Monday, November 5, 2012

Day Three-Twenty-One: One Arm to Rule Them All

they're here already

Gods. Mail moves fast, like most things in this buggered-to-hell world, but I wish it didn't move this fast. I could have used a few more days to prepare, some time to mentally ramp myself up to the realization that, yes, my parents are coming to live in Pubton. I at least hoped for some RETURN mail, confirming what I knew would happen would, indeed, actually happen.

There was no return mail. There was no time. There was simply a knock, a loud, booming, powerful slam on the front door of the pub, a five-fingered earthquake that devoured my soul even as it woke me up, heralding the arrival of Oswald and Martha. My parents. I didn't even need Edmund to open the door to know who it was.

My father cast an early-morning shadow across the entirety of the pub, eclipsing the sun. As I peered out from under the blankets of my bed and spotted him I could have sworn he was one of The Baron's shadow creature things. Hell, I would've preferred one of them.

"GET UP!" my father bellowed, glaring at the assembled village. "It's five in the morning! Why the hell ain't you all up? This is the best time to get your rudding work done! Hop to, hop to!"

Most people either looked up in fear or tumbled out of bed. One poor worker leaped off his cot and ran upstairs, presumably because he'd met Oswald while staying in Villeinville. A few brave souls, among them Libby, defied my father and remained in their cots, snoozing or pretending to snooze. Libby was the only person spared an indignant rousing when my father waded in, as the rest were plucked from their beds by his single, meaty hand and shaken in the air until they agreed to rise.

My father. He's a morning person, for sure.

Robert and I were already standing at attention at the front of the pub, well accustomed to dad's tyranny, and as the rest of Pubton was experiencing the worst wakeup call of all time my mother hugged us both. She had a pack full of farming tools slung over her back.

"Good to see you again, my boys!" She handed us both a freshly-baked eel milk cookie. This had always been her way of offsetting my dad's behaviour. "We came as soon as we could. The house is in the wagon. We'll have it set up by tomorrow, I suspect. Where can we park? My son is mayor, I'm so proud of yoooooou!"

Half-asleep and bemused, I nevertheless glowed under the warmth of her praise while nibbling on my cookie. "Thanks, mom. Uh, you can set up somewhere along the, uh, river, I guess… good for irrigation… how did you…?"

"Take so long?" Mom sneered, glaring at dad as he hurled one of the nobles out of his bed. "We received your letter late on Friday. I insisted we leave immediately, but noooo, your bloody father said he had to have one last beer with his friends. Damned man, he was drunk when he tore down our house. Half of it's a ruin."

I peeked around her shoulder at the horse-led wagon they'd brought to Pubton. It was filled to bursting with planks of wood and bales of straw. I don't know how they fit the entire house in there, and I dare not ask. I fear I might go insane if I find out.

Robert joined me in staring at the wagon. His eye twitched. "Are, uh, are all the animals in there? 'n the silo?"

"Oh, heavens, no!" Mom exclaimed, ushering Robert to eat his cookie. "That would be silly. I'm carrying the animals in this bag, here. Along with the food. They need to stay nourished, yes? Can't have them chewing on wood the entire time."

Mom unslung her bag and opened the top. We peered inside. Something hissed in the darkness. We asked no questions. The mechanics of this world frighten me so much.

I had intended to appoint dad as a consultant, someone who could offer advice and, through his presence alone, intimidate people into following directions and acting for the good of the community. Turns out he had another idea in mind: he wanted to be reeve. He'd been the reeve of Villeinville for several years, and he missed the post. Wanted the chance to bust some heads and turn Pubton into an efficient village. That sounded enough like a sheriff or bailiff to me, so I agreed and made him reeve.


Yeah. He kinda made himself reeve. I just made the decision public. Announced his new role in front of the golden tree. Everyone seemed put down by the prospect, though no one complained, possibly because they fear Oswald.

And that's what I wanted. Right? To put some fear in these people? As a means of motivation? No more buddy-buddy stuff?


I've made a huge mistake…

The rest of the day was dedicated to work. My dad quickly and succinctly ordered people to work on creating farms while he put together his own, reassembling our old house with mom's help. We now have one fully-operational set of stables for the various animals that showed up two weeks ago, and tomorrow tilling of soil will begin so we can plant crops in preparation for winter. I suspect my dad will spend all of tomorrow yelling at people for the various things they've done wrong during today's work, as he didn't have time to supervise.

He and mom are sleeping in their half-finished house tonight. The rest of Pubton is huddled in the pub, fearful and blaming me for the pain that is surely to come.

What. Have. I. Done.


Dragomir the Mayor


  1. Things were getting a tad boring for a bit there, but things have picked up again marvelously!
    Can't wait for tommorrow's peice. ^^

    1. Totally agree. I knew that would happen for the first month or so - village setup is a little laborious. Dragomir's dad will add some spice to the story, and a couple new characters will be popping in relatively soon.

      I love / hate Oswald. He's such an asshole.

  2. One arm to rule them all, One arm to find them,
    One arm to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Tales of Elsewhere, where the Shadows are wreaking havoc.

    ...I just had to say that!

    1. Well played! I recognized the LotR reference but I've never read, nor watched the LotR. So I couldn't pull off that quote. But I'm glad someone did!

    2. I love the series but I had a hard time trying to remember the whole thing so I googled it.

    3. is the preciousssssss, we can'tss have them taking the preciouss, oh noess we can't.

      GOD I LOVE THOSE MOVIES! Thanks for making a awesome reference! Ember is officially on my list of 'Awesome'...and St.Elred...YOOOOOOOOOOOOOU ARE STILL MY MORTAL ENEMY! HOW COULD YOU KNOW STARWARS AND NOT LORD OF THE "MUTHA-TURTLE-FLIPPING" RINGS?!

      YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DESTROY THEM, NOT JOIN THEM! (BAM! I got snazzy references too!...I apologize ahead of time for my insane use of family is shamed, and I must now take my own life in a exotic ritual seppuku that involves a plastic butter-knife...this could take awhile...)

    4. In fairness to Elred, Lord of the Rings, though good, does take five billion hours to watch. Not including the extended editions. You need to clear out some serious time for them.

      ... and then try reading the books. ALWAYS WALKING

    5. Yah, that's Tolken.
      Dude who makes up a language or two, for background purposes, certainly isn't afraid of tedium.

    6. But, I like you, Steewpid...are you sure we can't be friends?