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FOLLOWING TIDES III -- Chapter 2

And the LAST Installement in this insipid little series....
Following Tides III
COMPLETE STORY in SIX PARTS:




You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it... Well, only *I* proofread it.... I'm sure I missed a TON of Mistakes


TO READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **





Series Title: Following Tides III
Chapter Number: Two
“Leif Johansson”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================

Over the meal they learned that Johan was Leif’s father and that was why Leif also spoke the language of traders. He’d learned it from him as a boy. He had been stripped of his surname when he was discovered to be a “ger”. Sonja gently prodded the story out of him, urging him subtly with her gifts to purge the emotional baggage he carried.

“I very young. Fourteen winters. I helping father when meet trader. Man-grown twenty and one. He very kind to me. Make me feel good inside. I know not then what wanted; just know I like him much. He was soon to be leaving and he be asking me to share meal. I know not then what he be meaning, soon learn. He kiss me and I very much liked. Father came and be seeing kiss of dishonor. Trader sent away no more welcome, I no longer son of Johan. I ger, dishonored.” Leif sighed, a tear in his eye that he refused to let fall. “That long time pass, five winters ago.”

“Oh love.” Sonja took his hand. His life destroyed by a kiss.

“It long time now. Old hurt.”

“Still pains you though love.” Sonja said holding his hand.

“Aye. But I be having my animals still. They no judge.”

“What do you raise?” Tomas asked. His heart ached for Leif. A kiss, a lousy kiss and he’d paid for it dearly. It was time to change the subject.

“Most wonderful beasties I have. Suri Alpaca. No more fine wool you touch! Here!” This brightened Leif’s features and he handed Sonja his scarf.

“My word! Feel this!” Sonja gasped and all hands felt the finely woven colorful garment.

“S’truth! What’s an Alpaca? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Want I show you? Not far!” Leif smiled and Tomas nodded.

“Show me tomorrow love, I have to play the old lady tonight. Go on Tomas I want a full report!” She said going to hand the scarf back to Leif who shook his head.

“You keep in me be giving thanks. Warm you better healer Sonja lady.” Leif bowed and Sonja wrapped it around her shoulders and stroked her cheek against the fibers.

“Boy I’m taking you home with me! Sweet child! Thank you.”

“Most welcome. Come I show you yes?” Leif asked turning to Tomas who nodded.

“Aye.” Tomas smiled pulling his coat tighter about him as he followed Leif down the gangplank. He seemed excited and animated and once again Tomas was falling headlong into an impossible crush. He dare not try anything, not if a kiss came at such a price! He’d be on his best behavior and not woo anything on two legs. Especially not handsome blond boys with killer blue eyes.

They walked to the edge of the village; a small cottage was set apart from the rest surrounded by rough fences. Leif led him through the gate and Tomas just gaped as about seven of the most strangest looking creatures came trotting over to encircle their master.

They looked like walking piles of knotted dread-locks of thick bright white fleece. They were small, probably no more than thirty-five inches tall at the withers and their extremely long necks came up to man-height and their short muzzles made almost human faces as they snuffed Leif’s hair and nibbled his jacket front. “Come, they lovers. Like being pet.” Leif laughed as one whiffed his ear.

Tomas felt something butt his back and he turned and got a head stuck in his chest. He laughed and reached up and sank his fingers in the softest coat he ever felt. “Incredible!” He gasped and another butted him and he had two hands full of friendly creatures trying to eat the buttons off his coat.

“Stop, forgot. Like buttons.” Leif chuckled patting noses away from Tomas’ coat. He reached down and scooped up a baby. “Baby call cria. Even softer when baby.” Leif said handing the little creature to Tomas who held it and stroked its chin. It sang! It didn’t bleat it sang, a trill of sweet delight as Tomas petted it.

“I have never in my life seen anything like this. I think I’m in love!” Tomas chuckled as he doted on the cria in his arms.

“Easy to love yes. Sweet creatures and most smart. Can sense blizzard, can walk hard mountain trail no fall, look at feet.” Leif showed Tomas soft padded feet they had no hooves or claws, just toe nails on unique shaped, long toed paws.

Tomas was in awe.

“No even be needing fence. It for to keep out not in. They no are wandering beasties. Hard to spook. Only need simple shelter, they always warm even in coldest weather. No be messing nasty either. Smart Suri are being they drop in same corner of pen all times. Make easy clean, they no like mess. No bite either, no sharp teeth. Only eat grass and chew cud. They spit though if no like you. Rare though.” Leif continued showing Tomas his beloved animals.

“How long do they live?”

“See the big male there? He older than me. Can live almost thirty years, but most near twenty or twenty-five.”

“Unbelievable!”

“You like?”

“Aye. Are they hard to raise?”

