The Fae Worlds

Exploring The Farm

A Change of Pace

Paige opened the door to the cottage, and dumped her backpack just inside the door. Had I been her I’m pretty certain I would have done the same thing. Then she turned back to me. “Okay, let’s get going.” She smiled, but I could still see the uncertainty in her eyes, which was something I could understand. I felt the same way. “I do have some pictures of how the farm looked before it was abandoned.”
“Did you bring them for inspiration?”
“Yeah.” She seemed surprised I understood. “I wanted to know what it was meant to look like, and having them would give me the push I need to keep going when things inevitably get complicated.” She looked out at the farm. “Seeing it like this… I don’t understand how we could have left it for so long.”
As I started walking down something I believed might once have been a path I tried not to make a face at the weeds. “Did you ever have a chance to come here when it was a working farm?”
“No, I didn’t, and neither did Mum, but I think Nan did. Once. Maybe. I don’t know. No one ever talked about the farm. Even when I told them I was coming here, to take it over, they weren’t really that willing to talk. Getting them to give me the deed was hard enough. I think they just wanted to leave it until it died, and that…” She looked around. “I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to forgive them for this.”
“Did they know what it meant when they made that choice?”
“I don’t know. I do wonder if they did, if they knew that by making that choice they were helping magic to fade from this world, because I am almost certain that would be what they wanted. From what Mum’s said in the past she thinks that we need to stay on the path we are right now, and I… honestly, I don’t know what I think, but it’s becoming more and more obvious I’m not like them. Coming here… this is where I was meant to be. When I was younger I think I felt the Goddess call to me, but Mum didn’t want to talk about it. She didn’t want me to ask questions about what it meant. She didn’t want me to come here. If she had… I was probably too young to be able to take the farm over then, but if I’d know I was needed then I would have come when I was old enough.”
“Maybe it’s better that it worked out this way.” I felt her eyes on me. “At least you aren’t going to have to do all this work alone.” I glanced back at her, and then down at the mostly broken path. “Just seeing it as it is right now tells me that we’re going to have to spend a lot of our time doing this, and to begin with we aren’t going to see anything from the work we’re doing. Especially not financially.” I raked a hand through my hair. “We need to be ready for the realities. Those are going to make this job harder than we can imagine it could be.”
“Fortunately for us I brought everything I’d managed to save with me, which should give us a place to start.”
“There is a chance this won’t be the case, but I think we might get given some seeds by the Mayor, which means we might be able to put that money towards fixing something up… unless you want to be doing that alone.”
“We’ll see what happens.” Paige sounded thoughtful. “I’d like to see what we can do without having to get other people involved, but, for now, we’ll going to have to see what we already have there. I know I do want to raise animals. I want to grow everything we possibly can. I want to make this place the way it should always have been, but doing that…” She sighed. “I know it’s not going to be easy. I never thought for a moment it would be, and seeing this… well, it makes it more obvious we have a big job ahead of us.” She tapped her foot on the path. “Even just this path makes it obvious how bad things are.”
“To be honest I’m surprised there is any sort of path.”
“I think the best thing we can do with it is pull it up and start again. These paths are something I think are in the wrong places, but then maybe it was different back then. Maybe they had a reason for what they did.”
“Probably.” As I stopped, being careful to make sure I didn’t make it so Paige walked into my back, I looked over at where I thought the fruit trees Paige had mentioned were, and noticed what appeared to be some hives close to them. Bee hives were not something I had experience with. “Do you see those bee hives?”
Turning, Paige looked in the direction I was looking in. “Even if they were once used I doubt they are now. Any bees that would once have called this place home would have gone to find somewhere they could eat something other than weed pollen. I definitely wouldn’t have chosen to stay.”
She started walking towards the hives, making her way through weeds, rocks, and branches. I followed her, because I didn’t know what else to do. Soon enough we reached the empty hives. They looked just as sad as the fruit trees. Stepping closer to the trees I reached out to touch one of them. When I did I wasn’t expecting anything, but sensation flooded through me, and I stayed where I was communing with the tree. Paige made a sound, almost a gasp, so I looked up, to see that the very sad tree wasn’t anywhere near as sad as it had been. Giving me a look she stepped over to touch one of the other trees. The look she gave me told me she felt the same thing I did, and we both them glanced up at the trees, to see the first blossoms appearing on it.
