Bryssa gripped the rope, heavy and slippery from rain, as the bucket caught against the mossy stones ringing the well. Lightning pierced the heart of the night sky with a ragged bolt, and the girl winced and drew the fingers of her left hand in a circle over her heart before tugging again with all her strength. Her arms ached.
From the stables, Mistress Elwynn called. “Child! Hurry!”
“I'm....trying,” came the muttered response, teeth clenched. “And I'm not a child. Almost sixteen,” Bryssa added for good measure when the bucket, brim with shimmering water, came into view. She heaved once more, steadied the wooden vessel upon the well's stone wall, and poured the sacred water into the pewter pitcher.
Dashing toward the yard--the grass sodden and slick beneath her bare feet--Bryssa took care not to falter upon the muddy entryway to the stable, the pitcher in careful balance.