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Erogenous Enigma

A Tale of Two Sisters

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Link to discussion:  http://www.surreality-rp.com/topic/426-a-tale-of-two-sisters-hh-ero/

 

Gwen, short for Gwendolen, was a young halfling, she lived with her mother and little sister, just young enough to still be a child, but old enough to question her womanhood. She was short like all of her species, still a few inches shorter than her mother, at three feet and a few inches, her hair thick, wavy and permanently messy even immediately brushed, her mane littered with braids that had feathers and beads weaved into it, but mostly it just hung in wavy, brown chaos around her shoulders. Her eyes were the brightest green only brighter when accented by her green dress, held tightly to her budding body beneath a muted yellow vest. 

 

They lived on the outskirts of a human village, making their way by fishing and tending a small garden, the three of them generally had no problem tending to the chorus, but on this hot summer afternoon, Gwen was doing twice as many chores, her mother gravely sick. The work kept her mind occupied, kept her from thinking of her mother's illness and wondering how she would ever take care of her little sister without her mother. The dirt stained her cheeks, but was marred by streaks that marked where tears had riveted down her face, but now her green eyes were clear, focused with determination to finish the task at hand before the sun fell. Across her back she carried a sack that held most of her crop and what she would sell at market tomorrow a task she had never undertaken alone, always her mother had stood beside her, teaching her fair price, instructing her on how to haggle with the humans who looked down their noses at them. Of course, most of the money she would make would go to medicine for her mother. They would have to cut back severely this winter, fish wouldn't last long, no one could hunt, any dried meats would have to be purchased, the funds to do so with would be limited. Gwen hated thinking of money, it depressed her, until her mother's illness she had been happy, carelessly fooling around with little fear or worry of what tomorrow would bring, never had money crossed her mind, she understood that the more they had the better, but didn't truly comprehend the value until now. 

 

She felt her eyes growing heavy with tears again and she willed them away, wiping the dirt stains, and the tear streaks away with her arm, now darkened with dirt from her days work. She dropped the sack at the front of their little hut, just big enough for the three of them, the house held little purpose beyond storage and a place to sleep, while there was a small kitchen, they mostly cooked outside. Beside her sack sat her little sister's, earlier in the day she had sent her younger sibling to go try her hand at fishing after she had grow restless from gathering, it was a very mundane and boring task. She knew her sister hadn't been happy that she'd refused to go out and play with her, even more so that instead of just letting her go off and play, she had sent her off to another chore. Still she hoped she had caught something for supper, though doubtful she was still fishing, more likely she had begun playing in the shallows and scaring off the minnows.

 

Gwen dragged both sacks into the hut and stored away what they would keep, with a heavy heart she stored the less desirable pieces and left the more luscious fruit in the sack to sell. Generally, they would keep the most delectable pieces for themselves, but they needed the money. Quickly, Gwen finished up and headed out, the sunset was deep with rich hues, the fading sunlight reminding her to hurry to find her sister instead of to play more as it had in days past. When once she would have danced and cart wheeled down the hill to the river, now she walked with heavy foot steps, her feet pounding in her brown boots, she never remembered her feet hurting in days past when she'd been too preoccupied with having fun. 

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Kaitlen squatted at a safe distance from the river and poked a stick around in it, watching the fish frantically swim around to avoid the blows. This fruitless activity took about 2 minutes, before she remembered she was supposed to be catching them for food, and reluctantly cast the stick aside, getting out a basket instead. It turned out to be quite inefficient from this position, so she shuffled nervously forward, her bare toes clutching the grass underneath. Oh, why must she be forced to go so near the water?

She swung the basket clumsily, causing the water to splash in great leaps all over the bank. The fish darted away at lightning speed, proving they had only been playing earlier. In a second, the water became desolate and crystal-clear. Kate craned her neck. From her limited vantage point, she could see not even a swaying tail.

If Mother were here, she would have taken 10 fish by now, in 1 deft scoop.

