Bronwyn Greenhands was born to a loving father and a mother who died in childbirth
. Her first six years were spent as most young girls spend time, playing in the fields with her father and learning about the plants that grew there. In the spring, her father often went travelling to purchase rare herbs, and she would stay with her uncle, the innkeeper
, and in her sixth year, his adopted son Moghendhim. That year, her father never returned from his purchasing expedition
, and no word was ever recieved as to his end. Bronwyn harbored a secret hope that he was in a dungeon
somewhere, the prisoner of some evil king, and that someday she would rescue him, and they would live happily ever after. But, until that day, she lived with her unmarried uncle Joram, who was always distracted, and his drow child.
When Bronwyn turned ten, Joram decided she was old enough to watch the baby, who was now four, and to keep young Moghendhim out of trouble. Bronwyn did her best, but Moghendhim had already learned the prejudices of his people. He wouldn't eat what she ate, or when she ate, and his response to any question he was asked was, 'Because I'm better than you!' Bronwyn was shocked the first time she heard this response, and demanded to know where he had learned such a thing. Moghendhim proudly replied that he'd learned it fom his mother. Bronwyn reminded him that he didn't have a mother, but the boy insisted that his mother came in the night and taught him the ways of his kind. Somehow, Bronwyn didn't doubt it; it was whispered by the kitchen staff that drow magic was strange and dark, and it was best to stand aside and see none of it. But, Bronwyn would not give him up as hopeless. She taught him the ways of her kind, and insisted he use them in her presence, or she would refuse to acknowledge him. After a week of being locked in a room with her, he learned to comply. She reminded him again and again that she was trying to protect him from folk who would see how different he was and try to kill him in fear.
When Moghendhim was quietly amusing himself elsewhere, Bronwyn studied her father's books, and learned the secrets of herbs and trees. She learned to treat all the ailments of the household from his codices, and could make some silver treating the soldiers who passed through, and patching up after pub fights. She put together phials of treatment for hangovers and allergies and other common things, and began selling them over the bar while she wasn't busy with Moghendhim's schooling.
At Joram's request, Bronwyn took over the day to day workings of the pub when she turned sixteen, and Moghendhim, now twelve, was relegated to low level kitchen jobs, peeling potatoes and hauling water for folk with whom he had mutual dislike. Bronwyn prospered, and Moghendhim festered. Word spread through town that a night or two at the inne would cure all ills, and Bronwyn did her best to make that true. There were few things that went around the town that her herbiary could not cure. As time went by, her dark brother was all but forgotten by the town. Bronwyn never noticed that after a while they stopped asking bout him, and Moghendhim was happier without the attention. He didn't need them; someday his mother would return, and rescue him from this place. Or so he told Bronwyn.
Then, rather suddenly, Moghendhim became ill. His eyes grew dull as the fever rose, and after a few days, blisters appeared on his skin. Bronwyn tried everything she knew, but nothing made him any better. The disease progressed steadily for weeks as Bronwyn furiously read through her father's notes. Finally, just as she was prepared to give up and start mixing corpse powders, she found a small footnote to a strange herb, which referenced the disease she suspected she was treating: it was called the red fever. Searching through her father's things, which still lived in her room, she discovered a small jar in the false bottom of a trunk that contained the special herb, and a small note. "Bronwyn, my dearest, may you never need this." She followed the instructions, and brewed a tea which she poured into Moghendhim's slack mouth. Within hours, his eyes were clear, and he was free of fever.
Moghendhim never forgave her for saving his life. It was better to die than be enslaved to a lesser race, he often said. Nonetheless, Bronwyn was proud of herself, and continued in her usual fashion, selling beer and curing ills, right up to the day she sat down with the travellers from afar.
next week: Out the Inne Door
Maerklon's Story | Ophandir's Beginnings | Padraig's Younger Days | A Traveller in Cambry | Morrigan's Quest | Down the Road a Piece | Anderry Inne, But Not Out Again