Planting Future, a continuation of Tir na Cali for the Feb. Giraffe Call.

For stryck‘s commissioned continuation of Second Pressing.

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.”

Next: Success (LJ)

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0 thoughts on “Planting Future, a continuation of Tir na Cali for the Feb. Giraffe Call.

  1. Which of Keri or Taris is the field manager or the publicity manager? I think Onyx is the vintner …? And how did Karl and Taris get their pick of the field hands from the previous vineyard if Onyx, Keri, and Taris were the only ones left at the end of the auction? Or did Karl buy everything and then go talk to the three of them …? (If Kari is the field manager, I’m sort of astonished that she’s never done physical field work before. If she’s the publicity manager … interesting that someone from the other side of the continent can do that well without a lot of cultural exposure, as advertising can be very context-sensitive.) Much sympathy to Onyx and Taris on wanting to thwack Keri. I hope they’re right about getting credit and cookies if this turns out well.

    • Good point on the field hands… I may need to rejigger the first story a bit. Onyx=vintner, Taris = Field manager, Keri= PR manager.

      • I’d be curious to hear how Keri adjusted to the new advertising climate. 🙂 Karl could easily have bought everything and/or everyone and waited for the opportunity to listen to or talk to the three of them. Though then they might be working with the same vineyard they’d been working with, rather than clearing out rocks, and he didn’t buy the equipment if they’re going shopping for new. Hmm. Why pick this vineyard if it has bad dirt? But then, if there are other field hands, all the back-breaking rock clearing wouldn’t be on the three of them, though they’d probably still be helping. Perhaps shopping for field hands and equipment is happening in parallel with the field-clearing?

  2. And Keri is American, isn’t she? SHe doesn’t know how rare or special building a future is for a slave. This is a very interesting little pocket of Cali.

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