Kate suddenly felt a surge of anxiety. When Gwen arrived, she would surely see what a mess Kate had made, and that they would have no fish tonight, and Kate had never appreciated being on the receiving end of her sister’s wrath. This was especially so after Mother had fallen sick, and a large burden had been unexpectedly placed on her shoulders. Kate had found that Gwen would not play with her anymore, and was always telling her to do work for the family. She had turned into an even meaner and more tearful version of Mother.

The sun was setting. Kate had never liked sunsets, because they marked the time when she must go home and could not stay out to play any longer. This time, though, as the red-orange light shone on the river, she started getting desperate. Gwen would surely have finished her washing, and more importantly, Kate was getting hungry. If she really did not catch any fish, they would both have nothing for dinner, save for some bad fruits. She hastily got up and tried calling out to the fish.

“Hie! Please come back! I won’t scare you anymore, so come home!†she lied. If she were the fish, she would not believe a word of it, but Mother and Gwen had often suggested that fish were highly dim-witted, and this was her best bet.

The water was still empty. Kate plopped herself on the ground, exhausted from worry.

“If only Mother would get well,†she murmured to herself. She refrained from mentioning this in front of Gwen, for fear of worrying her and making her cry even more, but now that she was alone she felt it was safe to say it here. If Mother would get well, everything would be back to normal again, and she would have the best fruits to eat again, and play around in the meadows knowing that there would be dinner when she got home.

A silhouette emerged in the distance. Gwen was probably coming. Kate turned back towards the river and her eyes let off a gleam. There it was! There was one fish swimming out now from behind a stone in the water. She tiptoed towards the river, basket held firmly in hand. Instead of focusing on the one fish that now frolicked among the reeds, she turned her gaze on the stone it had come out from. Sure enough, there were about 3 fish still remaining behind the stone. She bent her small body, dipped the basket gently in the water, and turned the stone. Startled, the fish swam out by the only route accessible to them, straight towards the basket itself. Kate whipped the basket up, letting all 3 fish flap and jump and smack smelly water in her face, and ran up the grass shrieking.

“I’ve got them! I’ve got them! But someone help! They’re getting out! And I can’t hold them!â€

There was evidently truth in that, for her weak, thin hand was trembling as she spoke, and the fish exerting all their combined bodily strength to tip the basket and save their lives.

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At the sound of her sister's cries Gwen urged her tired feet into a jog, breaching the tree line to see Kate flailing with a basket of fish, hurriedly she bounced down the small incline onto the shore and to her sister. She snatched the basket from Kate's hands and flung it and the three fish to the shore where they flopped helplessly around. "To the shore, Kate..." She spoke gently, panting softly from the excitement. A gleam glowing in her bright eyes at the notion that they would have dinner tonight. Gwen used a length of twine to weave through their gills and out their mouths, tethering all of them together so they couldn't escape. 

 

"I can't believe you caught three!" Gwen praised her sister eagerly, worry and depression wiped away at the moment from her sister's catch. "Come, let's hurry home before the sun sets and we can get these cooking!" She giggled excitedly as she pulled her sister up the small incline, she knew Kate could do it on her own but tonight she was impatient and excited. Gwen held Kate's hand as they bound back to their little hut, the fish secured on the line held firmly over her shoulder. 

 

As they came up the hill panting her excitement quickly fell as the Doctor was standing outside of their hut. Mother had been at the Doctor's for most of the day, they were supposed to walk her home tonight, so why was the Doctor here? 

 

"Gwendolen, Kaitlen, I'm afraid your Mother has taken a turn for the worst...." The elderly human whispered, his eyes down cast, obviously not eager to relay this information. Gwen stared her mind not registering the words, her little sister's hand slipping from her grasp, the fish dropped and now laying still in the dirt, slowly she walked around the Doctor and into their hut, her mother lay on a cot, sleeping restlessly. Gwen's heart stuttered at her mother's labored breathing. The Doctor must have brought her home. She cradled her mother's cold yet sweaty hand in her own trembling ones. 

 

"How much is the medicine?" Gwen whispered the words, the Doctor standing behind her, by the door to the small room.

 

"I'm afraid it's not a matter of price. I do not have the necessary ingredient...." His voice was soft and filled with empathy. 

