“Pierre, take Tawney to the river, and go slowly. Bring her back when she’s ready.”
Pierre cast Tawney a glare, grumbled “I’ll wait outside,” before stomping out and slamming the door.
Tia, the mother of the family, sighed. “I wish he was more of a forgiving boy, but he seems to have built the villagers up in his mind to be some sort of monster. He understands them less than they understand us. Well, go now, dear, and be careful. It may just be a twist, but tripping over it won’t make it heal any faster.”
Tawney went out the door. She’d never heard of anyone living in the forest. However, knowing that there was made her sorry for them. Sorry for the harsher life they seemed to lead, having to do everything for themselves. In the town, if you wanted cloth, you went to the weaver. You didn’t necessarily have to make it yourself.
Before she’d started working with the weaver, Tawney’s family would always weave their own. When she’d started working, she’d earned enough to pay for the wool, and all that was left was to knit it. Before, it had been a hurried rush to get clothes out for the family before it was too late.
This here was a larger family, with nowhere to go to get what they needed. They had to make their own bread and shelter. And their father did not seem to still live. Tawney wondered if this was why Pierre disliked the villagers.
Outside, Pierre was pacing impatiently. Tawney nodded quietly to him, and he stormed off, making each step thud loudly against the ground. Tawney silently followed, her eyes on his feet.
It was maybe a ten minute walk — however, at the pace she forced Pierre to set, it took closer to twenty. When they arrived, he went off to lean against a tree, while Tawney bent over and started digging with her hands at the mud under the water.
After about five minutes of careful digging, Austen appeared through the trees running. “Pierre!” he called, “Race you.” Austen jumped into the water and splashed Pierre.
Pierre remain silent as Austen swam a lap and then splashed him again. “Ha, for once I beat you,” Austen said. Pierre’s mouth twitched downwards.
Tawney watched out of her eyes as Austen swam more laps laughing at Pierre. Then Pierre dived into the water and sent a large splash over Austen. He twisted around and said, “Fine, one race. But the villagers are out, so don’t be too loud.”
Tawney watched them as she finished gathering the herbs she was looking for. After the first race, Pierre was more willing to do the next. Austen lost repeatedly, and kept claiming each time that this time he’d beat Pierre good and honest.
Together, the two boys laughing and Tawney remaining silent as ever, they made the twenty-minute trek back to the house.