Stavo had moved on from Asgard. The weather there was too cold, the ground too hard. He had moved, when he knew staying in one place might be better. He’d heard talk that some of Arcadia’s dispossessed settlers had turned up on a planet called, Ne’rdowell. He’d been rewarded, but not completely. He’d found his sister Luusile, who now lived next door to the farm he’d bartered for, and Bo Eldritch lived a ways down the same road further on. Yet, he hadn’t found Eni, and no one he asked had any news. If his sister had not already been living here, he would probably have moved on to a new place, a new planet.
Plants grew well here, almost too well. Constantly hot, muggy and sticky, the temperate zone was as good as it got. Everything clung to you with a life of its own here. He couldn’t imagine what life might be further south. Things probably grew out of your mouth while you lay sleeping; or as close as you could get in such weather. Such idle speculation sometimes distracted him for a little while, but his thoughts always returned to Eni. He felt bereft without her, as if his soul, his very life went with her. He was the empty husk left behind. He would never find a true home without her, but his body still went through the motions of living. Ne’rdowell had multiple species as settlers, who did their best to cooperate with each other. As with many emigrants throughout mankind’s storied history, Stavo kept to his own. He had no use for and didn’t interact with any of the aliens, except for the Pharis.
The Pharis’ curved and carved dwelling, a mansion by any standards, stood at the crossroads of which one leg led to town. Stavo had heard that the Pharis ran various nefarious enterprises, games of chance and the like, but he would help a neighbor without thought or stall. Stavo would occasional take a message into town, or bring something the Pharis wanted. Though it shared no physical resemblance, he, since Stavo thought of him as a he, made him think of the Eg’glis. Both shared a love of games and thought of life as an adventure. Yet, this brought his thoughts back to Eni. Everything, every thought brought his mind back to Eni, as if she had just stepped into the sunlight again after being blocked by shadow. Like a mirage, she vanished as he drew closer to her in his mind. He couldn’t help trying. Part of him lived elsewhere, and such thoughts softened the hiss of his laser plough as it cut through the soil. Straight furrows marked his progress. The seeds he planted would grow, but they could never provide the sustenance his spirit needed.
Stavo’s second season on Ne’rdowell had begun and he wiped his brow with his sleeve. Neither became noticeably dryer but, for a moment, it kept the sweat from running into his eyes. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like without the brown, grass hat he had woven during the brief, saturated winter. The community prayed for the rain to end. All of the field were flooded and no one planted until they grew sufficiently dry. Then, the natural cycle would begin anew. His crops would grow lush, providing food to nourish this growing community. All would help with the harvest and celebrate their success together.
That was all Stavo tried to think about when he stopped to pee behind a tree at the edge of his field. He might have succeeded, but he saw Fargo North on the road. He seemed headed in Stavo’s direction, so Stavo stayed hidden and watched. His mind shocked, his body reeling, as if from a blow, he watched North pass his farm without a second look. How could this man he detested be here, while Eni was lost, elsewhere, somewhere? No Creator could be so harsh, so cruel as to allow Eni to be gone while this fool here. If any, so-called Supreme Being could be this callous and unfeeling, Stavo could not believe. He returned to his field, but stood pondering this a couple of minutes before shaking himself and again picking up his plow.
He worked through the rest of the day, and then another before his fields were completely plowed. Each seed he planted went tenderly into the ground. Each had a thought and a prayer as he covered them with soil. He would give as much of himself as he was able to his crops. He would watch them grow, nurture and nourish them, and root out any weeds. This was his contribution to their small community. He would be able not only to feed himself, but also to share with others. Any surplus, he would sell. He might then have enough to fulfill the promise which had gotten him this land, and maybe enough to repair or replace his most essential tools. These thoughts made him think of Luus and her plans.
Luus had found a place to perform, but was looking for a partner. She did all right solo, but complained it wasn’t the same without the harmonies another harp could provide. No, to tell the truth, she wanted him as a partner. She wanted him to join her at the Winking Barman Tavern, an establishment that had existed king before they arrived. There were others, but this welcomed Arcadians along. The other species which shared the spaced ignored them. Though he’d heard little talk of any trouble, Stavo thought that had more to do with Jones, the tavern’s owner. He was a giant of a man who would throw you out as soon as look at you if you caused trouble. These days, he didn’t seem much in evidence and left the running of the bar to Surely, just Surely. And there better not be any jokes made at her expense. Stavo had agreed to go tonight and listen to Luus play.
Finished for the day, Stavo went into his cabin. He hadn’t built this one, but it backed onto the Grieving River and had cooling and water, which suited him fine. He didn’t know who it had belonged to prior to his stay, but it had a good vibe, a feeling that made it seem welcoming. Stavo soaked in his tub, thankful for the in-house bathroom and the heated water, which came from a tank on his roof. He scrubbed his fingernails and washed off as much of the dirt as he could before drying off. The tub would have to be cleaned later; he could already see dirt clinging to its sides. That would have to wait. Luus would be here any time and he’d promised her he’d be ready. He put on his cleanest pants and shirt, smoothing the wrinkles in the front of the shirt with his hands. That made little difference.
Considered handsome enough by some, he was reminded again that he was no dandy as he combed his hair. He repeatedly ran the comb’s teeth trough his hair to no avail. For some reason, his hair had never been his friend, sticking up in odd places. Perhaps if he didn’t cut himself, it would look better. He had to admit that when Eni trimmed for their wedding it looked as good as he’d ever seen it. And he again thought of Eni, missing her terribly.
Hello, I’m wondering if I should continue to share this and my Tuesday serial ~ Toliver for free? I had hoped for comments, but they have not been forthcoming. Should I now complete this offline and try to self-publish when completed? Any imput or insight will be appreciated.
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