Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Brave Warrior Falls. The End of the Adventure Tails.

You're slowing down, Ti! Are you feeling your age? Ha!” Yelled OFG over the din of battle.

I'm just getting warmed up, Sir, it is you who cannot keep up with me!” Col Ti answered.

The two war companions were fighting as they did in the old days, surrounded by foes, fighting back to back. The melee of battle around them. But neither felt more at home. Or more alive.

The evil rat fiends and the mouse menace had joined forces and called the fighters of the Good Land into open combat. OFG and Col Ti had answered with a merciless show of force. It would not be long and these rodents would know the true meaning of the word defeat.

The mud and the blood and the chaos that was hand to hand combat swirled around them. They were holding their ground. OFG's forces were making her proud. She could hear the horns cry out their commands, see the banners direct the ground troops to their next moves, and very soon this battle would be very handily sorted out.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw her fighters advance. It was all going perfectly according to plan. Overhead she heard hundreds of arrows from her archers fly overhead. That would drive those stupid mice back. They could advance now.

At sides!” She cried to Col Ti and as one they both took opposite steps and now were fighting side by side. They fought mightily.

We'll be home for dinner soon.....” She said.

Just as soon as I finish off a new more of these damnable creatures! Then you can count my kills and see I've bested you once again!” Col Ti roared a laugh that struck terror into the hearts of enemy.

OFG turned to answer the jibe with her own when she saw it. It seemed impossibly slow. There he was, her most trusted, most able battlemate, her First in Command, her Right Hand. Col Ti was robust and full of life, his massive figure against the backdrop of the day's warring when it struck.

The arrow.

She tried but could not break it's path. She could not pull him to safety. It was insidious. Wrathful. It struck true. She watched in horror as it pierced Col Ti and struck him down. She felt it as surely as it had ran through her own heart.

NO!” She roared. “No! Ti! No!”

OFG had seen death. She had seen those she loved be taken. She knew that an old warrior like Col Ti would not live forever. But she did not think it would be here. She did not think it would be this day.

He was on the ground. Mortally wounded. She was there with him. The battle continued to rage around them as if her world had not just ended.

Get up. Get up, Ti, get up. No, no, no...”

He was calm. He looked at his wound. He knew. “No.” He said. “I am struck down.”

She was crying hot tears now, refusing to believe what she was seeing. “Get up! Get up, Ti. Get on your feet, soldier!” She ordered trying to pull him to his feet.

The wound was beyond repair. They both knew it.

No, stop it now.” Col Ti said to her, almost gently. “Don't do this. Do not deny me a glorious death in battle. Today is a good day to die. We will be victorious and you will sing song of this day and tell stories on how this day was won! Tell them of how I fought by your side today and all of these long years.”

He reached up and brushed away her tears. She held his big hand to her face, she kissed it, she was still shaking her head. “Don't go, Ti, I need you.”

But his eyes were past seeing her now. He was looking just beyond her. “Do you hear it? My ancestors call to me!” A wolfish grin past over his lips. “Do you hear the songs? I... I... have only heard that language in my dreams! Such proud songs being sung! Such bold warriors! And oh, the feast! Do you smell the roasts on the spits! Have you ever seen so much bloodwine!”

He reached out weakly as if he was pushing open a large door.

There! Look there! There are the brothers of my youth! I have not seen them since I left my own mother's door. Such brave warriors – look at them. Do you see them? Such a great company!”

OFG was crying hard tears. “Please, Ti, don't...How can I do this without you? My most beloved companion. Please... please...”

In a final moment of clarity he looked at her. He saw her and said firmly, “It is your only command that I cannot obey. I cannot stay. You must let me go to the halls of my ancestors. This body is ruined. Be glad that I lived such a good life with you. Be glad I will not grow old and feeble, unable to walk, or work, or be of any use. Look at me. I am strong and clear … I do not want to die an old feeble man muttering into my porridge. Death comes for us all and I will meet it head on. It is my time.”

He continued, “Do not be afraid, my master, The Shining Light of the Realm will show you the way. And what harm can befall you if you stand under the Shadow of the Black Death? Kai and Zander will help you now. They will be your companions. Let them guard you well. But you must let me go. ”

Acceptance gradually washed across OFG's face, through her tears. She struggled to find the words to tell him how grateful she was for every day they were together. To tell him how proud she was of him. To thank him for all their long years together. To say everything she ever wanted him to know... but he already knew these things. There was no need for grand gestures now in these last few moments. All the love she had for him had been given freely – on each of their days together. He knew.

