The Fae Worlds

A Change of Pace

All I had on me was one backpack, which held everything I thought I was going to need. I had no way of knowing for certain whether it would be enough, but if it wasn’t I’d just have to find somewhere to buy what I needed, because what I didn’t have on me I’d sold. My old life was going to stay where it belonged – the past. The early morning bus I was on would take me to the farm that had been in my family for as long as I could remember. No one else had wanted it, and with everything that happened I desperately needed a chance to do something different. Something that might end up being better. Anything, really, was better than what I’d had to deal with before, although my decision was one my parents were having a lot of trouble coming to terms with. Leaving the city for a little town in the middle of nowhere wasn’t something they would have done. What didn’t seem to have crossed their minds was the fact I wasn’t like them. I was never going to be like them.
When the bus came to a stop somewhere I vaguely remembered, mostly from pictures I’d seen in the past, I got off the bus. I knew there was chance I might be in the wrong place, but I doubted it. The feeling… it was something I’d only felt once before, and that had been when I was very young. At the time I’d tried to talk to Mum about it. She’d just given me this look, telling me I should never have brought something like that up, so I never said anything again. As I hadn’t felt it again there’d been no reason to, yet there had been this part of me that couldn’t stop thinking about why. Why had I felt that? What did it mean, because it was obvious from Mum’s reaction it meant something? Knowing what it was might have helped me to make the decision to leave everything I knew behind sooner. As I let it lead me to where I was meant to be I felt a sense of relief I’d never felt before.
Far sooner than I expected I found myself standing outside the door to the farm. Even though I could have just unlocked the door I knocked on the door instead. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know, not for certain. Up until the second it opened it hadn’t crossed my mind there might be someone there. The two of us stared at each other for a few seconds. “Hi.” He raked a hand though his hair. “You aren’t who I was expecting.”
“I wasn’t expecting there to be anyone here at all.” I studied him. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?”
The pop behind me made me turn. Finding myself looking at a Goddess I’d long been told wasn’t real was just an unexpected as the person in the farm cottage. “Paige…” She stepped closer, looking me over as though she wasn’t quite sure I was real, and then her eyes met with mine. “I stopped calling to you a long time ago. Maybe that was a mistake.” She glanced at the guy who was behind me. “Harrison is someone I called here to help with the problem that we’re dealing with. Magic is fading from this world, and we need that to change. The only way that can happen is if we have people in the farms. Without them up and running everything that made Ieria what it is will fade into nothing.”
Nibbling my lip I glanced back at Harrison. From the look on his face that was news to him too. At least I wasn’t the only one who knew nothing. “I’m here now, my Lady.” I had no idea what to call a Goddess, but at the very least I wanted to be polite. “I am sorry I didn’t listen before, but I didn’t know that I need to.”
“Most don’t.” She nodded, slowly. “Having both of you here could be a good thing.” She looked back at Harrison. “You know that you were called here for a reason.”
“Yes, I did, but it seems to me like I’m not necessary.” He stepped forward, so he was stood next to me. “Sending my back to the world you took me from is an option.”
“Do you want me to send me back? It felt to me like you’d come to terms with being here, and if that is the case I can make it so that the two of you can work together. These farms are large. One person is enough to do the work that needs to be done, but with the two of you that work will be done much faster.” The Goddess looked at me. “You are also someone I can’t be certain I trust to stay, Paige, because you didn’t come before, and your appearance now… I don’t know what it means. I am certain it means something though.”
Teeth busying my bottom lip again I looked at Harrison, and he looked back at me. “Is there enough space for the two of us?”
“Space isn’t something you’ll need to worry about. I can always do something about that. What I want to know is whether you feel it would be possible for the two of you to work together. Nothing about this is going to be easy. The farms had been abandoned for too long, and the magic has been used to grow far more weeds than any one farm should have. With some love it will be back the way it should be, but I need to know, as soon as possible, that one or other of you is going to stay. If neither of you are then I’ll have to call someone else.”
