Feeling a chill in the sweet summer air, she rose from her weaving and breathed in the breeze. It smelled of the crisp decay of Autumn. Yes — harvest celebrations would come soon. Craning her head to the sky, she spied a sun hanging too low for a proper summers day. Yes — another sign the warm days were waning. The rituals needed preparation.
Stealing away into the hut, her hands worked their way through baskets and vials, inventorying what regents remained preserved through the short summer. A delicate smile teased her lips at her findings. Yes — this would be simple. No time wasted on gathering basic ingredients. Now her energies could be better spent, on preparations done proper during the moon’s waxing phases.
Drawing to a window, she consulted a book bound in braided tendon. It lay in repose before the sun-lit frame of a window. Stretched animal skins covered distorted class, crude in make but matching the rest of the abode’s decor. Her fingers slipped into the book pages, consulting chart after chart to confirm her hopes. Yes, indeed — the waxing phase had begun. What fortune to taste Autumn’s promised death on the breeze on happenstance this morning.
Now her attentions shifted to a wooden chest astride a cot of furs, lashed closed in an intricate knot of tar-stained rope. Brushing the tips of her fingers over its gordian design, the rope un-knit itself and slipped to the floor. Within the chest lay a dagger — its jeweled hilt out of a place in a hut of furs, grease, and dust — yet its dirtied blade matching the sheath of its surroundings. Humming, she dipped a cloth in lacquer and scented oil, working over the blade’s edges. The treatment yielded the dagger’s natural sheen: a deep crimson bled deeply into the metal of the blade. Another smile curling her lips, she folded the cloth over the blade, taking a section of tarred rope to bind it, and slipped it into her belt.
Yes — it was time for preparations to be made. Returning outside, she breathed another gust of the withered breeze that crossed her doorstep. Closing her eyes, she listened. Below her hill, a village slept. With ears turned to the hush below, she heard a cry — a startled squeal of a sleeping babe, awakened by hunger or fright. A smile again played on her lips. Her fingers toyed with the dagger that waited
Yes — the harvest was good this year. The ritual would have all it needed, and more.