 

Gwen jumped to her feet quickly spinning to face the man, "Then tell me where? I'll retrieve it myself!" 

 

The Doctor's eyes shifted from side to side, uneasy about the turn of the conversation, "It is not so simple, Gwendolen. On horse back the trek would take several days, but most of the terrain cannot be traversed by horse. You'd have to make the trip on foot and that could take almost a week... and then the path itself is no path for a child."

 

Gwen's green eyes hardened, "Are you telling me she doesn't have a week?" Her voice trembled.

 

The Doctor caught her train of thought and quickly disrupted her, "No, no, she has time still, but I can't let you go on this trip, it is not a task for a child."

 

"No one else will go!" Gwen cried, "Just tell me where it is!"

 

The Doctor's eyes showed pain and pity. Hesitantly he reached into the folds of his robes and pulled out a folded piece of parchment, handing it to Gwen she quickly unfolded it and as she gazed at the notes in her hands her face quickly fell. "Concordia..." Her lip trembled, but she quickly steeled herself, "I will retrieve it." 

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Kate’s heart had fallen when she saw the Doctor standing outside their hut. If there was ever one person who symbolised bad news, it would be him, with his skinny, sallow frame and slight stoop, and his face which already looked at a glance like it bore bad news. Kate watched the exchange between him and her sister with partial comprehension. There was an ingredient that they had to get, and it was in a place known as Concordia. She had heard of Concordia. Mother had told her various fairytales of dragons which granted wishes, and demons that sucked souls from children. All these usually happened in Concordia.

“I’m going with you!†she piped up. “We’ll get that ingredient together!â€

“As I said, Kate,†the Doctor addressed her now with some firmness. “That path is not one for a child. It is dangerous enough for your sister, and will only be worse for you."

Kate glared up at him. She wished he would say something positive once in a while. She ran up to her mother and peered down at her. Her eyes were shut, and she trembled once in a while. Kate knew that there was no way she would stay behind while Gwen went out and braved the dangers. Gwen had always been the bolder of the 2 sisters. She had not been frightened of the water, like Kate was, or of danger, judging by how quickly she had answered the Doctor. Kate was apprehensive of everything, and often relied on her family members to help her. This time, however, she knew it was her turn to repay the debt that had accumulated over the years.

“Gwen,†she said, walking up to her, resting a hand on her arm, which was also trembling, but for a different reason. “Gwen, you must take me with you. I mayn’t be of much help, but I’m twelve years old. That makes me a big girl, and I’m saying this knowing the consequences. I’m not being flippant about it, promise! Let me help!â€

She looked straight at Gwen, ignoring the Doctor’s protests, which were ringing dully in her ears like an insect she could not swat. Gwen was still looking at the piece of parchment that had been handed to her. It looked like a map from Kate’s limited vantage point, and she cleverly decided to memorise as much of it as she could, should Gwen decide to leave on her own after all.

“Mother would’ve wanted me to go too,†she said, though she wasn’t really sure if that was the case. There was a dangerous thrill that she was getting very good at this lying business, considering she had told 2 lies without so much as a blush today.

She went up again and patted Mother gently on the head, like how Mother used to do when she used to fall sick as a little girl, only she hadn’t seemed to fall sick for so long, and she could at least ingest some porridge.

The wind rustled the grass outside. The sun let out a red hue, signalling the day coming to a close. Kate unwittingly straightened herself. She could feel a sudden weight on her shoulders, the feeling that something exciting was going to happen.

It was out there, waiting for them.

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Maybe it was selfish, but the moment her little sister requested to go she felt a wave of relief, relief that she wouldn't have to do it alone, but less than a second later she hardened herself to the fact that Kate was too young. There were only three years between them, but Kate was still such a child, her mannerisms, her attitude, she had no business going on this trip, but then, Gwen realized, nether did she. If their father was still around he would have made the trip with so much as a hesitation. 

 

Gwen eyed her little sister for a long moment, seeking answers in her eyes, the fear was evident, but so was the determination. She was likely just trying to convince herself to let her sister go, as she weighed the option of Kate being here essentially alone, what if their mother did die while she was away? Could she bare leaving her little sister alone to carry that weight? Again she felt like she was just spinning excuses. 

