TITLE: The Seeker's Charm
Rose Woodman is a half blood raised among mortals. Most of the villagers are afraid of her. Returning home (across a river) from the blacksmith's shop, she's confronted by two young men wanting a kiss. She knocks one easily into the water, intending the same for the other, but becomes distracted by the sight of a man, watching from the riverbank. It's not the first time she’s seen him. She and the newly repaired hoe end up falling off the bridge.
As she rose out of river, Ned and Bert stared shamelessly, eyes wide and mouths open, resembling the fish they’d caught that morning.
Rose leveled the hoe and stormed toward the bank with and a sound like a howl.
That brought Ned and Bert to their senses. She had the hoe well in hand, maybe too well, and it was equally obvious that her body, at least, was sound.
Goodness knows, neither of them felt responsible for the state of her mind. They turned, in unison, knocking into each other as they snatched up their poles, and scurried up the bank without looking back. Bert fell, face down in the mud, but he scrambled up with a yelp and took off after his cousin who’d not stopped, for even one second, to help him.
Rose whirled around to face the hunter.
Although the boys hadn’t seemed to notice, he'd leapt down to the water's edge during her fall. He was still there. Water lapped at his boots as he stared, but not at all like a fish. His eyes danced. His wide mouth curled into a grin.
“WHO ARE YOU? Rose screamed. WHERE do you come from? WHY are you following me…" She was out of breath, "and stop…staring…at…me!”
The man did try to keep his expression bland, but the corner of his mouth twitched disobediently. “Where should I look?”
“JUST ANSWER ME!” Rose jerked the hoe in a threatening manner, but he was smiling again. “And DON’T LAUGH…AT ME.”