Farming for Courage - Chapter 4 - A'mara Books

in Web Novels4 months ago




(Terraday, cont)
There was a thump of the mudroom door, causing little Zafran to bark – but then, most things caused Zafran to bark!

Ignoring the dog, Tinley Kiuran sighed, took off her apron and investigated. She spied one of the young women, covered from head to toe in mud, practically spitting with anger! “Oh dear!” she exclaimed, partly to keep herself from laughing. “I guess we’d better get you in the tub!”

The young woman’s tears splashed down her cheeks. “They laughed at me!”

“There, there. Given that you’re walking, I’m sure no permanent damage has been done,” she said. “We’ll wash your clothes as well. Do you have anything clean to wear?”

“In the second coach,” she replied.

“Not much use out there. You’re a similar size to what Marc’la used to be before she had Karlun. I’ll find you some of her old clothes as you wash,” Tinley offered. “What’s your name, young lady?”

“Seri Dellan.”

“Nice to meet you, Seri. Would you prefer a bath or a shower?”

“A bath, if it’s all the same. It’s been weeks since I had a proper bath!”

“Then you will have one now!” Tinley determined. “The lads are still outside if you want to strip down to your underwear for the streak to the bathroom.”

The young woman did as she was bidden, but took off her underwear as well. She was obviously a woman who was comfortable in her skin. Tinley saw a couple of bruises where she’d fallen, but otherwise, Seri seemed to be no worse for the wear. “Bathroom is down that hall there. Use any of the towels in the bathroom. I’ll get you a robe.”

“Thank you!” Seri called as she followed the directions to the bathroom.

Tinley returned to the kitchen and finished making the dessert. She wondered if she was wrong. Torsten needed a hardy farm girl and Seri had never seen a farm before, she could tell! How the girl recovered from this humiliation would say a lot, for sure. Tinley had gone through similar herself when she first came to this farm. Maybe the girl had a chance, but that remained to be seen. She chuckled, hoping the girl couldn’t hear – or feel it.

Torsten placed another larger log on the roaring fire, then put the grate over it, throwing on some jelip steaks and burgers. He loved cooking over an open fire and could admit to being slightly jealous of the group visiting. It sounded like they cooked over an open fire most of the time.

As the meat began cooking, his mind drifted back to the young woman who had been bowled over by the ram. She had landed in the mud, using her arms to protect herself. When she’d got up, she had been covered in filth! Yet, somehow, she was still pretty. She had gone off in the direction of the house. Tinley would probably get her all cleaned up. He stifled the urge to laugh again.

Unless this group was into polygamy (not that he would judge), then she was unattached. She reminded him a bit of his sister, now off in Irola, making a lot more money than she could ever have dreamed of making in Kasago. Sadie had seemed just as uncomfortable on the farm on her last visit.

His attention returned to the conversation at hand.

“I would be able to help you build what you need,” Zilan offered. “We are being funded – and this seems to be an A’mara project now anyway. The children are all gifted as you’ll quickly see.”

“Assuming they wish to train,” Marc’la quickly said. “I will not have anyone forced into something they don’t wish to learn.”

Yo-te Hammit nodded, sitting next to her, her daughter Mikala in her lap, gnawing on a meaty bone. Squirrel, her smaller black dog, watched the child with envious eyes.

“Of course,” Mikor Hammit added.

“That’s not my point of argument,” Zilan said. “I have the funding. I will pay for your new barn and your house extension.” He looked at Marc’la. “It can’t be the easiest thing to have to suddenly accommodate another four bodies and another farm of livestock, so I plan to make it easier.”

“Can you help us build?” Ek-ul asked. “It’s a lot for Mikor and I do to – even with Torsten’s help.”

“We will stay as long as we can,” Zilan replied. “But you have to realize that our lives are at risk. If anyone puts two-and-two together, we could end up putting you at risk as well.”

“As long as you can stay.. that would be good,” Mikor replied.

“How is the actual outpost building coming?” Zilan asked. “It’s a refurbishment, I seem to remember Saraca saying.”

“Yes,” Marc’la confirmed.

“Well,” Ek-ul began. “Mikor and I spend a lot of time on it now. Garian is a great help as well. We do have a little hired help, but it’s a lot of work.”

Zilan shifted thoughtfully. “What if we built something new – something purpose-built?”

“Like on Irola? That would be hugely expensive!” Mikor argued.

“I don’t mean exactly like how Irola is built, obviously. That wouldn’t even work here… You’re from A’mara. Have you seen that complex?” Zilan asked, referring to Mikor’s golden cloak. Torsten knew that it indicated his birthplace.

“Not since I was a small child,” Mikor replied.

“Shame. It’s a good example of what I’d envision here… Maybe we can spend some time looking at plans,” Zilan suggested.

“Sure, but it’s still going to be expensive!” Mikor reiterated.

“Not as much as you’d think. There are many ways to reduce expenditure. Repurposed materials being an obvious place to start,” Zilan replied. “You already have the livestock. Is there more land up the hill that we could purchase?”

“It’s something we’d have to think about,” Marc’la replied. “I’ve looked at buying that next section myself, but the man wouldn’t sell.”

“With the work you’re doing with the nuwa, it would be appropriate to support you better,” Zilan said.

Torsten noticed a movement. The young woman was walking down the hill, carrying something. Tinley was behind her, walking stick in hand… also carrying more things. Probably dessert. The older woman was very well known for her cooking – especially her desserts.

The young woman slowed and fell behind Tinley. Maybe she was nervous. He felt bad for his part in that. He’d laughed at her; maybe that had hit her harder than he’d thought. Her lookalike went to her and took the dish from her. The young woman herself didn’t approach further, rather went into the garden, perhaps seeing it as a safe location.

Torsten asked Garian to look after the food (he was a better outdoor chef than Mikor was) and headed towards the garden, wondering what kind of excuse he could fabricate other than simply apologizing for his insensitivity.



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