 

She cast her eyes away, even as the Doctor continued to ramble about the dangers she just wanted to yell at him to shut up, she managed to keep herself composed though. It wasn't his fault, he was just trying to protect them, but what would they do if their mother did die? The thought sent a chill of queasiness through Gwen and she quickly shoved it away. No, that was not an option, they would make this trip together and find the herb needed. 

 

"Okay," Gwen finally answered, the Doctor's face fell as he heard the single word, knew it would be final and just stopped arguing. Her attention moved from Kate to the Doctor, "What am I... are we looking for?" She quickly corrected herself.

 

The Doctor sighed heavily, knowing he had lost against these two determined young halflings. "I'm sure you've seen Wolf's Bane before?" He inquired, stopping only briefly at Gwen's nod, "Well, you're looking for Fae's Glove. It's very similar in appearance but the flowers will be a bright pink instead." 

 

Gwen gave the elderly human no more time than that as she rushed around preparing bags of food for them. She left the packed bags at the door, the Doctor had left, but had agreed to stop by daily to make sure their mother ate in their absence.

 

"We'll leave at first light." Gwen spoke grimly, her tone carrying her discomfort and worry. She went back and prepared the forgotten fish, they would need all their strength to make the journey. The ate in a dreary silence. Gwen found herself up late, staring at the stars through the hut's small window. Tomorrow she would leave the safety of her small village, go out into a world she had never stepped foot in before.

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Both sisters had little appetite that night. Kate poked at the fish with a finger, feeling its slimy softness. The fish was undercooked, and still had the scent of the river it came from. She could tell Gwen wasn’t hungry either, but she was eating doggedly, for “energy to make the journeyâ€, she had said. Kate felt energetic enough. In fact, she was pretty jumpy at the prospect of travelling this long distance, fear mingled with a childish sense of adventure.

They left early the next day, before light. Ordinarily, Kate would have grumbled about waking up so early, but the heaviness of their responsibility had left her rather insomniac for much of the night anyway. Gwen was the same, it seemed, for in her semi-awake stirrings she had heard the sound of tossing and turning on the other bed, together with the low groans coming from Mother. They wordlessly gathered their things now, not wanting to wake Mother, and Kate cast a final glance around her cosy but simple home. How long would it be before they came back? Would they even come back? She cast an eye on Mother. They had to, for somebody depended on it.

It was probably a good idea to start off before sunrise, for the two sisters were already so familiar with the vicinity of their home that they could walk around it even in darkness. Every blade of grass scratching against Kate’s rough ankles felt soothing and familiar, every animal cry was one that had accompanied her to sleep all these years.

When light finally came, they were already a substantial distance away from home. Kate held Gwen’s hand – something she had stopped doing since she turned ten – and tried to cheer her up.

“Hey, look, Gwen! There’s a flower there we haven’t seen before. And the sun’s really warm today, isn’t it? It feels like a good omen! Everything will go really well! And hey, do you hear water?â€

There was indeed the sound of rushing water coming from somewhere up close. Kate still had a full canteen of water, so it did not strike much interest. That was till they came up to its source, a few minutes later. Kate looked in front of her and gulped, her heart suddenly hammering in her chest. She tightened her grip on Gwen’s hand.

“It’s a rushing river,†she said, even though it was probably obvious to her sister. There were a couple of rocks jutting out, which the rushing water mercilessly, recklessly rammed into, sending splashes in all directions. A few tall trees lined the water, vines swinging from their branches. Kate peered at the foamy water, wondering if there were any vicious animals lurking below the surface. She was sure that not all animals would get swept away by the current. She also looked up and down the river, wondering if there was any other way across. She could spot a bridge at the far end, but it seemed to be broken, with some wooden planks missing and others incomplete. The bridge was still tied securely with rope to the branches of some thinner trees, though, and swung ominously from side to side.

