Tir Na Cali has a landing page here.
Keri wanted to complain.
Keri liked complaining in general; if Onyx had been feeling less generous, she would be irritated that the girl had been bought with them. But Keri had skill, as she and Taris did, and that was what their new master would need.
He, their new Lord, had, with some advice from Taris, picked the best of the field slaves from their old master’s former staff, the best and those that, while not wonderful, were motivated enough to be trained. He had taken Keri and Onyx shopping with him for equipment, and set all three of them to buying furnishings.
The vineyard he had purchased had been abandoned for almost twenty years, bad dirt and bad business sense driving it bankrupt and bad blood leaving it empty. There was a lot of work to be done to make it tenable again, and for the first couple weeks, that work was all on the shoulders of the three of them and their Lord.
So Keri, of course, wanted to complain. She was a soft thing, not used to hard work, and their former master had spoiled her, right up to when he’d sold them.
Taris and Onyx, on the other hand, were blissful. They had, first and foremost, a second chance to prove themselves, and, secondly, a very light hand on their reins to allow them to do so. The plants their Lord was seeding were fascinating, and his ability to change them once planted opened up a whole world of opportunities to experiment that they’d never before even imagined. It was, in Onyx’s mind, the best world she could have dreamed of, and Taris seemed to agree.
When it became clear that Kari was not of the same mind, when she seemed determined to keep complaining, the two of them took her aside, in the barracks they’d cleaned out and refurbished first as their temporary home.
“Look.” Onyx did the talking. “It’s hard work. It’s a lot of hard work.”
“I thought you said we wouldn’t get sold to be manual laborers,” she cut in.
“No, Taris said that’s what happened if we weren’t lucky. Field work.” She didn’t talk about the other options.
“But you two act like you just won the lotto, and you’re grubbing out in the vines like the lowest field hand. I don’t get it.” She looked down at her chipped and cracked nails. “Why is this better?”
“Because,” Taris cut in, “Lord Karl listens to our advice, and heeds it. Because he’s trying something new, and knows it – if he fails, it will be because it was an experiment. Less taint,” he clarified. “And if he succeeds…”
“If he succeeds, it will color us, too,” Onyx took back over. “These berries;” she picked up a bright-pink grape-thing, “these could make his fortune. And he will remember us when it comes time for rewards.”
Keri chewed on a nail. “So all this digging in the rocks…”
“It’s planting our future along with his,” Onyx agreed. “That’s a comfortable old age we’re fertilizing there, for the Lord and for us, too.”
“Planting our future,” the girl repeated. “I like that.”
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