Bixa is so forgiving, and kind and sensible. We went to the pub together on Saturday afternoon and met a couple of the neighbours. We mentioned the open day and told them we are Silberay. I’m sure they thought we were crazy, but they were quite nice about it and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will come and visit. Bixa says curiousity will bring them. She has also offered to pay for copies of Hafa’s Short History of the Silberay to be printed and offered for visitors.
Then, on Sunday, Beuda arrived, quite early.
She is to be Bixa’s apprentice. She’s a bit older than the usual apprentices and seems very self-confident. I couldn’t really warm to her and it makes me concerned for Bixa who deserves the best. She (Beuda) seems very taken with Myl, Yog’s apprentice, who she met in Highington. It seems he was the one who persuaded her to approach us. She left again at lunchtime on Monday.
Bixa looked very tired afterwards, but determined to do her best for her. I really feel for her though. Imagine sharing your boat and your life with someone you couldn’t warm to.
Thank goodness Jik arrived in the afternoon, which cheered us both up.
I behaved so badly, like a child. Bixa was so patient and sensible but it isn’t good enough for me to get over it and apologise, I shouldn’t have behaved that way.
There are times when I don’t think I’ll ever be a proper grown up person and I’ll be fifty-two next month. I hate this job. I’m afraid of that cult and what they might stir up and I’m afraid of what the rest of the Silberay will think about what I’ve put in motion. That’s honest at any rate. I’m trained to act against the Yareblis, but there isn’t a Yareblis in sight here, nor likely to be. They’ve not been known to come to the Harbour. So what am I doing upsetting things?
It’s just as well it was only Bixa who witness my outburst. Whin would have felt totally justified in his criticism. Why couldn’t I have just sat at my desk and gone through the motions?
I couldn’t of course. That would have let Nemle down as well as myself.
It was a good week on the whole, until today when I treated Bixa to a display of childish temper that would have shamed a ten year old.
On Monday she and I, and Teg, spent most of the day in the chandlery. We got the basic inventory done and at least I know now roughly what to order. Whin arrived and went into the dry dock. He found one of my leaflets about the open day and was inclined to be disapproving until Teg spoke up for me.
The next few days were busy but uneventful, then, on Friday, Bixa and I went into Sefton Middle for provisions. Now that there are three of us here at the harbour it makes sense to share. It was not until we were coming down the drive on our way home that we had time to notice that there were patches of dying grass. Then we realised that the dead patches were letters and made out the shapes that spelled BURN WITCH. It must have been the men we saw a week ago. They were poisoning the grass. It will only get more visible as time goes on and I can’t think what to do about it.
I did try to keep my temper. We were packing away the provisions in the kitchen when it all got too much for me. I picked up a mug from the dresser and smashed it on the floor.
Bixa was very understanding, which only made me worse and I snapped at her. Now, of course, I feel very ashamed of myself.
This morning I had a call from Yarla, wanting to be sure she could replace her fenders. Up until then I had not given any thought to the chandlery.
Bixa and I went to look before lunch. It was a disaster. It looked as if no one had been near it since the last Gathering. I think I would have given up in despair if it had not been for Bixa. She has promised to help me inventory the stock and suggested I ask Teg to help too. He could sit and write while we run around counting. I think he would be glad to be asked.
She wouldn’t let me start today though, since we had planned to go to the pub.
I”m glad we did because we met one of the neighbours again and talked a bit about the open day. The landlord set us put up one of my posters too.
She has been here for nearly a week now. As well as working hard to get her blacking finished and move Spring Song into the wet dock for the carpenter she has made time to help me.
I didn’t realise, how kind she is. It’s almost like having Nemle back. I’ll need to be careful not to abuse her kindness. She has been singing with me and I have felt the song expand and the light spread from it in new ways. When she learned that I had been practising mind control with Fylan and Teg she offered herself. She said it would be a good challenge for her to practise with me and helpful for when she has her apprentice. She is very well defended and I have not yet managed to enter her mind undetected, but when it comes to attack her skills are like Kel’s. Actually in many ways she is rather like Kel, kind and dependable. I use the same handicap with her that I use with him.
Tomorrow she is coming with me into Sefton Middle. I’ve made an appointment for us to see the town clerk. It is obvious that we need to do something to correct the information they have about us and perhaps find a way in which we can be of service to the town in a more tangible way than our singing. Hopefully, with two of us, we might be believed, or at least listened to instead of laughed at or feared. She has suggested that we ask the police for advice about the letters from Hemera too. I know Fylan would agree with that and I would prefer it to having them come here where they might feel confronted by the Harbour.
Bixa arrived yesterday. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Spring Song crossing the basin. It was such a foul day, sleet and wind, that I had given up expecting her. She was so wrapped up against the weather that I wouldn’t have recognised her, but I know the boat.
We put her straight into the dry dock, which was luckily still full of water from Sunrise‘s departure. At least then she was out of the weather.
I don’t think I had really realised what a warm, generous person she is. We sat together on Spring Song and drank sperit and talked about all sorts of things. She is to have an apprentice this Gathering and it means a big change for her, but she’ll be a great mentor.
We ate together on Day Bringer after Bixa had moved her things into the annex. I felt really honoured because she confided in me that she is Bethany Spencer, the novelist. I’ve always enjoyed her books.
This morning I worked with her to empty the dry dock so she could get going on her blacking. Hopefully I can find some time to help with the paint brush too. I’ve been in touch with the carpenter now to let him know that there will be work for him by the end of the week.
I don’t know how I’d feel about having an apprentice and I’d hate having to move out of my cabin. Even though the mentor’s cabin is designed to be more comfortable it wouldn’t be home and it means the loss of the work space.
Oh well, maybe there won’t be an apprentice for me when the time comes.
– two kinds! I’ve had four more letters from Hemera this week. I had been trying to ignore them, but on Friday I’m afraid they added up to make me miserable and I inflicted myself on Fylan. She wanted me to go to the police, but I’m afraid that if they came here to investigate they might agree with the letters. She listened to me moan however and agreed to keep the letters. Now I feel a bit ashamed of myself for burdening her.
I picked up my leaflets from the printer on Tuesday. I’m really pleased with them and I’ve started delivering them in my lunch hour. It takes a bit longer than I expected. I can only manage about fifty in half an hour.
I’m hoping that Bixa will arrive next week and for a while I thought about waiting to discuss the open day with her, but then I realised that I would still want to go ahead even if she disagreed, so I decided that it would be hypocritical to wait for her approval. I’ve got about two hundred and fifty left now and I plan to finish delivering those this weekend. It should only take a couple of hours as I plan to keep thirty or forty to share with the Silberay.