Nessa skipped down the road, an empty basket in hand. She’d found a job yesterday, running errands for Councilman Gellan. He was a kind man, older than her own grandsire, and certainly didn’t object to paying her well to do small things.
This morning, it was a trip to the baker. Gellan was hosting several guests for dinner and needed more bread than what his own cook could produce in time. Nestled in with the cloths to keep the bugs off the bread was a pouch full of real gold. He’d told her to buy as much as the baker could sell, without running short for his normal orders, and she could keep the rest!
The heady smell wafted on the morning breeze, chasing away the fishy smell and making her smile. She stood for a moment, eyes closed, and inhaled deeply. She would have to buy a roll for herself; one that was warm from the oven and fluffy.
Pushing open the door to the small shop, she smiled at the middle-aged woman behind the counter. “Good morning!”
The woman blinked, “I don’t know you.”
“Oh, that’s because I just got to Saltmarsh yesterday!” Nessa moved forward and extended her hand, “My name’s Nessandra Fiosrach. I work for Councilman Gellan.”
A small smirk appeared on the woman’s face as she shook Nessa’s hand, “Do you, now? And, um, what exactly do you do for him?”
“Oh, run errands that he doesn’t have time to do. Help whoever in the house needs it. He’s really nice. Have you met him? What’s your name?”
“I’m Berra. What can I do for you, Nessandra?”
“Councilman Gellan is hosting a dinner party tonight, and needs more bread and rolls than his cook can make in time. He said you’re the absolute best in town, outside of who he hired, and I should come buy as much as you’re willing to part with.” Nessa pawed through the cloths and pulled out the purse. “He gave me gold to pay for it. And this big basket,” she raised her arm, “to bring it back with.”
“Varas!” Berra yelled over her shoulder.
A man came around the corner, wiping his hands on a flour-covered apron. Nessa’s eyes grew wide when she saw him, and her jaw fell slack.
“What do you need?” He asked in a voice that mesmerized her.
“Take this young lady to the back, let her fill up the basket.” Barra looked at her. “Once I see what you’re buying, I’ll know how much gold to charge.”
The Triton waved his hand, beckoning her to follow him. She’d never seen anyone like him before! His skin was a blue-green, like the water in the ocean. He had what looked like fins on his arms, and his ears were even stranger than her own Elvish ones.
“Go ahead and get what you need,” he told her, pointing to the racks and baskets full of baked bread.
“You’re a Triton,” she whispered in awe.
“And you’re a Wild Elf. So?”
“It’s just…I’ve never seen someone like you before. You’re beautiful! Do you have a home up here or do you have to go into the ocean at night? How many are in your family? Do they live close? Can I touch your fins?” She fired questions at him as she pulled bread out and filled her basket.
“My husband went missing, and I’m trying to find him. He’s the only family I have. And, no, you can’t touch my fins.” He dusted a piece of dough with flour, then began to roll it out with even, strong strokes.
Nessa gathered the bread, paid Berra, and left. “I wonder if he’ll let me touch the fins when we’re friends?”