Arc 721, 71-72 Ymiden
“Where the beneath is my brush? I know it was in here.” Elisabeth searched her bag, then searched it a bit more. Running late that morning, she had rushed out of Haven House - bag and Storm in tow. Now at the farm and ready to dig into the work of that trial, she wanted to run a brush through her hair quickly and pull it up into a ponytail, but apparently her brush didn’t want to be found.
Ronan, already present, chuckled a bit. He knew where her brush was but, feeling mischievous, decided to say nothing. At least not yet. The guard had witnessed the feline culprit drag the item, along with others, to a secret stash location nearby during the previous trial’s work party. He had no idea what Storm was doing with the items, but it wasn’t for him to judge. Or tattle. Unbeknownst to her, Elisabeth was something of the little sister he enjoyed tormenting. It didn’t matter that she was the settlement leader.
Of course, only he was allowed the honor of teasing. Well, Balthazar and him. He couldn’t really deny Elisabeth's other half that pleasure. Immortals help anyone else that came at her with serious intent to harm, though.
Having sorted herself to some degree, Elisabeth piled her hair on her head, out of the way, and banded it together in something of a messy bun. Edward called everyone together, indicating to the group that they would simply follow the tasks of the trial prior with turning the soil and adding the amendments into the dirt. They had two more fields left to do before they could star the task of planting, and the settlers were eager to get things underway. Each field, established by the timeline previously, took one trial to turn and prepare, and they didn’t waste a trill getting to work.
The work wasn’t difficult, just repetitive. Remembering the settlers’ reaction to her attempts to use magic the trial prior, Elisabeth didn’t, relying solely on her shovel, hands and stamina. She made sure everyone got breaks, food and water. Leadership, as she was learning, was far more than telling people what to do. No, that wasn’t the type of leader Elisabeth wanted to be. For her, it was about taking care of people – body, heart and soul. It didn’t matter if they were a member of the settlement or not, for she took the same stance with everyone she met.
For the next two trials, Elisabeth and the settlers continued their meticulous work until finally, all three fields were ready for planting. They could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and what a glorious light it was.
Arc 721, 73 Ymiden
She still hadn’t found her brush and was beginning to suspect some shenanigans. Luckily, she had a spare, but that still didn’t make up for the fact that her other one was just gone. Poof. Vanished without a trace!
Whatever the issues, it was time to get to work, and Elisabeth was excited for the trial’s agenda – planting! The farm was complete, they had worked the soil and now, the final step to get a crop in before the colder weather arrived.
Back at the farm, the young leader glanced around to see who would be assisting that trial. In additional to her and the Munnys – Jolene and Delilah included – were Kenwyn, Osric and Derec. The three would serve more long term as farm hands and needed the experience Edward could provide. Balder and Ronan were once again present to help, although she secretly suspected they were just keeping an eye on her.
Edward assembled everyone together and laid out the plan for the next few trials, hoping to get everyone on the same page. “Let’s start at the beginning with the inventory. We may not have had a farm, but as most of you know, we’ve spent a lot of time growing seed plants and seedlings of some items. Those are all ready to be planted.” Waving his hand over to the new barn, the group could see an army of small plants waiting there for them.
“We have rubrum berries, Faldrass potatoes, and some phoenix wood saplings. All were harvested from the old settlement site. The phoenix wood saplings will be planted around the settlement outskirts, so we don’t need to worry about those yet. Everything else we are planting, we have seeds of and those will be sown straight into the soil. Except the tomatoes. Those take a long time to grow so we will start them in frames and plant in after the cold season is over. The seeds came from Haven Farm in Beacon and the Albrech, who also sent along farm tools and some information for us to use.”
Turning to face the fields, he pointed, trying to visualize the plan for the group. “Oats and Wheat go in the far field. Once planted, there’s not much to do with them other than let them grow. They don’t need a lot of hand-holding.“ Pointing to the field on the right, he continued. “Potatoes and Corn in that one, for now. Neither need a lot of help, but both take up a lot of room, especially the corn.”
Finally, he turned the field in front of them, next to the house. “Radishes, peppers, peas, beans, the rubrum berry starts will go here. These are the crops that will need the most tending, so I’d like them closer to the house.”
Grabbing the bag of seeds and directing people to load up with tools and garden implements, he then took the small group out to the wheat/oat field. Elisabeth immediately noted rain barrels that had been placed around the settlement residing next to the fields, and surmised that they would be used to water in the seeds they were planting.
