Chapter 1
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Hello, dearest morning. It's never a pleasure to deal with you.
To be precise, my motivation to go "rise and shine" is quite low, while the sun isn't even close to doing the same yet.


"Hey, sleepyhead! Wake up!"


And there is the lovely voice of my mother.
Pointing out the inevitability of my fate to embrace a gloomy, dark, wet, and as far I can tell physically exhausting day, instead of simply staying in my bed.
Her name is Farrah, by the way.


As for who I am:

My name is Erys.
I am a seventeen years old girl but my birthday isn't too far away.
Even if it is questionable if there is anything to celebrate in the first place when you live with your six year old brother and your parents on a farm, remote from any noteworthy settlements at the border of a country that isn't interested in us in the slightest.
There is not really much a girl can look forward to.


"Now get yourself ready or I might allow your brother to pursue his idea of using a bucket of water!" (F)


Sigh! Sleeping a bit longer was such a tempting prospect.
But I guess I have no choice.

Why is there no profession which allows you to stay in your bed?

Yes, I know I should get ready.
As much I know my family the part with the bucket wasn't a joke.
The good part of our home is that I have a room for myself.
It would be quite embarrassing to share it with my brother or worse my parents.
So I stand up, fetch myself some clothes, and put them on, not thinking much about how I look.

Who would see me?
It's not like anyone is interested if I have a clean face.
It's a rather plain one as well.
Grey-brown eyes and neck-length dark-brown hair.
Nothing special.

The part of me who cared, died a long time ago when my mother confessed to me that our lifestyle would never allow me to dress up or go to any kind of festivity where that matters.

The advantage of not caring lies in the point that I am like this done in a blink with all my morning deeds.
So I am soon ready to open my door and step into the main room.

And I find my brother.


"Is that a bucket?" (E)

"Muuum! She's up!"


God! Toris can be such a nuisance!
He is one of these far too wild young kids you need to be extra careful that they don't run off and cause problems.

Well, he's not especially bad.
And he doesn't break as much as one might think.
But right now his energetic self is just too much for me.
So I drag myself to the table.


"Couldn't you wash your face first? Maybe Toris should have used that bucket." (F)

"Mum! I simply don't get why people, when waking up to a cold morning, would develop the sudden urge to sprinkle themselves with even colder water." (E)

"It isn't cold! It's summer!" (F)

"Mustn't mean that I like cold water." (E)

"You really are no morning person. I guess if you could you would spend the whole winter sleeping in a cave under the earth like some animals do." (F)

"If it would just be possible!" (E)

"But since you're already looking like this you can go and work a bit before breakfast. Someone needs to look for the chicken and feed them." (F)


As I don’t wish to prolong this talk I go.

It's still dark, which might explain why there was yet no shout from the stable.
I grab the fodder and bring it over to the pen where I diligently do the feeding.
You might not believe me after this start, but I am in fact a good worker and help quite much around the farm.
For example, those huge fields which reach my height have grown not to a small part through my contribution.
Aside from different vegetables, we grow mostly wheat and yellowsprout, which is like corn but grows from rather large shrubs in a bright yellow color.

Also, I get along with my family quite well.
I'm like mother said simply not a morning person.
Before mother can say anything else I wash my face with our rain barrel, as I'm now awake enough to endure it.
This doesn't mean I like unpleasant things.

After this, I go back in.

I've fetched some eggs while feeding and thought I could directly bring them to mum.
Inside, dad is already at the table.
His name is Rowen.

Regarding why he didn't get a terror morning call as I did.
Yesterday he worked on the fields until very, very late.


"Hey mum, I'm back. Found some eggs!" (E)

"Sorry, dear. It's already done and just porridge. The eggs we better keep for dinner." (F)

"Guess you are right. I'm more for meat, but we can't just kill our livestock." (E)

"No, we can't. So better eat up now. You will need the energy." (F)

"Yes, yes. Fieldwork!" (E)

"Don't get snappy! It's what keeps us all alive here." (F)

"Yes mum." (E)

"You could as well say something, Rowen!" (F)

"Mhm. Yes." (R)

"Thank you for your input, honey." (F)


Yep, dad is more the silent type and like me no morning person.




