The second part of the 1st chapter
The second part of the 1st chapter
The crowd was closing upon Bléumond, causing her to be a bit apprehensive, that she began to notice the crowd for once. Their faces seemed uncertain and anxious, and they were looking and jostling at each other, until one of them, the butcher stepped reluctantly forward to speak to Bléumond. He was just about to speak when she rushed through the crowd, for the handicraft man was leaving the market with the seller. The crowd just looked at her and frowned at the butcher.
"Why didn't you tell her.."
Bléumond heard whispers and looked back at the crowd.
"What did you say?" she asked. The crowd fell silent.
Thus she turned her attention back at the handicraft man and the seller, who was already a distance away.
"Wait! Wait!" she called. She paced faster after them but she couldn't catch up with them. The seller was walking with his eyes fixed at front, while the handicraft man was looking back from time to time. Bléumond was sure he noticed her, as he then whispered to the seller, as if urging him to walk faster. They were sure to lose her, if not for they had taken a turn near a building, and Bléumond saw the seller face. He was the man who supplied vegetables to her house, and she knew her.
"Fallar! Wait. Wait Fallar!" she called. To her surprised he stopped.
It surprised her even more when Fallar turned, as his face was white and his eyes were hazy. Slowly colour returned to his face, starting from the chin up to all over his face. It was as if blood was drained from him, and now it was given back. Recognition came to him, "Maise Bléumond?"
Maise is a term of respect towards the daughters of landlords.
"Yes, didn’t you hear I called for you to wait?" she asked.
"I..I don't know.."
"Doesn't matter," she said."Where are you going? Wait!"
Bléumond was addressing the handicraft man when she noticed Fallar was already running back to the town. Bléumond pursued the handicraft man and said, "Wait seller. You have offended me yesterday. You owe me...Wait!" she commanded but the man just continued walking on. They were crossing the bridge when Bléumond put a hand on his robe. She said,“ Stop peasant."
And to her surprise, the man stopped.
He turned towards Blèumond with such a fierce glare, that she was shocked and retreated a few steps back. The anger was however quickly concealed as fast as it appeared, replaced by solemnest and politeness.
"Yes Maise Bléumond, how can I help you?" he asked with such courteousness and deferential, one cannot determine whether it was genuine respect or utter contempt. The man deferential attitude and actions left Bléumond befuddled, that she even blushed.
"I..yesterday..at the market..I.." she stuttered finding words, which failed completely when she looked into the man eyes.
"Now Maise, why don't you go quickly home, as people might be worried about you. Run along now," he said sending her off. Obediently she went away and was about to cross the bridge when someone from across the river shouted her name.
She looked up and saw it was Fallar.
She turned around and saw the handicraft man.
Suddenly she felt very angry.
"How dare you trick me! How dare you peasant!" she screamed at the handicraft man, who coolly stood ignoring her. Meanwhile Fallar and two other men were shouting for Bléumond to get away from the man, as they themselves were fast approaching him.
Finally the handicraft man spoke,“ Be still Bléumond and watch."
"How dare you call me by that. Maise! Call me Maise Bléu.."
"Hush," he replied, quieting her. He then took out a glove and wore on his right hand, before picking up a stick from the ground. With the stick in his right hand, the man drew a line from the end of the bridge, ending a few distances away from the river. He stabbed the stick into the earth. The result was a snake-like trail with its 'tail' at the bridge and the stick as its 'head'.
Bléumond who was watching intently was about to question the man, when Fallar arrived. With him were the butcher and the town elder, Joha. Bléumond promptly bowed towards Joha, in which the handicraft man irked a smile.
"I assume this is a man of importance that even the Maise greeted with respect. However I wonder, why does a revered man doing so far out of town. To what do I owe this visit?"
"Maise Bléumond, come here. This man is evil, you must not go near him," said Fallar.
"Come here Maise, I will protect you," said Joha. Thus Bléumond walked towards them. As she approached, the butcher spoke quietly to him, "Maise,the people wonders if we may stop giving you present today, instead of a week. That is if you agree."
Before she could answer, the handicraft man spoke.
"You wished to protect her, revered old man? Like you protect the village and say there is a demon, so that only you could go and pick the plants in the woods?"
Joha's face turned red.
"And you,“ addressing Fallar, "you who bought, or rather stole my crafts."
"I did not steal your 'things’," Fallar replied.
"They are my crafts, handworks. Not 'things’. It was your wife, but all the same, you should pay or give it back."
"I will not pay for nothing," said Fallar.
"They are NOT nothing," said the man angrily."And I would have taken the money my own way, if it were not for this child," he said addressing Bléumond.
"What did I do?" she asked perfunctorily.
"You called his name, you broke my spell."
Hearing this, Joha the elder jumped the gun."There you hear it. The man is really playing the devil. Stay close Maise, I will protect you."
Those words angered the man greatly."Swindler, liar," he said. He then pulled the stick out. With the end of the stick touching the line, the man swung the stick to the right and left. Additionally, the line he drew on the ground swung in accordance. So did the three men who were stepping on the drawn line.
Bléumond watched with astonished eyes at the sight but she was knocked to the side as the swinging became faster and wider. The three men meanwhile were screaming for help, for their feet appeared to be tied to the trail on the ground.
"Can you even protect yourself, old man? Can you?" said the man before throwing the stick into the river.
"Swim you swine."
The men were released from the spell, as soon as the stick lifted from the earth. However the force of the swing causes them to be thrown into the river and it took a while for them to get to the bank. Bléumond who was very fascinated with the display of magic, followed after the handicraft man. Joah's forebode her but it fell on deaf ears. Or perhaps not, for she turned and said towards the butcher, „Continue to give the offerings. If I am not to collect, my servant will, or you can send them to the House."
Thus Bléumond walked away, catching up to the mysterious handicraft man.