“No. Eat only very little Grass or Hay. Chew cud. No oil in wool, like sheep, make clothes that no harm skin on even baby tender skin. And as can see are gentle beasts, loving. Only need small area for pen. Drink very little water. Must be clean fresh though, they not drink dirty water, no like. Can get too warm in summer, must have shade then.”

“I’d love to have a heard of these at home. My mother and I bet most if not all of the craftswomen at home would love them for their wool, not to mention the creatures themselves.”

“Mother like wool?”

“Mum loves to sew and knit, Aye. She’d think of a million different colors to dye them in half the time. The other half she’d be playing with the herd itself. My mother is as gentle as these creatures. She’s a healer like Sonja too.”

“Mother sounds nice. How warm where live?”

“Always summer, but my family are wizards, we can control temperature. We could make them a winter sanctuary. They’d be comfortable all the time.”

“You WIZARD?”

“Aye.”

“Really?”

Tomas laughed at wide-eyed wonder. “Aye.”

“I let you take some then for your mother and good home. If they be happy then I happy. Will give good herdsire and dams, they give one cria only at time, twin most rare. Take eleven moons birthing time. Need shear twice year, full grown can give ten pounds or more wool in year.”

“What price?”

“Nothing to good wizard home. I just be glad seeing good care. I have little room here.”

“I can’t let you GIVE me a herd!”

“Can. Like Captain Tomas, love my Suri like children. They like you, they tell me want go.”

“What? You can speak to them?”

“My gifts. I hear animal thought. Cria love chin scratch, want stay with you. Says good heart, speak true words. Cannot lie to animals, they always know.”

“Leif, I can’t just take them from you.” Tomas was flabbergasted.

Leif just smiled and closed his eyes. “They see high mountains and sweet grass. Many peoples on your summer isle, many red-sail ships. Many childrens come to play with them; old-ones come home for end days will care for them. Will have much clean snow they see you will give and the land know nothing but love. Happy place, safe place. They want go very much to your home.”

Tomas’ jaw dropped, Leif had just described accurately an island he’d never seen. Leif opened his eyes you could tell he had seen Safe Harbor Island in his minds eye, through Tomas’ memories that the alpaca in his arms had shown it’s shepherd. Longing was in Leif’s eyes, bitter happiness. He wanted his beloved animals there, but would miss them when they’d gone. Leif was spellbinding and Tomas was lost entirely he wasn’t in a crush, it wasn’t infatuation, it wasn’t lust over a pretty clean face, Tomas was in love. The head-over-heels, sweep you away without expecting it, fill you to your core with warmth kind of love. Like his alpacas, Leif inspired great depths of feeling. You couldn’t help but be taken in by his gentle, steady, strong and peaceful acceptance of the world that filled his persona. He had a great deal of honor; he was nothing but pure honesty and truthful grace. It was no wonder the animals adored him; they saw the real Leif inside. The purest of souls.

“Would you come with us?”

“Cannot leave, they no let me. I Ger, have no rights. I property of village like Suri.”

Tomas felt crushed and angry and almost bereft. Leif reached over to stroke the cria that Tomas still held. “No feel such pain for me Captain Tomas. I be very much liking you too. I am being sorry to cause you poor feelings.”

“Is she telling on me?” Tomas asked looking into the big, deep brown eyes of the alpaca cria who cooed and laid her head against Tomas’ chest. Such an affectionate little creature.

“Aye. Be careful while here Captain Tomas. No let them know you ger, they be most angry and lose trade. No be making my mistakes.”

“They aren’t mistakes. You can’t choose it, you are or you’re not.”

“Aye. I know, but law is still there and you no be changing it. Please no let them know what you be. Treat me like animal, no honor, it is expected.”

“I’ll be careful and I refuse to treat you poorly.” Tomas said and Leif looked up and gave him a desperately sad and resigned to loneliness for all time look that clenched his heart.

“Please. For sake of me, be worse on me if you show me kindness. It is law, you must not show me honor. I only talk when talk to, I answer question, I translate. No more. Cannot. I Beg you.”

“I agree in protest for your sake.”

“Thank you Captain Tomas.”

“Just Tomas please. We are alone.”

“Thank you Tomas.” Leif said turning toward the cottage. “Come it be cold. I make fire to warm you before you be leaving for walk back. Talk outside danger. Many ear.” Leif said opening the door and leading Tomas inside.

“Will you be in trouble if I come in?” Tomas was terrified now of hurting this youth even more than he had been.

“No. We have what you call excuse. I am be giving you Suri, it considered trade and hospitality. Law give me at least so much to survive I am not forbidden trade. I am forbidden other things.”

“Please tell me. I do not wish to make a mistake that may harm you.” Tomas said as Leif took their coats and hung them by the fire. Leif’s colorful sweater looked warm as he stoked the fire. Once his bulky coat was off, Tomas got a good look at the young man beneath it. He was perhaps a few inches shorter than Tomas, and his average build was slender but defined, the sweater hugged a nice torso and arms. He was built very much like Ilya was, long graceful lines, but strength in perfect proportions. His face was smooth, high check bones, an oval face and strong jaw. One hundred percent male in design. His strong and defiant chin would have been lost under a beard; he was far too nice to look at to cover up with whiskers.