“What should we do now, Gwen?†she asked softly, refusing to give up just yet, not when they had mustered all their determination to go, only to be set back by a river. “Can we take an alternative route?â€

She was back to being a kid again, falling back on her sister to make the decisions. What she needed most was encouragement and support, that would drown out the frightening roar of the water, and drive out the myriad of scary thoughts going through her mind right then. She could not think clearly, not when they were so likely to miss their footing and fall in and be swept away then and there, or drown, or hit their head against a rock. She was feeling light-headed already.

“Don’t stand too close, Gwen,†she said hoarsely. “You may fall in, and I’m not strong enough to pull you back.â€

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Gwen barely registered her sister's hand gripping her own limb one, she walked through the dark knowing the way without the use of her vision, she even knew where every out growing root and trip-worthy rock was. Her mind kept telling her to wake up and be happy, that she was going on an adventure and this was exciting! But all she could think about was the idea that her mother was running out of time.

 

She almost walked into the river, if not for her sister's hand gripping tighter, her altered voice raising to express her panic at at the water, and the splashing of the river's vicious water, she might have walked right into and went bumbling down the way. Slowly, she started registering the world around her again, looking at her sister's uneasy face and then down at the water. It wasn't actually that bad, she could probably swim across it, but Kate couldn't swim at all and she wasn't so certain she could keep her afloat and get across at the same time. The bridge down the way was missing quite a few planks.

 

"Let's go down river some, maybe it eases up."  Gwen's voice was soft and it expressed her melancholy. She walked by the river's bank, separating the river and her sister. Some ways down river it eased up, but not my much, however lacing over the river were many trees, hugging from across the banks. Kate may not be able to swim but she could climb. 

 

She raised her hand and pointed out the lacing trees. "I'll swim to the other side, you can climb across." The branches were long and narrowed, but Kate was still small enough they'd hold her, not so much Gwen. She began wading into the water, it was cool and brought on a wave of energy. She shivered, but another step and the full force of the river was pushing against her, she gritted her teeth as the cool water's full force made her realize exactly how cold it was. Gwen used large boulders in the river to keep her from getting over powered, even still the force had her swimming angled and by the time she reached the shore she was several yards down river from where she'd started. She pulled off her soaked shoes and bound back up the sand reaching the trees across the way from her sister. 

 

Gwen couldn't climb as well as her sister but she still managed to pull herself a few feet up the trunk and snatch down some of the thicker vines entangling the tree. Testing the strength of the vine and finding it satisfactory she threw one end to Kate, where Kate tied it the branch closest to Gwen's side of the bank. Using a tree trunk as leverage she pulled the vine, ultimately pulling the tree Kate sat in towards her side so she could reach the opposing trees. 

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Kate watched as Gwen swam with much difficulty across the water. She knew that the currents were simply too strong for her to do the same, for she had a much weaker bone structure than her sister, not forgetting that she simply could not swim to begin with. She watched as Gwen crawled up to the shore, having been flung by the waves such that she was swimming almost diagonally, and ran up to a tree, shivering wet, trying to climb. Without having to talk, Kate knew what to do. She shot up the nearest tree on the other side of the river. She was also afraid of heights, and had suffered a bad fall climbing a tree when she was younger, but she found the tree much more secure and predictable than water, at any rate. She could feel the knotted tree bark in her hands, sturdy with places to grip onto. She was light, and it did not take much effort to make her way up.

The branch was another matter compared to the tree, though. It was much thinner, and she could see the ground more clearly, and it did look like a long way. But there was no time to panic; Gwen was already flinging a gnarled vine at her. She grabbed hold of the vine with both hands, hugged her legs on either side of the branch, and tied the vine around it with fumbling fingers. After this was done, she shot her sister a thumbs up. She could relax now and just concentrate on holding on, Gwen would do the rest.

The tree they had chosen was one of the weaker, springier ones. Kate held tight as Gwen pulled the tree across the river. When she felt that the tree was about to snap, she quickly slid down and landed on both feet on the sand on the other side, and saw that Gwen really was dripping wet. She scrambled in her oilskin bag for a towel and new clothes.

