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Bloode's Beastly Beckoning Bloode's Beastly Beckoning
by Matt Williamson
2008-04-21 09:16:29
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The good Mr. Bloode bounded into his bakery, took out a clean apron, and wiped his hands upon a crisp white cloth. Bloode smiled at the freshly-baked rack of breads and then, slowly and deliberately, buttered a slice he had cut for himself from yesterday's leftovers. He eats his buttered bread with a small cup of freshly brewed tea with honey, and then smiles at his oven.

An oven is a baker's best friend, and Bloode's best friend is honest and true. His oven, which he affectionately calls Owen, is wood fired and stays a pretty hue of orange, day and night, as long as you keep Owen's mouth stuffed with woods of many sorts.

Dinner breads tasted best when the smoke of the apple tree was in the flames, while cakes needed the sweet smokeless wood of whisperwood. Cookies liked it best when the wood was burned to charcoal, and brownies need a bit of Cherry soot to really make them right.

The door opens to the bakery, wooden clogs plod across the smooth brick floor.
"Bloode, I come for my breads," says old Mrs. Southby.

"Coming, Mrs. Southby, coming," Bloode says with a smile. As Bloode pulled two golden-crusted loaves from the rack, heat poured out of his hands and the bread began to smell as if the oven had just offered them up. Bloode's gifts meant that his breads are warm until sliced and served in the homes all over the county. His gifts meant that flour seemed to go further than it ever should have, and yeast practically ballooned the dough unless he was watching.

"Your breads are warm still from the fire's glow."

"I'm sure they are indeed," says Mrs. Southby while peaking into the oven.

Owning a bewitched bakery was something that Bloode had never thought would happen to him, but when Mr. Yeastly asked him to apprentice, he had no idea one day it would all be his.

Feeding the oven day and night, sweeping without making the dust rise hourly, fetching water by the bucket every time the cannister ran shallow; all of these things and more took his youth from him. True, he had a knack for making biscuits, but Mr. Yeastly let his hands in the flour all too rarely.

Bloode wrapped Southby's bread in waxed paper and handed it to her across the counter.
"Interest you in a brownie today, Mrs. Southby?"

"Your sweet-breads hold no sway over me or mine, Bloode. Peddle your sweets to the less stalwart."

With that, Mrs. Southby laid out her coins and left the bakery, backing out, her eyes on Bloode the whole time.


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