Upon her inheritance of a great fortune from a distant uncle who had favored her when she was but a toddler, the woman, named Gilda, had immediately adopted a lavish style of living. Thereafter, she and her husband and their two children abided first in comfort and then in opulence. When one of her less fortunate cousins came asking to share in a small portion of the riches, Gilda agreed, but only if he earned the portion, by being in her employ. He became her carriage driver. And he was driving her home one day to her countryside manor, when a sudden obstruction appeared, and he drew back the reins to halt the carriage.
When Sona first came upon the velvet sack lying just beside the road, she almost passed it by after a quick and curious glance. But with a sigh, she veered off the path and knelt down to inspect the sack. It was partly hidden beneath a bush, and the velvet was the color of leaf and dirt, so it was no wonder that another traveler had not yet found it and picked it up. She lifted the sack and checked it for markings, a monogram or crest stitched into the fabric, or perhaps something a bit more subtle. With one hand, she raised the sack, as she waved the other before her eyes, casting a lensing spell that would allow her to see any magical markings upon the sack.
Over the last three hundred years, elaborate guesses have been made about the nature of the treasure aboard the Arcadian. It was only after news spread of the ship’s loss to a freak storm as it passed through open and unclaimed seas that the rumors of what it carried began to spread along with the news of the wreck.
“Ours is a family of seers,” Gran would say, before she began one of her tales. “But like everyone we can choose whether to look or not to look.”
Then she would tell us, a varied collection of her grandchildren, of what she had seen when she chose to look. We’d listen raptly as she told us stories about all the odd items in her collection of treasures from her life. She had the usual things that people had: birth certificate, diplomas, love letters from Grandpa, pictures of her children and grandchildren, books, trophies, vacation souvenirs, and so on.
But she also had things that people typically did not have: a petrified dragon scale, pearlescent flecks from a unicorn horn, a shard from the sword of a giant, a seed from a long-extinct and legendary talking tree, and so on. Every odd treasure of hers had a story to it. And every story was an adventure from her own life.
Turtle kept her mouth clamped as the carriage she had been thrown into hit another bump. She had already bitten her tongue twice. She was certain she would have bruises on her legs, from knocking against something each time the carriage turned right. Her hands and feet were tightly bound, as was the sack into which she’d been stuffed. Her head and hands were on the bottom end of the sack. She had only managed to bring her hands up to cover her head.
Thus far, she had managed not to cry, and she took solace and courage from that thought. But as the carriage hitched up again, so came a hitch in her chest. She wanted to be a warrior someday. But this day, she was just a little girl…