When Tijana Sheffield had been twenty-five, a redheaded woman had walked into her town and walked directly up to Tijana.
She’d been talking to the whole small marketplace, but her eyes never left Tijana in her little knit-goods booth. “Cloverleaf needs craftspeople. It needs farmers. It needs workers. And in return, it has running water, electricity, and tall walls. It has security, and room to grow and change.”
Most of the tiny town of Warm River didn’t want room to grow or to change. They liked their nice, secure place with few bandits and no fairies.
Tijana had left, and Amos the baker’s son. They’d been scolded, fussed at, complained at, and warned, but both of them knew it was better if they left. A town and tight and small as Warm River, strangeness wasn’t wanted or needed. It was better for everyone if they left.
Now Tijana was thirty-five, married, with three children and a thriving business. She’d married an inventor (or, as he called himself, a re-inventor) who had a knack for reading old stories and figuring out a way to duplicate what the ancients had had before the war, for taking old mechanisms and making them go again.
And she’d gone from a small business knitting for Warm River to a thriving shop. The red-haired woman, the Mayor of Cloverleaf, liked sweaters, and thus much of Cloverleaf liked sweaters. She had two apprentices working the knitting machines that her husband had rigged up, and she kept her own hands busy with increasingly complicated patterns on the hems, necklines, and cuffs. She was growing, improving. And you couldn’t walk down Main Street without seeing a couple of her sweaters and a couple more copies.
And now the Mayor wanted to buy two of her sweaters. Tijana picked up her wool and started knitting. She had a couple new ideas, and if anyone would appreciate the innovation, it was going to be the Mayor.
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