If you wish, I will wait for you outside the doors of The Great Feast, my master, I will wait until you join me. When I hear of your coming I will gather the others and hail you home. I will cry out to you – my war cry will be loud and long and you will know it is me. We will all run to greet you and usher you home. I will do this. It may be long years for you but it will be just a moment for me. I've waited all these years to go home to my ancestors... I can wait .. just... a few...”

And then he was gone.

Across the battlefield The Dread Commander Zander, The Black Death, saw Col Ti fall. He saw his mother throw herself down to him, to hold his hand, to look into his eyes, and now she was burying her face in his chest.

To your liege!” He cried and rallied his men, barking orders, and urging them to OFG. The men spread out around her.

From up on the hill The Princess Kai heard the urgent horns she turned to see her mother's standard bearers run up the black flag. She knew what that meant.

Fighters! On me – and try to keep up you slackards! Fight you fools, fight like your very lives depend on it. Now run!” Kai's fighting forces cut through the enemy like a scythe. Kai raced dangerously ahead of her men but she was relentless. The sunlight caught her flaming battle tiara and she was The Shining Light of the Realm. 

The Princess Kai ran with such force that when she reached the fallen Col Ti she skidded to a stop. The warrior Princess crouched low in front of her mother, guarding her and the fallen hero. Kai took the brunt of the blows and her men killed the enemy without mercy.

There in the midst of battle Zander stood over them, fighting their foes. Zander's mighty shadow covered OFG slumped over the dead body of Col Ti.

Time passed.

A small figure hurried through the darkness of the forest. A pale moon barely lit the path but she went as fast as she could, completely aware that she was being followed. Little Mo was absolutely the worst tracker in the history of the Good Land. She hoped he would give up but she had to admit he was determined to keep up with her.

Finally she stopped. “Come out, Little Mo, I know you are there.”

She turned and waited for him to come out from behind the tree. He peeped around the trunk, his wide eyes reflecting in the moonlight. “You need to go back, Little Mo.”

He stepped up to her determinedly. “Sir, I am going with you.” He had a small pack and was wearing his traveling clothes. He looked at her, pleading. “Please, Sir. You need me.”

She was dressed as a traveler also and not as their leader. She didn't even carry her axe...but Little Mo had it in his pack for her.

OFG sighed heavily and swept the hood from the nondescript cloak off her head. Little Mo could see the silver in her once dark hair. For perhaps the first time he noted the lines on her face. She never did recover from the death of Col Ti. He had won a glorious death in battle but it was she who carried a wounded heart that would not heal.

You cannot come with me, Little Mo.” She said firmly. She held up her hands to stay his protests. “The Good Land needs to you stay. Zander needs you to stay and help him. Together with Bitty they need to rule the Good Land and you need to help them. Do this for me, Little Mo. Please.”

From in the darkness a horse nickered and stepped. Little Mo looked up to see the big man seated on the enormous black horse with no name.

OFG gestured to the big man. “You know that I cannot be married to both the Good Land and also to my mate. It is time, Little Mo. Do you know the best thing about getting older? It is that you know when it is time for the younger ones to take over. This is Zander's time. Bitty came to us at just the right time. Kai has gone off to establish her own Lands. This is the turning of the page. Zander and Bitty can do this but they need your guidance. Please, Little Mo, for me.”

She drew Little Mo to her and kissed him on the top of his head. “Go on now, go home. I have other adventures to find. And your place is here.”

Little Mo blinked back tears and nodded. He watched as the big man pulled OFG up onto the horse behind him. She looked back once at him, then turned, and they rode away into the darkness. Begrudgingly Little Mo turned back to walk home. The moonlight seemed paler and the night seemed colder. It was a long walk back alone.

Little Mo silently crossed the Great Hall. The Commander Zander would not want him as an adviser. Surely he would chose one of his own men. Little Mo arrived in the Good Land alone, and he would depart as such. He wondered what would become of him.

A figured stirred and Little Mo started. “Oh.. I'm... Commander, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you.”

Zander was sitting in OFG's chair on the dais... his elbows on his knees. It was dark except of the soft light thrown by the braziers. He looked sullen.

So she is gone then?” Asked Zander. Little Mo only nodded.

I was just getting my things. I will pack them up and go....” Said Little Mo.

Go? Go where” Zander seemed concerned.

I just thought that you would find someone else. I ...” Stammered Little Mo.

Someone else? No.” Zander shook his head. “I don't know the first thing about administrations, Little Mo. I'm a soldier. I...” He spread his arms, “I don't even know what we should do tomorrow. I...”

Well, I happen to have a list here, Commander...” Little Mo pulled a scroll out of his sleeve. “I have the schedule here and the duty roster and...”

