A continuation of my short story Purge. It is not in my nature at all to write Young Adult fantasy, but goodness. It’s just so gosh darn fun!
The Blacksmith was taken aback. He knew that the first sister was a nun, but he didn’t expect her to be so beautiful. Rumor has it that Sister Pearl used to have a full mane of red hair. Those who had seen it had likened it to the bonfires of New Year’s Eve. Like those burning pyres that ate its sacrifices, her hair seemed to feed on the force of life that teemed through her blood. She once held the title of the Greatest Witch in all of the Kingdom. A great many wizards and witches have tried to replicate her spells but ended up burnt to a crisp. The Great Admina held no penance for her actions and answered to no god.
Now, the same woman walked through the Blacksmith’s door wound so tightly in cloth that she appeared almost bald. Not a lick of flame was let out from under the heavy fabric. Sister Pearl turned her cold eyes on to the Blacksmith and said nothing.
The Blacksmith smiled and held his hands out as an offer to take her heavy coat.
Silently, Sister Pearl shifted and rearranged the garment against her shoulders. The message was clear. The cloak stayed on.
The Blacksmith rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed.
“Sister, please, sit down. Make yourself comfortable.”
Pearl walked over to the couch, reached under the folds of her coat, and took out a small black book.
“No need Blacksmith. I will stand.”
She said little else. The Blacksmith with no response and feeling red-faced, rocked back and forth on his heels for a while. He finally settled on escaping the situation.
“I do so appreciate your help Sister. Um, I will be in the kitchen attending to dinner. Feel free to join whenever you please.”
Pearl shifted her eyes off the page and the Blacksmith saw her peering at him over the black binding. She was holding the book to her face, and its edge underlined some fearsome purpose in her eyes. It was so that the Blacksmith wondered that if he were to disobey and look away he would burst into a pile of flames and iron fillings.
“Well thought out Mr. Blacksmith,” she said. “It is always good courtesy to feed one’s guests when one invites lionesses into their den.”
Blacksmith’s heart nearly stopped.
I made the wrong decision bringing them here he thought. Gracious Lord, they are going to kill me and my son. But Pearl’s eyes crinkled over the book and the Blacksmith realized in horror what had really happened. Sister Pearl had made a joke. No less, she had whispered it into the pages of the holiest book in the land.
Relieved, the Blacksmith gave a small laugh and excused himself from the room. It was when he was firing up the oven to bake the turkey that he nearly dropped the hot iron skillet on his foot. He fell onto his knees and prayed for his and his son’s souls. For he had realized that the Holy Book held only the truth and what was promised in it will surely become truth. Sister Pearl had read straight out of the Holy Book.