Tothelea: Chapter 2

"Trevor.  Where's your sister this morning?"

"I don't know, Pa.  Why?"

Dannel muttered under his breath.  "Listen, I have to go.  I can't wait and
walk to town with you today.  Just find her before you go to work, would you,
and tell her to make an extra serving when she brings lunch.  I've got a new
customer coming in, and he'll probably be there at lunchtime."

"Sure, Pa.  I'll find her."

"Well you're about the only one that can.  Thanks, Trev."  Dannel hurried out,
a roll of parchment in his hand.

He paused at the doorway, adding "Tell her to wear something nice.  If this
fellow thinks we're poor, he's not going to want to pay a good price for the

Trevor finished his breakfast and went outside to look for Harmony.  He found
her, kneeling on the ground behind the woodshed, where he suspected she would
be.  It was true, what Dannel had said, that Trevor seemed to have an insight
into Harmony that allowed him to keep closer tabs on her than other people.
Still, Trevor thought, his father had to suspect she was out here just as much
as Trevor had, and had only asked Trevor because he didn't like coming behind
the woodshed himself.

Harmony was, as usual, tending the site where now two headstones rested,
marking their mother's final resting place beside her first daughter, the
daughter of her womb.  Trevor's mind briefly flashed to someday, when his
father died, of having to put in a third one himself.  He and his father had
placed his mother's headstone together; who would help him with his father's,
when the time came?  What about the house, and father's business, and-- He
pushed them away, all the thoughts and questions that must someday be faced.

Harmony worked the earth and the flowers she had planted intently, her
sing-song voice softly keening one of her non-sensical little songs.  Trevor,
as usual, had no idea if his sister heard him approaching.  At any rate, she
gave no sign of being aware of him.  Trevor always hated interrupting her when
she tended the plots, so he stood for a moment watching her work and hoping
she might acknowledge him instead.

"Pe-le-a-ge-vi-si-re-lu," ran her song.  Harmony had changed when their mother
had died.  Always quiet and shy, Trevor could none the less tell that she
withdrew then, retreating further into herself.  Further into whatever
internal world she had made for herself.

"Lu-am-vo-lir-a-ge-vi-de-de, ov-re-ov-re-ov-re..."  Trevor moved to her and
knelt beside her.  He put his hand on her hand, interrupting her song and
causing her to face him.

"I loved her too, Harmony," he wanted to say.  "I know how you're feeling,"
but the words died on the tip of his tongue.  A pointless thing to say.  The
feelings they both had were obvious.  He met Harmony's expressive eyes while
she looked at him, until she turned back to the soil.

"Pa says to make an extra portion for lunch.  And to make something nice.  He
expects to have a customer there."

"'Kay," Harmony said, idly acknowledging that she understood.

"I have to go to work."  He leaned over and kissed his sister's temple, and
stood up.  There's a wagon full of bar stock to unload that came late
yesterday, and I have to heat up the forge."

Harmony nodded, returning to her song.  "Ge-i-sao-me-ter, lu-se-kir,
ar-ar-sel, ar-ar-sel."  Trevor had to admit that the burial plots were
beautiful.  Harmony had a talent for gardening--which Jedith had exploited to
the fullest; her garden grew so well the year after Harmony came to them that
Jedith had been able to sell extra vegetables at the market herself, and used
the money to make new clothes for everyone--and a particular talent with
flowers.  Harmony planted and watered and tended, and the flowers grew perfect
and colorful, in arrangements that seemed wild, but perfect.  A pattern Trevor
could feel, but couldn't quite put his mind on.

