Ferra watched curiously as the dark haired girl turned another circle around the stage. Eli’s twin sister Lena had the same delicate features and dark hair, but far more common sense. Or so Ferra thought, the girl stopped and hopped up and down on the stage boards frowning at something.
Ferra climbed up the side and went to look at whatever was so interesting. “What is it?” She asked and Lena jumped, spinning.
“Dam—Ferra you really shouldn’t sneak up on people like that.” Lena said breathing hard. Ferra just blinked. She hadn’t been sneaking. It wasn’t her fault people didn’t pay attention to their surroundings. “It’s fine. I’m checking for creaky boards, the actors were complaining and ….” Lena stopped. “You don’t care.”
“No.” Ferra agreed. The actors were usually complaining and the stage staff was usually dealing with it. It was how these things went.
Lena closed her eyes and breathed through her nose. This meant she’d managed to frustrate her cousin already. Considering she was running out of people to go to, this was not good. “I think Aren’s in trouble, he’s not back yet.” She said quickly. Ferra was the same age as the twins, but Lena often felt older and the adults trusted her. “None of the adults will listen to me.”
“Have you asked Eli? They’re always scheming together. If Aren is up to something, Eli will know.” Lena said and began her course around the stage, giving little hops to test the boards.
Ferra followed her, stepping carefully as to not make sound. “Eli was unhelpful.” Lena just nodded, not surprised. Ferra continued, “I don’t think Aren’s up to something. I think he’s in something.”
“Grandmother doesn’t seem worried.” Lena reasoned and took a stick of chalk from her pocket to mark the offending floorboards.
Ferra clenched her teeth. She’d already knew that. “No one is worried.”
“Ferra, Aren turned sixteen.” Lena said in the tone normally reserved for explaining obvious things to children. “He’s allowed to go off by himself. I know you miss him but wait a little, if he doesn’t come back in another week or two they’ll send out the guard, if Nico goes he’ll bring you along.”
A week or two? She was beginning to regret going to the pragmatic twin. Of course she missed Aren, never more than now, when no one would listen to her or take her seriously. “That’s too long.” She said stubbornly.
Now Lena looked as frustrated as Ferra felt. The dark haired girl straitened and crossed her arms, chalk getting on her sleeves. “Ferra. It’s almost like you want something to be wrong.”
Ferra frowned. She shook her head, “I do not want something to be wrong. I want to get Aden back.”
“Then go and get him back.” Lena snapped with a huff and turned back brandishing the chalk with a renewed vengeance at the stage. “It’d be easier arguing with a brick wall, really between the actors and the guards…”
Ferra left her cousin muttering. She had things to do and more advice to take.
Eli and Lena looked forlornly at the empty horse stall.
“We are so getting blamed for this.” Lena said. Saddle and tack were gone too. She’d heard their grandmother grumbling about absent supplies last night. It was only a matter of time before Nico missed his apprentice.
“We?” Eli looked askance at his twin. “You are the one who told her to go. I told her to shove off. Big difference.”
Lena glared at him. “I didn’t think she would!”
Eli snorted. “Well she did. And she took a horse.” Around them the camp stirred. Only his sister’s insistence had dragged him this early from bed, and now he wanted to be far away when the adults figured out what happened. He was in enough trouble already. Aren was old enough to be out travelling, Ferra was not.
“Do you think she’ll be okay?” Lena was nervously peering into the stall as if she could will its occupant and thief back into existence. Her fingers shredded the edges of her sleeve.
“Well, she has the people skills of brick.” Eli started. When Lena choked on the beginnings of tears he amended quickly. “And the resilience to match. She’ll be fine.”
Lena sniffed. “I don’t think you are telling the truth.”
“Ferra’s propensity for physical violence could be problematic, or incredibly helpful, one of those.” Eli was getting twitchy, the camp was waking up. Standing at the scene of the crime ensured they’d be the first questioned. “Hell, she might even find him, and then he can bring her back. Everyone wins.”
Lena gave her twin a dark look but allowed him to pull her away from the stable. “I’m telling someone.”
Eli groaned but fell silent as they ducked around the tents and slipped back into their family’s camp.
Thanks for reading all, the next installment will be up next week! You can read Part 1 HERE.