The falling dust mesmerized Teelee as she watched wide-eyed. It was her favorite part of helping Master Shotra. She was not to call him the Twig any longer as they traveled together.
Settled against the wet canvas, her eyes ran along the dust-covered surface, reading the words written. No, they were not written like one would see on a sign or a piece of parchment. These words were different, though she did not think she could describe it to anyone if they asked.
“What do you see?” Master Shotra asked. They had stopped off the side of the road along the countryside, heading for a place called Duggin’s Hill, which Teelee had read on a previous canvas.
The day was bright and warm but Teelee kept one eye on the gray clouds in the distance. She did not like rain. That would mean coldness and it would also mean she would be soaked through. Her brother had punished her by making her sit underneath the leak in the roof after she “stole” his place with Master Shotra. She told him it was an accident but Dag did not care.
“Girl,” Master Shotra said, poking her in the ribs. He pointed at the canvas. “Pay attention. You’ll not be returned home until we’ve completed our task. Now,” he pointed at the canvas again, “read.”
Teelee could not help looking at the clouds again before turning to the canvas. “Delya.”
Master Shotra stiffened and winced. “And?”
She let her eyes roam over the canvas until she found another word. “Glassene.”
“Hallowed harbor me,” Master Shotra slumped, dropping to a sitting position on the dusty ground. “Of all the… You’re certain?” She nodded and he spoke on, saying things she did not understand. “Of course it would be. Always the loyal hound to the Holds… This is just punishment. Penance for my errors.”
Teelee ignored him, uninterested in the canvas now that she finished her job. She moved to the mule that pulled their wagon. Master Shotra said it had no name so she had decided on one for him on their first day together.
“Hello, Apple.” The animal’s love for the fruit was indeed the leading factor for the name. “I hate rain. I hope we stay dry for the rest of the day. Today’s my birthday but I don’t think Master Shotra knows that. Mother would have given me honey this morning…”
Master Shotra was pacing now, still talking to himself, oblivious to the world. Teelee leaned in close to Apple’s ear, “Don’t tell him but I saw something more this time in the dust. It scared me, Apple… I don’t want Master Shotra to die.”