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 Still ending, and beginning still (open) 
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Stablehand
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:45 am
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Post Still ending, and beginning still (open)
The woman knelt down and ran one gloved hand across the dry earth. The few grass blades that had struggled to survive came away under her touch. Caught up by the wind they flew away, no longer able to keep their fragile grasp on the earth. Where the woman moved her hand she left trails through the sandy topsoil. Everything was dry here, the moisture leeched away, the ground baked beneath the sun.

She straightened up, shaking her head slowly at the sight before her. It was gone, all of it.

She could rebuild, she could try again. The woman shook her head, “No, not again. Not here at least.”

The drought had been the last straw. Even with her natural abilities she hadn’t been able to keep the small holding going. If the rain didn’t fall and the sun glared down like a baleful eye there was little that anyone could do. Couldn’t bring life from a land where there was none left. But even before the drought had devastated the few acres that she had claimed there had been problems. She just wasn’t suited to the life of a farmer. What did she really know about crops and chickens and their keeping?

Nothing.

She’d just wanted a place to hide away really. A place far from everyone where she could just be herself. The Gods only knew where the idea of a little farmstead had come from but it had seemed such a good idea at the time. A little home, a few chickens and cows, vegetables growing slowly in the soil. How difficult could that be to arrange?

Very it seemed.

At first she had shied away from using her abilities, tending to the soil with her own hands, toiling under sun and stars alike to sort things out. The work had been hard and dirty but honest too. It had felt good to come in from the field and simply collapse, exhausted, on the crude pallet. The dirt had worked its way into every pore of her body, it had hurt almost unbearably but at the same time it had been so very freeing. She had made a place for herself, a quiet place away from the world where few bothered her and none knew her.

But then things had started to go wrong. What did she know of how to tend fields and animals? The temptations to use her abilities had grown like an itch, urging her to try the old ways, the easier ways. Like an itch she couldn’t reach it had grown, forced back by her will but returning all the stronger when she grew tried and frustrated.

In the end she had given in, but most cruelly of all that was when she realised that no amount of natural abilities could help her. It wasn’t just knowledge that she had needed it had been extra bodies as well. As small as the farm had been one person couldn’t run it by herself but she was unwilling to allow others stay in her sanctuary for long.

“Well I tried at least, that has to count for something.” She’d grown used to talking to herself over the years, there had been no one else at the small holding to talk with. Occasionally a traveller had passed by the farmhouse and had begged shelter for the night. She had been glad to offer them a roof and a good meal. Those travellers had always thanked her, called her Mistress Ilse and been on their way with a smile and a wave. Good people, kind people, but travelling all the same. They had been searching for something out in the world; a job, a home, a purpose. She’d been able to offer them none of those things, just a few gentle words and a place to be for the night. She hoped that some of them had found what they were looking for in the end.

The farmhouse was a mess now, the drought had seemed to drain it as much as it drained the world around it. The wood had warped in the heat and the paint had flaked away in most parts. The small flower garden that had once hummed with a chorus of bees was little more than withered patch of ground, a few dried out petals all that was left.

Further away from the building itself lay all that remained of the crop fields. The root vegetables had practically baked in the earth before she’d had a chance to harvest them. The wheat had dried to straw even as it had stood in the fields. Where the small pasture had once been was now just an open stretch of land, a few cracked and bleached bones in the far end telling the tale of what had happened to the last of her animals. The poor creature had perished one night, driven out of its mind with fear by the hungry wolves that had come out of the hills. The wolves at least had left with full bellies that night.

She brushed away the dirt from her glove and picked up the small pack that contained all she still called her own. There was precious little to show for her life really, a handful of trinkets and a change of clothes. Not much really. She smiled wryly, not much at all.

The woman turned her back on the ramshackle farmstead and began to walk away. No there wasn’t much in her pack, but out there in the world, there was so much more.

_________________
Memento mori


Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:20 am
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