It was a lovely September day, clean and crisp with a brilliant blue sky over gentility rolling green hills. A hawk swooped out of the sky and landed on an old apple tree whose branches where heavy with fruit. It was the kind of day that made you smile and feel glad you were yourself. Mea saw none of it. She couldn’t see the hills, or the apple tree, or the hawk, all she saw was the darkness that had blocked her sight since she was a very small girl. She traveled along the dirt road, tapping along with her staff to check if the way was clear as she walked. She couldn’t see, but she could hear exceptionally well and so when she heard footsteps coming around the bend, she could tell it was one person, a man, most likely. Mea had been listening so hard, that she lost concentration on the road and tripped her staff flying out of her hand. She swore passionately and started feeling around for the damned stick, knowing it had probably rolled under a thorn bush or something with her luck like it had been for the last few months. I heard the man’s foot steps approaching, pause briefly, and then continued on as he walked over. The man handed me my staff and I gripped his hand and pulled myself up
“Thanks” Mea said, brushing her long and tattered cloak off and smiling at a place where she thought the man’s face would be.
“Did anything else fall out of my pack?” She wondered, but the man didn’t say anything
“Cat got your tongue?” She giggled, but there was real curiosity behind the laugh. The man moved her fingers to his chin so Mea could feel him nod,
“You can’t talk at all?” gasped Mea, wondering what had happened to him; the man shook his head and said haltingly in a scratchy voice
“Talk… little… hurts... badly” Mea felt him shrug “bye…” he started to walk away, but Mea followed him
“What is your name?” she asked
“I’m Mea” she said cheerfully “This road leads to the sea port of La Ruse, are you going there?” she put her hand to his chin so she could feel him nod “I love the sea,” she said, sounding wistful “I can’t even see it, but still I know the power it holds. Have you ever seen the sea?” Leander shook his head
“It’s amazing, but the sea post is very dangerous.”
“How…?” Leander asked in his rusty voice. Mea just shook her head
“You’ll see when you get there, mein freund”
In his forty-something years as owner of the Crossroads Inn, Benjamin had seen a lot of things that could be listed as “odd”, but the pair that had just entered the inn where definitely at the top of the list. The two looked to be about the same age; the girl was blind, with a black cloth tied over her eyes and had long white blonde hair that fell in a braid to the middle of her back. She was talking nonstop to a young man who was about a head taller then her, with dark hair and eyes. The young man guided the girl by her elbow to the bar counter and the girl smiled at a place slightly to Benjamin’s left
“Are there any rooms available for the night?” she asked with a light German accent
“Not many people traveling these day’s, so there should be a room ready for ya”
“Two rooms would be wunderbar; will this cover them and a hot meal?” Benjamin barely noticed what the girl was saying because his attention was captured by the four dully gleaming gold coins that the girl had placed on the bar counter.
“That would be more then enough.” He said in a slightly choked voice, swiftly sweeping the coins into the pocket of his grubby apron. “I’ll have a girl bring the meal over, just go get a table” he retreated quickly to the kitchen.
“Friendly little bugger…” Mea muttered sarcastically. The inn only had a few people in it, so Mea and Leander got a good table by the fire; the severing girl brought them a suburb lamb stew which Mea promptly inhaled. She sopped up the last of the stew with a piece of bread and stood, grabbing her staff from where it leaned against an empty chair.
“I’m going to bed. I need to get an early start tomorrow.”