“You should wipe yourself down,†she said hurriedly, pushing a rag into Gwen’s hands. “And your hands are blistered from all that pulling. I must’ve gained weight.â€

It was quite likely that she did, for the last time Gwen had ever pulled something of Kate’s weight had been a few years ago, when the game of tug-of-war had still been fresh to them. Gradually Kate had realised that the game left her at a disadvantage, and had thus insisted on hide-and-seek, which she had found herself more adept at due to her smaller size.

The water rushed on, oblivious to their success over them. They had, after all, mastered it and its obstacles. Yet Kate fancied its roaring had become even louder, as if it did know, and was trying to tell them, “Just you wait, you’ll face something even greater than I am, and then you wouldn’t be so conceited.†She waited, but nothing came out from the water, and after Gwen had cleaned herself sufficiently and Kate was sure she would not catch a chill, they continued on their way.

Their surroundings had changed, and taken on a more hostile tone, as though everything on this side had also mastered the contempt of the river, and were much stronger for it. Kate dared not imagine what it would look at at night, for it was already covered with denser vegetation, and none of which were like the thin tree that they had taken advantage of earlier. Some parts of the canopy effectively crowded out the sun, which was good given the time of day. Kate was sure she could see things moving in the darkness. It had been hours since they had last eaten, but she was too nervous to be hungry.

“Are we going the right way?†she asked, even though they had only walked straight. There didn’t seem anything like Wolf’s Bane around here, though she was positive she wouldn’t recognise it even if she did see it. “Where would we be going next?â€

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Gwen smiled at her sister, panting a bit so she didn't waste her breath talking, just quietly took the offered towel and nodded her appreciation. She quickly stripped down – no modesty among sisters – dried off and redressed in the offered clothing. "Alright, let's head back up river towards the road. We won't want to be in the forest when night hits." 

 

Since this side of the river was thick with the forest they had to tread carefully, wasting precious time, though Gwen couldn't be upset about this, the forest was surreal. With the sun hanging lazy in the sky it scattered through the tree tops creating a lace of light across the forest floor, skewed further by various brush and shrubbery. Twigs and dried leaves crunched under their boots, stepping over many a fallen logs and stubborn roots that refused to stay in the ground as they trekked through the forest. The flowers were beautiful, blooming all around them, though many of them she had to keep batting Kate's hands from, well aware of their potentially poisonous properties. 

 

She hoisted Kate up a particularly high rock edge and then pulled herself up, using the jagged rock wall to get herself up as well. The forest opened up into a field littered with daisies. They hurried, more skipped across the field. This was an exciting adventure for both sisters, even if the task was dire, the journey was something magical.

 

The sister’s reached the middle of the field where the dirt path had cut through like a knife. Back on the path they hurried down the way, the sun was getting heavier by the minute. “We’ll need to find a place to rest.†She said this just as a house appeared over the horizon. “Perhaps we can fine sanction there.†

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The rest of the day was spent in silence, both sisters agreeing to save their energy for walking. They did make progress; Kate was quite sure, from looking at the map, that they had covered more distance than expected. But now there left the question of whether they ought to continue. A house that loomed up in the distance answered the question for them.

“Hello, is anyone home?†Kate cried out, knocking on the door. A faint trail of black dust appeared on her knuckle, which she promptly cleaned off her shirt with an expression of disgust. The door was made out of wood, which she now knew was slightly grey-ish only because of dust. The windows were also black (she really didn’t want to know why) and she figured with some dismay that this house must be abandoned. It was, after all, sitting all alone in a field. The dirt path that had led them here had faint outcrops of weeds. They would have to seek shelter elsewhere.

“Coming~,†and then a voice croaked out from within. There were soft footsteps before the door opened. A woman peered out, her face also lined with streaks of black, and she beamed at them, revealing two rows of pearly white teeth, lined up nearly too perfectly along her wrinkly jaw. “Oh, what lovely girls, come to visit lonely old me. Mm, you’re not from these parts, are you?†Kate saw her gaze lower to their stubby legs.

