Thursday, March 20, 2014

Farmer, Orb's Year 941-944


Orb's Year 941
The harvest was ready and while the rest of the family played...
...Garth worked very hard to get it ready to sell to Gemma Grocer.

***

"Did you have any trouble harvesting?" Garth's mother, Shanna, asked.

Garth grinned tiredly.  "No, I've gotten it all taken care of.  Tomorrow I'll fertilize the ground and plant some more seeds."

"Why are you always so busy?" his youngest cousin, Ingrid, asked.

Garth ruffled her hair before trodding off to to bed.  "We have to put food on the table, now don't we!"
Braden worriedly glanced at his brother, Cade.  After the room had cleared, he approached him. "Are you sure that he doesn't have too large a load to carry? He's still a young man!"

Cade shook his head.  "I know. But, we're just not able to work in the fields like we used to!"

"He hasn't been going to school with his cousins, choosing to stay here and tend the fields," Braden observed.

Cade sighed with true regret.  "I know. We've talked to him and he refuses to stop.  Stubborn!" he added with a grumble.

Orb's Year 942


Garth worked the soil to get the land ready for the seedlings he'd be planting.  It had been a good harvest and if he got the new seeds planted soon, they'd be ready before the weather turned sour.  His father and Uncle Braden lectured him to rest, his mother and Aunt Uma demanded that he take time for merriment.

But, he knew that the family depended on him.  He was the only male in his generation.  The work fell to him.
Garth brushed the dirt and sweat from his clothes before going inside to grab a plate.  As usual, the hall was full of laughter and conversation.

Duty aside, this was the reason he worked so hard.  His family.  He toiled because the elders, his sister and his cousins depended on him.  He pushed aside his dreams of knighthood and jousting and chivalry because they were unrealistic.

He was a farmer... plain and simple.
But how fast the girls were growing now.  Even Ingrid had reached her teen years, he thought as he watched his youngest cousin scoop up his sister Harlow and walk to the nursery. 
He followed behind slowly.  "May I play?" he asked his sister, squatting on the floor beside her.
"Okay, but I want to be the princess! Here!" she said, shoving the knight into his hands.  "You be the knight!"

Orb's Year 943
Helga wasted no time inviting a few friends over after school.  She couldn't help the sinking feeling that if she didn't catch a future husband soon, that they would all be taken by the time she was grown!  And she did not intend to go to the Abbey or become a servant!
Benji Potter pulled his best friend Garth out of the field.  "Come on, Garth. I think I've met your future wife!" he said in a whisper.  "I ran into her at the Grocer's Delicatessen! She's quite..."

Garth wrinkled his nose and shook his head.  "No, no more match-making, Benji!  You saw how well it worked last time!"

"But Garth! I just want you to find true love like I have! I want to raise our children together! Maybe my son will marry your daughter one day!"
Garth shook his head.  "If wishes were horses, my friend!" he said sadly.  "I'll marry when the time is right.  And blessed Orb, I pray that I have more than one boy! Not everyone has the luxury of a love match..."

As he walked back to the fields, Garth smothered a weary sigh.   Because deep down, he wanted what his parents had...
...what his Uncle Braden had...
...but he had to be realistic...

Orb's Year 944
The weather had turned biting cold and Garth worked late into the night to protect the plants.  Soon, the fields would be covered with snow. 
He just prayed that he could harvest all the plants before the frost smothered the plants and made all his hard work for naught.
"Well, the crops are harvested," Garth thought as he walked from the now barren fields.  Anxiously  he stomped his feet that were becoming heavy with numbness. 
One last task before he headed to the Grocer's with their harvest...

Some days it felt like there was always one more task to be done...

***

"Queen Deidre!" Braden Farmer exclaimed as he bowed low.  "What an honor that you have visited us! What brings you to our humble home?"

Queen Deidre smiled as she shook the farmer's hand.  "Well... it seems that I am in need of a serving girl..."

***

Braden walked in from the cold, stomping his feet before coming inside the hall.  He saw his wife and daughters breaking their fast at the table together.

With a heavy heart, he sat down on the bench and looked at his family.
"What is it, papa?" Ingrid asked when she saw the look on his face.  The rest of the family turned and looked to him, as well.

Braden cleared his throat.  "Well, it seems that the Queen is in need of a serving girl since your sister Gia has been granted permission to marry the Potter boy.  So, either Helga or Ingrid must go..."

Ingrid glanced across the table at Helga's stricken face and didn't hesitate.  "I'll go!" she said. "I think it would so romantic to live in the castle and see all the royalty and noblemen in their fine dresses! And I was ever so jealous of Gia growing up, living in the castle! Helga, you don't mind, do you?" she asked, already knowing the answer.

Helga shook her head vehemently. "No! Not at all! If you feel so strongly about it..."  A twinge of guilt hit her.  She worried that Ingrid didn't know what she was giving up...
But Ingrid had already hopped up excitedly and danced around the room with her cousin, Harlow.  "I'm going to the castle, Harlow! Isn't it wonderful?!"

Garth walked up to his Uncle Braden.  "I'm going to market, anyways. I'll take her."

Braden nodded sadly.
And then Ingrid Farmer was gone...
***

"Did you see the castle?" Harlow asked excitedly when Garth returned.

"Did you see any handsome knights while you were there?" Helga asked, already picturing a dashing, handsome man on a white horse. 

"Did the King ask to see you when you dropped Ingrid off?" Harlow asked.

"Of course not, you dolt! The Queen is the one that handles the household! I bet he met the Queen!" Helga said in a knowing voice.

"I'm not a dolt!" Harlow said, stomping her foot and glaring at her cousin.  "You're..."
"Girls! Enough! I did not see any knights. I did not see the King or the Queen.  I dropped Ingrid off with Uncle Ennis," Garth said with exasperation, adding, "And nobody in this household is a dolt.  Now grant me some peace and quiet!"

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