Yes, this makes me very glad. I have not written in, it feels like, absolute ages. Which I know isn't true, factually, but still. I made progress on editing LBT. Whenever I make progress on LBT, my mood improves drastically.
So, to celebrate, I'll post an excerpt here. Enjoy!
Matthew was the first to notice their return. Sitting on one end of the table, his feet on the seat of the chair in front of him, he’d been staring out the window for some time now. While Rosella and Elisa had been set to work peeling some vegetable or other, he hadn’t bothered to remember the name, Matthew occupied himself doing nothing. Hours had passed. Mark and Roye had both gone out and come back again, carrying three rabbits, which they left outside. Matthew had stayed behind with the girls, who were resting upstairs at the time. Now Mark aided the Guardian in repairing a leather belt, using the chest in the corner as a work table, and leaving Matthew at loose ends. If his Mother were here, she’d reprimand him for sitting on the furniture improperly and ignoring the chores being done around him.
But she wasn’t here. He wondered vaguely if his little brothers had remembered to put the trash out. Though by now that probably wasn’t one of their main concerns.
Cassidy had been gone the whole time. It worried Mark. Matthew could tell, even though his brother didn’t show it. So when Matthew spotted the two coming up the path towards the cottage, he hopped off the table and moved to the window, peering out. He waited a few moments just to make sure it was them, then glanced back at the rest of the room.
“Hey guys, Cass is back.”
Elisa set aside the small knife she’d been using and rose, dusting off her skirt as she crossed the room to join him at the window.
“Oh good,” Her brow smoothed. “I was so worried, but I didn’t want to say anything.”
She glanced a smile at him, and Matthew pat her shoulder. “Cass can take care of herself.”
A few moments later, Katarina and Cassidy came through the door.
“Everth sends his regards to you all,” The female Guardian slipped off her cloak and hooked it on a peg by the doorframe. “And to you, Roye, he advises to remain on guard. He and the others watching the West Border have discovered evidence of an unidentified traveler.”
Roye merely nodded from his place by the chest, needle and twine still in hand while Mark held a section of the belt in place for him. The frown that had dissipated when Cassidy came back returned. If he kept it up his face would probably freeze that way permanently. Not that anyone would be able to tell. Of the two of them, Mark was the least visibly expressive.
After giving Cassidy a hug, Elisa went back to her chore with Rosella, and Katarina walked over to inspect their progress.
Matthew leaned against the wall. He didn’t want to return to his place on the table, just in case Katarina turned out to be like his Mother in regards to etiquette.
“Find anything neat?” He raised his brows at his cousin.
Cassidy gave him a sidelong gaze, folding her arms, and moved over to stand next to him. “Yes, actually. Trees.”
“That’s real fascinating.”
The corner of her mouth quirked upward. “Well, it doesn’t look like you guys were exactly having a party.”
“Are you kidding? We put Old Jenkins’ hoe downs to shame.”
This drew a small chuckle from her, for which Matthew was immensely proud.
“So who’s this Everth guy?”
She shrugged. “One of the people we met, I suppose. They all spoke Meerinoran to Katarina, and she didn’t bother translating.”
“She must have talked more than Roye, at least.”
“Only by a little. She said English is called Common, in Xystia, and that we shouldn’t get discouraged.”
“Because of Common?”
“No,” She rolled her eyes. “In general. About getting home.”
“Oh.” He said. “That was nice.”
“Hm.” Was her only response.
He didn’t get a chance to say anything else, for Roye beckoned him, and conscripted he and Mark into carrying wood from the stack outside, to the stack inside. Matthew couldn’t decide if the Guardian was just trying to keep them busy so they wouldn’t worry, or if he enjoyed having little minions to send to and fro on various errands. He still hadn’t decided by the time they finished, but the scent of roasting meat distracted him as he carried in the last armful of splintered logs.
“I wonder what they did around here before we came,” He stepped aside so Rosella could pass by with a bucket in her hand. “All they seem to do now is eat and prepare to eat.”
“Roye said he often visits the village,” Mark crossed the room, lowering his armful of firewood into the crude bin beside the hearth.
“What do you mean, Roye said?” Matthew followed. “That guy never talks.”
“Yes he does.”
“Well, not to me he doesn’t.”
Mark just shrugged, standing.
Matthew knelt and half lowered, half dropped, his armful into the bin, settling it so it would stay in a neat-ish stack and not fall out. Patting his handiwork, he hopped to his feet again, dusting off his hands.
“What else did he say?”
--Excerpt from The Land Between Time, Chapter II, Draft III