Chapter Sixty-One: Useful Work

The town wasted no time putting Irian to work.  When they saw him haul in a boat by himself, they knew that he was going to be a great boon to them.  When he picked up the boat, they realized they didn’t know what they would do with him.  Even Namid was amazed at this display of strength-Thor wouldn’t even be able to spar with him now.  Irian acted as though it were nothing, though her eye caught the strain in his arms.  He might not be able to do it too many times, but he was still much stronger than before-the aether that Elanor had tried to poison him with had backfired, and he was developing new abilities almost daily.

Irian was basically shuttled back and forth, pulling in nets, pounding iron at the blacksmith’s forge (he showed the blacksmith a thing or two that meant the farmer’s implements almost never got dull,) once he was even asked to pull a plow.  The man’s mule had died, and none of his beeves were in any shape to pull.  He came humbly to Irian, removed his wide hat, and bowed before him.

“Friend, I come before you needing help, but I’m afraid to ask the favor.”

“I always do what I can.  It’s the least I can do.”

” I know, but this is… different.”

“How so?”

“Well, you know when we called you as strong as an ox?”

“Yes, I do remember that.  I am what I am, and at least it’s helpful here.”

“Well, my mule died, and if I can’t plow, I can’t plant.  If I can’t plant, we can’t eat.”

“So how can I help you then?”

“Friend, would you pull my plow, so I can feed my family?”

Irian thought for a second.  He had never been asked to pull a plow, and this was certainly a strange request.  He could see why the man would come and abase himself to ask, though.  He was just trying to feed his family.  Irian didn’t know much about families, but he knew they died if you didn’t feed them.  He was still debating it when from nowhere, Cairbre leaped onto the man’s shoulders and squawked in his ear.  To Irian, that settled it.

“Yes, friend, I’ll plow your field.  I don’t know much about families, but you do have to feed them.  Pick yourself up, let’s see how this will work.”

In the end, “how this will work” consisted of leather straps crisscrossing his chest, and attached to the end of the plow.  Irian fumbled, slipped, swore, and balked, but the field got plowed.  In recompense, the farmer pulled Irian aside and made him an offer.

“Now friend, you’ve saved my family’s lives.  There’s nothing I can do that would honestly repay you, but I’ll tell you what.  Those clothes are ragged and worn out.  My wife’s a fair dab hand with a needle and thread, and we’ll gladly fit you for new clothes-you and your woman.  In addition, my wife’s said she’s willing to teach her to sew as well-she tells me she knows little of women’s work.”

“Well, friend, I thank you for the offer.  For the clothes, I gladly accept.  For the sewing, you must talk to Namid.  She makes her own decisions.  She’s still a dab hand with that bow, as you would say.”

“Aye, and well said!  I’d best not be making a lady with that skill angry either!  Will you talk to her on it?”

“That I will.  She’s not used to this kind of life.  Where we were, we lived a much different life altogether.”

“Will’ee tell me of it sometime?  One wonders what you need that blade for…”

“I’ll tell you while your wife fits me for clothes.  Will that work for you?”

“Aye, fine it will.  I take it ye’ve some secrets of it then?”

“Just bad memories.  We never did anything wrong, just a hard, hard job to keep doing.”

The farmer’s wife pushed in at that moment and shoehorned herself into the conversation.  “I hate to interrupt you fine gentlemen in the midst of a conversation, but Irian, before you go anywhere, you get in that kitchen and you wash that hair-I can’t believe your wife sends you out like that.  Where is she from, to do that?”

“The map writers call it Amerigo.  The land across the sea.  She and her brother came here to assist us.  We worked together, and somehow we wound up here.”

The farmer’s wife turned a bright crimson.  She hadn’t meant to offend him.  She only was thinking of his well-being…

“Think nothing of it.  Remember, she only speaks Englic, and this language is beyond her.  It was fine to be curious.  Also, we’ve not been together long.  I’m sure these things will come in time.”

“Well then, until she reminds you to comb the leaves from your hair, hie thee hence to my washbasin!”

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 3:56 am  Leave a Comment  

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