“Well, we really only come from the other side of the river, which is on the other side of the rock wall,†she volunteered cheerfully. “People tend to think we’re foreigners, though, because we look rather different. We’re halflings, you see, and Mother said we’re a pretty rare species. Most of our kind have moved east.â€

“How interesting, halflings. Yes, I’ve heard of you, but haven’t actually seen any of you in the flesh,†the woman said slowly. “You may call me Porridge, because I really like cooking and eating porridge. In fact, are you hungry?â€

“Why, yes, I am!†Kate answered. She was always hungry nowadays. Porridge turned around and shuffled into the house, and Kate thought that really she wasn’t as old as she called herself, for she walked with the speed of a young woman, and could bend and stretch just as well as anyone else. She glanced at Gwen, who had been pretty quiet throughout the whole encounter. Maybe Gwen was too hungry to even say a word.

Porridge beckoned them into the kitchen, where a large cauldron of porridge was brewing and bubbling. Kate took a moment to survey the living-room first. There was a short flight of spiral stairs leading up to what was possibly the bedroom. The house was a squat one, and Kate was sure that if she jumped she might be able to touch the ceiling. The house was dim, with only a candlestick placed on the mantelpiece as illumination, and right now the candle was not lit. The floor was covered by a furry carpet that felt warm to the touch. Porridge also owned a bird, or so it seemed. The bird had colourful feathers that seemed to glimmer even without light. It was currently sleeping in a cage, its head bent forward and its eyes shut. Kate could still see its chest moving in rhythm to its breaths.

The kitchen and living-room windows had a set of curtains, made from the same material as Porridge’s dress it seemed. They were not drawn, but tucked to the side. Kate personally thought the house was dark enough without the curtains, but decided to hold her tongue and have a spoon of the porridge instead. It tasted good, with some chicken and breadcrumbs inside. It was certainly much better than soup.

“Yes, do have more, sisters, and tell me when you need extra bowls,†said Porridge silkily. “And do tell me, why’re you out here without your family?â€

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Gwen stood quietly, a bit nervous as her little sister charmed the old woman. She was always nervous around strangers but Kate easily chatted with the woman. Still Gwen couldn't shake the feeling of being uncomfortable in Porridge's presence. At the offer of food though Gwen couldn't bring herself to say no, and the sun was falling, so perhaps they could stay the night and be on their way in the morning. No harm, right?

 

The sisters ate unabashed scooping spoonful after spoonful into their greedy mouths, Gwen's discomfort forgotten in the place of the delicious food. "We come from the village to the east, we're heading west to Concordia. Our mother is very sick and we have to retrieve a special root that is only found there to help her get better." Gwen pulled out the scroll the Doctor had given her and laid it out on the table showing Porridge and hoping she might be able to help. But as Gwen's eyes tried to focus on the paper she found it impossible as it only grew more and more blurry. Alarmed, Gwen looked over and could barely make out Kate swaying, obviously dizzy as Gwen was. What was this? "I-I feeel... di-dizzy...." Gwen mumbled trying to spill out the words, looking up to see Porridge staring at them ever patiently. Gwen stood up quickly the chair falling back from the abrasive movements. The action was too much for Gwen though and she had to brace her hands on the table to keep herself from falling while she struggled with the poison that had apparently been present in the poison. "W-why..?" She mumbled, Porridge's features no longer discernible in her drugged state. Slowly she crumpled to the ground, first to her knees, to her bottom and finally she was laying down on the ground, blinking slowly as she struggled with keeping her eyes open. 

 

Porridge kneeled in front of the sisters and cradled Gwen's head in an almost motherly way, "Don't worry, it'll all be over soon my delicious little halflings." Gwen blacked out finally as the drug won out. 

 

~~~~

 

Gwen had no idea how long she was out, but when she did come too it was in a slow, painful haze. Her vision was not clear and her head was pounding with such force she could hear the blood pumping in her ears. Her body ached from her cramped position, locked in a cage that was so small she was forced to sit in it, her legs protruding from the bars. More and more her vision came back to her and she could see Porridge across the way stirring her massive cauldron. The curtains had been pulled so it was very dark, she was just barely able to make out the old woman. She wasn't sure where Kate was as she looked around desperately for her little sister. When Porridge shifted Gwen put her head back down and pretended to still be unconscious.

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