The Birth of Wren Chastain (3 of 6)

Kaelyn entered the shop, a small bell ringing. She breathed a quiet sigh of relief. As much as she enjoyed visiting the Chastains and the others in her care, she also enjoyed some time of her own. After all, she was a 14 year old girl, not a Master Healer, and people couldn't expect her to be a healer always, just a healer first. She had done her duty, she had tended to her families first, now it was time to be Kaelyn.

[the shop owner's wife] greeted Kaelyn and smiled. “welcome Miss! What can I do for you today?”

Kaelyn smiled and said “I heard you have a new shipment of fabrics in, and I would like to look at them, please.”

“Of course! Are you shopping for Marion?”

“No, this is for me,” Kaelyn said, bristling a little. “I've been saving up, and I want to make myself a dress.”

“Well that's nice dear, what kind of dress are you making?”

“Well, I want something that I can wear while doing my work, something nice... but sturdy, and that I can let out as I grow...and pretty.”

The kindly older lady smiled at the requirements but started arranging bolts of fabric. Kaelyn sighed a little as a pretty bolt of iridescent silk went onto a shelf, and reminded herself that this was a healer's dress, not a ballgown. In a moment six or so bolts of fabric were laid out on a table in front of Kaelyn. “I think these are probably all decent choices dear,”

“Ah, these are lovely, but, this one...perhaps not any with...flowers on them.” Honestly, a daisy print. The shop keep was a professional and the floral fabric went back onto the rack, replaced with a sky blue one that matched Kaelyn's cloak.

While Kaelyn looked over the fabrics, comparing weave and texture and color, the shop bell rang again and Kaelyn heard Brant, the new shop boy, greet the newcomer.

“Hello, sir, who can I help you?”

“I heard that Miss Kaelyn, the healer, might be here?” said a familiar voice and Kaelyn turned to look through the doorway into the main room. Rowan stood, his face radiating concern, until he saw Kaelyn looking at him.

“Rowan, is everything okay?” Kaelyn said.

There is an old saying in Strand:

One boy's a boy Two boys are half a boy Three boys are no boy at all. And a lad near a lass is worth less than them all.

Perhaps, had Ava been more present she wouldn't have sent Rowan to town and Hazel to the Healer's hut. Perhaps she would have remembered the rhyme. But such is life, and here Rowan stood, and he made his mistake,and Kaelyn made hers.

“Um, well, miss Kaelyn, mother feels that, it's possible her time is approaching.” He lied, inexplicably feeling that having a mother in labor would lessen him in her sight.

“Oh my, is it quite urgent?” Kaelyn asked, looking regretfully at the bolts of cloth behind her. Surely she would be back in Strand soon, but she wanted to get started on her new dress now.

“Oh, no Miss, but she felt, perhaps, that it would be good to have you near, when it's convenient, just in case.”

And Rowan's face said “I'm lying”. And Kaelyn knew. But Rowan said, “are you going to sew a new dress? What color are you going to use?” and here was a unique thing, a boy who cared about dresses. And for fifteen critical minutes Kaelyn chose colors and basked in the warmth of statements like “I think that color would suit you” or “that color makes yours eyes sparkle!”