“Nobody respects a galaflarge.” Runstable laments.
I look across at him. Once again work halts as he leans on his faddystick and gazes off into the distance. Following the line of his yellow eyes I catch him watching the line of soldiers march along the road past the estate.
“You know exactly which end of the faddystick people get if I find them lacking the proper respect.” I threaten.
The war in the south is none of our concern, we just watch the columns as they pass by and feed the wounded as they trickle back northwards. If our rulers issue edicts from the city then they rarely make it this far, something in this rural expanse swallows them like a turrifenge with an unlucky scurrige.
“You're different, Grandfather,” he retorts. “Everyone knows what you did for the revolution.”
My gaze rests upon the purple-grassed hill. Most no longer remember the gallows that we burned, the waste of good timber a recompense for the waste of good lives. Now a small but expanding copse of strange trees tops the mound.
“I only made sure the farm ran smoothly and people got fed,” I tell him. “That's what a galaflarge does.”
I reposition my feet and the red mud oozes between my remaining toes. A lifetime of working the land and fending off turrifenges has ravaged my feet. In a couple of weeks the wayward appendages
will begin ache again, despite their long absence, heralding the return of the rainy season.
“I'm just no good at this,” he complains. “My sisters are much better.”
The piping voices of serrits call to each other across the fields, telling each other of insects found and devoured, living out their uncomplicated lives in joy. Verrita used to say the serrits were the souls of the unborn, not yet weighed down by the burdens of life.
“That's true,” I agree. “But they don't have your way with a scurrige. I was dreadful at the craft when I was first apprenticed under your namesake. You'll just have to practice the things that do not come easy to you.”
The sound of a sterry's six hooves on the track heralds the return of our overseer, Lintly, from the rebuilt Seven Summits estate. His post is bureaucratic, managing supplies, keeping the outside world from interfering and staying out of the actual work of the land; that suits the former revolutionary captain quite well. He smiles and waves, a far cry from his predecessor.
“What has changed the most since you were an apprentice, Grandfather?” He asks.
The sun bakes away at the land and those working upon it. I look forwards to breaking for food, and then I shall climb the purple-grassed hill and rest in the shade of Verrita's tree. I feel a smile creep onto my lips as I consider discussing the day with her.
“Me,” I answer. “The rains still come on time, the serrits still sing in the evening, the crops still ripen and get carted off to the town, but I have grown older and slower and less patient with my apprentices.”
I can only guide my grandson, he must face his own challenges and heartaches by himself, the same as I had to. As soon as he stops dreaming about leaving the farm for adventure elsewhere and concentrates on living in his true place in the world everything will come easier, that is the real secret of the galaflarge's craft.
“Fine, I get the hint,” he responds. “Come on, little scurrige, its time for you to earn your dinner.”