Aislyn's step was light as she entered through the kitchen door, expecting to encounter a cloud of smoke. Instead, she found Liadan in the center of the floor eating a sweet roll.
She glanced about the kitchen, "Hullo, Liadan," she greeted her friend, closing the door behind her. Aislyn spotted the loaves cooling on the counter, "Thank you for saving my loaves of bread." Her cheeks had a pink tint and her eyes still sparkled.

Liadan briefly wondered if Aislyn had seen her victory dance, she
dusted herself off with one hand as she walked over to the table
which was still against the wall.
"Hello Aislyn, good thing I rescued them too, Brighid says they need
bread in the kitchen." Liadan looked at Aislyn, "Why're you so pink?"
"Oh," Aislyn replied, "Why didn't Brighid take them...she didn't want to without telling me. I should know without asking."

She gathered the loaves up. The momentary wonder of where the other two loaves went entered her mind, but then she realized Liadan had probably been there for a while.
"Pink?" Aislyn muttered, "Uhm, well. I was visiting Tabor, the new blacksmith and his friends Jace and Karon."
"Brighid's kinda timid." Liadan shrugged, finishing off her
roll. "The blacksmith turned you pink?"
Aislyn nodded, "Brighid's been hurt badly and she's afraid to trust herself to do anything. I must make clear to her that she's free to take things for the inn." She glanced at Liadan. "As friends are free to take things as well. As for the blacksmith, let's just say I found him to be...very interesting."
She headed for the door and glanced back at Liadan, "And nice looking too. Let me just take these to cook and I'll be right back." She slipped through the door connected to the inn and was back in a matter of minutes. "Care to help me make more bread?"

"I offered to rob that shmegegge's house for her, or beat him up, I
don't think it'd help Brighid much though." She shrugged.
Hmmm..." Liadan smiled and helped herself to another roll while
Aislyn was gone. "Sure, oh, I got some stuff for you." Liadan put
down the roll and dug into her pockets.

Aislyn grinned at Liadan. "I'm glad you decided against robbing his house, it wouldn't be worth the punishment. And you're right, it wouldn't help Brighid much at all."
She walked over to the table to see what Liadan was pulling from her pockets, and expectant smile in her eyes.
"But I'd feel better... Oh where'd this come from? Hmph." Liadan
pushed a small leather wallet aside and showed Aislyn a wooden
carving of a either some lizard or a newt, it had been stained
green. "This's kinda cute, and I guess this is a miniature pitcher."
Liadan stood the small brass object upright. "Oh, and I found more
bent forks!" 3 forks rattled against each other. "Heh heh. And I
think this little bell is made out of silver. Works too." Liadan rang
the bell as a person can't hold a bell without ringing it.
Aislyn chuckled and shook her head. She looked at the carved lizard, which was rather charming. Aislyn picked it up and examined it, then the brass object which was indeed a pitcher. "I like both of these, Lia. How much?"
"Hmm, I think all that I've just ate should be worth at least that
much." Liadan said, and rang the little bell.
Aislyn grinned, "Fair enough." She set the two decorations on the ledge above her counter. She pulled out the loaves of bread she had tucked away to raise for baking tomorrow and set them on the table. "All right, Lia. Give your hands a good wash and we're going to bake bread."
She walked over to the bucket by the door and dipped her own hands in then soaped them up and rinsed them.

Liadan nodded. She pushed up her sleeves before dunking her grubby
hands in the bucket (Lia had learned that wet sleeves aren't much
fun), scrubbed them a bit, then rinsed. Liadan's hand had the tiniest
scar from the incident with the guy heaving things through windows.
"OK," Liadan waved her hinds and flicked her fingers so she
purposefully sprinkled Aislyn with drops of water. Liadan grinned
innocently, "I'm all set."
Aislyn giggled and just missed ducking from the flying water. "We need to punch down the dough like so," she made a fist and thumped into the center of the loaf. "Then roll it back together and let it set for another forty five minutes to raise until double in size. Then it will be ready to bake."
The ten balls of dough were lined up in front of them, five in front of each. With a laugh, Aislyn punched down the second loaf, watching Lia.
"Now you're getting violent, you're scaring me." Liadan said, then
punched down hard on her ball of dough, her knuckles went through it
and hit the table with a bang. "Aie! A klog iz mir!." Liadan grumbled
into her arm as she clenched her hand and did another dance less
complex than her victory dance but just as expressive.

Aislyn looked up in alarm, then saw what happened. "Lia? Are you all right?" She quickly walked around the table and took her hand to examine it. "Can you move your fingers?"
"Ach! Leggo! Leggo! Owowow- OW!" Lia swung a punch at Aislyn's
stomach with her good (unsmashed) hand and tried to pull her hurt
hand away from Aislyn, Lia's feet were trying to stomp on Aislyn's.
Aislyn blinked in surprise and released Lia's hand in self defense. She covered her mouth with her hands when Lia windmilled her arms trying not to land in an undignified heap on the floor.

Not for the first time Liadan landed butt first on the floor butt (I
mean but) she didn't really care. Her hand HURT! She could already
see that the knuckles were turning purplish.
"Why's this always happen to me when I'm around you?" Lia asked, a
little accusingly. Liadan massaged her hand.

Aislyn looked affronted, "But I said to punch down gently, Lia." She sat down on a chair, "Please let me see what I can do for your hand." Guilt washed over Aislyn. "I did that several times when mother was teaching me to bake bread."

"How do you /punch/ gently?" Liadan frowned, she'd
never thought of punching anything 'gently'. Liadan
made no motions of letting Aislyn anywhere near her
hand.

Aislyn sighed, "You make a fist and use a punching motion, but you use no force behind it. That's how you punch gently. Let me go get the healer for you. I shall be back shortly." She took only enough time to throw a cloth over the rolls of dough and headed out the back door.

Lia didn't want no one poking at her hand, she usually has a high
threshold for pain but bruising fingers hurts a lot. She stood up,
picked up another roll with her good hand. Then started to sneak
away.

Brighid slipped into the kitchen of the bakery. It was finally time for her break and she usually spent it with Aislyn and Liadan, if she was there.
To her surprise, once more there was no sign of Aislyn, but Liadan appeared to be sneaking out, sweet roll in hand.
"Ahem," Brighid cleared her throat. "It's finally time for my break. Must you leave so soon?'

"Uh, I gotta go," Liadan covered her bruised knuckles with her
roll. "There's a uh... Something or other."

Brighid eyed her with concern as Lia ran from the bakery. She sighed and glanced about the kitchen, feeling at loose ends and decided to take a walk instead. She shoved her hands into her skirt pockets, letting her shoulders droop just a bit, and slipped out the backdoor with no particular destination.

~~~

Lia felt a little bad about ditching Brighid like that since she
seemed kinda sad. But Liadan was more concerned with her hand right
now. It hurt hurt hurt hurt hurt.
She fled the bakery, then decided to get outta town for a while since
she instinctively does stupid stuff like leaving civilization when
the locals bother her too much. Liadan followed a path until she
reached a brook, hesitated for a moment then submerged her hand. The
cool water numbed it from the pain after a few moments. Liadan sighed.

~~

Aislyn opened the back door leading to the kitchen and allowed Ertzel to go in first. "But Miss Aislyn, no one's in here," she said upon laying eyes on an empty room.
A groan escaped Aislyn, "Then she ran off after I left to get you. I'm sorry for wasting your time."
Ertzel smiled, "No problem, Aislyn." Aislyn watched her leave then turned her attention to the loaves which were now ready to go into the oven. She slid them in, then sat down on one of the chairs to think.