She was staring down at the pond. Her legs swinging over the edge as she enjoyed the sun shining down on her form. Warming her constantly cold body and bathing her in a soft glow- she liked how calm it was. She was able to stop and enjoy the moment, not plagued by family matters.
Not plagued by health, not plagued by studies or anything.
It was just her, this afternoon and the reassurance that she is not cold. Seeing a fish, she would grab a pebble and throw it into the water- jumping with a laugh when more than just one fish was scared from the ripple and commotion.
Water. She almost fell in it, feeling the splash of the cold liquid before she caught herself with small gasping breaths. Scrambling up the bank to the top she peeked over the edge to make sure no one saw her blunder- her hair resembling some birds nest and school uniform crumpled. She came face to face with her oldest brother, they were grinning at her widen eyes.
“Sita. What did I say about playing by the pond?” she stood up quickly, brushing off leaves sticking to her uniform. “Etain! You- I” she stuttered out. Walking towards him, trying to keep the pond out of view “Sita, I do not see you’re…. Fascination with your place of death. Lingering around here is unhealthy for you Sistermine” Etain said, leaning forward to wrap his arms around his tiny beloved sister.
She let out an annoyed squeak “I told you before. It’s beautiful, I only wish you could learn to enjoy its appearance.” She was lifted up by her towering brother- shaking her head as she got to see over some hills of their farm land. In the distance there were animals grazing the fields and a grove of fruit bearing trees and bushes.
“Sistermine. What are we going to do with you” he sounded so disapproving, but when she looked at his sun kissed and ragged face she saw the adoration there and the teasing “you won’t tell the others?” she said hopefully, earning a barking laughter which she felt through his vibrating chest.
Being set down, she began walking towards the house- Etain put his hand in front of her and gestured to the groves “they’re out over there. I was sent to find you, Midhir told us that you were waiting for them to ripen for quite some time.”
She perked up immediately, turning shining eyes on Etain “they’ve ripen? Can we pick them?” she sounded so hopeful, he laughed again- his hand going down on her rat’s nest of a hair and messed it up some more. “Isn’t that what I’ve not said Sistermine?” she brushed hair out of her face and as if that’s all she needed, she began running towards the far end of their land.
Her small legs couldn’t carry her for very long, her condition having weakened her further within the last 3 months. But her older brother kept with her pace- a little far behind as she gave whooping laughter and cheers. “What are you going to make first Etain?!?!?!” she looked back, only for her legs to tangle and she fell on her knees.
He jogged up to her, concern on his face and she felt tears prickle her eyes “it’s nothing Etain. Miss-step, you don’t need to call for Moira this time.” He looked doubtful, but she got up- brushing off the dirt and began walking in a reserved stroll this time. The concern was beating down on her and making her feel guilty for her poor health.
“Sistermine, I don’t need to make anything. You will make enough to host feasts for many nights no doubt.” She giggled, seeing the grove and she nodded “that’s true. We can just eat them during this afternoon and setting moon. Come tomorrow I will begin preparations for dishes.”
Etain gave a long suffering sigh, staged as he picked up his sister to run towards the trees. Above there were twisting stocks of flowers resembling cherry blossoms and prickly vines curled around the flowers protectively, thorns in view.
What was precious about the unforgiving plant was that at the base of the trunks- red cardinian flowers branched out from the thorns and bore fruit, later on the rest of the blossoms will bear the fruit as well. So early on in the season, this is how they would be able to pick the cardinian fruits, after it’s ripen.
She stared up at the blossomed flowers once she was set down, the spotted red plumes that normally keep the scarlet blooms from view now opened up to show bright red and pink dripping cardinians. Her mouth watered seeing the blossoms opening up, the pink drippings landed on her cheek and she inhaled the sweet aroma.
Her shoulders were jostled by one of her brothers, she looked back at them and Etain was the one closest- they marveled at her open awed joy, their little treasure basking in such a seasonal thing with such joy and awe always made their hearts hurt.
It was a yearly thing, the starting of the blossoms and the harvest of the previously dormant fruit, yet the yearly blossoms always brought their Sistermine such joy and pleasure.
“Come Sita, you’re the better climber. You can pull down the stocks and we will cut the blossoms loose.” She nodded, taking the gloves that were handed to her and she gripped the trunk of the tree, scampering up the tree easily enough, trying to weave around the vines and thorns made it difficult though.
She suspects this is one of the other reasons she’s the climber, her smaller form makes it easier to go through the curves of the protective foliage. Pulling her leather hood over her head, she got more sappy syrup on her and she shivered at the sweet aroma. She didn’t mind being the climber, it has its own perks.
Bringing up the sap with a finger, she licked it off and made a delighted face. squeaking as she relished in the flavor- in the back of her mind she ticked off one more summer that she was able to live her days.
One more season that she got to enjoy cardinians again, she didn’t realize tears dropped down until she tasted salt.
It was so offsetting to the syrup, so she carefully wiped at her eyes and shimmied up to the large stalks, the flowers almost as big as her head, the fruit as big as her hand. It looked brilliant up close, the sap smelt sweet and she can feel her mouth water again- grabbing the stocks of the flowers she would pull down really hard.
Unrolling it of its actual length, slowly each groupings were lowered down to her brothers- they had baskets secured to their backs, which they would deposit the cut off flowers into.
Between trees, she would stop to rest on a branch, which luckily didn’t have many spars and eat.
“Another seasons gone by….”