Trevor left her to her flowers, and walked to the blacksmith's shop, his mind
on the day's labors.  He hoped it wouldn't rain before he could get the bar
stock under cover, or else Yun would give him an earful and make him rub the
rust off with handfuls of sand.  Yun refused to work rusty iron, saying the
rust prevented pieces from fusing strongly together when hammered.  Trevor
didn't doubt him.  Yun was much older than he was, probably close to his
father's age, and had been smithing his whole life.  Everyone in White Sands
came to Yun's shop with their metalworking needs, as did the farmers for miles

Trevor looked at the graying sky, and hurried his pace a little bit.  He
wondered, as he walked, who his father's customer was, and hoped that the man
would give father a big job.  It had been a long time since father had done
anything but dinghy work and minor repairs for local fisherman.  Dannel would
never say it, but Trevor knew they could use the money--that was one of the
reasons he had gone to work for Yun after his mother had died.  It was
probably just another little job, though.  Still, father hadn't mentioned the
man's name, which meant Trevor probably didn't know him, which meant a bigger
boat, from someplace far away, and anyway, Trevor could hope, couldn't he?
Maybe he would ask about it over dinner.

Trevor arrived at the smithy, and touched the statue of Arelenoa for luck as
he entered.  Yun had not arrived yet.  Trevor put on his leather apron, threw
a few shovels of charcoal into the furnace to get it started, and went to
unload the bar stock.  

Yun arrived a few minutes later, while Trevor was still unloading.  He said
hello, nodded approvingly at Trevor's work, and went inside to set up the
day's first job.  The rain began lightly as trevor finished.  He had to dry
off the last three bars after bringing them in, but there was no harm done.

"Thanks for unloading the wagon, Trevor."

"You're welcome."  Trevor tended to the furnace, which was almost ready, and
added a bit more charcoal.  "What's up for today?"

"Got a couple of plows that need repair," Yun grumbled.  "Honestly, I don't
know why these farmers can't bring the darned things to me in the fall!  I
could work on 'em all winter and have 'em done by now.  It would give us more
work in the winter and make the springtime less hectic.  Still, they always
wait till the last moment, and then want me to rush."  Yun complained about
this same thing every spring, and Trevor knew it was because he hated to rush
a job.  Yun liked taking the time to do things right.  The way Yun approached
iron always reminded him of the way Harmony approached her flowers.  Always
careful, always thoughtful, never rushing or pushing the material past what it
could accommodate.

An idea struck Trevor, and he shared it with is boss.  "I wonder.  Maybe if
you charged less to fix a plow in the autumn, people bring them in then."

Yun scratched his chin.  "That's not a bad idea, lad.  Or even better, charge
'em more in the spring!  Ha!"  Yun let out his deep bark of a laugh, looking
terribly pleased at this thought.  "Next lazy farmer to bring a plow through
that door pays an extra, what, two silver?"

"Sounds about right."

"Good lad."  Yun heaved a heavy iron plow, still crusted with field mud, to
the workbench and began cleaning it off.  Trevor could see at least two large
dings and gouges the plow had suffered.  The one was mostly a large dent, and
Yun could probably just hammer it out, but the other looked like it would
require a hot-weld to patch.  "Head on down to Vadel's would you, and fetch us
a load of wood.  We're going to need to make more charcoal before the week is
out.  I'll be an hour, at least, before I need you on the bellows."

Trevor nodded acknowledgement of the task, and set out.  Vadel wasn't but five
minutes away, at a brisk walk, and to load up the wood and return shouldn't
take that long.  Trevor would be back in time.

Vadel's son--a year or so younger than Trevor--asked after Harmony.  "She's
fine," Trevor told him.

"Did she like the flowers I brought her?"

"What?  I'm sure they were lovely, Tam, but--"

"--I knew it.  She hates me!"

Inwardly, Trevor rolled his eyes.  Not again.  Although he knew the last thing
Harmony really needed was a suitor, still sometimes he wished she would fall
in love with one of these boys if only so the others would stop.  Boys were
always bringing her things--flowers, little figurines they had carved, jars of
jam, what have you--leaving them on the doorstep or giving them to Trevor to
pass along when they couldn't find her themselves.

