“Asking the cards the same questions won't give you a different answer, darling.”
“Just one more—"
“No,” I cut the woman off, my Sistrovian accent getting thicker with my annoyance. “Darling, if you keep asking the same questions, the cards will refuse to answer you.”
She gives me a perplexed look. As if I was insane for giving my mother’s deck an emotion. Obviously, she had no idea how the trade worked. Something I wasn’t entirely focused on; Nicolae was coming my way, and as much as I love my job, he was always a distraction for me. So, I excuse myself, carefully scooping up my cards and laying them in their wooden box before I let Nicolae grab my bag. The moment it’s over his shoulder, he’s scooping me up and carrying me back towards the animal cages. My giggles fill the air as I tell him he needs to put me down.
“I can’t, Dragul meu; Tereza needs you.” Nicolae murmurs.
Of course she does. As the healer on hand I was the one she turned to whenever something was wrong. She was twenty-nine weeks pregnant and had been dealing with some abnormal pains. It made me worry that the baby was coming early.
“Then put me down, Draga mea; I need to go to her.”
I manage a kiss before he sets me down, allowing me to move through the caravans. Along the way I offer the performers soft smiles. Asking them how they were doing, how their injuries were healing. All people smarter than Tereza; they would go to a doctor. My knowledge didn’t extend past herbs and poisons…though I have delivered a child or two in my time working with this troop.
“Darling,” I call out as I knock on the door of her caravan. “Can I come in?”
Not a moment later the door opens, and I see the worried face of the one person I know I can trust in this camp. My eyebrows knitting together as I step inside. Tereza prattles on about how she saw a raven— an omen of death that I didn’t believe in despite being pagan.
“Tereza, you have to stop this; you aren’t making things better.” Resting my hands on her shoulder, I lead her over to the bed.
“But what if it’s Red Eyes? What if he kills me before I can have the babe?” She whines, frowning at me as she willingly sits down, the squeaking of the old springs making me wince.
“That won't happen.” I sigh, rubbing her shoulders with my thumbs. “You need to stop worrying yourself; it’s bad for the baby.”
She nods, taking a deep breath before she lays back, the mattress protesting the entire time. “But what if I’m right?”
“Then I will kill him— or I’ll die trying.”
No witch had ever caught Red Eyes and lived to tell the tale. My mother was a testament to that fact. But I was determined to be the first— determined to end the reign of terror that came with him.
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