A low cloud cover seemed to swirl in the air. The phenomenon cast an ethereal look and feel to the place.
Lucy turned to the twins. “Are you ready?”
In quiet anticipation, they nodded.
Then Lucy addressed Mara. “I suggest that you and Dixon, the girls, and I, go ahead.”
The five dismounted.
Reigna brushed bits of hay from her clothing, while Eden tucked a few unruly sprigs of her light auburn hair behind her ear. Then they set out behind Lucy, to the front door.
Once there, she stood silent, glancing at the twins and nodding, before taking in a deep breath and then knocking.
Voices from inside came faintly, then gradually increased in volume. In short order, someone peeked out of the window situated just to the side. Then the door opened to reveal a woman with a handful of children about her.
Smiling, Lucy put her arms out. “Clarimonde, it has been too, too long.”
The woman embraced her with enthusiasm. Bright eyed, and with a pert and winsome smile, she wore her curled red tresses tied up with a leather band. Pulling back, she patted her hair.
“Oh, Lucy, I am so happy to see you!” She embraced her old friend once again. “You are so right. It has been some years since you last visited.”
“Upwards of a decade, I’d say.”
Clarimonde glanced at the twins at Lucy’s side. She drew her hand to her mouth. “Oh, gracious! It’s them, isn’t it?” she asked, her dark brown eyes sparkling. “The twins. Why, they look just like Rowena!”
Lucy chuckled. “Yes, these are Rowena’s twins.” She motioned for the girls to step up and then introduced them.
“Oh, my,” Clarimonde gasped, “Oh my! It seems like I’ve waited forever to meet you two! And that says nothing of how your sister, Vida, has been feeling.” She turned to the youngsters gathered around her, and then addressed one of them. “Wade, please, run get Vida.”
The boy raced off, clearly anxious to do her bidding.
Mara stepped up and introduced herself.
Finally, Dixon approached.
“Dixon!” Clarimonde exclaimed. “Oh, Dixon!” She threw her arms around him. “It’s so good to see you!”
“Clarimonde, I’ve missed you,” he said with a smile as he returned her embrace. “We all have. Ever since you left with Vida, it’s been as though one of the most important of our ranks has been missing.”
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