Wordcount: 879 words
Summary: Introduction to Maybelle and her backstory.
NOTE: This is the first draft of a story, so it will most likely contain plot holes, retcons, and other inconsistencies. I’ll come back and fix things once the story (or arc) is complete!
Quiet Morning Baking
The early morning sunlight is coming through the papered windows, the inn is not affluent enough to afford glass.
The heat of the brick and clay ovens is not as hot as it’s normally because of the cold front, but it’s making her sweat.
She has a cotton kerchief to keep her hair and the sweat out of her eyes. She’s covered in flour and her hands are died brown from the henna that her mom was using to dye the wool.
The hatching is coming up and they are working on basic fabrics that trade well. Fancy fabrics are custom order only; they don’t have the money to waste on things that might not sell.
Colored yarns are something else. Her mother is always trying out new dying techniques and wools. Yarns always sell well, so there are no worries there. The most expensive dyes they can’t make, but her mother is a wizard at making new colors from the local plants and minerals.
The smell of the baking bread and the dough is very comforting it’s not something her own mothers does, but her favorite uncle is a baker and she used to love vacationing with him in the city as a child. He was unmarried, so he could not foster her and run his business, but she was looking forward to apprenticing.
There is some movement inside the inn, which is a separate building. The ovens in the inn itself are only fired up in the mild winters, the outside ovens are used most of the time.
There are other things in the ovens, a roast that is smelling wonderful and the porridge that will be breakfast.
There are only a few other people up .The family who owns the inn is up and one of the travelers, but so far everyone else is in bed.
Her palms him the bread with an even rhythm, turns and pushing to knead it into shape for the second rise.
This was simple bread, meant for the ovens of the inn, to be used for dipping and platters. She had other bread rising for the sandwiches, thicker but tastier. The only other bread she did we biscuits for morning and a trail bar that was less bread and more rough oats and honey.
She was the only one up this early in the kitchen, the others had come and gone, but the bread she was making was tomorrow and for dinner tonight. The ovens were normally run only in the morning and in the evening when it was hot but there had been a cold snap recently that gave her more room to work.
The bread dough rolls under her hands, punching and twisting until the right consistency is found. There something soothing, something simple about bread. she’s loved it since she was little, and that is why she’s apprenticed herself to her uncle, come graduation.
The air is muggy, but cool. The storms that had been plaguing the town were slowly but surely tapering off. The weather news from the west showed a long line of clear skies, and they were looking forward to the lack of rain. The grounds were muddy and torn up from the foot traffic, there was a feast day the past weekend and the inn was still recovering from the uptick in traffic.
She was working on some platter bread now, thick absorbent material used in place of plates for overflow crowds. There was real wooden bowls and cups, but it was easier to use the bread than it was to keep enough carvings of the tableware to seat so many.
She finished the bread as the inn keepers wife comes in to shoo her off to classes. They start well after the first light, since there are plenty of farm kids that need to work in the early mornings.
Classes start about 10am, which is well into the day. They break for lunch at noon and then are back in classes until 2. They are in an open classroom with one general lecture a day and then each has their own work schedules. Depending on what they are going to be when they grow up they study different things.
She has to leave a little early to go home and change. She says bye to the inn keeper and her son who waves hi. He only went to the first five years of schooling since he’ll be learning directly from his parents.
May is going for the other schooling since she’s going into a new field and her uncle does not have time to give her a grounding in everything.
She goes home to change, sticks her head in where her mother is on the larger loom weaving plain cloth. They exchange a bit of pleasantry and then she changed to go to class.
She keeps a locket that Aaron gave her and reflects on it as she’s getting changed. She’s looking forward to being married once Aaron gets out of the service. She pats the letters she has hidden in her underclothing drawers and then tucks back her hair into a bun and heads out the door.
She runs into her best friend Cybil outside and they walk to class together.