"What Fuels Us" (Downtime Ep 29)

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Just as the sun was rising, Primeheart made his way through the Pearl District, head lowered in silent determination. The sound of the wheels of his wheelbarrow clacked on the well-maintained street. His hood was up, as it usually was when trying to be socially invisible for an 8-foot-tall goliath. In the barrow quietly sat shears, a rake, a few other gardening implements, and at the bottom a large potato sack filled with Skyroot soil. He quietly opened the gate to the Brell Estate, carted his barrow in and onto the cartography-designed walkway, and closed the gate before walking up to the door, taking a deep breath in, and knocking.
Nathan, thankfully, was near the parlor, cleaning, when he heard the door. He dusted his hands off on his apron, and made his way over to the door. His expression turned from one of mild interest to warm surprise at having to look up to see his guest. “Oh, Primeheart,” he said, smiling slightly. “Wasn’t expecting you. What can I help you with?”
“Good morning, Nathan. I was at your Estate yesterday to meet your new tenant Swazi and I noticed your lawn,” he enunciated, returning a soft smile back. “I would be honored if you would let me take care of it. You’ve helped me enough and I would like to repay the favor. Tybalt has already offered to recompense me for services rendered, so all I need is your blessing.”
Nathan’s smile widened. “I would actually love that. I’ve been meaning to ask for help on the garden, too. Mari said she’d like to, but you’re more than welcome to as well.” He put his hands on his hips. “Mind if I join?”
Primeheart’s hands clasped over his chest and he chuckled happily, bowing his head. “Excellent. It would be my pleasure to have you, sir.” He stepped back, turning and walking towards the barrow. “It will most likely take a few days, so if Mari comes around, I don’t mind in the slightest if she helps.”
“She’s very good with plants,” Nathan mentioned, following. “I wish I was. I don’t really do well with taking care of things that are alive,” he chuckled awkwardly. “Hence…” He gestured to himself, back to scruffy and dirty from all the cleaning.
The goliath reached in and grabbed a pair of shears and some deerskin gloves, twisting to meet his friend’s eye. “Don’t wish. Put time into what you want and that time spent will provide a bounty of knowledge. You want to learn?” He handed the gloves and shears to Nathan. “Put those on and cut ankle high. Take your time with it and give the Pip holes a wide berth. I promised I’d cut the grass to seem like mountains around them.”
Nathan smiled and pulled the gloves on. “Alright then, I can’t argue with that. Any of that. I’d never want to disappoint Pip.” And with that, he started sheering the grass carefully, doing his best to keep everything even while following Primeheart’s directions.
After a half hour of light instruction and quiet cutting alongside the noble, Primeheart cupped a gauntleted hand to his mouth, and chirped at some birds that sit in a nearby tree: asking them to keep watch for anyone listening. “Nathan, I want you to know something because it is important and close to home. Yesterday when I came by, I not only recruited Swazi to our cause but also your ex-fiancé. Congrats, by the way. Arranged marriages, I can imagine, are usually in poor taste.”
Nathan frowned, pausing in his work. “Did… shit, he told you?” He felt his chest tighten.
Concern flashed across the Goliath’s face. “He did. Almost nonchalantly,” he mused, a smile hinting at the corner of his mouth.

“Wait, you did what?” Nathan asked, eye widening. “I was- that’s what I was trying to do,” he continued with a small laugh.
“I think it went well, with the social cues at least. I’m not good with wordplay. He asked me if you are in danger. If Seldanna is in danger. And if Seldanna was with our cause. I was honest.”
Nathan sucked in a sharp breath. “Primeheart he- he’s smart. And… I don’t necessarily trust him. But he’s not a terrible person, and-” he let it out in a sigh. “Ok. I’ll talk with him later about it too.” He pushed his bangs from his face, tucking them behind his ear. “He… asked if I was in danger?”
Primeheart’s hand slid across his chest subconsciously as he tried to put on a comforting smile which, to the insightful, clearly quivered. “That’s my reasoning. He’s smart, charismatic, pleasant to be around when he keeps his wit in check. I saw him as neither an enemy nor a friend. But he is capable and I hope Quarra guided my words to hit their mark.”

A bird chirped above and the Goliath leaned in closer to whisper. “Talk with him if you like, but know that all we can do is try to prove that our cause is just. I told him enough to pique his interest. He asked for you specifically. Then moved on to Our Queen. You were his first thought. And I told it true. You are in danger. We all are.”
Nathan nodded (and was indeed insightful). “It’s good to know that he seems to care about us. He’s know both Seldanna and I for some time, at least, known of us.” He continued to work, starting to work up a slight sweat. “What’s wrong? You seem tense.”
“I am afraid. For you and the rest of our friends. We aren’t warriors or knights. We’re gardeners and diplomats and doctors and hunters. Musicians and artists.”
Nathan sighed again, sitting back on his heels. “You’re right. We aren’t warriors. But I think that’s the best part about this. We’re creative, and we’re doing this because we believe in hope and a better future for those we love.” He looked into the sky. He took a long moment, and then looked back at Primeheart. “Right?”
Primeheart reacheds out towards Nathan’s hand in reassurance. “Yes. Absolutely. Hope is what fuels us. So we must continue to feed that flame in anyone who might be an asset. I took a risk recruiting Tybalt, but that kind of risk is what we need to be taking. Maybe not every day, but we are recognizable and as long as we show compassion and gain the trust of the people of this town, we will succeed.”

He paused to reaffirm his thoughts and he nodded. “We don’t need to do it the brutish way either. It seems like the king and his lieutenants are not without reason. The event that resulted from the rebellion has fueled this fight so far, but what we want to get out of this is more than the bringing back of the dead.”
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