Margeaux wondered if it would always taste the same. She closed her eyes. Margeaux thought of the stew her mother would make. It had chunks of meat, potatoes, carrots, and turnips in a rich, thick gravy. She took a bite. As she had hoped, Margeaux tasted her mother's stew. This was an extraordinary item to be treasured. After several bites, Margeaux felt full. She wrapped the everlasting cracker in a piece of cloth and hid it deep inside her pack. Margeaux fixed her bedroll for traveling and was nearly ready to leave the camp. She slowly waved her palm over the flames. A few went out. Some scattered onto the path. Margeaux stomped out the straggler flames with her feet. She backtracked to where she placed her walking stick. It was still there. With the stick in hand, she shouldered her pack and began to walk. Twenty-eight more sunrises to go.
Chapter Four: The Others
The air was cool on the exposed skin on her face. It was partly due to being in the mountains and partly due to the sun. The sun had not risen high enough in the sky to warm the rocks. The path wound higher into the mountains. There was a bit of a buffer between her and the wind. Some of the rocks above her were snow covered. The path was wide enough for several people to walk shoulder to shoulder. Her breath came out in smoky puffs.
When the sun was high in the sky, she estimated it was time for her mid-day meal. She consulted the map. Lerod should be a few more days away. Soon there would be a branch in the path. One branch would take her higher into the mountain. The second branch, the one she wanted, appeared to go through the mountain. If all went correctly it should take her to the other side. Margeaux snacked on her everlasting cracker. For her mid-day meal she thought of fish chowder. It warmed her up. She remembered the taste of hot chocolate and thought about it. When she bit into the cracker it tasted like a dry cracker. She pulled it away from her mouth in alarm. Margeaux breathed a sigh of relief. The cracker still had not changed size. Apparently the cracker would not work on beverages. It could only be used for food. Margeaux hoped she wouldn't have to drink water for thirty days. Granted, thirty days of only water was better than some of the people back home.
Margeaux continued to follow the path. She hoped the fork in the path would show up soon. Her feet hurt. They felt sweaty in her boots. She hadn't changed her socks once.