His hair was all one length and cut short at chin level. It parted naturally to the side and Leif kept absently hooking it behind his ears as one side determined to keep falling into his face, hiding half of it in shadow until it was once more tucked back behind an ear. The ends curling up to frame his chin. It was thick, but the strands delicately fine and shimmered like moonlight on snow in the fire.

“Please sit by fire. Lips on you blue Tomas.” Leif smiled and Tomas sat in the chair by the fire as Leif settled on the stone hearth itself, hugging his knees. Tomas waited for him to speak.

“The people here do not mean to be cruel. They are good people. Work hard, life not easy here. Summer only two moons longs and even then snow never melt completely. To have many children is god blessing. Lose so many women to birthing. To them, being ger is evil born. God forsaken. Law says honor gods, honor fathers, honor mothers, honor children. To them, they see Ger as turning back on Gods. So they turn backs to one who is bad luck. I bring disfavor from gods if they honor one cast out from light. They seek not to harm me because they are cruel. They are afraid I bring down anger from gods. So I go not into the longhouses where they eat, I drink not their water so I do not taint it. I do not speak to the ones the gods favor. My eye must not look upon, my hand must not touch. I must repent for dishonor until I die and am judged and cast down or forgiven. You must not talk to me Tomas outside unless I am being of service. I am not considered a person. I am an evil born creature that is repenting sins. I work, I sleep, I eat, I drink always alone. If I break my honor again, I will be killed before I can bring down the anger of gods on all. Dishonor has only one chance to be saved. Repeat sins and Die.”

“But you’re not evil.”

“No, am not. I be thinking when Die I may be forgiven.”

“There is nothing to forgive you for!” Tomas wanted to cry.

Leif looked up and smiled. “You most kind. I be not forgetting you when leave. I feel good know you thinking me good man. It helps. Thank you.”

“I bet they blame you for blizzards? A poor harvest? A natural sickness?”

Leif just nodded.

“Excuses.”

“Beliefs.”

“Excuses masked as Religion. You don’t deserve this!”

“I be making you angry. Forgive, only speak truth.” Leif looked sad, it clung to him like a shroud.

“I get angry when people hurt others whether they mean to or not. Leif let me take you from here!”

“I cannot. My life not belongs to me now. Belong to gods and village until I leave on death spirit journey. Then I be free. You take my Suri, in a way I go too then.” Leif sighed going to get Tomas’s coat off the peg.

“Any longer stay and will then be trouble. Sunset, I must not go out again until light. Only allowed to walk in light, it cleanse my soul.”

Tomas took his coat then took Leif’s hand and clutched it tightly in silence before he turned and headed back out again.

Leif sat in the chair Tomas vacated and cried. He wanted to go more than anything, wanted to leave and never look back. But as a ger he would never leave, he would live and die in this little cottage he built with his own two hands and live alone for the rest of his natural life.

He prayed he would be forgiven and it would be a mercifully short life.

~*~*~*~

Tomas sat with his head in his hands and told Sonja and Alexandre what Leif had told him.

“There’s nothing we can do?” Alexandre asked and Tomas shook his head.

“I don’t think so. Now I know why I was shown this place. It wasn’t to chart an island. It was to find him and help him. We have to stay until I can figure a way out to help him. Gran, he’s so sad, so alone! It’s cruel!” Tomas threw his empty mug of beer across the room in passionate anger. Sonja raised her eyebrows in perplexity; Tomas never lost control like this. He was acting like his father when it concerned Yuri. Levelheaded and steady as a rock unless his soul bonded was stressed and then he was a passionate whirlwind.

Sonja worried her lip; she did not want to jump to conclusions when Tomas was showing all the signs of a soul connection. He could just be tired and the boy’s story was indeed enough to make even the gentlest of people furious. She’d have to see them together to be sure. She didn’t want to think of them being soul-bonded; it would make things for them even more painful to endure. She prayed it was a connection like Van’s and Ilya’s, it would not harm their health to the point of death if they parted. They’d grieve and would never find other partners but they’d live.

Which was more than likely going to happen with Tomas and Leif if Tomas couldn’t find a way to take Leif with them, somehow.

Leif was resigned to his fate, he was brought up to believe what was being done to him was something he deserved. He’d take the abuse his whole life and never question it. Tomas showing up was going to be painful to the extreme for Leif. Seeing another Ger with freedom and honor while he had none would make him miserable even more than he already was. Sonja’s heart ached for the child. Ached for them both, this was not going to be an easy port of call, not in the slightest.

~*~*~*~*



TO READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **


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