‘How much is this one sir?’ Freya asked the stone merchant, an elderly man, dressed in a checked shirt and a dirty old bowler’s hat. He bent over the counter and squinted at the small rock in the palm of her hand.
‘Oh, the Amethyst…let me see,’ the old merchant fingered his beard and made some decision-making noises. ‘They are quite rare, those ones, how about I give it to you for fifty?’
Freya pursed her lips and considered the price. She grabbed her purse out of her rucksack and dug around to see how much she had left. Freya was about to hand over the money to the merchant when someone stepped out of the shadows and interrupted.
‘Fifty? Ha! Amethyst isn’t even worth five, you filthy conman.’ The speaker was a tall woman with hair the colour of a raven. She wore a sky blue gem around her neck, suspended by a gold necklace; it sparkled in the sunlight. ‘How dare you try and take advantage of this poor girl.’ The woman’s voice was firm and authoritative. She turned to Freya, ‘How old are you dear?’ Her voice had lost its edge, it was now silky and calming.
‘Um, fourteen Miss.’ The woman smiled at her and then bent down to even the height difference.
‘Call me Lena. So why did you want this piece of Amethyst so badly?’ Freya dropped her head a little and looked embarrassed.
‘Because I heard that they have healing powers…’
‘And what do you need to heal?’
‘My foot. Freya pulled down the sock on her right foot to reveal a big gash. ‘I fell and grazed it on a rock.’
‘Well Amethyst will do just fine. You’re a smart girl.’
Freya beamed at her new friend. ‘Thank you Miss.’
‘Like I said, call me Lena.’
‘Thank you Lena,’ Freya said, quite confused. She felt like she was being told off, but Lena’s voice was so soothing at the same time.
‘Now. I didn’t get your name dear girl.’
‘That a beautiful name. Well Freya, do you still want the stone?’
Freya nodded at her and she stood back up to her full height, a good foot above the old man. ‘Five for the stone.’
The old man looked insulted. ‘But it’s my last one and it’s worth fifty!’
Lena bent over the table and grabbed the old man by the scruff of the neck. ‘Listen to me you old shit. I could just take the stone if I wanted, but I’m offering to pay you for it. You should be ecstatic.’ The old man let out a sigh and then nodded. Lena loosened her grip on his collar. Her demeanour reset to cool and collected. ‘Freya dear, pay the man five.’
‘Okay Lena.’ Freya got out five coins and handed them over to the merchant. ‘Thank you sir!’ Lena gave the merchant a firm look and he said, ‘You’re welcome.’
Lena turned around and started walking, she signalled for Freya to follow her. The sun was beginning to set and all of the merchants at the markets were closing up shop. A southerly wind rolled up and nipped at their cheeks. Freya began to shiver. Lena unfastened a pouch hanging off her belt and searched through it until she found something. She dug out a little red stone and passed it to Freya.
‘This is Red Jade. It will give you warmth. Hold it, or stick it in your bra and you will be warm in no time.’ Freya took the stone and turned it over a few times and then she gave a small shrug and popped it under one of the flaps of her bra. After a few seconds her face lit up in amazement. ‘Wow! You weren’t lying, it’s like I’m having a nice warm bath.’
Lena laughed and walked on. ‘That’s nothing. You wait, dear girl. The things you will experience if you stick with me.’
# # #
Okay so here’s the deal. I am going to write a new chapter every two weeks, but I want you guys to help me! At the end of each chapter I am going to give you several options of where the story could go and I will write the one which gets the most votes. I will consider suggestions, however, only if they are very good and have support from other readers.
Here are the options for this week:
1. Lena and Freya camp out in the wilderness and face whatever threats may come with camping in the wild.
2. Lena takes Freya back to her cottage and tells Freya her story.
3. The stone merchant comes after them with a crew of people.
4. A dragon swoops down and takes Freya with it.
|Maisie Williams||as Freya|
|Jaime Murray||as Lena|