“Leaving everything behind was something I made the choice to do, my Lady, and I’m not planning on going back to my old life. I want to be here. I made the choice to come, because I want to turn the farm around. No one in my family cared, and they are never going to care, but I do. I will do what I can to make it as successful as it once was.”
“Words are not actions.” The Goddess didn’t sound angry, but instead like she’d been disappointed one too many times. “I will believe it when I see it.”
“I know, my Lady, and I will show you that I’m not like them. I promise you that.”
“Don’t make promises you might not be able to keep.” Harrison’s voice was a little louder than I expected it to be. “If we’re going to make this farm the way it was before your family abandoned it it’s going to take a lot of work. That’s something I’ve thought about a lot in the time I’ve been awake, and I made the decision I was going to do whatever it was I had to do.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “As it seems like you’ve done the same thinking we’re in a good place to get started. None of that means that, in a week, we’re still going to want to be here. By then we might both have made the decision all we want to do is go back to our old lives.”
The Goddess nodded. “Harrison is right, Paige. I appreciate you being willing to try.” She gestured. “The house now has more than one bedroom, so if you are going to work on this together there will be enough space for both of you. For now I’ll leave you to make the decision together.”
Before I could say anything more there was a pop, and the Goddess disappeared. “Okay.” I ran my tongue over my bottom lip. “This isn’t what I expected to happen when I turned up here, but maybe she’s right. Maybe, with the two of us here, we are going to be able to get more done.”
“How about we look over the farm together? I wasn’t planning on doing too much today, because I have an idea of what sort of state it might be in, but what we do do is going to be clearing out some space to start planting.”
“You know more about this than I do.”
“A little, maybe.” He sighed. “I don’t know. This isn’t my world, Paige. I was brought here by the Goddess to help fix the damage that was done. Apparently. I’m choosing to take her at her word. There’s no reason for me not to. With that in mind I have an idea of why I’m here, and what it is I’m going to need to be doing. I doubt it’s going to be enough. One of the things I am good at, though, is learning by doing.”
Slowly, I nodded. “She must have done this at the other farms too, considering what she was talking about, so there are a number of people from your world all doing the same thing.”
“That does make the most sense.” His eyes met with mine again. “You should put your bag inside. Then, if you do want to do this, we should look around, get an idea of what it is we have here. From the sounds of things we have a lot of weeds to deal with.” He smiled. “It’ll be nice to have someone to help with these early stages.”
“Coming out here alone was a decision I made because I knew I was never going to be able to convince anyone to come with me. They’d all made up their minds. None of them wanted anything to do with the farm, which is how it ended up in this state, and that’s something I don’t think I can forgive them for. Seeing it, even from a distance, tells me that there is so much that needs to be done to undo the damage they did.”
“Tell me what you saw.”
“Broken down buildings. Having seen the pictures I assume that they were once home to animals, so we’ll be able to get them fixed up. I’m pretty sure there’s still going to be a carpenter here.” I raked a hand through my hair. “I thought I might have seen some fruit trees too, but I couldn’t be certain.”
Harrison looked relieved, and that was something I couldn’t understand. “Well, that’s better than nothing.” He smiled at me. “I was expecting to be starting with nothing. Having there being the beginnings of buildings means something to me that it wouldn’t me to you.”
“I’d like for you to explain it to me, if you’re willing.”
There was a long silence. “I’m willing, but I don’t want you to think that I’m really weird. If we are going to be working together then it would probably be better for us to get along.”
“After talking to a Goddess I don’t think anything is going to make me think you’re weird. She said she was the one who brought you here from another world. I’m assuming that world isn’t like this one.”
“No, it’s not, and this…” Harrison looked out at the farm. “The only reason I feel I know anything about this is because I played farming games.” He shook his head. “I know nothing about real life farming. Being here isn’t going to be much like a game, and you turning up… well, that changes everything.”
Laughing, I shook my head. “Harrison, I left behind everything I knew to come out here, with even less knowledge of any farming that you have. Maybe they were just games, but they are a starting point.” I smiled at him. “I’m looking forward to see what we can do together, because two hands are definitely going to be better then one.”
“Yeah, they are.” He turned back to me. “The sooner we get exploring the sooner we’ll be able to get started.”

Exploring the Farm