Chapter 3

A/N: Sorry that it took me so long to write this chapter… I hope everyone enjoys it! J Any ways thank you to everyone who reviewed and a special thanks to my beta readers Carmen and Elizabeth!

I ran quickly and silently over the mossy earth. I did not notice the sweet chirping of neither small birds nor the soft whistle of a passing breeze. I did not hear anything except the sound of my ragged breathing. Stray branches whipped at my unprotected face but nothing could slow me down. I had been seen, something that I had done anything and everything to avoid. I had carelessly exposed both my grandmother and myself. In the years past the incident would not have troubled me so but in these treacherous times even one small blunder could shorten ones life.

I exploded through the tree line surrounding our cottage and collapsed on to the soft green grass.

"Grandmother," I cried as I clumsily got up.

I stumbled to our garden gate, my eyes searching desperately for signs of her.

"I'm in the front dear," she called back cheerfully.

"Did you collect all the herbs I wanted dear?" My grandmother inquired.

She was carefully hanging up tiny bundles of dill, mugwort, tarragon, and coriander for drying. The moment she looked upon me however her bright, optimistic face turned into a worried and concerned look only a grandmother could have.

"What happened child?" she asked, "You look like a bushel of hay which has been through a fierce storm!"

"I've done the worst thing grandmother! I was getting the herbs that you wanted, oh and I tried to be so careful, I guess I didn't watch my surroundings, I was distracted by the beautiful morning…"

Slowly my grandmother put her hand up in attempts to silence my rambling and then beckoned me inside.

"Cease child before you tongue runs from you very lips," she said in a stern but caring manner, " Now come inside and calm down while I make you and I a cup of tea. Then and only then may you tell me what came to pass this morning."

Like an obedient pup I followed her into our cozy 3 room cottage. My grandmother began to busy herself with the tea and I collapsed into one of our kitchen chairs. I casually looked over at a mirror hanging on the far wall and was taken back when I looked at my reflection.

"Why I look absolutely horrid!" I gasped.

My grandmother laughed softly; "Yes you are quite a sight! I think that it might be best if you clean yourself up before this tea is ready."

Quickly I walked into my small bedroom and looked more closely at my reflection. Twigs and leaves were tangled in my golden hair and the ribbon that had tied my hair back this morning was no where to be seen. My fair complexion was completely flushed and there was a small scratch on my right cheek. My chaise was the worst of all with grass and mud stains covering the front. I sighed slowly, even a troll could have been taken back by my looks. And so I went to work taking the foliage out of my hair, washing my face, and putting on a fresh chaise. When I emerged from my room my grandmother was already sitting calmly at the kitchen table.

"That's better," she sighed as I blushed slightly, "Now, come sit sown, drink your tea and tell me what has gotten my flower so upset!"

I responded to the nickname and quickly did as I was told. The smell of the chamomile tea quickly calmed my nerves. I began to tell my grandmother my short yet serious story. When I was done she looked at me with an unreadable face and I began to worry that she was about to be cross with me.

"Oh grandmother I am so sorry," I blurted with tears welling up in my eyes, "This is all my fault!"

"Now, now dear, you are making this much bigger than it needs to be!" She said in a soothing tone as she lightly brushed a lonely tear from my cheek.

"But grandmother with everything that is happening I probably carelessly exposed us!" I gasped desperately.

"My dear…"

"Oh no what if I was followed!" I said as I ran to the window.

"No one followed you Lily!" grandmother said as she gently turned me around so that I could face her, "The foolish thing to do is to act in this manner. The goddess would not approve! Now you need to trust that everything will be all right. Yes, things are getting rather tense but considering only one man saw you at such a wee hour in the morning I am sure that he was only a forlorn traveler. Now please gather what wits you still have left and put this matter behind you where it belongs! There are chores to be done and we are going to go to bed with the sun because you will need your strength tomorrow."

I shook my head in attempts to clear it, "But what am I doing tomorrow grandmother?"

"Why I'm sending you off to town for supply's my dear!" she said candidly as she headed out the back door.