A Matter of Mixed Fortunes (May#BlogBattle-Pastoral)


Lord Preldehal scowled towards Lord Reivod’s construction.

The fellow wishing to break from widowhood and respectable poverty had entered in marriage negotiations with the wealthy mercantile family Beeinflusser, they seeking access into Gentry classes. They made things with sanctioned machines. Reivod had agreed to turn arable lands to something termed by his possible in-laws as Profitable Enterprise. Still in the early stage, all to show was a loss of woodlands, disgruntled farmers and smoke. Preldehal being competent in farm management did not see advantage to the region, only to the pockets of Reivod and his prospective in-laws.

Sanctioned machine? To his mind they skirted questionable areas which meant dabbling with Stommigheid otherwise named Ethereal. Dangerous stuff. Yet you raised such concerns at your own peril attracting the attention of The Custodians of The Lord God’s Word. Accuser and Accused both viewed with equal suspicion.  

But not satisfied to sit back Preldehal utilised his knowledge of the landscapes and his unfocused son. Weltfremd’s latest affectation to idyllic countrysides had been manoeuvred by his father by a gift of woodland, and its modest stream. Preldehal had suggested the stream could be utilised to make a pond. Weltfremd enthused on this venture.  His father was certain there would be minimal success but the resulting diversion of water would impact upon the flow and quality of the River Wichtig, itself vital to the running of Reivod’s machinery; hopefully ruining the profitability.

‘Good friends,’ Weltfremd announced loudly to friends, male to work, female to encourage. ‘To task,’ thus struck a shovel into the ground, while singing a work song. At once, more or less his group joined in. The initial fervour was worthy, however the organisation being based solely on digging a hole irrespective of other factors was not a sound one. The girls as the first careless showers of earth arrived retreated with servants but not so far as they could not observe the group of young males divest their upper clothing. There were giggles, not from the servants who would have to carry everything back again and found the singing irritating. A nearby unseen observer had their own concerns.    

Translator Pastoral ClnMyla was seated in his one comfy chair; one brief interlude of relaxation from supervising his three translators, ensuring the entire community of Lord Preldehal’s had at least nominal adherence to the Word of The Lord God thus avoiding the dyspeptically pedantic attentions of Custodians of the Word.  

‘Sorry to trouble your Interlude,’ the fellow said, back from observing ‘There’s something going on in Draybelle Woods. Not the usual ‘something’, even if it does involve young folk,’ the fellow pulled a face ‘Heir Lord Weltfremd is involved,’ this intelligence resulted in a long fatalistic sigh from the Translator Pastoral.

‘Since, those being one of his father’s own woods, that part would not be surprising. But judging by the troubled look upon your face Marthrik Healme there’d be woe you’re about to tell me. Sit yourself down and partake of the fresh coffee man. Unhappy tales are best told with refreshments,’ The invitation being gratefully received, the man began.

‘At your instructions I was patrolling the lords’ borderlands at the juncture of current potential disputes, when I espied numbers of privileged young with servants in tow by foot, horse or cart heading for Draybelle Woods. There to be greeted by Weltfremd and provisions. The purpose, to dig a pond, which the male part set about. Whether the result will be a pond, a mud hole or a swampy patch I couldn’t say. This was not my main concern,’

‘Enthusiastic young privileged folk with no idea what they are about is always cause for concern. Yours Marthik?’

‘It was the singing,’

‘The singing? I can anticipate the efforts might not be pleasing to the ear, but that would not be the problem now, would it?’

‘They were using tracts from the Second Holy Book, only they were wrongly sung,’       

‘Since we can dispense with the possible sin of being out of tune, there would be more to this yes?’

‘They were not using the officially sanctioned restrained celebrations of The Lord God’s Creation or the tastefully crafted appreciation of His Wonderous Works of Beauty. Not even one of the ten acceptable hymns of Natural Ways,’

ClnMyla often turned a literal deaf ear to the genuinely inadvertent transgressions which could arise when folk got caught up in the optimism and honesty of the one holy book which was about being Happy, within reason. Often a defence presented to his local Court of the Ecclesiastes began with ‘But in the Second Holy Book….’. He had been careful to school Marthrik in this difficult path which suggested the fellow had already sifted the evidence. The Translator Pastoral bade farewell to any chance of further relaxation.

‘And?’ he asked.

‘I reckon they’ve got hold of a proscribed version. However since none of them were dancing about undressed, waving branches or adorned with badly made animal masks it’s possibly accidental and not true heresy,’  

‘Accidental can be worse. Approach softly, we don’t want to alarm them and be setting off natural force,’

For the first time Marthrik looked startled.

‘Force?’ he echoed, twitching.

