15 Cylus 716There was very little wind in Warrick except for on the coast, so when Lazuli stepped outside the family cottage to find that the grass was blowing flat in the field and the wooden shutters on the windows were clattering against the stone walls, she stood, closed her eyes a moment, and cursed under her breath that she would need to use the ox over her skittish horse to pull the plough and help till the soil. The young woman carried the leather animal harness over her right shoulder as she paced towards the barn where the stubborn ox stood staring, awaiting her approach. Lazuli crouched quickly to rip out a handful of grass and it extended it towards the beast as if it were an olive branch, "no hard feelings for last time?" She turned her lips between her teeth and bit down gently to cease a stray smile before it had time to take root.
Last time she had promised to never bring up again, when minus their father, Lazuli's mother had tried to teach the girl how to work the plough and ended up taking her frustrations out on the ox, all while Lazuli stood, open-mouthed and dreading the day she would have to set the animal to task. She fussed with the leather straps, testing the waters as it were, waiting for the ox to decide whether or not to bolt, but he did not. With the harness on correctly, she led the animal over to the plough, still chewing his mouthful of grass, and turned him around, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth to see the animal back up, just as he had been trained. The plough was connected and she was ready to begin.
Work started at the far end of the farm, and as Lazuli only had enough soybean seeds to cover a quarter acre, she signalled for the ox to begin pulling and didn't stop him until he was half way down the field. The earth was still relatively damp, which meant that the odd breeze today would not blow any dirt in her eyes. It excited her to see so many worms turned up with the soil as her father Jared had always told her that worms were a sign of healthy land. Her actions, however, had not gone unnoticed, and soon some of the local birds started flocking to the area in order to make the most of her hard work. Lazuli shouted, which disturbed their feast momentarily, only to see them return soon enough as if nothing had happened.
It was sometime later before Lazuli thought to call out to Jed, and the dog came tearing across the yard to join her. She made a hissing sound with tongue pressed to the back of her teeth and pointed to the birds, making sure Jed was watching them before she gave the command for him to hunt. He rushed at the birds, chasing them up and down the field until he was tired of the hopeless game and stood panting, his long, pink tongue wagging out over the right side of his jaw, pointed ears listening out for a new and hopefully more favourable command. "Go on then!" Lazuli waved, "good boy, go home." Jed did not need to be told twice and galloped towards the house and his favourite water source.