Come in, come in, the river mist will be gone soon enough, but here you’ll find some tales, some warmth so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
Please sit by the window, you’ll have the best view, and easy hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.
I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.
Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.
The exhibition was complete, the gallery readied for the grand opening at the unusual hour of seven in the morning.
Maire McClare moved about the winter lit rooms, hands covered in bluish purple wool, her amber hair piled under a rabbit fur lined wool hat embroidered with intertwining vines of ivy and oak leaves, her slow exhales rising in curling wisps.
Every invitation had been returned with a “yes,” it would be an exceptionally large gathering of patrons this morning, a mixture of human and fae, although Maire wondered who would notice.
But for now the crystalline paintings were hers alone, and she was full of admiration and delight.
The five artists, women from the far north, were preparing, dressing upstairs in the apartment Maire kept for out of town patrons, guests and as a staging area for nervous artists.
Preventing any changes in the ambient temperature, Maire stood back from the glass and ice paintings although she longed for a close, finger touching inspection.
Helga, a cross realm child and the only member of staff Maire choose to assist with this exhibit, was bustling about the entry room, moving quickly for warmth, checking the ice wines, the sorbets and the violet hued information packets.
As she finished her private viewing, as the bell in the church tower across the street announced the seventh hour, as the women from the north took positions around the gallery appearing made from ice themselves, the double doors leading from the street opened wide allowing those gathered in the cold morning mist a ceremonious entry.
Very specific instructions had accompanied the invitations, an emphasis placed on their strict adherence.
All bids must be sealed, and placed on the silver tray in the entry hall, after a complete pass through the exhibit itself.
There must be no conversation, no engagement of any sort with the artists themselves.
This was a two-hour opportunity for the future engagement of an ice painter, and as Maire greeted her prompt patrons, she hoped she had chosen her human guests with adequate discernment.