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Brest is wonderful! I walk the streets in awe still after all these weeks. The life and the scents and the colors intoxicate me! The book tower fascinates me, and I’ve already spent a bit too much there on books on local herbs and minerals, and on local myths and folklore. The language comes easy to me. I understand most, but still have problems curling my tongue around some of their words. The city seems to have connections all over the known world, and I have no problems finding the spices I usually use, and the cloth that I prefer. I will be forced to buy warmer clothes as well. Winter will come, and I’m told they get very cold here.
I’ve made a friend. Madame Benoit is a widow of a former mayor and is very liked and respected here. She is fascinated by everything strange and odd, and thus was drawn to me. She suffers from arthritis and some other old age ailments and I attempt to ease her pains. She loves to hear stories from afar, and have quite a few stories to tell herself. She has advised me how to set up shop here, and helped me find a little place of my own. It’s small, but cozy. Just two rooms really; a shop- and workroom and a private room with a hearth that is perfectly adequate for my cooking and concoctions. I’ve found a glassmaker that makes very pretty little bottles, and we’ve made a deal about swapping services. This will be a nice place to stay awhile.
Business is good. I feel comfortable servicing the bourgeoisie as opposed to the higher classes. They are less demanding and friendlier. I’ve made quite a few friends here now, and a stroll down the street is full of smiles and nods and stops for friendly conversation. I mostly sell amulets and healing concoctions. And occasionally I cater to dinner parties. So now I am a witch, an alchemist AND a cook. I enjoy that very much.
Madame Benoit is not well. Nothing I do seem to help her anymore. Nothing seems to ease her pain. She seems to shrink and fade away from me, and it pains me so. Some days she can hardly speak. She just holds my hand and looks at me with those eyes that just beg me for help. I’ve tried some of my stronger painkillers, but they work only temporary. I am here every day and my hope is running out.
Oh! Oh, I can’t! But she is in so much pain, and she begs me. Begs me! She wants release, she wants to move on. And I understand and I can do it – I have the means. But I can’t! I must seek advice from the spirits.
The city fades into the background. I’ve walked here on my bare feet. I have brought nothing with me. This is no desert and it is hard to find a truly deserted place. The sun is rising and time is running. Fleeing from me when I have no time to spare. She suffers while I am still here and I must return as soon as I can. Here must be good. There are rocks and trees and grass and flowers. Here are bees and a faint breeze and a brook nearby. I sit down cross legged, rest my hands in my lap and close my eyes. I shut out the mundane world and open my mind to the spirits. They whisper to me softly at first, then I can hear them clearly and it’s like being home. It’s not difficult to call a single spirit to help, but to call them all and ask advice is not as easy. When I first ask them they get angry and hisses at me, they push against me and pinch me, but I keep talking and they soften, they listen. When my words cease they are perfectly still around me. Gentle caresses on my arms and face, down my back, across my chest tells me that they feel compassion. They understand. My reasons are justified and they support them. My heart is heavy, but not despaired, when I get up. I can fulfill her wish and with the spirits’ blessing. I will brew a poison.