Farmer Frank's Freehold
Farmer Frank woke up with a smile. He could see through the hole in the roof of his Freehold Tier 1 that it was a beautiful morning. He walked to the front door and opened it then stood there smelling the fresh air. He had just upgraded from Explorer to Pioneer so he had a good reason to feel happy.
Frank walked outside to the garden shed and took out two large wooden buckets. His garden required 8 buckets of water which he would have to draw from up on the hill at Crystal Springs.
Despite the beautiful name, Crystal Springs was a horrible stinky place. The water smelled and tasted of sulphur and gave off a toxic fumes which made everyone sick. But Frank new of a hidden source of water higher up on the hill which he called the Faerie Pond. The crystals surrounding that pond were pure and clear, not red like the ones below. The water there was fresh and sweet and always cool. It never froze, even in winter.
When Frank arrived at Crystal Springs he found a group of adventurers trying to make it past the toxic fumes. He hid in the bushes nearby and waited for them to pass. One could never tell if adventures were friend or foe.
Once they were gone Frank continue up the hill to a large tree, then around, and between a series of boulders. Hidden there between the rocks was a medium-sized pond surrounded by flowers. The faeries scattered and hid in the bushes when he approached. They always did that. He had tried many times to befriend them but didn’t know how.
Frank knelt down at pond’s edge and produced two golden embers from his vest pocket. He washed them in the water then used the hem of his shirt to polish them until they gleamed like the sun.
He held one of the golden embers up in his left hand. “For your kindness!” He said loudly, and placed one of the coins on a flat rock besides the pond.
Back and forth he went. Four times in all, until he had filled the last bucket with water. Again he knelt at the pond’s edge and held up the second coin in his right hand. “For your Queen!” He said loudly, and placed the coin on the flat rock where the other coin had been. Frank bowed his head respectfully then left with the last two buckets of water.
Again he wished he could talk to the faeries but he didn’t know their language, or even if they had a language. Maybe they spoke in sign language like the Tulnar. Many of the Tulnar lacked the vocal chords necessary for speech so they spoke with their hands. Er,.. or paws. It was a language of gestures and easy to learn. Frank knew enough of it to sell his goods at the Farmer’s Market but not enough for full blown conversations. Frank was fond of growing potatoes and turnips and selling them at the Farmer’s Market every weekend.
When he was almost home Frank came across a traveler who called himself Sam. Stabby McStabberface, as he was known to the locals looked him up and down. “Watering your crops?” Asked Stabby.
“Everyday,” said Frank and smiled.
Frank carried no weapon, or money pouch. His clothes were rags, his shoes were sandals. Stabby knew he wasn’t worth robing. Just another poor farmer. The two wooden buckets he carried could be sold but they weren’t worth much. “Heaven help the harvest.” Said Stabby and continued on his way.
Had Stabby been a different sort of man he would have seen that the water Farmer Frank carried in his buckets was Faerie Water. An extremely rare and valuable resource. Only the pure of heart could see the faeries. Those who had never been corrupted. And even fewer knew that you had to give the faeries something shiny in trade to get it. To anyone who had been corrupted at some point in their lives it looked just like regular water, but to the uncorrupted the water shimmered with a beautiful iridescence and made their crops grow 3x’s faster. Farmer Frank had only ever used Faerie Water on his crops so he had no idea it was making his crops grow faster than normal. He just knew that the ‘taters and neeps loved it.
“Heaven help us all!” Called Frank with a smile in his voice. It was the usual reply of the Agrarian Religion to which many farmers belonged. “Strange. The man didn’t look like a farmer.” Thought Frank and continued on his way home.
When Farmer Frank arrived at his freehold he found it on fire. In the distance he could see his castle node was also on fire. “Aww, crap!” Said Frank. It was his first freehold and he was saving up to build a well. Dang it. Since he had no weapon he set down the two buckets of Faerie Water and picked up two rocks. Then he began fighting hand to hand.
In the ruins of his freehold Farmer Frank found, 6 Organic Potatoes, 12 Tasty Turnips, 1 Garden Hoe, 3 Packets of Seeds.
Oh well. Maybe he could rebuild higher up on the hill closer to the faerie pond. The weather was different there so maybe he could grow Snow Peas year round. That was something he couldn’t do on the flat.
Farmer Frank loaded himself up with his few belongings and headed back towards Crystal Springs.