‘Call it Stommigheid, call it Ethereal. Our Higher Translators Extraordinaire and Council of The Custodian’s Conclave may deny, but there is everywhere a natural smidge of these most evasive of elementals. Even the dullest of us can set this off by a combination of circumstances. Without intentional summonings,’

‘Thank you for seeing me My Lord,’ ClnMyla said in his conversational tone, he had left Marthrik to continue observation ‘I was out on one of my rare constitutional rides, past those lovely Draybelle Woods. It was remarkable to hear your son and his friends singing as they went about some honest work,’

‘Singing?’  Preldehal asked, his concern stilled because of the word ‘remarkable’ was spoken generously.

‘That they were. And from the Second Holy book, itself ,’

He let the words hang, the absence of an immediate response suggested a lordly dither. His worries concerning the potentiality of unpleasantness between Lords Preldehal and Reivod began to solidify.  

‘My Lord. I wonder, do you think it might be of encouragement if I were to present myself there and give a formal blessing. They’re your woods and it would not be fitting to just go tramping in there,’

As ClnMyla anticipated the lord was only to happy to agree, relieved The Ecclesiastes was content with the effort, a defence against any outrage Reivod would raise.  

He reckoned arrival on the second day when enthusiasm would be waning and various aches, concerns about dresses and general discomfiture would be settling in would suit. 

Translator Pastoral ClnMyla was caught off guard at the sight of the lad standing on a rock addressing a captivated gathering of youthful folk and servants, all a lot more dirty than he had expected. Held aloft indeed was copy of The Second Holy Book green edging to the pages.

‘Your mentorship,’ enthused Weltfremd ‘You find us at break from our efforts,’ he gestured to the rather irregular, wide but shallow hole. ‘I have taken the liberty of addressing everyone to lift our spirits,’

‘We have made a little dam,’ a bright eyed muddy young woman joyfully announced ‘To hold and channel the waters,’

At this point as they all broke into a spontaneous song to do with rain, ClnMyla politely took the copy of The Second Holy Book, seemingly to allow Weltfremd to lead the singing. A brief thumbing through the said tome commenced. Deeply worried the Translator Pastoral was as the skies suddenly thickened with rain clouds; surprised he was not. There were Ethereal forces at work.

Breaking up a volatile crowd even a small one in this situation was not wise, lest unforeseen lightening bolts occur. Instead as the first thick rain drops fell ClnMyla tucked the book into the folds of his cloak. He managed to get his hood up before a herald of the deluge arrived. In his dignified but purposeful flight he met Marthrik.

‘Thank Lord God you have left Translator Pastoral,’ he said ‘They built a dam,’

‘I heard,’

‘In the shape of the discouraged symbol of the Generous Otter. It was not a structurally sound or artistically worthwhile representation,’

‘I would have thought the Graven River Badger would have suited better. Anyway let’s away,’ he produced the book ‘Things will calm down, eventually,’

With the torrential rain the intention to produce a steady, directed flow into the hole meant to be a pond of course failed, much water with one or two of the smaller stones burst upon the clearing, to reinforce the celestial inundation. Folk were transported in all directions. By good fortune the hole impeded some of the impetus pitching them only into muddy puddles, although some being cracked in the ankles or shins, hopped about a bit first to end seating in undignified postures. By then the singing had given way to wails, pleas for assistance and as is the mentality of mobs accusations upon Weltfremd, of which some were thrown back at the accusers in forms of handfuls of mud. It appeared the alleged spirit of the Generous Otter was not taken with the image of him as a dam.

Unto River Wichtig the resulting mix flowed  

The rain turned into a steady drizzle which followed the sorry party to the nearest village where irrespective of status they were shoved into a barn, until by various means everyone was transported to their homes, each with a tale to tell.

ClnMyla addressed a perplexed and guilty looking Lord Preldehal.

‘This My Lord, is not a version of The Second Holy Book you should be having about the place. This was crafted by folk who took the message of tending to Nature’s Bounty slightly too far. They meddled with forces not to be meddled with by the well-meaning innocents. Now you’ll not to worry about your son, he will return sadder, whether wiser I cannot say. In the meantime I will be examining your library and you should take arrangements with your sheriff’s office and captain of your retinue to prepare for some minor upsets and spats between families,’

The fuss lasted forty days with some pre-emptive weddings involved. Lord Reivod was amused, particularly as the extra water provided greater industry. His prospective in-laws would be pleased on their inspection.

They arrived with a guildsman of the Mechanicals, experts in machinery and its tenuous link with Ethereal influences. Reivod’s anticipation faded when the fellow returned from inspection shaking his head and sucking breath between his teeth.

‘Got trouble here squire,’ he said, Mechanicals used that term to everyone irrespective of rank ‘You got flowers growing in your pipes, nasty case of Yellow Flag. You been meddling with Ethereal?’

‘The very idea!’ the lord spluttered.

‘Anyways,’ the fellow addressed to the prospective-in-laws ‘I can’t sanction this. Oh dearie no. Not with such infestation,’

Reivod was left with a location filling with Yellow Flag and no prospect of marriage or wealth. Later, thanks to mediation by the genial Translator Pastoral across the border did find consolation in a young widow recently relieved of a choleric farmer.

