Status: Will be updated once to twice a week, until I catch up to what I have written.

The Quest

Chapter Twelve - Dreams

Tom woke up to the scent of strawberries filling his nose. He opened his eyes to see Tess curled up next to him. Checking the bedside clock, Tom saw it was still early in the morning. He heard the potion bubbling at the foot of the bed. He untangled himself from Tess, then got up and stirred the caldron. His ears twitched when he thought he heard the door open and close while he was in the bathroom. He shook his head at the thought. The door was locked. Nobody would get in or out unless Tess was up.

He went back to his bed, laying down, ready to fall back asleep. He stopped when he realized something was missing. Tom looked at the bed, then around the room. Where was Tess?

“Tess?” he called, thinking she had moved to her own bed. He waited a few minutes, listening to the silence. “Tess?” he asked again, getting out of bed and turning the light on. The other bed hadn’t been touched. Tom’s heart raced. Where had she gone? Tom rushed to the door to see it unlocked. “Tess!” Tom called as he rushed down the hallway. She had never gone off on her own before. Why was she making a habit of it now?

Tess felt the wind in her hair as she walked through a daisy field. She breathed in a deep lungful of air; it smelt salty. A large fire in front of her surrounded by people. She could tell they were chanting something, but she was too far away to make out what they were saying. “You can share my fire,” a voice said next to Tess.

Tess looked to her right to see the woman that had given her some of her fire earlier that night. “Thank you.” Tess held out her hands and was given some of the woman’s fire once more. Tess continued to walk towards the bonfire, feeling drawn to it.

“Priestess,” Tess heard the people chant as she got closer. She looked towards the people, but couldn’t make out their faces. She shielded her eyes as the bonfire grew bigger and brighter. “Priestess, Priestess,” the chant grew louder. The people moved around her, making room for her to get closer to the bonfire. Tess’ face grew hot as the bonfire grew closer. She lifted her hands up and released her fire, offering it to the bonfire, the chants filling her with peace.

“Lass!” a voice yelled at her. “Lass! Watch out!” She gasped as the crowd shoved her into the fire before her.

The voice knocked the wind out of her as she was grabbed around the waist. She let out a shrill yelp as her eyes opened to the docks. “What... what’s going on?” Tess whispered as she realized where she was.

“Lass, what were you thinking, walking out to sea like that?” Destru’s concerned face appeared in her field of view.

“Walk out to sea?” Tess’ voice became small. She looked towards the angry waves under the dock. How close had she been to drowning herself?

“Tess!” Tom’s voice called from a short distance away.

“Tom?” Tess gasped, fear still clutching at her heart. Destru was kneeling next to her, where he had pulled her to the ground.

Tom pulled Tess into a hug once he made it to her side. “Why were you out walking this late?”

“I don’t know,” Tess stammered out in tears.

Tom helped Tess stand up, his face softening at the distress Tess was in. “Let’s get you back to bed.”

Tess nodded, then allowed Tom to lead her back to the hotel. “Have a good night Destru,” Tom called as they left the dock.

-----

Tess awoke to sun shining through the window, and Tom sleeping in a chair next to the bed. His ears twitching in his sleep as he dreamed. She sat up and removed the covers. “Oh, no!” Tess gasped, looking at the potion she was brewing the night before. It had simmered too long and was now a black, bubbling mess. “New moon, new me. What a joke,” Tess muttered to herself. She searched for towels to clean up what had spilled over the sides of the cauldron.

Tess glanced behind herself to see Tom was still in the chair. She shook her head. She could never understand how he was such a deep sleeper. Tess moved the cauldron into the bathroom; the contents sloshing on the inside. Usually Tom helped her move the cauldron when it was filled, but he looked tired, so she’d let him sleep. She strained the whole ingredients out, then poured the liquid into the tub. “So much for setting up shop today,” Tess sighed, looking at the blackened inside of the cauldron. She’d spend a few hours cleaning up, then go for a good cleansing walk in the woods, she figured.

“Tess?” Tom’s panicked voice came from the room.

