Hello, Benjamin From Brother’s Campfire Here! For those of you that have followed me this year, you know that I purchased ducks this year and now I am getting eggs!
I will begin feeding them a higher calcium diet to ensure the highest quantity of egg production.
I asked my Beloved to prepare a dish using only items we grew on the urban farm and this is what she came up with!
Now that is an epic breakfast!
Work has been hard and some WordPress concerns have frustrated me, bur I think the wonderful meal was enough for me to type a few words that I had been thinking about. Grap a mug of your favorite hot beverage and warm your self by the fire!
Ashton was livid. After walking Jasmine home, he spoke more plainly with Zahra.
“I see what you are saying about every girl’s dream, Zahra. Unfortunately, this isn’t about courage, it is about common sense.”
Zahra was emphatic. “She really likes you and didn’t think things through, Ashton. Have you ever played the game would you rather?”
” Well sure, but, … “
Zahra looked off in the distance and Ashton stopped mid sentence.
A half dozen men with round shields stood near the pathway drinking and carousing around a barrel.
Zahra stopped and pointed. “There he is,” she whispered. “Hallr is the one standing, drinking out of the ram’s horn. He will marry Yara if you do not act on her behalf.”
Zahra trembled as she spoke.
Hallr Agnar was unkempt and somewhere in his mid fifties. They were singing a vulgar song of the longboatmen.
Ashton looked at the unkempt older man. “Why doesn’t her father disallow the marriage?” He asked.
Zahra stared in disbelief. “The two families will be much stronger if they marry. Hallr owns six fishing boats and a longship. With their combined wealth, they will have much influence in the village.”
Ashton was unconvinced. “He would give his daughter away for a few boats and an alliance? Zahra, this makes no sense.”
Zahra sighed. She had to remember that Ashton was an inlander and did not know the ways of the longboatmen.
“Yara is the daughter of a thrall whose mother purchased her freedom to the embarrassment of Egil. She does not have the value of a true daughter;” She paused,
“It is normally beneficial and in fact a benevolent act for Egil Halvard’s reputation to offer her as a bride to a man of influence.”
This made things clearer for Ashton. “So she needs a champion to annul this agreement then?”
Zahra rolled her eyes in irritation. “Yes, Ashton.”
The words “normally beneficial” stuck with him.
They passed Hallr Agnar and his friends, and no words were exchanged, although they leered at Zahra.
After the passing of time, Ashton arrived at Zahra’s dwelling. Her parents eyed Ashton suspiciously, but were not overtly hostile.
Zahra looked fiercely at Ashton and pointed across the way at what was almost a hole in the ground with bricks atop it.
“Hallr loves the sea and takes long voyages. Yara will be my neighbor and live her days out there.
Zahra chose her words carefully. “I have been witness to the unfortunate young ladies who he tires of. “
“Perhaps Yara would rather eat roots in the forest and freeze through a winter instead of such a matrimony. Egil Halvard does not see the dark side of Hallr Agnar.”
Ashton left in deep thought. The candidness of her words pierced like an arrow.
He was not prepared to marry or fight for that matter and he had a few ideas of his own about how life should go.
“Ashton!” Zahra called after him.
“Yes?” Replied Ashton.
“Yara is a good friend. Give the girl a proper proposal.”
Ashton shook his head regretting that he had spoken of love or allowed Yara to drag him to the longboat village.
He chose a more direct route home as Jasmine and Zahra lived in different parts of the countryside. Alone, He began to stew.
He was angry at Zahra’s suggestion that he had no courage and felt somewhat helpless that an abusive man would wed Yara if he did not act. In addition, processing a mention of his father, a challenge of honor, his mother embarrassing him in front of the two young ladies, and the onset of winter were overwhelming factors.
His thoughts kept drifting to Yara. He had known her for quite some time and his feelings for her were intense.
The depth of concentration was broken by a sharp whistle. Looking up, Ashton saw Hallr Agnar standing with his drinking companions.
Hallr beckoned him over with a slow motion of his index finger. He said nothing, and the air was full of menace. Although uncomfortable with the setting, his previous passing went unmolested.
After a slow minute of quiet intimidation, Hallr questioned, “You want to take my woman, boy?”
Ashton, resentment welling, stepped up. While sensitive and sensible, enough was enough.
“She is not your woman as yet, sir. Yara has chosen me to be her husband.” For a second time, Ashton instantly regretted his words and his mouth went dry and his hands shook. There was no avoiding this now.
The long silence of Hallr was worse than any words that could have been spoken. He picked up a thick branch from the ground. Slowly, methodically, Hallr pronounced every syllable clearly.
“a whelp will be taught humility today.”
Ashton turned to run and two of Hallr’s men grabbed his arms. Hallr examined the branch, breaking the outward branches off. Savagely, he thrust the blunt end into his exposed belly.
Ashton gasped. Hallr waited for Ashton to catch his breath. “Let him go.” Hallr whispered softly to his mates.
As he was released, Ashton attempted to run. Hallr struck Ashton on the side of the thigh knocking him down to his side. The blow was powerful. ” Where are you going, whelp?”
Ignoring the pain, Ashton tried to rise only to be struck in the small of his back. Ashton screamed.
Hallr was taking his time and enjoying the suffering of his captive. With a measured, clear voice, he said, Today, you will learn the lesson of the stick.”
With a pained expression, Ashton looked at Hallr. This was not about Yara, the man was taking a distinct pleasure in striking him.