The house was a two story affair made of stone. The front door was green and several windows were open on the first floor. As she approached an aroma of baking bread greeted her, and her mouth began watering. Whatever place this was it smelled good. There was an orange and white cat curled up in front of the door. The door itself was heavy wood with a knocker and a round handle.
She entered a short hall that was dim and cool after the warmth of the outdoors. There were several side tables along the wall. The smell of bread was stronger inside and wafted out from a large kitchen off to the right. Farther down the hall were a couple of doors and a staircase going up, and then the hall seemed to open into a large room. She could see firelight from that room, it beckoned to her.
"Ah, there you are," exclaimed a pleasant- looking woman as she swept into the hall from the kitchen. "Was told you were on the way." She wiped her hands on her front and Emma noticed her hands were covered in flour. "You'll be staying with us for a while, I'm told?" Without waiting for an answer, she gave Emma a quick hug (leaving Emma with flour all over her front) and then ushered her into the kitchen. It was quite large and warm. The kitchen had a stone floor and there were several windows, two of which looked out over the front of the house, and a smaller round one that looked out over the garden. "You must be hungry, sit here. My name is Anya. You make yourself at home, everyone will be back soon, but for now... just eat." She proffered some fruit and a bowl of cookies.
As Anya bustled about the kitchen, muttering animatedly, it was obvious that this was the center of the place. There were pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, and the open windows let in breezes and a fair number of other things. Emily saw a blue fairy of some kind- a pixie?- flitter in and land by the cookies, and Anya shooed it away with a smile. "You'll be staying upstairs, dearie. First room on the right. It's a bit dusty but we'll square it away. Do you know how long you'll be with us? It doesn't matter, we'll square all that."
"The room at the end is the den, where we eat dinner and spend our evenings. You can make yourself as comfortable as you like. You'll be safe here, nothing to be afraid of around here, but if you need anything... just let us know. Don't be afraid to speak up." Emma liked Anya immediately, especially the way her eyes crinkled when she smiled.
As she went up the stairs holding a candle the cat raced up ahead of her and she almost tripped. She scowled in annoyance. On the second floor there was a hallway and several rooms. First on the right. As she ducked in she saw that the roof was low and peaked. The room was quite small but cozy nevertheless. There was a small bed with a nightstand, a small table with two chairs, and a stack of books in the corner. It was a bit dusty but smelled nice, of lavender. There was a window with drapes and a flowerbox outside.
Morgane returned later that day, sweeping into the house and giving Anya a hug as he came in. He smiled when he saw Emma and greeted her warmly. All had been well, he assured her, there was no indication she had been followed. And now that she was here she need fear nothing, he told her. Relax, rest and soon all would be over. She could explore the surroundings and go where she wished, just be careful not to venture too far. After unbuckling his sword and freshening up they retired to the room at the end of the hallway for dinner and a fire.
She walked into the room and could feel the heat from the fireplace as she did so. It was a large stone affair with a mantel and a bubbling pot hanging from a hook. The room was large and light was coming from the fire and several candles. There were several leather bound chairs in front of the fire along with a stool. The dining table was long and wooden with wooden benches on both sides. There was a spray of flowers in the center and a bowl of fruit. Anya came in with a platter of roasted meat, which smelled delicious and set her mouth to watering. There were pewter plates and a wooden bowl with greens, a bit of cheese. After dinner tea and then a tour of the house. She marveled at the library with it's floor to ceiling bookshelves, and idly pondered how the house seemed so much more spacious than it looked from outdoors.
She woke in the middle of the night. She peered through her window to see lights twinkling in the yard and shapes moving. Several figures came from the trees and approached the lights. After a time the figures went back into the woods. She went back to her bed and got back under the covers, pulling them up to her chin and feeling strangely contented. Nothing can harm me here, she thought and was not sure how she knew it.
The next morning she awoke to the smell of bacon. There was a basin of water on the nightstand and a hand towel. She splashed some water on her face and toweled off before dressing hurriedly and heading downstairs. As she hurried down the stair the boards creaked. She could hear conversation. There were eggs and bacon as well as fruit. Morgane and Anya were sitting by the garden window and bid her a cheery good morning.
After the evening meal there was always time for tea by the fire, or a story or just talking. She spent her days exploring the area, walking along the stream, sweating in the garden as she picked vegetables. She knew in the back of her mind she would have to leave eventually, and often worried about what was happening back home, how she would explain all this and if her parents were worried about her. But at the same time part of her didn't want to leave, there was something so peaceful.
This story might seem a little disjointed as I wrote it quite a bit ago and made some changes so I could post. If you're interested in some of the inspiration for it you can check out this image here by the Brothers Hildebrandt. It's their version of Rivendell. Not how I would envision that place but it does have a cozy ambience. Further inspiration here and here.
A mi me gusto, genial relato. Te mando un besoReplyDelete
I do like the tone, or the beautiful word - ambience of this piece. Good work Greg!ReplyDelete
We are back online with the new site. It's still a serious work in progress, but I will get there!
You definitely nailed the cozy ambiance!ReplyDelete
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I love the ambiance, I want to go and visit. I enjoyed Anya, she seems comforting, and a bit bossy in a good way.ReplyDelete
Great piece, Greg! As a creative writer myself, I can always appreciate good tone in a piece of writing. I think you've captured something unique here.ReplyDelete
Lovely sense of place. Now I'm wondering what Emma story is though...And what's a pixie doing there?ReplyDelete
Interesting piece as Always )ReplyDelete
Your descriptions are so amazing! I love the way you write.ReplyDelete
This place sounds like a paradise. Perhaps it would be nice to explain why Emma was there in the first place and who was following her or why she should be safe there. It didn't seem disjointed to me, just lacking some info.ReplyDelete
Have a lovely day.
Thanks for sharing! I want to live there. Are you planning on expanding this? 🤔ReplyDelete
This is beautiful writing. I am curious for more.ReplyDelete
This is really nice and I liked seeing the Rivendell pic that inspired you. I can definitely see it and love the cozy vibe you created.ReplyDelete
That's a lovely fairy cottage, and the story really goes along with it. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop though, all that glitters is not gold and all that. ;)ReplyDelete
What a lovely haven, especially if there are cats and pixies! (Though I have to admit, if I were there, my room would not have lavender because I hate that smell lol.) Curious about the ominous forest people.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed reading your story! Sounds like a lovely place, but yes, too good to be without a catch?ReplyDelete