The waves broke open upon the rocks and sprayed fine mist into the air. The girl sat just above the spray, the leather of her cloak keeping the dampness of the rocks from seeping into her skirts as she sat. Aunt Nim would never approve. No matter how the youth turned the arguments over in her head, she couldn’t find a single thread that would pull her aunt around to this plan. And it was important, ever so important, that Aunt Nim give her approval. Aimee couldn’t leave here with the silent accusation of ‘just like her mother’ ringing in her ears.
Farther out on the water, the tiny fishing ships of Kisingersee were pulling up their last nets of the day. Aimee could just see the flecks of their sails away down the coast. And that, she knew, was part of her problem. Just like her mother, her gaze was always wandering to the horizon, nor did her curiosity stop when the line of her sight did. Just like her mother. It seemed like she had grown up in the echo of that refrain. Never from Aunt Nim, and soon enough, the townsfolk knew better than to say it in front of Aunt Nim. But Aimee knew it was said nonetheless. What wasn’t said, what no one in town seemed to want to acknowledge, was that Aimee was like her father as well. The tilt of her eyes, the slant of her cheeks, the tapering of her ears…her elven heritage was plain to be seen. Not that elves, or those of elven descent, were unwelcome in the village. But those few of elven blood who did take to sea sailed on merchant ships far too grand to need to lay anchor at the modest little fishing village of Kissingersee. No, what the townspeople avoided discussing, at least openly, was that no one knew who Aimee’s father was. The one woman who did know had refused to say anything.
Aimee’s mother had been, according to the village gossips, always walking along with her head in the clouds, with dreams far too big for simple, hard village life. Janaice had been full of her ambitions to leave the village, to marry wealthy, to have a life of ease and comfort and luxuries. Aunt Nim had raised her younger sister as best she could. Aimee, despite her best efforts, never did learn what had happened to her grandmother. Aunt Nim would only say that she would tell her when Aimee was “ready to hear it”. Others would only make a gesture to ward against evil if Aimee discreetly tried to steer a conversation in that direction. About Aimee’s mother, however, the villager’s were more than happy to spill an earful.
Aunt Nim had raised her younger sister the best she could when… (fingers crossed over heart)…and if anyone could have gotten some sense into Janaice, it would have been Dear Nimertha. And Janaice had been a pretty little thing, even if she weren’t reliable or sensible. She could have had her pick of any of the young village men, though she would have made a poor housekeeper. Still, the boys seemed to dote on her like anything. But she was too quick to tell everyone how she wasn’t going to spend her life scratching a living out of the dirt, slaving in a hovel with a baby pulling on her skirt. Not Janaice. There were better things in the world, and Janaice was bound to get them. First chance she got, she slipped away with some traders heading toward the Capital. Bout broke her sisters heart she did, and after all Dear Nim had been through and all she had tried to do for Jan, ungrateful girl that Jan was.
And that was the last anyone heard of Jan, till she showed up with the first winter storm two years later, thin and sickly and miserable looking, and out to here with child.