Making Do In Kyllawin
The woman stooped over the blacked pot which hung over the fireplace and stirred a greyish looking gruel. She looked out of the window to her left and saw the sun had risen a few more degrees since she last tried to wake her son.
“Byen! Get up or you’ll miss your uncle and the boat!” she roared over her shoulder.
A scrawny looking 12 year old emerged from the communal bedroom and sat at the kitchen table. “Im up im up!” Byen yawned while scratching his mess of red hair.
His mother placed a small bowl of the grey stuff she was previously stirring infront of Byen and he felt his stomach turn.
I hate medach porridge
“Is there any honey I can put in here?” He asked, already knowing the answer
“Im afraid not. We’re still out of honey, sugar, spices and anything nice since we sent our fighting men up north for the cause. I might have some bog butter in the larder if you want?” Asked his mother
Byen pushed the bowl away and got up to leave
“I’ll pass. Im going to go meet uncle Brynn before he leaves”
“Be safe and dont make too much trouble!” called his mother as the door swung shut behind Byen.
Byen made his way down the cobbled steps, past his neighbours houses and toward the dock on the river mouth. The sun was properly poking up above the hills now as the little village of Kyllawin was starting to wake.
Since the able bodied men had been sent north to fight against Clann Slinieuie, The necessary work of catching and treating fish was left to those who remained. As Byen was not old enough to fight, he was instead tasked with helping his uncle on the water. Today was his first day
Jogging past the smokehouse, Byen found himself at the docks where several other, mainly older, fishermen were getting ready to row out and begin the catch. At the end of the jetty was Brynn, Byens uncle. A tall man with a muscular physique, Brynn was easily the youngest fisherman left. Were it not for his missing hand and limp he too would have been conscripted with the other local men.
“Your late!” yelled Brynn “ I wanted to be out there before sunrise”
“Sorry Uncle Brynn. I had to help my Ma - “
“Don’t worry about it, but hurry up. We have a long day ahead of us.
Over the next several hours Byen was thrust head first into being a fisherman. Despite having a stump on one arm, his Uncle Brynn was a competent fisherman and he showed Byen how to setup a rod, properly land a fish with a net, followed by gutting and storage of the catch. Though his hands were sticky with dried blood and scale slime, and his entire body ached from the effort, he enjoyed the work he had accomplished. It was satisfying to know he was helping to feed the clann tonight.
As the sun began to sink into the horizon, they turned back to shore and made their way back.
“Uncle Brynn, do you wish you could’ve gone up north with everyone one else?” Asked Byen?
“I wouldn’t mind getting stuck in the middle of all that fighting, but I’d be no use to anyone” he replied, looking down at his boney stump of a hand “Besides, there's important work to be done here. People gotta eat”
Byen watched the approaching shoreline and hoped the fighting was over soon.
“And do you think my Pa will be alright up north?”
“I trust he will be. Your Pa is a good fighter, and knows his way around a sword” replied Brynn off handedly
I hope you’re right uncle Brynn