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Cross posted from Madrona Project

Title: The tale of the Spice Merchants and the Elf, chapter 15
Author: kira and Kat
Word Count: 1259
World: Roseburg, a town north of the capital city of Madrona
Main Characters: Fierce like Panther/Lola and Black Dog/Eric, all Elves; and Sitara, a Spicelander.
Borrow: No
Summary: Black Dog and Sitara talk in the Barn; Fierce like Panther later joins them…
Author’s notes: In Madrona they are a few groups of people who are named after legendary as well as mythological people. Elves are such people. Elves live in the northwest part of Madrona; they live off the land like Native Americans and other indigenous people. They’re thought to be the descendants of hippies and other free spirits.

Special thanks to Kat for letting me borrow the Elves and helping me with this. Special thanks also to Kat for looking it over.

“Eric?” Sitara called out as she hurried towards the barn. She had wondered where he had wandered off to and was relieved to find him hanging around outside the barn.

Black Dog stood against it, smoking. He had picked a corner that caught the weak rays of the morning sun and was relatively sheltered from the cold. “Hmmm?” He looked over in her direction.

“You must be cold, come inside the barn,” Sitara said. She opened the door for him. “You can smoke in there as long as you’re careful.”

Black Dog hesitated, a little torn because he was told to stay away from her, but the warmth emanating from the barn was very inviting. “Sure,” he finally said, the warmth winning out. He went inside with her.

“I need to tend to the animals.” Sitara took a pail and filled it with feed for the goats and the horses. When she was finished with them, she fed the chickens that roamed around inside the barn.

Black Dog nodded. He watched her bustling about from his designated smoking spot with mild interest

Finding some freshly laid eggs, Sitara put them in a basket to bring inside. Picking up a pail, she shooed one of the nanny goats over to the milking stall. Tying it up, she put the pail underneath the goat’s udder and began milking her.

A little black dog got up from where it lay in the straw and shook herself. The dog sneezed, before sauntering over to Black Dog. She sniffed his leg. He tried not to bristle at that.

“Nice dog,” Black Dog said.

The dog looked up at him and panted.

“Good dog.” Black Dog took a drag on his pipe. He exhaled, blowing smoke rings for want of something to do.

The little dog shook herself and, losing interest in him, trotted off to where the rest of her pack was sleeping. She flopped down next to them and lay there, with her head on her paws.

Sitara called out form where she was milking a goat, “I think Kali likes you.”

“At the moment,” Black Dog said dryly, remembering his encounter with her from the night before.

Sitara paused and looked over her shoulder at him. “No, I think she really does. She’s a good dog and loves my husband.” She smiled, before going back to milking the goat.

“…Okay.” Black Dog took another drag on his pipe.

Sitara nodded. “But she’s not that crazy about men, which is why Sha got her for me.”

“Hunh?” Her story differed a bit from the one Shankar had told him previously, but then again, he wasn’t paying as much attention as he could have.

“To protect me when I’m here alone… Or when Ashok’s here,” she added wryly.

“Makes sense.”

“Yeah…” Sitara got up, and bringing the pail full of milk with her, she walked over to him. “Can you make sure the dogs stay out of that? Please?” She handed him the pail.

“Ummm, okay.” Black Dog took the proffered pail.

Sitara smiled sweetly at him. “Thank you.” She turned and walked over to get another pail. She got another goat and tied her to the milking stand. Sitara sat down to milk her.

Black Dog stood there, wondering how on earth he became the official milk guard. He looked down to find Kali had slunk back over to him. She was sitting up, begging for the milk. “No, she said so.” He pointed in Sitara’s general direction with his pipe.

Kali whined at him. She moved her front paws in the way that always made Ashok give her whatever she wanted.

“Leave him be, Kali!” Sitara said as she untied the goat. She picked the pail up off the floor and set it down on the milking stand, before getting the last goat. Once the goat was tied up, Sitara finished the milking.

Kali sat down and stared at Black Dog.

He sighed softly. “Go lay down.”

Kali whined and wagged her tail. When he motioned with his hand to go, she turned and trotted back to her pack. Ignoring them completely, she played with her younger pack-mates.

“You’re really good with her. Do you have a dog at home?”

“Err… Not exactly,” Black Dog said.

“No?” Sitara got up and untied the goat. She picked up the pail of milk. “You could have fooled me.”

He smiled at her as he bent to retrieve the other pail.

She smiled back at him. Coming closer, she handed him the other pail. “Can you watch this too?”

“Sure, why not?” he said around the pipe stem in his mouth.

When Sitara went to go milk the goats in the barn, Luke leaned over to Fierce like Panther and said softly, “You should have gone with her. Sitara doesn’t get that much female company.”

She snorted in a mix of contempt and amusement. “Like I would have made good female company.”

Shankar slowly ate his breakfast. He ignored Luke’s and his sister’s soft conversation as well as his brother’s antics with the loaf of bread and the jam pot. As he reached for his tea and drank, he wondered how late he would be in opening the shop.

“You’re better than you think. Aside from Miss Helen, and a few women she sees when she goes into town, Sitara has no one.”

Fierce like Panther gave him a slightly pained look and Luke returned it with one of his own. She sighed, and getting up from the table, she stormed outside. He also sighed as he watched her go. Fierce like Panther hurried across the yard to the barn. She yanked open the door and stomped inside.

“Lola.” Sitara smiled. “Can you help me find any stray eggs? Eric’s going to watch the milk.”

Fierce like Panther sighed. “Sure.”

“Thanks. Rabbit likes them, so I was hoping to find some for him. We can boil them and they’ll be easier for you to take home.”

“He’ll like that.” Despite her disinterest in what she saw as a pointless gesture, she was in favor of anything that would give Rabbit some, if momentary, happiness.

She smiled at Fierce like Panther. “I wish we had more chickens, I’d give you a couple and then you could have eggs all the time.”

“It’s alright,” Fierce like Panther said. She was not sure what they would have ended up doing with the chickens if they survived the trip home.

Sitara nodded. Finding another egg, she said, “I’ve got one. They like to lay a few here and there away from their nests.” She showed Fierce like Panther where to look.

“Okay.” Fierce like Panther scratched around in the hay, more for show than actually looking for eggs. She watched as Sitara found another one and was pleasantly surprised when she found an egg by accident.

“You find any?” Sitara said as she looked for more eggs.

“One.” Fierce like Panther stood there, holding her egg, quietly proud of herself..

Black Dog snorted in amusement, covering it up by pretending to cough.

“That’s good,” Sitara said. “Let’s take them inside. Eric, can you bring the milk in for me?”

Fierce like Panther nodded. The quicker she went back inside, the quicker she could collect her idiots and leave this place. She wanted to be home already.

Eric picked up the milk pails. “Alright.”

“Thank you.” Sitara carried the basket of eggs. She led the way to the door, where she waited for the others. They followed along behind her.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 25th, 2016 02:01 am (UTC)
Sitara is good at bossing people around nicely.

I enjoyed that this scene is basically Sitara accepting them and including them in her home life while Eric and Lola are various levels of uncomfortable because they're supposed to be outsiders, damn it, while still responding to her warmth.
Nov. 25th, 2016 04:21 am (UTC)
Yeah... :D

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! :D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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