In the early morning, Penthesilea set out for the place Chandra had described. Her way led her along a huge fence separating a couple of houses from the paved road of which the Arythion lands had so many. The young woman was waiting for her in front of the gate and smiled with bright eyes.
“So happy you could arrange it.” But abruptly, she put her hand behind her neck. “This is embarrassing but the guys have a bad day. Think they got up on the wrong side of the bed since they’ve been in a bad mood for the whole morning.”
Penthesilea waved it aside.
“I’ll be able to deal with them if need be.” Although her words didn’t have the impact she intended them to, Chandra asked her in.
The village was lovely, the huts small but in good condition and very nice, plants and flowers bordering the ways. Chandra led her to a free space in the back of the village but gave a grown almost immediately when they saw two men sitting on a few benches. Penthesilea recognized Simachion and Amphion and an unknown girl working at a spinning wheel.
“Boys!” The priest adept walked over to them. “Will you ever be able to take on responsibility?” She lifted a crying toddler out of her high chair and turned to the two men.
“It’s Amphion’s turn today. As if it was any business of mine, at all.” Simachion glared at his friend angrily but Amphion didn’t appear to be impressed at all.
“I’ll keep her busy.” Rushing to the toddler a bit too eagerly, the girl rose from her chair in front of the spinning wheel and began to play with the child.
“Oh… You get on my throat, sometimes. Both of you.”
Simachion stood up nodding down to Amphion.
“Nothing to concern me.”
But the bad mood soon was blown away from the cheerful priestess.
“Now, let me present you my daughter.” Receiving the child from the girl who disappeared soon after, she was all a proud mother again. “Where’s my pretty little girl? Where is she? Oh, there she is!”
She tossed the toddler up so that she squealed with glee and her little arms waved through the air. “Look my dear, we’re having a guest. Are you excited to meet her?” Finally, Chandra set her daughter down in front of Penthesilea who had watched her with a heavy heart, knowing she would have to speed things up when she wanted to teach her own daughter everything about leading a tribe before she grew too old.
Lowering her head, Chandra held the child. “She’s a queen, my dear. Say hello.” But the girl didn’t and thus made her mother sigh. “So I must do it for you. This is Phiona, my daughter about whom I’ve told you. She’s our joy.”
“And our nuisance,” Simachion murmured but his clanswoman obviously didn’t notice it, as she let go of her child again. Swaying, the little one crossed Simachion’s way who snapped at her in surprise because he barely managed to avoid running into her.
Phiona’s eyes filled with tears immediately and she went after him. Reluctantly, he stopped. Penthesilea had a hard time not to burst out laughing.
“You know she’s coming after you, do you?”
“Not only that that priest of the Sea God is unlikable but now I must comfort his brat, on the top of it.”
So Phiona wasn’t Amphion’s daughter as Penthesilea had been convinced of for all the time but the child of Alexandros the priest? Suddenly, a veil lifted in front of her eyes. Everyone knew about Alexandros’ being a skirt chaser because he had a child with another priestess. A youth. And it explained why the two men were so reluctant about the cute little girl.
However, Simachion went down on his knees when the girl reached him teared up. “Everything’s fine, my dear. I didn’t mean it. It’s alright.”
Phiona flung her short arms around his neck and already smiled when he freed himself. Her little world was all safe and sound again and it got even better when a friend of Chandra arrived.
Instantly, Phiona’s attention was given away to the young black-haired woman.
Io, as Chandra introduced her, held the girl in her arms and put her at one of the benches, sitting down beside her. To everyone’s surprise and relief, Phiona’s eyes followed each one of Io’s movements even while the adults sat together and chatted.
The girl was all over Io and even when she decided to play she still stayed near to the woman. Penthesilea enjoyed the company immensely and realized once more that she missed a counterpart to confide in since a slave would never fulfill that part.
Talking to Io the Amazon came to know her as a pleasant person, nice and easy to speak with.
She was glowing for gardening and children and her tribe mates willingly assured the little ones loved her, too. All of a sudden, Penthesilea found herself smitten by the thought of having Io around her every day. And wasn’t she still in need for a provider if she wanted to conceive and bring up a daughter? She couldn’t do that on her own if she wanted to keep training the warriors and she depended on the pay.
Admittedly, there was a major difficulty about Io: she was member of a tribe already. And it was the most powerful tribe of the whole area.
Short note at the end: Simachion hugging Phiona is twice as cute as it already is knowing that he actually has the "Hates Children" trait. <3 While shooting those pictures I almost died of cuteness because this was the very first time I played with a toddler.
Lot: "Amazon Challenge" by EweSimsy4