Aggie rubbed the small of her back as she unfurled. After all the bending she had done gathering bear garlic for Mam's tea, her back was sgrechian. She loved her time in the ancient forest; dappled shadows and soft breezes didn't take away her worrying, but it did help her breath away from the sad eyes of Da.
It had been seven long years since Mam was encased, seven long years of poisonous lead diffusing into her blood. At first, Aggie's remedies helped. She read her grandmother's herbarium diary from cover to cover. She found an entry written in beautiful script, "For the relief of the dragging fever brought on by encasing seek out bear garlic, the herb that gives bears back their strength after their long cysgee. You will know it by its tiny white flowers and spicy scent. Bruise the leaves and stew in tea to help purify the blood."
After that, Aggie visited the forest to pick bunches of the smelly herb. At first, Mam said, "Oh Aggie, this is yuch-a-fi. I think this might poison me quicker than the coverings!" Her Mam was right; it was a bitter concoction, but Aggie's face was full of gobaith, so she finished the cup. These days she drinks the brew down with no complaint.
Aggie knows she will not let The Uried encase her nipples. She keeps a shank in her pocket, vowing to herself to take at least one of the so-called holy men with her when the time comes.
Recently Aggie and every other Scurrier have felt glimmers of gobaith; no boys have been born for twelve moons, and The Uried are worried. There have been no encasings, and Scurriers are being told to have more babies. So maybe, just maybe, things are changing.