Your Online Cup of Tea
Entry 1. – Devembfel 20th – Evening – Second Watch
Is this working? Hello? I guess I’ll find out later. I’ve been messing around the past few weeks. Mixing forms together to create this thing that can capture sound. At least I hope it does. Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, tomorrow I’m leaving to go live in Winter. Man I can’t stand the cold. I don’t even think I have family up there. Why did I have to be pre-disposed to intellect veroshe? And why did water have to be one of the easiest forms to alter? Marga keeps joking about how I’m going to get eaten by Tragoladesh up there. Yeah, let’s send me up North, where the invisible snake monsters that roam the Winter plains can get me. I’ve argued about this a million times with my parents, but they won’t listen. I have natural violet eyes, which means I’m at least half an Intuite like father. I would have preferred to go and live with his family in Autumn for the next two years. But they won’t let me get any Intuite training. Not even at the Academy at the capital, Avalon. “No-one can know anything about you having any Intuite powers” Mother would say all the time annoyingly.
Then there’s the solution. I have to drink it every morning to turn my eyes black so no one could know. This meant for almost two years at boarding I could never get a lie in. My school friends at the capital all thought I was weird. Since I would get up so early to drink it before anyone could see me. They all thought I was a morning person when actually I hated the mornings. Speaking of which, that’s when I have to get up tomorrow. In the morning. Was there no later boat to bring me to Winter? I’m not even sure what family I’ll be staying with once I arrive there.
Then there’s… the non-Veroshians… There were some in the Capital but not many. I’ve never really spoken to them. But there are supposed to be noticeably more in Winter. With quite a bit of foreign technology, ones that don’t run on veroshe. I have a curious mind, so I want to see it for myself. Learn how to use them and see what I can make for myself. I’m told I’ll be getting lessons in Foreign Science, while I’m there. A lot of people around the rest of Avalonia aren’t happy with that though. The Winterfaels already are considered sort of snobbish, so this coziness with outsiders and access to new technology only makes them look worse.
But that’s part of the reason I’m voice-writing this. One day I want to see the world beyond Avalonia. I suspect, that many outside would probably want to see our world too. But won’t get the chance. So I’m hoping to turn all this into a book for- Well, I’m getting way ahead of myself. I don’t even have clothes for snow. I’ve never even seen snow in my life… Yippeee… I’m going to go now, I can’t focus because Marga won’t shut up about how great it was living in Autumn last year… Two years of snow… I can do this…. Can’t I?
Entry 2. – Devembfel 21st – Morning – Third Watch
I was awoken by Marga who was singing. Loudly. Before the sunrise. If strangled cats could sing…. I had almost left the packing until today. But going by how tired I am right now times the lack of motivation to get up, it was a good call. Looking across my bed, I could see a huge winter cloak had been taken out of my bag and placed by my desk. Marga. This journey was going to take about week. I still had a few days of non winter weather to go. I stuffed the coat back into my bag which was heavier than I remembered. I’m just glad that our houses don’t have stairs. Summerval homes typically don’t. That is once again, a Winter niche. Although the Springvaels practically have entire cities on top of massive trees, so that’s not too weird.
The wooden floor was cold enough under my feet getting out of bed. I can’t even imagine what it will be like in a cold climate. I didn’t feel like getting up just yet. I held my hand out at the small blue bottle on my desk till it started floating over to me. Mid yawn I almost lost focus and dropped it. Instinctively I looked around before drinking, but realised I was home so it didn’t matter. After a few sips, I normally go for the mirror by my bed. Wait, why didn’t I keep the solution there? As the saying goes, why make things easier for yourself when they can be difficult. But that’s my life. Constantly hiding back my Intuite powers. Which a lot of the time means pretending I’ve a low and weak reach. That is, not being able to affect objects more than few feet away and even then only a little bit. In reality that was far from the truth. But I couldn’t risk it. I had to be cursed with- sorry, I keep forgetting that there are people around. Need to be careful with what I say.
Anyways, I held the mirror and watched as the violet around my pupils went black. Like the hair of my skinny braids. Mother did them yesterday so they’d be fresh for at least two months. They’re easy enough to manage only going down to the tip of my shoulders. The sides of my head are shaved though. Which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea for the cold.
Mother had breakfast wrapped up on the table for the road. Next to two bags of spending and usage Croft for me and Marga. And of course, right beside mine was the bottle of solution. I rolled my eyes. The other day Mother had written down the recipe for me again (as if I hadn’t it memorised by now). She would put it amongst the ingredients of a cookbook I was forced to take me with always. It’s laughable really, considering that I’ve never made a single dish in my life. Nor did I intend to anytime soon. It had become another joke around my friends back at the capital, that I had this dusty old book I never needed. So much for being inconspicuous. Friends which by the way were not going to Winter with me.
Father was already dressed waiting by the door with what looked like a pair of wooly boots for me in his hands.
“They look terrible. I’m not wearing those,” I protested.
“Your feet will be begging you to put them on once you’re in Winter. Trust me.” Snort. Marga looked for a cloth to wipe the milk coming out of her nose.
“Pretty as always,” I said. Mother gave me another of those hugs as though it were the last one. She insisted that I send word home at least once every week.
Father reached for his side and pulled out his Vallopinne. It’s shaped like a small dagger that a violet see through blade of glass. With a silver handle and gold spiral like embroideries.
Salos. Saying this, the Vallopinne lit up brightly and he walked out into the dark dawn. I had asked for a Vallopinne for when I was up North, in case of a Tragoladesh. But Mother said it was almost certain that I would not see one. And that I shouldn’t entertain such foolish thoughts that may lead me into a situation where such an encounter would be likely. The scowl I got from here when I replied “you never know” was a warning that she wasn’t joking.
