The sun beat down on Ceonbura as she sat outside the Prancing Pony, ticking tasks off of her mental to do list. She had brushed Aernyst and given him some good food. She had taken him to the farrier to get his shoes checked over to make sure they were not in need of repair. She had even begun packing items in her room for what she was going to take on the trip. As she sat under the hot summer sun, she knew there was something she had forgotten, probably due to the heat turning her brain to mush.
Everything needed to be perfect for her trip the following day. After a tour around town a few days prior, Honeymist had offered to show Ceonbura her favourite place in Breeland. It was a lake that sounded so beautiful when she described it, though the name had never stuck in Ceonbura’s memory. Not having a horse of her own, Honeymist would be on Aernyst with Ceonbura, so everything needed to be in perfect order.
The tour of the town had been wonderful. It felt like it had lasted forever, yet also like it had gone by far too swiftly. Honeymist had taken her to a lovely garden full of flowers that had smelt as good as she had. They then walked to a small out of the way market at the foot of some stairs where Honeymist had purchased them each a small fruit pie which had been delightful. Lastly, they had trekked up the long path to the ancient ruins that overlooked the town from on the hill. The view had been gorgeous. There they had sat, discussing their lives, and admiring the views. Ceonbura supposed she had spent a lot of time admiring the view over Bree but could only really recall talking with Honeymist. She supposed that must be normal, for it was so nice to have a proper friend at last.
She needed to polish her tack! The final task on her list came to her and she almost smacked herself in the head for how obvious it was. Of course, she would need to polish the riding equipment. She had to make sure it was presentable for Honeymist. She made her way back to the stables where she found a seat in the shade and began polishing her saddle first, ensuring the leather was soft and smooth.
As she polished, she recalled her conversation with Honeymist. “Is there anything you would really like to do?” She had asked. Such a novel concept. Doing something because she wanted to, rather than just as a means to get by and survive. It was not a question she had an answer for yet, though it had been mulling around in her brain a lot since that day. Maybe with more time it would come to her.
Unable to answer, she had returned the question to Honeymist. The farm girl had grown quiet and withdrawn when she spoke of her ambition to grow and sell flowers. Ceonbura had not understood the timidity at first, so had said that it sounded like a pleasant and peaceful way to live. The way Honeymist’s face had lit up when she had said that had brought just as bright a smile to her own face as well. Then Honeymist had spoken of how her parents did not believe she would succeed, that it would never work out as a job. The timidity had made sense then but seeing the passion and hope that Honeymist had for her dreams, Ceonbura fully believed that she could accomplish them. She could probably accomplish anything.
Ceonbura was smiling as she recalled the conversation with her new friend. It felt wonderful to have someone she could talk to about life. It felt so different from the way she had spoken to people she worked with, and she liked this far better. It simply felt more natural and more honest, and she loved the way it made her feel comfortable and welcomed.
She felt like she made record time polishing her tack, which she hung up in the stable next to Aernyst. She gave the tall brown horse a hug and said her farewell before returning inside to finish packing for the trip.
Honeymist had suggested that they would swim out to the island in the lake, so she stuffed a towel and a change of underclothes into her saddlebags. After a moment of thinking, she then pulled a box from under her bed, then set it onto the mattress. Taking a key from around her neck, she unlocked the container of all of her worldly possessions.
The box contained a couple more changes of clothes, some small tools for fixing her riding gear, some odd bits and pieces that she had acquired on her travels, and a few sentimental objects. Nestled amongst the clothes was small lock box that contained the last toy her mother had given her as a child, her father’s silver neck chain. She did not open the box, even as her gaze lingered on it for a moment, and instead pulled out a large bottle. It was the last of a small personal supple that she had brought with her from her homeland. Some of the finest Snowbourn mead. Her favourite drink, reserved only for special occasions. She smiled and tucked it into her saddlebag, packing around it with her towel and clothes.
Well, if she was taking a bottle of mead then she would probably need cups as well. She returned the box to its place under the bed, then with a joyful spring in her step left her room to go bother Mr Butterbur about borrowing two of his cups.