The skies were painted a menacing pallet of greys since morning. It hadn’t rained yet, but the clouds were thick enough for the sunflowers to be confused, and that alone was an infaillible promise of a strong storm coming.
Cibelle was sitting in the garden, singing to a patch of reluctant turnips refusing to grow. Vohne kept an eye on her from the porch, though there was no need for it. He had long found amusing this habit she had to give character traits to her vegetables… Caring carrots, worried cabbage, forlorn cucumbers. It made no sense to him, but she had her way around plants that he couldn’t deny. She certainly had a green thumb, or a green voice, for that matter. Ever since he had brought her to his home, the harvest had never been disappointing.
Concentrated on repairing one of his bows, Vohne didn’t first notice the stranger coming out of the forest.
When their eyes met, it seemed as if he had appeared from nowhere. The tall man’s back was bent like an old tree, and his knotted fingers clung to a long walking stick. He had long white hair and a hirsute matching beard, and his long robe-like clothes though a bit worn out around the edges, seemed clean. He didn’t look like a vagabond. Vohne wondered why a man like him would wander so far from the nearest villages.
Good day, young man!
His voice was deep and louder than expected, catching Cibelle’s attention, in the garden. She trotted behind Vohne to meet the old man, as surprised as he was to have a visitor.
It wasn’t unusual to see a hunter stop by, every now and then. The couple always welcomed them warmly, and offered a meal and good company with pleasure. Some even spent the night over, in exchange of a hare or a partridge.
But this man was most obviously no hunter.
Would you two, kind people, let an old man rest for a while? My legs are weary and I have a long way to go…
Again, the stranger’s voice resonated, and Vohne felt shivers going down his spine. “A long way to go where?” He thought, knowing their home was in the way to no nearby town.
The man smiled, revealing perfect shiny teeth. Cibelle nestled her tiny hand in Vohne’s, and he felt it trembling a little.
Are you lost, good Sir?
The question seemed to amuse the passer by. His eyes sparkled like the sun’s reflection on turquoise waters. He took a couple of more steps toward his hosts, serving them a most enigmatic answer.
By all means, no! I go where I need go, and I am where I need be…
And that seemed good enough an explanation for now.
The man looked up to the sky, Cibelle and Vohne mimicking him. Just as their eyes met the clouds, thunder resounded just above them three. The storm was about to break, and Vohne felt like he had no choice.
Please come in! The rain is coming, and you’ll find no other shelter nearby.
A bit reluctantly, he opened the door to the old man, watching him enter their home after thanking them gratefully.
To read the previous episodes of Cibelle & Vohne’s adventures, click here.