“Remember!” said mother.
“Yes, I’ll drink the solu-
“No, remember,” she repeated, this time tapping her temple with both index fingers.
“I won’t mum. I’ll be careful.” She smiled relieved. Then after surviving one more bear hug. I made my way for the door.
I held up my amulet, it was a simple white stone on a bronze base.
Salos. I looked inside the now shining stone, which now became clear. Inside it could be seen my name flowing back and forth under our family insignia. I smiled.
You would think there was a festival or something going on. Out before sunrise, we would walk past different groups of bright amulets and Vallopinnes sprinkled across the night. I was looking out for people I knew but it was too dark for that. You could tell who the first years were. These were the ones singing the New Year song a few days early. Excited about starting school. Well I don’t think I noticed anyone else with a woolly hooded cloak like mine singing. No way. No one going to Winter would be singing that over joyed at this watch of the night.
“What are you murmuring about,” I asked Marga. She ignored me the first few times I asked until eventually breaking her train of thought.
“I’m seeing what words go well with Marga-Lach for my chosen name when I graduate this year.”
“The names are supposed to be significant, not sound good.”
“Why not both simpleton? It’s my name. If I’m going to bear one, it had better sound nice.”
“To match your delightful personality I suppose.”
“Lae! I’m going to-
“Woah children please, it is far too early for this.”
“Sorry Father. Marga is just a little cranky since she didn’t get much slumber. Which is said to rejuvenate ones beauty. But as you can see-“ I was an inch away from not dodging the fist Marga had formed for me. Payback for snorting milk. I thought to myself…
After a few moments I could hear the crowds as we reached port. Father and I were waiting by a line after seeing Marga off. Her boat was violet with large blue signs saying Autumn on the side. If only I could sneak on. It got to our turn, turns out my name wasn’t on the school list for the Winter boat however. We waited for a few minutes as the Portsman searched for me.
“I definitely cannot see your son on the list. No one by the last name Lach. Are you sure he’s going to Winter?”
“Unfortunately I am.” The Portsman called over one of his colleagues to help. He held up a Vice. It looked like marble flattened on a gold base, much like my amulet. Except it was rectangular and could fit in the palm of one’s hand. Salos. His colleague said, holding the Vice. He waved his hand over it as different names would appear but could tell he also had trouble finding mine.
“Well,” he said, “if he’s definitely going to Winter, then perhaps he’s going be horse carriage.”
“Horse carriage?” asked me father, “are those safe?”
“Well the Winters have been crazy about them ever since trade was allowed with the Outsiders. And if it’s good enough for those snobs, it’s good enough for us. Only the richest Winters have horses for picking up their kids.” I could feel my stomach turning. Not only was I going to be on a horse cart (I’ve only ever seen a horse from far) but I’ll be sharing it for almost a week with possibly a stuck up Winterfael. No. They’re not all like that. One in particular she… maybe it’s her carriage? It never occurred to me I might be seeing her again.
“I found your name!” yelled the Portsman from afar, “definitely horse carriage. Yours is 367.” I couldn’t believe what I saw. The carriage was entirely light blue. With fancy white flowery designs around its frame. And 6 big wheels that looked like they were made of gold. It was big enough to seem comfortable. Pulled by five big white horses. Terrifyingly big horses. Not that I knew how big a horse should be. Their long drawn out sound was almost as frightening as their appearance. I looked at father one last time and could tell he was keeping his distance, having not had experience with the creatures either.
“Well, this is it…” I said to him.
“Don’t be so dramatic. A bit of cold never killed anyone,” he laughed. I did not.
“Fair-partings.” With that I knocked (fine, I tapped timidly) on the door at the back of the carriage. It swung open carefully, and there was a woman with long black hair flowing out of her dark violet hood covering one eye. She didn’t smile and she held a Vallostaff pointed at me shining red.
“Name, answer truthfully.”
“Lae-Lach, sorry, must be the wrong cart.”
“No, that is correct, you can enter. “ Her tone switched immediately and she smiled.
“Sorry, have to be careful.” She pulled back the red curtain that was behind her, just enough to let me through without seeing all the way behind. And I walked in.
“Love you son!”
“Love you to-“ She shut the door. “Quick, go ahead and find a seat.” I got past the curtain and almost couldn’t believe it.
“My lady,” I bowed my head, “may you be pleased-
“Yeah, that’s going to get old really quick, just sit down.” I did as I was told. Madisling, the daughter of Summer’s former prince was sitting in the same carriage as me. Now I understand the weird security at the door. The inside of the carriage had soft red fabric on the ground, with red and violet cushions and decorations. I could tell that beyond a certain point, no shoes would be welcome. I carefully took mine off and sat at on a cushion furthest from Madisling.
“Afraid I’ll hurt you or something?”
“No, My-“ her raised eyebrow was all the warning I need. Someone started laughing and Madisling also joined in. So fixated on Madisling, I didn’t even notice the other girl my age in the corner. This one was wearing a long blue robe with a darker blue cardigan that had hood on it. She had long blonde hair, but not as white as Madisling’s.
“I’m sorry, for being so rude, I didn’t notice-
“Yes, she does have that effect on the boys. It’s understandable.” Her accent was unusual, must be a Northern one that I’m unfamiliar with.
“My name, is Faye. And yes, I do sound strange from the look on your face. That’s because I’m not from here.”
“No. Well yes, I’m not from Summer. In fact, I’m not from Avalonia at all.” She’s foreign. A Royal, and Commoner and an Outsider all walk into a carriage… These next two years, were going to be… Interesting…