The familiar smell of fresh bread pulled him from the slumber he had so comfortably given into the night before. He could hear the sounds of the village waking up and wondered what would the day bring, but none of that mattered as the smell of the bread overpowered his senses and urged him to get ready for breakfast.
He dragged himself into the lavatory, turning left to reach for a bucket of water to wash his face and hopefully stop the drowsiness that
threatened to engulf him any minute.
"Mother!" he said, half a groan, half a moan as he saw the bucket emptied sitting in the corner.
"Good morning to you too Zhul" his mother replied from the kitchen. She spoke without taking her eyes off the huge stone oven in the middle of the kitchen. "What is it?"
"Kyla finished the water and did not refill the bucket"
"And you want me to do what, exactly?" She replied, eyes still focused on the bread rising on the back of the oven. "I can very well go and do it, but i don't trust my bread to you after what happened last week"
"I told you it was an accident ma'" Zhul said.
"Well, accident or not, the whole batch was ruined and we could not open the bakery. Do you how many people were losing it when we could not fulfill the orders?"
"Half the town ma'" Zhul said "You have been reminding me of it all week long too"
"Well, If you know the deal then go yourself to fetch the water" Kaissa said, making no effort to pretend she wanted to continue the conversation while the bread was in the oven.
Zhul walked back into his bedroom and changed his clothes. He looked out of the window and saw the village coming to live. Across the road, the butcher was already sharpening his cleaver to begin carving and cutting into whatever game the hunters killed during the early hours of the day, before the sun's light began to shine.
He stuck a hand out to feel the chill in the air and decided to take his cloak with him, the last thing he needed now was to catch a cold.
As he reached he door, his mother was taking the first of the loafs out of the oven and placed it in the middle of the table in the common area of the house. Zhul waited for his mother to turn to silently approach the table.
As he arrived, he looked at his mother, still focused on the rest of the bread. Slowly he reached towards the bread, his fingers stretching to pinch a chunk off.
"Don't you dare" Was all Kaissa said, and it was all it took to make Zhul pull his arm back and step out of the house without another word.
Zhul was glad he had decided to bring his cloak along, the air was humid and there was a cold breeze. The rainfall from the night was still clinging to the plants and trees, and was noticeable in the slippery surfaces of the parts of the road that were not cobbled.
Sluggishly he made his way towards the south gate of the village. There was a working well in town, but Kaissa was always adamant on her opinion that the water on the spring south of town was the only she would ever allow in her house.
To Zhul it made no difference, but he and his sister Kyla, found out the hard way that Kassia was no fool and was able to differentiate the water from the spring to any other source of water in the village and it's surroundings. It was remarkable truly, if not scary.
He was half-way to the spring when he heard horses approaching. He stopped and looked around, searching for the source of the sound. When he finally managed to find the direction from where the horses were coming he turned to face the riders......
To be Continued.