June 18, 2017

In Which Aspen Gets an Opening

May 6, 1204

"Uh... hello."

Aspen had forced herself through the apothecary door, but the urge to turn back remained. Speaking, particularly a greeting, was a commitment. She didn't know Aerina well, but she was kin to her in-laws and therefore not a stranger. Now that she'd spoken, she either stayed, or left with the inevitable consequence of some sort of inquiry on the healer's part.

So she could tell herself, anyway.

"Aspen?" Aerina abandoned whatever root she'd been powdering and swept away from the table. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, I suppose." She was, for now. But her daughter's sniffles and the scrapes of Nato's siblings could only sustain her for so long. If she wanted to keep herself sane--while still keeping herself alive--she needed a more reliable supply of light headaches and slight coughs and minor injuries. And she needed something to do.

"I was just wondering if... you maybe needed any help around here? On a voluntary basis, I mean. You don't have to pay me or anything."

"Free help? From a relation by marriage who's expressed no prior interest in herbs and who has a baby at home?" A little blunt, perhaps--but, Aspen supposed she got the confusion. "Not to belittle your offer, but it's quite... out of the blue."

"Yes, I, uh-- I don't know. I never really had much interest in anything, and I just sort of need something to do. Er, something that's just mine, I mean."

"That's fair." But Aerina's lip retained its skeptical clench. "I get the feeling there's more to it, though. I hope you don't mind me prying, but I don't think it's unreasonable to want to know your motives before taking you on."

It wasn't unreasonable. Aerina needed to know how she could use Aspen, how to keep subtle. Aspen needed to know that Aerina believed her, would help her. And, if anything... well, it was an opening. When it came to the less-than-believable, it was better to be asked than to announce.

"All right. So, you're probably going to think I'm crazy, but..."

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