“What they need is to know that there are people here who are going to do something to fix up the farm.” She smiled. “This is… I didn’t think anything this wonderful would happen on the first day.”
Feeling like things might not be as hard as I imagined I moved to the next tree, wanting to give them all as much energy as I could, to show them that someone was there to help them. Paige joined me. As we stepped from one tree to the next I started to believe we had a chance at making things work out the way we both hoped they would. It wasn’t something I’d ever seen on one of the games, but I should have known better than to think that being there would be the same as playing the game. Everyone who’d ever found themselves in a fictional world had said about the differences they’d found between what they thought they knew and what the world was actually like.
“You seem to be settling in well, Harrison.” The voice made me jump, but when I turned I saw the Mayor, who didn’t seem to be carrying anything. I’d half hoped to see him with a bag of seeds. Anything that might give us somewhere to start. “Anna stopped by to tell me that there happened to be two of you here.” He looked over at Paige. “It is a pleasure to see you here, Paige. Anna might not have said that, but we are grateful to see you here, knowing that you are one of the family that is still bound to this land. She kept trying to draw people here, only to find it didn’t work. This is the farm that’s been abandoned for the longest, so it is the saddest.”
“Unfortunately my family weren’t willing to talk about our connection to this land, or anything to do with the Goddess.” Paige stepped closer to me. “If they had I would have been here a long time ago. This is where I was always meant to be.”
“It’s good to hear you speaking that way. When you return to the cottage there is a gift waiting for you, that I hope will give you a place to start with the growing side of the business.” The Mayor looked over at where the broken down farm buildings were. “My grandfather used to tell stories about what it was like in the past, and I hope that I’ll be able to see it becoming like it was back then. If you need any help all you need to do is ask. We’re all willing to what we can to fix the damage that was done here.”
“Thank you.” I looked back at Paige. “We would appreciate the help. For today we’re just getting the lay of the land, to give us an idea of where it is we’re going to start. Once we have an idea then I’m sure we’ll be heading into town to get whatever it is we need.”
Nodding, she smiled. “I’m hoping to get the coop and barn up and running sooner rather than later.” She nibbled her bottom lip. “I’m pretty sure there was a shed somewhere too. Are we likely to find the tools in there?”
“You don’t need to worry about tools. The local blacksmith has sent me some new tools, and when I went to speak to him earlier he said he’d get to work on a second set. Until that happens I’m sure you’re going to be able to share.”
“We should be able to. Splitting the work between us is how we’re going to get as much of it done as possible.” I thought about all the things I’d wondered about. “How about fertiliser, or some sort of compost?”
“Somewhere about here there was a composting bin. I don’t know what state it’s in now, but you should be able to get a hold of Robin to be able to help you with any carpentry work. He’s looking forward to getting to know the two of you.”
“Good.” I felt a sense of relief. There were going to be people to help, and I had Paige. Having someone to work with wasn’t something that had crossed my mind. “Thank you for coming by. We do appreciate it.”
“We do.” Paige put her hand on my shoulder. “We both know this isn’t going to be an easy job, and being told we do have the support of the people around here really does help.”
“Paige, we want this farm back. Ever since it was abandoned everything about the town changed, making it hard to keep people living here, especially as so many of the young people wanted to live in the city. Fortunately there have been some changes recently. It seems as though there have been people wanting to move to the farm towns, like Robin and his husband, with their two young children. I’m hoping that you being here will be enough to draw more people here.”
“I promise we will do what we can to make that a possibility.” I could hear the worry in her voice. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be successful, but I think being here to try is better than not being here at all.”
“You aren’t wrong, and we are grateful to both of you. All we can ask is that you try your best.” The Mayor glanced at the trees. “It already seems like you have done something good for the farm, which tells me you are definitely the right people.” He smiled. “I’ll leave you to have a look around your land. If you need anything all you need to do is come to the town hall.”