Days pass, Jo's food stores grow slimmer and he is now down to one shovel and a pick. Small progress has been made in clearing some of the rubble, but perhaps it is only noticable to him. A crude lean to of rubble stones and fallen logs is now his shelter from the elements. Fallen sticks and trunks are stacked in a pile as a resource against the cold for his small fire, right outside the shelter.
He can probably hear the bard coming a half-mile away. The song's tempo is contemplative, and the tenor, while not at the bard's younger heights, balances with a soothing depth of baritone on the low end. The song carries over the stone wall along with footsteps, although no bard can be seen.
"Once round the sun I licked your fingers
Snow’s come and snow has gone again
Salt and warm and sticky lingers
Less of now and more of then
Words exchanged with interest due
Less of now, and more of then
I see more, and less, of you
Rate’s not what it was last spring
I see more and less of you
Low risk does not ease the sting
Before the snow was molten skin
Once round the sun I licked your fingers
Words dry as winter leaves but…
Salt and warm and sticky lingers"
"Good morning Jo!" There is a thump and a sack, stuffed to capacity and with several tears where trowels and small picks have ripped through, appears next to the protector albeit sans hands or a body that carried it. From about two feet to Jo's right; "How goes the restoration?"
Jo gives Andrew and appreciative smile at the resupply, then gestures about them. "It goes well, if very slowly Mister Reid. Thank you for the tools. I am not nearly as strong as Sir Daniel nor am I much use alone beyond being a presence of order here." Jo points out specifically the work he has accomplished - the lean to, fire, and the two rubble piles he has sorted out. "This is a task of years for one person, Sir. Months for a small team, even weeks with a good sized group." Jo takes out some rations from his own pack and gnaws on them hungrily, his eyes contemplative, but still determined.
"I can stay a bit and lend my back. I can even sing us some extra strength and speed. But, I will have to move on in a week or so, I'm called to Taur'en. I haven't heard from the others, but I can only presume they'll be coming along. Oh - here - pie!" With a smile and a florish he pulls from his own pack a large blackberry pie, carefully wrapped and sugary enough to stay preserved. It joins a small pile of preserved meats, dried fruit, hard cheeses, and flours. "When I go I'll happily send bird messages to whomever you wish. Give me names, I'll see they are summoned to help at Vale. I'll make sure they bring more supplies as well." He scans the sky. "I think we should build a real shelter here, even just a small wooden one to keep the rain out - there's enough lumber left. What do you think?"
Jo latches onto the food with hungry hands. He sniffs and grins wide. "I never thought I would say this to an Ilsarian, but I love you, sir." He tucks the food carefully into his pack. "Fern is about here somewhere, I think. She's communing with the trees or something. She's got a heart of gold , but is a little off about stuff like that, if you follow my meaning sir. "Jo considers something for a moment, "I could build a more suitable shelter if I had nails and few other tools like a hammer, saws, you know, a real carpenters kit. There's enough scorched finished wood, fallen timbers and stones to rebuild a cabin of sorts. I don't really know if that is what Katia or our group would want, but since you seem to be in charge, I'll do it. Might not be square or level though, I'm only so so with wood working and not much with stone. I could use Oly's strong back for removals, maybe the dwarves for stonework if they're willing. I can't speak for any of them, of course, just my thoughts." Jo shrugs a little.
"There's one person you could send a letter to, Mari MacMurray. She's either in Llast or Center, I can't say where exactly, but if you could let her know I'm here and ask her to pick up a wagon from her father I ordered. That would be a big help, Mister Reid. Oh, I might owe some true on that wagon, I'm good for it, just haven't had the time to actually get payment to her father yet." Jo's expression shifts to some sort of confusion and a bit of longing as he speaks the last.
A half-smile. The bard's eyes are warm but he does not tease. "Oly, Zig, Griff; Quenton, as well; and Mari MacMurray of Llast. I can send ahead the Trues for the wagon, and you can owe me. I'm sure, following Rofirien, you're good for it." A brisk rubbing of his long-fingered hands. "Are you fed? We can get started. Let's find Fern, shall we?"
"My word is my bond." Said almost as an oath. "You know that well from what Sir Daniel has told me of your long friendship, sir. Thank you." With a nod at the mention of Fern and starting, Jo points south, the last direction he saw the diminuitive gnome travel last.
Bright brown eyes peer out of the forest undergrowth, and then a small gnome, carrying a stick twice as big as she is, pops out from behind a bush. "Were you looking for me? I've got a nice sack of bat poo!"
Jo groans and gives a small sniff, "Should of smelled that coming." He mutters. "Well, Mister Reid, there she is, here I am, what will we work on first?"
"Fern...you are the bat dung expert, so I'll leave the spreading of that to your, ah, expert hands." Resting one hand on a hip, he has another look around the former town's center. "Let's...Muse, there is a lot to do. Let's start with one rain shelter. We can use the foundation and walls...there, and put a roof of some sort on it and board it up so animals won't get the supplies. You don't want a raccoon running off with that pie, do you Jo?" The bard heads for the first destroyed house, singing again, and starts hauling out whatever useful wood there is and setting it aside.
//Following Retribution 1/8/16.
Jo watched as a small gaggle of geese moved from the thin ice of the pond to the more open lapping water beyond in search of food. That was himself and his gifts. He knew it. Ever since he'd run that dark elf wench through, bound as she was, evil as she was, all his frustration with the demands of proof and dealing with the minions of Bolga fueling his arm, he'd felt a lessening, a hollowness where Rofirein had been in his heart. His god hadn't left him completely, but he knew he stood on that sliver of ice before the break of open water. How to go about redeeming himself, now there was a question.
The glow of the Gold
was faded. Does redemption