‘Good Burrowing!’ Wosel yelled once more to the bustling traders of the Earth Faerie market, though, as always, nobody seemed to notice her. They were all much too busy with the habitual hysteria of packing up their stalls before evening. It did not help, she supposed, that ‘Good Burrowing’ was the traditional ‘Goodbye’ among Earth folk, and though she was genuinely promoting her service as a burrower of skill, she looked more like a fool farewelling those who were hastily leaving.
The traders were well adapted to speedy departures, hauling their assorted wares in great packs that functioned as portable stalls. This allowed them to trade freely among their fellow Earth folk at market, as well as affording a convenient means to transport their cargo to and from their burrows.
Wosel watched as the last of the vendors rolled up their woven garments of dried roots and flaxen leaves and bundled up the nuts, berries and seeds they had come to trade. Clay pots and wicker baskets filled with brews and herbs dangled from their packs as they scurried away home.
Travelling to and from the market was a risky business, but a crucial part of life for any of the smaller sorts of Earth Faerie. By exchanging items they had in abundance for things they found harder to come by, they could spend less time above ground foraging, and more time below it in the safety of their burrows. They had been forced to adapt to a world that was growing ever more hostile, for they were not the only type of Faerie who lived in the Gloaming.
One frantic trader was so involved in the adjustment of the straps on his heavily laden pack as he hurried away, that he ran right into the back of Wosel.
‘You’d best get a move on, Woodwose!’ he said, checking he had not lost anything from his stall in the collision.
‘No time to be standing around. There’s only so much daylight left, and those Air folk don’t muck about if they catch you after dark!’ He rolled his eyes as Wosel mumbled an apology, then wandered off, singing a song, half to Wosel and half to himself.