18th Day of Harvest Season
The imp has made a mess of things. It began innocently enough. The smaller children have a difficult time bringing in the harvest. The root vegetables pose little difficulty, and that is where the youngest worked for days. If any turnips and carrots remained, they would still be there, but the children have worked hard and plucked them all from their home in the ground. The older boys needed help in the wheat and oat fields. After only one day watching them awkwardly swing the scythes, we’ve assigned them to the berry patches on the southern side. While considerably safer, these have proved challenging for small hands. Ivette and the others come back with the outside of their hands covered with angry welts. Scratches line the length of their tiny fingers, like red skin wrinkles. Noni, filled with the foolish wisdom of imps, convinced them they could make a machine to help them. An animal claw to reach out and snatch berries safely. Where he came up with this idea is still a mystery. Perhaps the minds of all magical creatures are filled with foolish designs. I have never seen such a tool, but enamored with this idea, he and the children have spent every moment of their free time constructing such a device. Read more
15th Day of Harvest Season
Only a fool wishes to hold life and death in his hands. I have learned long ago both are too heavy for human hands. Heart heavy with the burden of what’s been lost, and what remains to be done, I report that Brother Trinn passed through the Seven Arches not more than an hour past. His death surprises neither me, nor Brother Milton. We have seen the color of death often. We knew his fate yesterday, long before he took his last breath.
An uneasy quiet had fallen over the farm. The children trudged off to their tasks silent and tense. The normal clatter of buckets and running feet vanished. In its place, fear, poorly disguised as respect, followed each of us. Unable to withstand it any longer, I joined Brother Milton as he ministered to Trinn in his final hours.
“Jakob, we must find the boy.” Milton mopped Trinn’s forehead with a wet rag. Read more
13th Day of Harvest Season
Niles is missing. Ellison and Barly rose before the others. They saw his untouched bed and after further inspection, noticed his bag was missing. They assured me he’s disappeared before and he’s always returned. Where the boy goes is a mystery. When he returns, he never speaks about his time away.
“Niles don’t say much to anyone,” Ivette told me later. We had washed and dried the morning dishes and carried them back to the house, and now we were stacking them away. Noreen sat at a table close by, feeding Hugo a bowl of porridge. The mutt waited under Hugo’s chair, dashing out to lick up the spills every few minutes. According to Hilla’s report, Noreen still hadn’t spoken a word. I haven’t given up hope on her. Blessed Sisters, though I don’t know the pain she carries in her heart, I’ve seen even the most severe injuries healed. One day, she may yet speak, or laugh.
“‘Less he’s talking ‘bout weapons. Then he won’t shut up.”
12th Day of Harvest Season
“He threatened us.” Niles grabbed another piece of wood and bent it, testing its strength. The youth has been busy. At least three other bows, in various states of design hang from pegs on one wall in the old barn. He has pushed a wooden table into the corner and lying atop it are scores of unfinished arrows.
“The words of men are many, Niles. One could sow thousands of farms with empty promises, hollow threats and misspoken confessions of love. If you attack every arrogant man who speaks, Sarond will become a lonely place.” Read more
11th Day of Harvest Season
I had meant to begin today’s entry recounting the changes at the farm, unfortunately events unfolded that now push my thoughts into darker territory. Brother Milton and I took every precaution when we left the temple. We waited until the bells stopped ringing, leaving during the darkest period of night. We exchanged our silver robes for dull brown. We left by the southern gate, and circled around the city, avoiding the fields of the dead where the priests carted the previous day’s victims. We spoke with no one about our plans, save Wohlrin and Mouse. That Imorgan knew I might leave comes as no surprise. How she knew the details is cause for concern. Read more
10th Day of Harvest Season
When we arrived at the twin trees, no one waited for us. I’m afraid my body can’t travel through the countryside as it once did. We missed our appointment by at least one sunset. Of Hilla and her sister, Poppy, all that remained were tracks in the mud. She had stayed and waited. Until this morning, at least. She had perhaps a few hours on us, but despite our best efforts, we failed to catch her.
The rain began during the night. A slow, steady rain that burrows deep into the soil and feeds the rivers and streams. Master Gryst tied our cloaks together and fashioned a serviceable roof as a barrier through the night. Once the water began sluicing down the hill, all attempts at staying dry were futile. We were too wet and hungry to sleep, so we began the journey again in the dark. By the time the dawn broke and bathed everything in a rosy light, the rain had stopped. We took the opportunity to catch our breath. By a bend in the river where we were supposed to meet our guides, we sat and ate the fish Brother Milton caught. Disheartened, we ate in silence, each with our own thoughts. I thought of the journey ahead, only a few hours but treacherous in the mud for a weakened old man. I wondered if our misfortune was a sign. A message of what was to come. Read more
9th Day of Harvest Season
“How long will you allow that charlatan to run the temple? To lay hands on people in the name of the Seven Holies?”
“Master Gryst, it’s complicated.”
“Complicated? How complicated can it be? She’s starving everyone. Last I checked, that was murder.”
“And we are so pious in Sarond, is that it? We’ve never allowed murderers positions of power?” Brother Milton asked.
7th Day of Harvest Season, 342 Years After Mourning
I spent all day debating with myself, only to discover I have lost the argument. At least the hopeful side of me has. The side that is still a little boy filled with a child’s belief that all will turn out for the best, that evil is something hinted at by mothers who wish to frighten their sons and daughters into behaving.
Because no man can harbor secrets in his heart from you, it will not surprise you to learn I am leaving the temple. I had mistakenly believed I could make a difference here, I could offer hope where none was found. Under Imorgan’s watchful gaze, I accomplish little. My hands are bound, wrapped tightly with rough strips of caution. Each day I linger, I place Wohlrin and the others in danger, a task that weighs heavily upon me. Imorgan will exact revenge should she discover any of our plotting and when she does, though she may wield the whip, by my carelessness, I have ordered the strokes. Read more
6th Day of Harvest Season, 342 Days After Mourning
The message arrived before dawn, and mine were the only eyes to see it. For two days, I have risen before first prayer to check on the birds in the early morning silence, hidden from watchful eyes. Thankfully, we are too short-handed to assign a priest to their daily care, and I’ve avoided suspicion. For now.
I crept back to my chambers to read the tidings. And what tidings they are! The farm thrives! With a shaky hand, Hilla recounted her initial days and sends greetings from each of the others. A memory of her sitting beside me in the dark dungeon, rubbing salve across my swollen eyes while she recounted her families struggles flashed before me and a feeling of loneliness washed over me. I long for her guarded, but honest friendship. Read more
4th Day of Harvest Season, 342 Years After Mourning
Today marks the second day Brother Trinn and I walked among the families of the sick. He pressed a crisp sheet of baked wheat mixed with bark into eager hands, while I followed behind and offered sips of weak ale from a ladle. The refugees know what is happening. Imorgan’s desire to ration the food for the priests was never a secret. They are starving though, so they hide their wounds and cover their heads with scarves to shield prying eyes from the sweat on their brows, the flush of their cheeks, and most of all, the fever burning in their eyes. The tricks didn’t fool Brother Trinn. He yanked off their head coverings and examined each of them closely before giving them food. If he found evidence of the plague, he yelled for the guards to seize them. With clenched jaws and a rage boiling inside, I watched them drag the victims away.