Which, Trevor thought, was more often than not.  Sometimes it seemed like
every boy in the village, and most of the farm boys to boot, were after her.
It was a wonder there weren't daily fights for her honor on their very

"I don't think she hates you, Tam.  She just doesn't like flowers."

"But, but she's always growing them!"

"Yes, I mean, you're right, she just doesn't like cutting them.  They die so quickly and it makes her sad."

Tam's face clouded, and flushed red.  "She hates me!"  He turned away, and
made perhaps too ardent a show of getting on with the business of loading up
Trevor's wood into a cart.  Trevor helped, to shorten the awkward time, if for
no other reason.  Tam's mood softened as they worked.  They finished, and
Trevor went to pay Tam's father for the wood.

"It's all right," Tam said.  "Now I know, no more flowers.  What do you think
she would like?"

Trevor sighed, soft enough that he knew Tam could pretend not to have heard
him, but loud enough that Tam would, hopefully, get the message.  Tiresome, is
what this was.  If only Harmony would tell these boys to go away herself!  But
as she hardly ever said two words to anybody, that seemed unlikely.  Mostly,
Harmony didn't seem to pay any mind to their numerous gifts, or even to who
had given them.  "I don't know, Tam.  Why don't you ask her?  See you later!"

The wood paid for, Trevor took the cart by the handles and began to push
before Tam could say anything else.

Back at the smithy, Trevor dumped the wood next to the charcoal kiln and went

"That was fast," Yun said as Trevor returned.  "Did you get the wood?"

"Sure did," Trevor said, touching the statuette again and saying a quick
prayer for safe work.  "Tam was pestering me about Harmony, so I hurried."

Yun chuckled.  "Like flies to honey with that one.  You just missed her,
actually.  She brought your lunch."  He indicated a familiar brown sack with a
nod of his head.

Trevor helped clean the last of the rust and dirt spots off the plow, and
helped Yun move it over to the anvil.  "Give me a yell when you're ready for
the bellows," he said, and went out to load up the kiln while Yun got on with
the noisy work of hammering out the dented portion of the plow's blade.

Trevor stacked the wood into the kiln the way he had been taught, in a
criss-cross pattern that left room for air to get in.  After the kiln was
packed full, the fire would need a way to get all the way to the inside or
else the burn would not go well.  This was why Yun insisted on buying charcoal
wood from Vadel; his wood was always cut to very even lengths, so it stacked

Trevor had only just started when he saw a man running down the road.  The man
was a ways off, and Trevor couldn't see who it was.  "I wonder what's the
hurry?" he thought.  A moment later, it became clear that the man was heading
for the smithy.  Trevor cringed a bit, knowing that Yun hated to deal with
people who were in a hurry.  What could someone need a blacksmith in such a
rush for, anyway?

The man came closer, and started waving one arm to get Trevor's attention.
Trevor could tell the man was winded and not accustomed to running like this.
He waved back and the man's arm lowered.

"Tre- vor!" the man called out, between gasps.  Trevor placed the log in his
hand into its place in the kiln and stood.  Now he could see.  It was Ambany,
one of his father's shipwrights.  Trevor's heart quickened a bit and he
trotted out to meet the man.

Ambany thudded to a stop when they met, wheezing and placing a hand on
Trevor's shoulder for support.  "Trevor--" he began, but had to wait while his
breath caught up with him.

"What?  What is it?"  Trevor's brow furrowed, and he began to worry.

Ambany forced himself to take a few deep, quick breaths, and said "Harmony--
She-- It's Dannel, Trevor.  He's been hurt."

"What!  What happened?  Is he all right?  What about Harmony?  Is she all
right?"  The words came out of him, in a rush.  Ambany, still breathless,
could only shake his head "no" and hold up a hand indicating that he couldn't
speak yet.

Panicked now, Trevor gave a glance back at the smithy, wanting to tell Yun he
had to go, but loathe to waste a moment.  "Tell Yun," he said, and broke into
a run for the docks.