Fall has, well, fallen, but that doesn’t mean it’s cooled off here in Southern Appalachia. Nope. If anything it’s scorching hot for this time of year, and dry, but the latter is fairly normal for us this time of year. But, hot or not, here I sit in my fingerless knitted gloves, typing away while I wait for my loving spouse to bring me a cup of coffee.
Can you tell that I’m cold?
Happy Wednesday! My Wednesday shares have become shorter and serialized, and they’re coming from my current WIP (work in progress), Striking Balance. You’ll be able to find all the ones that pertain to Striking Balance under the Categories drop down to your right.
Striking Balance is a Queer Historical Paranormal Fantasy story set within my Appalachian Elementals series. It’s a freestanding tale, so you don’t need to have read the other stories within the series to delve into this one.
This is installment twenty-eight, “Treater of Ailments” and it picks up directly where the last installment, “Sour Attitude” ended. The main character in Striking Balance is Benjamin (Nub) Schnell, the possessor of secrets twice his size and seeming age. He’s been working for nearly a decade on the same small farm as his friend, Conall Baldwin, who acts as the farm’s manager. This story begins during the American Revolutionary War years, 1779 to be precise, in the Nolichucky river basin of Northeast Tennessee.
The setup: Ceardach’s on the scene to help Ben with his ailing foot.
Note: The part in orange comes from last week’s excerpt, and Ceardach’s speaking curtly to Ewin.
“He has a name, ye fool. ‘Tis Benjamin.” Ceardach treats animals and people alike, and he knows his herbs as well as any midwife or old granny. He carries a leather sack with him each time he visits, and he looks us over, at our teeth and eyes and skin. He asks if we possess any ailments and always leaves behind salves or ointments if we require them. All the containers are labeled, so following the instructions falls to my responsibility.
Ceardach beckons me into the cabin, instructing me to wash my feet with clean water then sit on the cold hearth, which I obediently do. “Have ye nae stockings?” He asks as he examines my foot. The blisters are angrier than they were yesterday, and I would have put the last few drops from the jug on them this morning if I had not been startled awake.
“No, sir.” I actually do, but they are so tattered their wearing brings me embarrassment. Better bare-legged than looking the tattered pauper I was when I first met Conall at Colyer’s lead mine. I was small enough to fit into tight spaces and Conall toiled at one of the smelting furnaces. This is where we met Master Gow too. We shared a jug with him one evening then he asked us what we knew of farming.
I think Ben’s in confident hands, don’t you? And a bit more backstory too! Backstory is always good, but I prefer to work it in a bit at a time.