loose from the cold winter winds, as a mustache almost completely hid his mouth from view.

“Well no but…”

“Why are you here?” Will interrupted with a rather demanding tone. “If you just wanted to say goodbye you could have done that with everyone else back in the village.”

“True enough, but you see young William, not everything has to be done a certain way.” He then walked up to Enya before kneeling down to her level and when he took her hands he placed a pouch of coin in both of them. The weight of the bag astounded her, for the mere fact that it could easily outweigh her own. “I know you will be resourceful, but it is still best to air on the side of caution with the Grau-Böse still roaming about. And people as well.” He then stood and before the children could say anything else the man handed Enya the reins to the horse. “That is why it is also best to be on horseback rather then on foot.”

For one solid minute, neither Enya nor the two boys could say anything in response.

Then Richard broke the silence. “Uncle, you never… you never mentioned about getting her a horse. The money is one thing, but a horse?”

“Wait a second you knew he’d be here?” William interjected.

“Well not completely, I honestly thought he’d say his goodbyes with the townsfolk not going this far.”

“Why?” Enya asked looking to the Mayor. “Why do all this? It can’t just be because you know of my mother and her work.”

“That’s true, I’m not really doing this because of that. But I feel an obligation to help no matter what the reason. Including the horse.”

“But why?”

The look on his face changed to that of a solemn smile, as though recalling a memory from the distant past. “In my younger years I knew Arthur, he was always a brave and determined sort. Willing to put anything aside to help others no matter the reason. When your mother arrived in this village with an elven man cloaked in black Arthur was the first to approach her with prejudice or fear. And when you were born Enya, I felt that you would be just like them. and you’ve proven me right, you’ve made your resolve in finding your mother, and I truly doubt there is nothing that will change your mind about it. Am I wrong?”

Enya slowly shook her head.

“You see? Now with the horse he has a good temperament, doesn’t get spooked easy. And with him, you should be able to get to See-Stadt within two days rather then three depending on the paths.”

“But has she ever ridden a horse…” Richard’s words trialed off when he saw Enya mount the horse with ease. “Never mind.”

Enya merely sat in the saddle for a moment, merely to get a feel for it as well as give the horse a good pat of it’s muscular neck before getting off. “My father taught me along with my mother. Both saying it could come in use to me some day. Never thought it would be today.” She then looked to the Mayor and bowed her head. “Thank you so much, I honestly don’t know how I could possibly repay you for this.” She paused when the man simply extended a hand to her and with a look of confusion raised her head to him.

“Come home.” He said to her. “That is all I ask, whether you find your mother or not. Just come back home to us.”

She graciously took his hand, noting the rather strong grip he had for a man of his build. “I’ll do the best I can.” She then looked to William and Richard and was about to say something only to have that cut short when William closed the distance and hugged her tightly.

“Be safe out there, you hear me? You disappear too and I’ll come after you so you know.”

She laughed but understood the meaning behind his words. “I won’t disappear, I promise the moment I’m in See-Stadt I’ll send word.”

William nodded as he let go of her. “Okay, I’m counting on it.”

Richard stood at a bit of a distance, rather unsure of what to say in response, his dark blue eyes glancing around as if hoping to catch something to hold his stare. “I…” he began. “I know we haven’t known each other all that long but I really do hope that…” he stopped short when Enya wrapped her arms around his shoulders and drew him into a tight hug.

“I’ll be back soon, or at least… try to be.”

The blond boy hesitated before wrapping his arms around her in turn. He was slightly taller then her by a head but feeling the strength in her grip made Richard feel infinitely small. “Be safe out there.” He spoke in a soft voice.

She gripped his shoulders tightly for a moment, for those were the last words she had said to her mother before leaving. Before the snow and the Grau arrived causing so much havoc. When she finally pulled away she gave both boys a smile filled with bright and cheery, even if it were to simply mask her own doubts and worries.

After giver final goodbyes Enya sat atop the horse and with a heavy breath she glanced to Roux before flicking the reins to get the horse to move forwards. And with one last final glance to the boys and the village she called home, she turned ahead hoping to gain some answers that may be finally answered.

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