See? This is why I need you.” Zander smiled appreciatively. “Please stay on, Little Mo. I really want you to stay. She trusted you and so do I. Come, let us talk like men.”

Little Mo bowed low. “Of course, Commander. One thing I think we should consider, now that she has gone, we should shore up our alliances. Surely someone will try and test your resolve. I recommend we immediately send word to have a Counsel.”

Agreed. I should meet with Bourbon of the Red, the old bastard. My mother regarded him as her own brother. But I never cared for him. Do you know that he once chucked my chin when I was a pup?”

Little Mo looked surprised, “You don't say.”

It's true. I showed him my teeth, yes, I did. He is still probably terrified.” Zander and Little Mo laughed a little.

Where do you think she's gone, Little Mo? My mother..” Zander looked a little worried.

Little Mo crossed his arms and thought. “Well, she cannot go to see her own brother, Henri the Bold, in the Land of the Ocean's Tide.. you know well of 'The Troubles”... so not there. But there are rumors she has a sister in the Land of Ever Summer. She is said to be fair haired and the Mother of Many. Apparently she leads a band of warrior maidens.”

A sister?” Exclaimed Zander, “By the heavens can you imagine two of them?” He shook his head chuckling.

Zander and Little Mo glanced at each other, grinning. Then the slightest look of pain crossed their faces. The both nodded to each other knowingly. Then Little Mo and Commander Zander got up and started to make their way across the dimly lit Great Hall.

Onward, then?” Asked Zander.

And upward.” Said Little Mo.

The scene faded to black, then opened again. This time outside a small house in the rural Ohio countryside. Two people were busily loading the last of the boxes and tools onto a huge, black, Greyhound style bus. The big man got in the driver' seat and started the engine – the bus roared to life.

We are ready for action!” He said to her. “Almost done?”

I dunno, I feel like we are missing someone. Let's do a tail check... one, two....” She started counting an unusually large number of cats in cages line up along the walls of the bus. She got distracted and looked up. “Hey honey, does this big ol' bus have a name?”

Nope.” He said. “And it's not going to have one either. Do you know why?”

She went back to counting cat butts, “Huh?”

So we can say that..... we've been thru the desert on a bus with no name...” He started singing, “It felt good to be out of the rain...In the desert you can remember your name...”

That is the stupidest joke ever.” She said. “You aren't funny at all, you know. I'm the funny one. .... Ohmigosh!”

She suddenly ran into the house and came about out carrying a huge gray cat in a too-small carrier who was loudly protesting. “We almost forgot Nicholas!”

Don't forget the Nicholas, baby!” He laughed.

Nicholas yowled his discontent. But now they were all loaded. The bus had all the seats taken out of it and was converted into a kind of Noah's Ark. It was filled with dogs and cats all securely in the places for The Long Drive.

So,” Said the woman, “We are just gonna drive away from our life here. Just take all our people and go?”

Yep.” He said. “We are pointed in the direction of adventure.” He looked at her, “You OK, baby?” He said putting his hand on her arm.

I'm just thinking of everything that happened. We had a lot of good times here in this good land... and we got a lot of good friends here.” She said gesturing to the bus full of cats and dogs. “I guess we are leaving some behind too.” A tear welled in her eye.

My old lady cats, your good ol' girl Shady, Grumpy old Teddi...and...” She stopped herself and tried to refocus. “I just...Wow. We've lived a whole life here.” She wiped the tear away and made herself smile. “But it's time to go and do something different.”

So.. onward then?” He asked.

And upward.” She said.

For the last time she walked out to the gate, opened it, let the the huge bus roll passed, closed the gate, and then hung up a sign.

She hurried to the door of the bus and climbed in and exclaimed, “Ohmigosh, who has the toots?!? Is it dogs? Do dogs have toots? Oh boy.. this is going to be a long drive. Are we there yet?”

Ha ha.” Said the man and he checked his mirrors one more time.

The bus pulled out of the drive and headed in the direction of adventure. Dogs barked, cats screamed, and the two people laughed.

Back on the gate a sign read, “The End.”

And that, friends, is The End of the Adventure Tails. 

Editor's note:  Friends, as you know there is always some truth in our Adventure Tails - we call them "Not Entirely Fiction" for a reason. We here have received some devastating news. I'll provide the "what really happened" tomorrow. I know that there are a lot of questions and they will be answered. Until then, thank you for your loving support. 



Charlotte Boord said...

I'm going to cry...

edh said...

This made me cry. Thoughts and prayers to you and yours.

Larry in Kingman AZ said...

Didn't want to read this when I saw the title. Much love to you my friend.

Cottontailfarm said...

I feel so sad for you already. ((Hugs))

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