You Remind Me Of ...

“Miss! Oh, miss, here!” A small lilting child-like voice floated through the cool air along Triada. The evening had a sense of nostalgia in the atmosphere as the evening glow of sunset hung just in the distance. Scattered through the streets of Eldestra were people conversing with each other, sharing moments together, and gathering up their parcels to wander back to their seemingly peaceful homes. A few outside benches were occupied by gossipy old women who gestures in a manner that told if they were in disapproval of the object they discussed. Their men hung off slightly to the side to share daily events.

A small girl, Sefy, was gifting an adult woman with a small wreath of jasmine for her to wear. The child was well known upon the more popular parts of town for this very act of kindness. She was very dedicated to ensure that all new woman acquainting themselves with Eldestra be given this wreath in welcome.

As quickly as the encounter had begun, the moment had passed. She had accomplished her mission and the small childs covered feet were scampering off to join her friends. Confusion and a small wistful smile set upon the Elohai woman’s face as she fingers the tiny wreath in her hands. With a shrug of amused indulgence, she placed the wreath upon her head.

Passing by the main garden entrance, the woman – with raven tresses now covered in jasmine, appeared at ease with her presence in the city. Her new appearance made her almost feel as if she could be anyone in the world. Someone fresh and new and… good. She found herself daydreaming of things, the life she wished she’d had. Without really meaning too, she found herself almost allowing her heart to hope that it was still possible.

Lost in her thoughts, the woman barely noticed another older woman carrying a few bags under one arm and a small babe asleep in a pack that was strapped to her front. She had a kind face that appeared almost motherly. It was open and honest in it’s very nature, her face. The raven haired woman barely noticed her crossing paths until the elder woman gasped loudly and paused immediately in her tracks.

“My Lady Speaker.” She ushered in an astonished voice and quickly bent into a respectful bow before the strange woman. As she did so the contents of one of her bags began to spill out onto the cobblestone street they occupied.

Immediately, the other woman began to help her gather her belongings and in a swift motion had transferred the bag to her own arms where she could replace the missing items.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” The raven haired woman asked in confusion as she stepped to one side and snatched up an errant bundle of carrots. Finally, standing face to face, she was able to take in the elderly woman. She was sweet and round, brunette hair pulled away from her face and fashioned into a functional braid. Her child, mildly disturbed by the sudden jerky movements, was making suckling noises with it’s mouth but was otherwise uncaring of the encounter. Her child? Though not elderly just yet, she still appeared too old to have such a young baby.

Focusing her silvery grey gaze upon the woman, she let the stare she was receiving settle in to her bones. It was shocked and awed at once, appearing almost frozen. Clearing her throat to pull her back to the present, she offers a questioning expression. “You called me Speaker.”

The mother appears visibly stunned at the sound of her voice and immediately recoils to gather herself. Rising up to stand straight, she flushes a deep red shade from the top of her forehead all the way down past her neckline.

“Forgive me. Of course you are not her, you are far too young to be Lady Ladisvale.” Although she speaks the words, her face doesn’t quite seem to believe it. Taking a moment she takes in the appearance of the younger woman standing before her. “She was the Speaker of Eldestra many years ago. I was one of her maids and once I saw you here by the garden I thought for certain you were her reincarnate.”

A tiny grin tugs at the corners of the young Elohai’s mouth. It almost seemed to be relief. Relief that she was being confused as another. Relief that it wasn’t someone who was disliked.

“I apologize then for causing you such a start. I just love the fragrance that comes from the garden as a whole. It seems to all come together here and it’s the most wonderful thing to take in. And as lovely as that name sounds, I am afraid I cannot claim it.”

“Sephora,” the mother murmurs. She nods her head in acceptance but she seems to be having the hardest time separating the memory of her former employer with this young girls face.

“It’s the eyes, that is the only real difference I can find. Perhaps you are a bit taller too, hmm. Lady Amalia did not have any children that I know of.. but if she had, you would be the exact image of your mother. Why, you are even wearing jasmine in your hair like her!”

An eyebrow rises at the last bit of information supplied. “What happened to this Speaker? Is she nearby? I would love to see her in person and introduce myself, especially if we carry such a close resemblance.”

Gesturing to the bench nearby, Sephora gestures to it with a waving motion of her palm and then graciously awaits her new acquaintance. Once they are both seated, she begins to speak and they suddenly appeared like the old gossips she’d spotted early in the afternoon.

“She has probably long passed by now. I was a young girl when I worked for her. There have been other Speakers following her departure but no one really knows why or where she went. Most of the women say that she followed after her wandering husband, who was taken by dark magic.”

“Others say she ran off to be with theman who’d kidnapped her long ago. That she’s always secretly loved him and having done her duty finally went to be with him. And on a darker scale some people think the Drow had a hand in her disappearance.”

Suddenly the mother catches herself speculating. “Listen to me, just like an old gossip.” A blush steals across her cheeks once more. “It’s like sitting here talking with her. Just comes right out of me. It was easy to talk to her.”

“They sound like romantic notions. Did she have relatives she might have gone to live with?”

“Hmm, I never heard her speak of any, but that doesn’t mean much. She rarely spoke of herself to others.”

The young woman places a hand over the mothers and smiles warmly at her. It was a genuine smile for this stranger had just supplied her with more information than she could have dreamed of ever finding in one sitting.

“Thank you so much for sharing with me, Miss Sephora. It was very lovely to spend this time with you and I hope that you will share more of her stories with me. She sounds like a woman I’d like to have known.”

They continued speaking for quite awhile, the sun was barely a dim line over the horizon and the street lights had been lit when they seemed to draw to an end. Both promised to meet up again soon and as they began to part, Sephora realized that she had never learned the other woman’s name.

“Wait, what was…” As she turned to pose the question the raven haired woman was gone. Turning a full circle, the mother mused to herself momentarily. Eventually a slow smile crossed her small mouth and the fleeting thought that she’d just spent the evening with an old friend crossed her mind.

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