Wordcount: 636 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Hatching Day at Pine Reach
Pine Reach was filled with people. May looked out over the crowds with a happy grin, there was such excitement to be had in large crowds. All these people she had not met before, all the old friends. She waved to a set of cousins she saw along the way, yelling greetings that they just heard over the crowd.
Her brother was standing up in the cart, leaning against the rails and scanning the crowd for foxhawks. There were a few school friends also on the road in and they spent a few minutes yelling back and forth until their parents had them shut up and sit down.
She was supposed to meet her best friend’s family once they had parked the cart and unloaded the wares that they had brought to sell in the makeshift tents that were rolled up beside her in the wagon. She’d have to spend some time tending the shop, but her mother had promised her she could go out and play as well.
There was one tin merchant that they had passed earlier that she was hoping to find. He had some marvelous things in the wagon and they had shared a quick conversations on baking items before their cart pulled away.
The banners were out in force, showing the heraldry of the Fox Kingdom. A rampant foxhawk with arrows and a warning bell with the heraldry of the town inscribed on it. Two Beaches had a pair of crossed anchors, signifying the dual fishing harbors, although in recent years the fishing had been slim. Pine Reach had a pine tree and Oak Grove had an oak leave with two acorns. They were not the most terrifying of symbols, but considering what was carrying them, it seemed fitting.
Pine Reach was more or less the same size as Two Beaches, but was more compact. They followed the signed to the parking areas, where the horses were pegged and set to graze and the wagons staked out. There were a lot of cart horses out as well as one or two heavy oxen.
The oxen belonged to the smithy’s, and other crafters who were bringing in much heavier loads than May and her family. With some reluctance she helped her mother and father unpack and carry the wares over to their assigned table.
The table was a rough hewn wooden stall, put together just for the hatching and easily disassembled for firewood afterwards. They pulled out the old cloth coverings that they used to make it look a bit more presentable as well as advertise their wares.
They never brought the finer fabrics to the hatching, since the folks here were looking for more serviceable items, not frivolous things. Hatchings were a time to finding husbands and wives, apprentices and fosterlings, this was life building and life needed thick cotton socks and warm woolen overcoats.
Even if life wanted some lace now and then. May sighed wistfully as one of the fancier outfits walked by, but put it aside with a practiced ruefulness. She was going to be a baker, a baker in a city. Maybe she would not be wearing finery to Hatchings, but she’d do well for herself, no they’d do well for themselves. She burnished the mental image of her and Aaron working in the morning to open up shop and that kept her going through the rest of the stall setup.
Once everything was in place her parents sent her and her brother out to wander the faire. It was safe enough with all the local and not so local cousin and relatives and friends watching out for them. To say nothing of the foxknights and the local hired bouncers. There was nothing more civil than a hatching, if only because it was enforced to the gills.