NEW DRESSES/IN THE VILLAGE
With Orianna’s parting word of wisdom, the Keepers hid their crystals under their blouses to enter the Village, leaving only the chains visible. Nevertheless, Rosalind noticed that all the villagers seemed to know who they were. They stopped and nodded to she and her friends, some with looks of wonder or surprise. One burly man with a thick beard stopped and confronted them right off.
“Well, hullo there, lassies! Ye must be what they’re callin’ the Keepers!” he called out. The four girls nodded. “I heared ye were from another land, an’ I can tell from yer dressin’ that it ain’t anythin’ like ours. What brings ye to the village today?”
“New clothes!” Rosalind said, and the man roared with laughter.
“Aye, that’s right, that is,” he said. “Ladies wearing pants like men, ye are!” Rosalind would have given him a fiery response at this remark, except that the man was so good-natured that she didn’t feel offended. “We’ll see about gettin’ you some dresses,” the stranger continued. “Bright ‘n’ beautiful we’ll make ye! The name’s Rathgart, by the way. I can take ye straight to the tailor’s.”
Rosalind and the others followed Rathgart down the dirt-packed lanes to a hut unremarkably similar to every other hut in the village, except that above the door hung a wooden sign with “Tailor” carved into it and an image of a needle and pincushion. As Rathgart opened the door, he let out a cheerful, “Hullo! I got some clients for ye, missus.” A round-faced woman wearing a purple dress with a white apron over it stood up from her table. “What clients are ye bringin’ me now, Rothgart?” she asked.
“Four young lassies,” Rothgart said, flinging the door wide and ushered the girls in. “In need of some fine dressin’, they are. Lassies, this is my wife, Laurina.”
“Pleased to meet ye,” Laurina said. “Orianna told me ye’d be in today.”
“Oh, did she now?” Rothgart said. “So ye’re not even surprised! Thought you’d love me for this ‘un! Four clients, that’s a good day.”
Laurina laughed. “It is, an’ I’m glad to have it! But it’s three clients only, Rathgart, this ‘un here already has herself a dress!” Rosalind knew Laurina was referring to her. It was the second comment on her dress she had gotten today in this new land. “Ye haven’t been here already, where did you get that ‘un? Looks just like what I was goin’ to make ye!”
Rosalind explained, “Well, at home, in our land, we were going to have a dance with a medieval theme.”
“Ye’re in good hands with her now,” Rathgart declared. “I’m off to my own work–makin’ wood into useful things. Good day to ye, lassies. Enjoy yer stay here!”
Laurina watched her husband wave and shut the door, then turned to them with a smile. “An’ what be yer names now, misses? ‘Twas the only thing Orianna didn’t tell us at the meetin’ two days ago.”
The girls answered with their names one by one. When Megara gave hers, Laurina said, “Megara! Aye, now that be a mouthful! Ken I call ye Maggie?”
Megara was happy to oblige. “I love the way you talk,” she told Laurina.
Laurina gave a hearty laugh. “Well, an ye be hearin’ it all day, I hope ye can tolerate it. It’s been handed down from me folks for ages, an’ Rathgart’s. Probably why I picked ‘im of all folks ‘ere in Collin’wood!” She laughed again and the girls couldn’t help but giggle with her.