She stood in front of the door knot knawing at her stomach, not knowing what to do. She was naked, and her etiquette classes with Baroness Sarapen had not prepared her for such a situation- She knew all about which curtsy, Bow or vocal greeting would be appropriate in most situations, but The Baroness’ lessons had not prepared her for standing naked in front of a stranger’s house and what best to do. The problem was solved in a most unexpected way- The princess felt something soft brushing against her foot and looked down to see a black feline creature with startling yellow eyes looking up at her. A cat ! The cat didn’t pay her much heed though and immediately started to meewl loudly and dig its claws into the door jamb. The Princess was surprised when the top half of the door suddenly swung inwards and a dusty voice came from the shadow’s inside, " Jinx! What have you brought me this time? I have enough rodents and garden birds to keep me going till Lughnasa, but if you would only do something useful and find me a nice plump toad, I could complete that potion for Widow Welby’s Warts and we’d be set up for the season. Ah Jinx, sometimes I regret having chosen you as my familiar, and would have been better off with a hawk or an owl. But What have we here? Jinx, you have surpassed yourself this time. “Hello Princess Raniel, I’ve been expecting you, Won’t you come inside? And Jinx stop that racket before I turn you into the toad that I need for the potion.” There was no anger in her voice however and she now opened the lower half of the door and ushered Raniel inside. " How do you know who I am?" , she wanted to say , but all came out was a low groan/moan. The old lady was a little shorter than the princess and her long hair was falling in unfettered grey freedom over her skinny shoulders and down her back. She led the way towards a huge open fireplace on which there was a large iron pot simmering on a crane. There were two wooden stools and She gestured to the princess to sit opposite her. " How do you know who I am?" stuttered the princess as she simultaneously performed an inelegant curtsy and sat down. She was glad the Baroness Sarapen was not here to witness and reproach such awkwardness. How unsettling! “Would you accept a hot drink?” asked the old lady looking deep into her eyes. “You and I have such alot to talk about, but where are my manners, I am Raniel, too, just like you and I have been awaiting this day for a very long time, my child”
Part 4 of a 7 part story- Raniel meets the crone!