The men, the meetings and mulled wine

The nights gradually became lighter, yet the dead of night gave no stars this eve. The cloud cover was heavy, threatening a storm, possibly snow. She was restless. Too much was occurring, and although her fortunes had much improved, her thoughts swirled in her mind like the impending storm. A pot of mulled wine fragranced the work room, rich with spice and just warm enough so as not to burn her tongue whenever she required her cup to be refilled.  She sat by the light of a candle, the holder an ornate clay jar with small holes, graduating in size from top to bottom, casting a pleasing pattern on the nearby wall. Her diary was laid out before her..

He is charming, highly attractive and intelligent. Sadly, he knows this. A man that could charm the birds from the trees and who has made women both of nobility and of the kitchen swoon.  We are close, we are now family. A man who at one point I despised, for good reason, is now allowed into the inner sanctum of my mind, my thoughts, my home.  It amuses me, though possibly more him, that others think us to be lovers. Admittedly his jests do not help to dispel such thoughts, nor does his, sometimes over, familiarity to me when we are in public.  Darling he calls me. We are equals.

She sipped her drink, a relaxing comfort as the howling of the wind began..

I confess, I do miss having a lover, one I could confide in, one whom I could be vulnerable with.  Yes, I have had dalliances, though the bard ruined any trust I might have in another. I expect them to depart, our time together brief, burning as brightly as the sun but then suddenly gone. It suits my work if I am truthful, not to have someone to judge what it is I do, to keep things simple, my mantra whenever asked is to claim I am an apothecary, a basket weaver, a midwife. They need not know anything more.  The choice is easy, should be easy, I will remain as I am.  I could never take someone into my heart, for to do so would be to lie to them. They cannot know of who I have joined, the new company I keep. I decided this was the life I wished, the power, the security and strength I desired, and I am prepared to pay such a price..  I suppose if I were to fall in love, I could draw them into the family such as another member had, but it seems rather doubtful.

Then there is him, if I thought his words were no more than a jest?  No, I should rid myself of that thought now, for although he claims his brother to be the rampant one, going from woman to woman, I have witnessed with my own eyes -his- ways.  The serving girl a mess of lust and desire, the florist doe eyed. He has women under an enchantment, and I would even consider the witchy girl playing a part in it, but no, it is all him.  There are others that have caught my eye, given me pause for thought, but again I should rid myself of such nonsensical ideas. There is too much work to be done, I should focus upon that, even if my bed is cold and empty.  Another blanket upon it, more pillows, yes, those shall do.

As agreed, I have severed ties with my suppliers.  This was met with predicted disappointment, yet, in all other aspects my business runs as it once did.  It was also agreed that the garden shall be restored to its former glory, before the incident.  It will help me greatly, keeping supplies close, not having to trounce about woodlands looking for what is needed, even though I have those who would do that for me now.  The bite upon my hand heals, yet now I am graced with two small scars. I still cannot believe how he tended to the wound, infront of company I might add. A caring, disgusting gesture. I do not recall anyone doing such a thing for me before now.

The storm began to rage, causing the fire to flare up  and flicker wildly with the downdraught, smoke coming into the room. She laid down the quill and opened the nearby window just a crack, the curtains instantly whipping around, the rain pelting the glass. Yet, in all the chaos, nature in all its anger, she stood calmly, the mulled wine in her hand and no more would she write