Suddenly the earth is shaking and one of the eggs falls down, shattering on the floor.


"Hell! That this had to happen now, of all times!" (F)


Just to say so, the earth was never very calm here.
For that reason, most of our stuff is stored in a way it cannot fall or break.
Because of that, no one is deeply invested when there is a quake.

I eat my fill, as we will not have dinner until late.
Dad will help me plow the fields, while mother is looking in the wilderness for wild herbs for our meal.
We work most of the time next to each other, but don't talk this much since as I said he isn't much into talking.
I guess that relates to why we live in a place where you don't have to deal with any people.


For the question, how someone as passive as dad got together with mum:

She told us that she was the one to ask him out.
And well, he didn't say no.

Okay, I'm overstating it a little.
The two make a good pair.
There were never hard feelings between them or anything bigger than smaller quarrels.
Like him not stepping the dirt off when coming back inside.
So much for him.

Because of this working with dad is a silent job.
I have no problem with that since I come after him in that regard.
However, I had something on my mind.


"Dad?" (E)

"Hmm?" (R)

"I wanted to ask you: Aren't you worried? The last time we sold our harvest they said there is a conflict with the Koreso. We are here so close to the border you wouldn't be sure if we belong to them or Tarsona. Isn't it dangerous?" (E)


There were always some tensions between our nations.
Tarsona is a rich country and has a strong focus on trading and sailing.
While the ocean is difficult to cross with all the monsters inside, we are proud of our naval tradition. Our capital city Valera is the biggest haven this continent knows, yet only three countries have access to the sea.
Naturally, this wealth draws unwanted attention.
Hence Koreso.

While they are very proud about being a republic where the people rule, these guys are extremely aggressive towards their "less developed" neighbors.
It strikes a little odd here that people who are this proud about their liberal government occasionally turn their prisoners of war into slaves.
And now it seems that these people again decided that the rich Tarsona makes a good target.
Like this, it might be understandable that I'm concerned our farmland might turn into a warzone.


"Hmm, I guess we should follow the advice of your mother and not think too hard about it. It's not like we can abandon the farm just like this. We are rather far away from any of the main roads or something else remarkable, so it's not likely that we'll get targeted." (R)

"Maybe." (E)

"Sorry that I can't be more assuring." (R)

"No, no. You are right. It doesn't help to fret about this. For now, I just hope this batch of corn does grow as fine as the yellowsprout. I mean some of the crops are bigger than me." (E)

"I know. But we should wait a little longer to make sure they are all ripe." (R)


I'm not soothed by my father's words but I realize that we have no real choice.
It's not like we can just abandon everything and run away.
Refugees aren't this welcome in the bigger towns and we would have no way to make money.
So I stay silent and we just do work.

We stop before it gets evening.
It's not like one is only working as a peasant.
We’ve got quite much done and have earned ourselves to call it a day.

Mum is already back and starts to prepare dinner, while I play a little with Toris.
After all, he is my brother and I should be nice to this little brat with his bucket.
It takes a while and when dinner is finished, the sun already starts to set.

We sit around the table and like declared mum roasted the eggs along with some of our crops.
It is rather quiet since my brother's mouth is stuffed and I and dad don't speak that much but are also exhausted.
And exactly this is the reason why I notice something rustling through our yellowsprout field.


"Mum, dad! I'm going out for a moment. Think I saw something." (E)

"You sure about that? It's starting to get dark." (R)

"That's the reason why. Any more and I won't see anything at all. You can stay, I’m only checking if it's bad for the field or the chicken." (E)

"Shall I accompany you?" (R)

"Nah! If it was anything at all it was rather small." (E)


So I go out and turn to the place I detected the rustling.
It is rather pointless to try finding something in here.
Nonetheless, I notice movement.
It's certainly too small for a wolf, barely surpassing my knees in height, rising my confidence to pursue whatever this is.
I can't really make it out, especially with the twilight, but the shape is weird.
As a last attempt, I jump more or less blind in its direction.




That startled me.
The moment I moved this thing jumped as well in my direction, and looked gruesome, before it just like this rushed away.
So I turn back to my home, having had enough of this.

Not worth it!


However, when I push myself back through the field I face a bright shine.