The seed bags containing wheat and oats were dispersed amongst the group with clear instructions. Wheat and oats were very easy starters, so the only things needed were small trenches, about an inch deep, to pour the seeds along. Edward quickly assigned the three farm hands, William and Balder to create trenches with the hoes. Elisabeth, Jolene, Delilah, Ronan and himself took the seed bags and followed the trench makers, pouring even lines of seeds into the soil. The process was slow but once completed, the trench makers filled in the trenches, covering the seeds while the others followed along behind with buckets of water, watering them in.
One field had taken them almost all trial, so Elisabeth decided to start fresh the next trial with the corn/potato field. Going to grab her bag, she noted Storm trying to drag said bag along the ground. The funniest part of the sight was that the bag was at least twice as big as the growing kitten, and he was getting nowhere quickly. "What are you doing, silly cat? You ate all the snacks I brought along for you totrial. I'll get you some more food when we get back to the house." The young leader was still completely unaware of Storm's intentions to 'borrow' all her shiny objects for his new hobby, but tomorrow was another trial.
Arc 721, 74-75 Ymiden
The next two trials were devoted to the corn/potato field, and finally the last field, which Edward called the 'mixed bag' field. All the same people arrived to help both trials so there was no reeducation required, and people got quickly to work.
Edward pointed out that the Faldrass seed potatoes were simply smaller versions of what they would be growing. Seed potatoes were required, and had developed easily in the warm sand frames, allowing the Munnys to produce several bags of them for planting. The trenches for the potatoes needed to be a bit deeper, but that wasn't much of an issue. Following the same process as the wheat/oat field, the small group had gotten the entire field done in the allotted time-frame, breaking for the trial and returning the next for the final field.
The 'mixed-bag' had a few challenges. First, peas, as they learned, liked to climb on things to grow, being a vine. Using long sticks found in the nearby forests, Edward had fashioned pyramid type trellises, securing the tops of them, and the peas were to be planted at the base of the sticks for the vines to grow up.
Along the way, they learned that the radishes, peppers and beans would all grow into small plants, so they had to space out the seeds to give the plants room to grow and not be crowded. The rubrum berry starts, on the other hand, were already small plants and needed to be treated carefully during transplant into the fields. Delilah and Elisabeth, having harvested the starts from near the old Haven settlement site, knew how large the plants potential got and relayed that to the others, measuring out room between plants for expected growth.
Ronan, working near Balder and Elisabeth, glanced up and noticed Storm rummaging around in Elisabeth's bag again. This time, he came out with a silver crown looking item, dragging it slowly away from the bag. Smirking, he began to go back to work but noted Balder looking up and over in that general direction. "What the he...." he began, glancing at Ronan, perplexed look plastered on his face.
Ronan quickly tried to shush Balder, knowing immediately what he was going to do, but it was too late. "Elisabeth?" Balder's voice conveyed his sense of confusion, calling over to the young settlement leader. "Do you have a....crown?" Blinking, Elisabeth stopped watering and gazed over at the guard, amusement evident on her face. "A crown? No. I don't have a crown. Why do you ask?" Pointing in the direction of Storm, he drew her attention to the small, wayward feline.
"Storm! What....." Putting down the water bucket, she rushed after the kitten, who decided in that moment that he absolutely did not want to get caught. He picked up the pace, but with the item in his mouth and the weight of it, he was no match for Elisabeth, who snatched up both cat and tiara.
Realizing the game was up, Ronan chuckled and pointed over to the grouping of trees. "You might want to look in there. I think Storm is stockpiling for a rainy trial or something." Giving the guard a puzzled look, Elisabeth went to the small clump of trees and looked in. "Storm! Why are you taking all my things?" They were all there. Her brush. Her hair clips. And he had tried to steal her tiara as well.
Bringing everything back to where her bag sat, Elisabeth set the feline down and slipped everything back in the bag. Turning back around, she was met the amused look of several people. Ronan, always on his game, smirked and spoke the obvious question. "Elisabeth...why do you have a crown in your bag?"
Sighing, she shot back a bit of a withering look. "It's not a crown. It's a tiara. I got during that time Balthazar and I were taken to Rynmere. It has special abilities that would be helpful in certain situations."
Of course, they were teasing her, but she couldn't leave it at that. Grinning mischievously at them, she arched an eyebrow, continuing, "That's not the best part though." Waiting a dramatic beat, she pushed forward, telling them something that was sure to cause a bit of laughter. "Balthazar has a tiara too."