“Bathroom,” Tess called. Why was he all concerned?

Tom ran to the bathroom and collapsed against the frame, relief clear on his face at seeing her.

“You okay?” Tess asked, confused.

“You don’t remember last night?” Tom asked, helping her right her now empty cauldron.

“What about last night?” Tess asked. She remembered following a flame into the forest, but she would not tell Tom about that. “I brewed a potion and went to bed,” she gestured towards the dirty tub.

“You don’t remember nearly drowning yourself?” Tom asked, trying to suppress his concern.

“I what?” Tess exclaimed, staring at Tom. “What do you mean I tried to drown myself?”

“You walked to the docks last night. If Destru hadn’t stopped you, you...you-” Tom stopped, inhaling deeply, trying to calm himself.

Tess peered at Tom. He was shaking from the night before. She must’ve scared him a lot to have a reaction like that. Tess stood up and gave him a tight hug. “Tom, I’m sorry for scaring you last night, but I don’t remember any of that.”

“What do you remember?” Tom asked, returning the hug.

He always felt like he was hugging a tiny little girl, because of their size difference. Tess was a good foot shorter than him and wasn’t very muscular like he was. He breathed in deeply. She was the perfect height for him to smell her hair. It always smelled of some type of fruit, depending on what she would make for shampoo. Tom pulled his nose away from her hair and sniffed the air, covering his nose almost instantly. “What were you making last night? It stinks.” He turned the shower on and began washing the remains down the drain.

“I wanted to try the warming potion without the ingredient I’m missing,” Tess sighed. She watched as her hard work washed down the drain. “Apparently it doesn’t work without it.”

“Are there other recipes you could try?” Tom asked, not meaning to change the subject, but he didn’t enjoy seeing her disheartened.

“I could, but I don’t think they’d work as well.” Tess thought, eyeing the other room, trying to decide which book to look at for a new recipe.

“You could give them some fire cider,” Tom joked, trying to get Tess to laugh.

“Fire cider.” Tess tapped her chin before realizing what Tom had suggested. “As if you’d let me do that,” she smiled, turning back to him.

“Made you smile,” Tom poked her cheek, then walked out of the room to get dressed. “What do you have planned for today?”

“Do you think we could go for a walk in the woods?” Tess asked, staying in the bathroom to give Tom some privacy. She looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a mess, and bags were forming under her eyes. Maybe she should sleep some more? Tess straightened her shirt as she thought about the ritual she had almost walked in on the night before. She shuddered, then looked towards her hand. She had held fire. Could she do it again?

Tom was talking in the other room, of different things they could do besides walk into the woods. They had grown up in the woods; he enjoyed looking at all the open places that didn’t have trees every two feet. Tess concentrated on her hand, making it glow. She tried to envision a flame like the one from the night before. Smoke formed in her hand, a bead of sweat forming on her forehead as she tried to clear her mind. A small spark appeared in her hand. Tess took a deep breath, trying to concentrate. If her mind would decide to wander now, she’d lose it.

“Did any of those sound like-Tess!” Tom grabbed her wrist and ran water over her hand, extinguishing the flame.

“What was that for?” Tess shouted, glaring at Tom.

“Why was there fire in your hand?” Tom demanded, one ear pressing back against his head.

Tess was taken aback at his concern. He had never acted like this before. “I-I’m a witch,” Tess started. “Witches use fire.”

“Why are you trying to make fire suddenly?” Tom asked, kneeling down in front of her, gently holding her hands. “You know your powers won’t come in until you’re sixteen.”

“I’m sorry,” Tess looked away, not completely understanding what the big deal was. She was going to learn these types of spells once they made it back home to Tom's parents. They were only traveling for the summer, so she could have a break before she started studying. “I guess I’m just excited to learn new things.”

Tom turned her head to face him. His eyes searched her face for a few minutes before he let go of her hands. “I’m sorry,” he stood up. “I shouldn’t have gotten upset.”

“It’s okay.”

“Hey, you wanted to go for a walk in the woods?” Tom asked, changing the subject. “Get ready and we can go.”