Fruits Of Our Labour

Summary

Main event entry for Dracostryx's Great Harvest event.

Details

by silbernefuchs

Libraries: Fantasy, OriginalFiction

Published on / 1 Chapter(s) / 0 Review(s)

Updated on


Cersul's tone was anything but sympathetic as Bren sat upon one of the patch's larger gourds trying to recover his strength after the morning he'd just had. Sweat dripped from his forehead and ran down his back, and the stench was offending his nostrils. Not to mention how sore his muscles were. And somewhere in the distance, he could see several of the farmhands looking in his direction before exchanging words he couldn't make out, then laughing. Bren could see that he was clearly the topic of their jokes.
 
You cannot complain about the job you have been tasked with when the reason you are here at all is because you lacked the patience required to wait to see what your options were before you volunteered yourself.
 
The guthane squeezed his eyes shut to hold back his unjustified-but-understandable anger as he was lectured by the spirit shepherd herself. He'd wanted to be out of the city of Sol so badly after first helping save it then helping to put it back together had led to him spending more time within the walls of civilisation than someone born of the wild taiga would ever tolerate that when it was announced that Sol needed volunteers for jobs outside the city Bren had practically offered his services before he could be told what all of his options even were. So now he was here, helping the Solstian farmers with the stuff-of-legends pumpkin harvest, when he'd much rather be helping those who were in the Haunted Woods trying to catch wisps or helping Maja with her magics. Pumpkins—these ones at least—required heavy lifting, and to say that Bren's role as guthane did not equip him with the skills required to move a lot of heavy produce in a speedy manner would be putting it lightly.
 
"You cannot blame—"
 
Oh yes I can, she shot back. Something in her tone suggested that her annoyance wasn't just over the guthane's impetuousness but also because this wasn't the task she would have preferred to carry out herself. Your youthful eagerness is generally a commendable trait to have, but acquiring the skill of knowing when to apply it and if using restraint—which you seem to be having trouble with—would be your better choice is something you still need to learn.
 
Sparks burst behind his very-squeezed-shut eyelids as pain blossomed inside his head. Cersul was right and he damn well knew it, but like a petulant child he was determined to be angry at her.
 
When you are finished with your sulk, let me know, so we can get back to work.
 
*******
 
The farmers' amusement at Bren's expense did not abate any after the guthane's rest and return to pumpkin harvesting, as he could spot them grinning at him while massaged his muscles, which felt very much like stone.
 
You can always rest again, Cersul offered, though Bren refused. He'd already been made a mockery of at least once today, though he did lean against her as he tried to regain energy after the pair had helped roll several large fruits towards a gradually-growing-larger pile of them.
 
Your choice.
 
Unfortunately for Bren, his temporary rest hadn't gone unnoticed, as once again he was the subject of the farmers' jesting.
 
"Soft," one quipped.
 
"Too soft," agreed another. "Not like your antlered friend."
 
Bren glared while Cersul gave an impassive stare, though he could feel her amusement through the spirit-link.
 
"Would've thought someone from the wild country would be tougher," a third added, picking up a tiny gourd that had rotted somewhat from recent rains, and proceeded to squish it in his calloused hand, "but this sad little pumpkin is tougher. Even after all the rain."
 
Bren gave a frown over being considered soft and unable to perform hard labour, which disappeared when he thought he heard a squeak coming from within the miniature fruit.
 
The farmer gave the crushed pumpkin a perplexed look, turning it over and over. Guts spilled out from the pathetic-looking fruit, and ran down the man's hand, seeds sticking to the skin. It seemed like an ordinary, rotting micro pumpkin. "Eh?"
 
"Whatcha got there?" asked the second farmer.
 
"Dunno." He gave it another squeeze, just to be sure that he wasn't hearing things. Sure enough, it gave another squeak. Another. Louder than before. Then, before anyone could react, a glowing red orb emerged from the rotten fruit to dance above everyone's heads, bathing everyone and everything in a sickly crimson light. The farmer who'd been holding the pumpkin was staring wide-eyed in surprise. Pumpkins clearly did not do things like this.
 
"Wisp!" everyone shouted at once. "Wisp!"
 
"Get out of here!" Bren shouted at the top of his lungs, as Cersul vibrated with excitement. "It is corrupted!"
 
Nobody needed telling twice. The memories of the wraith's—Senka's—rampage as well as the chaos the recently-cured-from-corruption rhakos stryx had caused were still fresh in everyone's minds, and no one was particularly keen on reliving any of it, and when the other helpers were informed, they too ran from the fields, leaving it and its contents to Bren and Cersul to deal with.
 
Bren seemed rather too pleased to see a wisp. Even if it was corrupted.
 
Were you hoping for this sort of diversion from the chore of harvesting pumpkins?
 
"You could say that."
 
Cersul's stag wisp was at their sides.
 
"Time for us to carry out our true labour."

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