The Yellow Flag proved to be a popular ornamental plant, while Maybelle Wood became a place of many sought after blooms, which spread. Both men settled their issues and entered into a most profitable floral supply. Weltfremd expunged from polite local society left to acquire status by his unexplainably found talent of dredging distant waterlogged locations. By good happenstance the expected pregnancy within the Reivod household and the surprise one in the established Preldehal marriage led to births of daughter and son, whose amiable relationship over the years resulted in the union of the households.

Custodian of the Word Marthrik Healme renowned for his more philosophical approach was fond of citing this one as an example of The Lord God’s Ways being mysterious and wonderous to behold. Usually said with a wry grin.      


13 thoughts on “A Matter of Mixed Fortunes (May#BlogBattle-Pastoral)

  1. I think you wrote this story with a wry grin. 🙂 Part of the fun in reading this was how Preldehal’s attempt to thwart Reivod’s goal reminded me of a form of ‘rural warfare’ others have resorted to. When a neighbor sells his land to some kind of developer, and the farmer doesn’t want a neighborhood or business springing up next door, he takes up hog farming – and pens the rascals directly upwind of the development site. Your reference to ‘enthusiastic young privileged folk with no idea’ also gave me a chuckle, and was nice foreshadowing for when their dam failed. Entertaining and insightful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi aeb.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed reading this one. It started off with that idea of rich kids finding out the practicalities of a supposedly idyllic ‘rural life’ and then the narrative herded me all the way until ‘it ‘was satisfied.
      When you mentioned ‘rural’ wars, that struck a memory chord from somewhere. I must unknowingly have picked up on an old a film or news item.😀
      Thanks for your kind comments and dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: #BlogBattle Stories: Pastoral | BlogBattle

    • Ah-busted! I started that ‘business’ when beginning to write my fantasy trilogy, sometimes altering the words slightly, in honour of the explanation ‘ this word is based on the old (enter language) word meaning….
      And then I went onto direct ‘steals’…..and in both cases promptly forgot to note down the origins!
      The location of the tale is in an empire about the size of Europe, in its roughly ‘German’ area. In other tales Dutch has turned up, Italian, Irish Celtic and Estonian (French is no fun because the words are often close to English).
      Anyway I’m glad you had giggles. Giggles were the whole basis on the story.
      Thanks for stopping by and your kind words.🌼🌻


      • I think it’s great to play with languages. I think I’ve done poetry like this once upon a time. And I feel it works really well in a fantasy setting. J R Tolkien led the way 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh that he did.
        He went the whole way and invented a new language albeit based on Old English, amazing effort.
        I was relieved to read I had managed to, at least, get the context right on the German words.
        There’s many a trap lurking for the unwary or hasty which you realise you are in when folk are laughing, not for the reason you expected either.😕

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very witty Roger. I see, perhaps an alternate to BoJo’s redundant water cannons and a more effective summoning of water as deterrent to wayward deflection from a God Cults “words of the Lord.” Rural warfare with shovels and song… I saw Abes reference to such… here they once inserted rare newts to thwart a gold course planning application which was merely a foil to allow a developer to dump stuff he couldn’t dump anywhere else. Not entirely sure if the newts no reside under said tonnage of hardcore. Still, the golf course never got built so one might say Newts of War were inadvertently successful.

    There are subtly similarities to things like Handmaidens Tale, bits of Dune (minus lots of sand and vast worms) and many cult conflicts where dominance seems to write the “Way.”

    Very enjoyable read and so glad you’re now a regular BB participant. The next one should prove rather interesting….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed that Gary.
      It was another ‘Everyday story of Everyday Folk’ in the world I built.
      One of the little subversive bits I indulge in, is that as opposed to the usual ‘fearsome, all seeing, ruthless and cruel Church of…’ seen in much Fantasy; the Imperial Religion is not a very efficient outfit, folk mostly give it lip service and its Inquisitorial branch (The Custodians) tends to be split between independents some of whom are more involved with general Law & Order and fighting big ugly creatures than the locals and the busy-body school of thought, both branches dislike each other of course.
      Most of its priest (The Translators) are of the ‘Anything for a quiet life’ theological outlook.

      Yes I am enjoying my participation, taking part is sharpening up my writing skills and finally giving me an insight into the Craft of The Short Story. Looking forward to the next one.

      Thanks for dropping by, and all the encouragement.

      All the best,


  4. “Enthusiastic young privileged folk with no idea what they are about is always cause for concern.” Ha! A golden line.

    At first, I struggled a little keeping all the names straight, but that’s on me.

    An entertaining read which wonderfully illustrated how there will always be someone that will poke a hole in anything they can and spread rumors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed that Sam.
      It was fun to write, and if folk enjoy them, that’s all I need to know.

      Sorry about the plethora of names. These stories, bar one, are based in a world I built (or learnt about through the Cosmic vibes-who can tell) for a set of Fantasy Books I recently completed. So I tend to spend a lot of time there and forget others are visitors.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s