Tanuvia’s life had changed radically over the last moon. It changed sometimes so rapidly I could not analyze all the data. She seemed to experience a similar overload that day. She was especially quiet and complained of a headache. After flying to the house to ask Bragi to have willowbark tea for her at supper, I returned to my sentinel post.
In the woods, I found a branch from which I could watch over the main character of my story and set the scene in my databank, the petite woman under her hat, the hoe in her hand, dwarfed by the tall okra plants. Beyond was the barn, which she sometimes feared. Across the yard stood the cottage with its thatched roof needing repair before winter and, behind that, the low-slung clothesline with sheets and linens swaying in a novel, cool breeze.
A two-wheeled lane through the wood tethered the cottage to the Ruski road. Down that dusty path walked a young man with shoulders as wide as some doorways. His hair was black and long, held bound in a tail down his back. His skin was dark, and his eyes, framed by thick lashes, were pale gray, almost luminous, especially when he opened them wide, which he did when Tanuvia dropped her hoe and ran to greet him, stopping just shy of an embrace. I adjusted my mic to gather their talk from a distance.
“It’s good to see you, too, Curly!”
He looked around and over her head. “Where’s your raven?”
“He’s not mine.”
“I see. Well, where did Muninn get to?”
“He’s somewhere. Probably watching us.”
“And listening,” Gem said.
“Most likely. Does it bother you?”
“Not at all. In fact, I was wondering why he’d left his post.”
“His guard post. Shall we go in?” He offered his arm.
“I left my hoe.”
“Then let’s go get it.” His arm remained cocked for her assistance, and they walked together through the rows to retrieve her hoe. She leaned on it like a staff and peered at him beside the tall, okra plants.
“Gem, I have to tell you something. I bled today.”
He rubbed his chin and his cheek, and he looked down at her with eyes of dew. “I assume you mean…”
“I do and am willing, if you still wish, to consider the proposal you made a little over a span ago. Although, if you’ve changed your mind, I wouldn’t hold it against you, and there are two things you must consider before you say anything.”
“Consider that I’m not promising a consortship, only a courtship. Da said there’s no obligation, that the courting is to let two people know if they’ll suit each other for a lifetime.”
“I never expected anything less. It’s how I want it, too. What’s the other thing?”
“The other thing is I need your patience. I’m not sure I can do this, but Da said I can’t let life pass me by, and I don’t want to give up, not yet. If we court, then I have to be honest, and the truth is my fear may stand in the way.”
“May I speak now?”
“If you’ve considered these things.”
“I’ve considered them a long time, Curly. I wouldn’t have spoken the first time if I hadn’t already considered them, and I promise you my patience. Will you allow me to court you? And consider me your suitor?”
“I will, and Da gives his blessing.”
“Curly!” He went to his knee and grasped her hand.
“So what do we do as suitors?” she asked him.
“What you wanted to do from the first. After supper, will you walk with me? We could walk down the lane under the trees. There’s a moon tonight.”
“Oh, I’d like that.”
“Good. Thank you, Curly. You’ve made me happy, and I want to make you as happy.”
“Gem, if you don’t mind, I’d like to tell my father now. He’s waited a long time.”
Possibly, the End.Edit: The story goes on! Thank you for the comments. Continuing next week with Chapter 26! Although this is not the intended ending of the novel, it may satisfy most readers. The proper ending is six chapters on, and I’d be happy to share those…IF…someone, anyone, even one person, displays any interest in reading the rest. Just leave a comment at the end of this chapter so I know I should post the last six. Otherwise, thanks for reading The Farmer’s Daughter and for all your support. If you want to read more of my stories, you can click here, Muninn’s Memories, to go to my writing hub. Again, thank you so much for following along.