Today I started the harvest of the male Tarlek fruit. The flower is not as beautiful as the female flower. The fruit is woody and not appealing like the beautiful, sweet female fruit. Perhaps that is why most Narn never eat it. Since most do not eat this fruit, most farmers do not bother to harvest the fruit at all. My father never harvested male Tarlek fruit. I have never seen it harvested.
I have discovered that there are those who will pay well for the male fruit: MindWalkers and the Religious Circle. I admit my greed has gotten the better of my pride. Or maybe a bit of both. I would love to show my father that I can make a good income on my land.
I have also found that it is very difficult to get to this fruit. Shaking the tree does nothing. Climbing the tree with a basket is beyond my abilities. Falling from a tree with a basket I have become very good at. In fact, falling from a tree I have demonstrated several times over the last week, but now I fall on my harvesting cloth. I thought that I could pick the fruit and toss it down to the cloth. It won’t be harmed. The problem is the fruit only grows on the end of the branches. I have to climb the tree and then slither to the end of the branch. This is when the Tu’laken branch breaks. At this point I have only been able to harvest fruit from the branches that I have removed trying to get to the fruit. If I continue this way, I will have no trees left to harvest next year.
I had just fallen from a tree when a stranger called to me from the road. “Ho, Friend” the stranger called, “how are you this day?”
“Sore, Friend.” I replied. I was walking toward him when I had this strange feeling. Something about him was not right. I paused mid-step and looked at him closely. He was a Narn, but he seemed wrong somehow.
“I could help you, Friend.” he said, gesturing at the tree.
“How? Have you harvested Tarlek before?” I asked, momentarily ignoring my distaste for this Narn. I wanted to show my father. I wanted that fruit.
“I have friends that can do just about anything. They could get your fruit down.” He seemed to have many friends, and I was very wary of him and his friends.
I gave him a knowing look. “And how much do these amazing friends charge for their services?” Fruit harvested with no profit was no success.
He ducked through my fence like a Pa’zelt and walked to me, still smiling this strange smile. He looked at me either sympathetically or somewhat condescendingly. I knew he was of a higher Circle. Probably a merchant of the Seventh Circle. “They have no need for payment, young farmer… friend. They only want to help.” His closeness almost caused me to attack or run. My heart was pumping and I picked up a branch as if to defend myself. He was WRONG. He was Po’Lo’oth, DEATH. Instintively, I knew that I had to get him away from me without causing him concern. I couldn’t smack him with a stick.
“No, Friend” I replied, though the common word felt like metal in my mouth. “This is a problem that I must solve myself. I thank you and your friends.”
I am drawing him here I guess because of how he made me feel. I needed to focus and calm down.
For now my Tarlek fruit is forgotten. I will take in what I have and try again tomorrow.