Go to the Rose and Prince Brendan Blog for previous chapters.
This chapter belongs between the current chapters One and Two. Tom & Icy pointed out to me that Sienna mysteriously went from cow to woman. The Missing Chapter, Parts 1, 2 and 3, explains the transition from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, for Sienna.
This is Part 2 of 3.
“You agreed to my demand of loyalty rather fast,” said Loviatar.
“You changed me from a heifer and back to myself rather fast.” Sienna tried to reconcile the old woman’s appearance with her spry movements and refined voice. “I thought you could do more for me.”
“Perhaps we can help each other.” Loviatar stopped circling Sienna and walked off into the woods.
Sienna waited for some sort of direction from Loviatar and got nothing but the woman’s back. Sienna trotted after the woman.
They walked many hours without break or food, deep into the forest where Sienna had never been. The trees were ancient, their trunks so wide three grown men could not circle them with their hands clasp together around them.
At one and twenty years, Sienna had a hard time keeping up with Loviatar who Sienna guessed must be at least three score in age. By the time Sienna thought she would need to call out to the old woman that they must stop to rest, they reached a clearing within the trees that sheltered a well kept cottage, a pen with goats and chickens, an outbuilding and a garden.
Sienna saw a young boy of eight tending the animals while a girl who must be slightly younger than her sister, Rose, worked the gardens.
Loviatar walked up to the cottage and entered. The children outside never looked up from their chores.
Sienna followed the old woman into the house to find her being attended by another girl about the same age as the one in the garden. The girl helped Loviatar off with her rabbit pelt cloak and the many layers of cloth that wrapped and draped her body. She placed these items one by one in a pile on a table.
Once all of the clothes were removed, Sienna could see the body of Loviatar, now only covered by a sheath, slim and supple like that of a young woman. Loviatar sat on a stool facing the flames in the fireplace as the girl plucked leaves and small branches from Loviatar’s hair.
Since she received no instructions, Sienna sat on a chair in an opposite corner of the room and rested while the girl groomed Loviatar.
The girl brushed out Loviatar’s hair until it shone and was tangle free. She brought over a basin of water and a cloth and she wiped Loviatar’s face. She slipped a dark green, soft wool dress over Loviatar’s head. It slid down the woman’s body and pooled at her waist. The girl left the room, never once lifting her eyes in Sienna’s direction.
“So, you wish to be a queen,” said Loviatar.
Sienna startled from a light doze when Loviatar spoke. Though low, her voice carried across the room. Loviatar stood and turned towards Sienna. Sienna sat with her mouth hanging open and eyes wide.
Where once a dirty, poor, old woman sat there now stood a beautiful, black haired lady with eyes so blue they glowed, picking up every stray bit of light in the room.