Harvest Moon: Asterville Nova

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minibit, Mar 1, 2015.

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  1. @Laggy Lagiacrus

    Tanitha sighed as she set the last box down, wiping a stray wisp of white-blond hair out of her face as she straightened her back only to be knocked forward by a four-and-a-half year-old running smack into the back of her legs.

    Stumbling to regain her balance, she turned around to face the giggling boy, who had fallen back on his bottom from the impact.

    "Patrick" she chided, stretching out the last syllable of his name in 'you're in trouble' fashion. He continued laughing as he crab-walked backward across the plank floors of their new home, which still smelt like the local wood it was built from.

    Tanitha sighed; he was probably expecting her to try and chase him, but she was too tired. She was always too tired, these days. Still, there was a life, a clarity to this village, that made her feel slightly less weighted down than the city had. "Is everything in the house now, Patrick?" she asked, sitting down on the crate she'd just transported, herself. She'd left her son the task of moving the small bits and pieces, including the few toys he'd been able to bring, the pillows, and some of the lighter gristmill pieces, as well.

    The boy nodded, hope fading slightly on his face as he edged away slowly, still anticipating a chase for a moment before he flopped into a sitting position. "Uh-huh"

    "Good job." she complimented, brushing at her hair again in the eternal battle to keep it in its thin ponytail. She looked through the open doorway; the sun was still high in the sky. They'd eaten some packed sandwiches on the ride here, but she could go for a snack, and probably her little kiddo could use one, too.

    Pushing herself back to her feet, the slight woman walked into the small kitchen which was immediately to the right of the doorway. She'd dropped the case of foodstuffs on the counter there. Carefully lifting the top off of the box, she peered inside. The initial allowance from Novacorp would allow her to buy some groceries, but she'd brought some food along to put them by until she could get to the store. It'd be too crowded to go, get food, come back, and set up house before bedtime today. Everyone was setting up, everyone would need supplies.

    She reached into the box and pulled out a bag of apples, turning some over in her hand through the bag. A few were bruised, but otherwise fine. She laid it down on the counter, glancing at Patrick, who was climbing up on some of the other boxes. "Careful" she warned, drawing her attention back to the task at hand. There was a faucet and sink - good, indoor plumbing. She drew out two apples and started the water. It had to wait a moment, and she was just about to look for the pipes when it coughed and started gurgling clear water. She rinsed the dust from the ride over off of the apples with her hands before setting them down on the counter. Food had been one of the heaviest boxes, but she was glad she didn't have to go out shopping; it'd be much easier if all she had to do was set up the house basics and put Patrick down for the night - that last item being a task of itself.

    A knock on the door frame interrupted her search for a knife with which to cut the snacks. She turned around, shading her eyes from the sunlight. A woman with red hair stood in the window; a good deal stouter than Tanitha, with a ruddy complexion and red cheeks. "Hi there!" the stranger greeted. "Did you just move in?"

    "Y-yes" Tanitha confirmed, stepping forward as Patrick scrambled off of his perch to hide behind her legs. She lowered a comforting hand to rest on his head.

    "I'm Roxann, can I come in?" she was leaning through the doorway, beaming with a smile that showed a few dimples among the freckles on her cheeks.

    "Uh, yes, yes, please." Tanitha gestured with her free hand, unsure what else to do.

    "What a beautiful home." Roxann complimented as she stepped inside. "Oh, I didn't get your name."

    "It's Tanitha."

    "And who's this little man?" Roxann squatted down to her knees, beaming a big smile at Patrick that only made him shrink back, pulling her skirt outward to hide himself.

    "Patrick, sorry, he's shy." she excused, gently coaxing her skirt back from his tight fist. "Is there something we can do for you?"

    "In a way; I came to invite you out. There's a bit of a to-do going on in the square at dinner time; a cookout and some music. Those of us who have been here a few weeks wanted to welcome you newcomers; we're all stuck here together so we may as well get along!"

    Roxann's voice wasn't loud, per-se, but it had a boisterous quality that made Tanitha want to lower and slow her own tone, in the hopes that it might make her visitor a little more tranquil; not that Tanitha's mannerisms were generally strong to start with.

    "That sounds nice, but I'm afraid we don't do very well in crowds." she excused, glancing down at her child, who was only just garnering the nerve to peek around for an inspection of the newcomer.

    "What crowd? There's only about ten or twenty of us here at present, hon, and there's even a couple other youngsters for yours to play with; he'll be fine."

    The contradiction of what would be 'fine' for her son made Tanitha want to refuse on principle, but, well, she was 'stuck here', as the other woman put it. It could make for a bad impression not to go meet the neighbours. If she was going to make a fresh start here, she might as well do it properly.

    "All right" she agreed, "do I need to bring anything?"

    "Food if you're able, but don't worry, we've got enough already." Roxann smiled triumphantly. "See you there, then!" she gave a half-wave as she let herself out, leaving the door open as she had found it. Tanitha didn't close it either; the sunshine was nice.

    "Are we going to a party?"

    Ah, he'd found his voice again.

    "Seems that way." the boy detached himself from her as she turned back to going through the utensils she'd brought, lifting out a paring knife and beginning to quarter the apples on the counter.

    "Are we gonna play games?"

    "Maybe." mentally, Tanitha was going through the baking goods she'd brought with her; there was possibly enough that she could whip off some cookies if she started soon.

    "Are there gonna be snacks?"

    "Maybe." she started to slice the quarters horizontally, contemplating if she should set up their beds now or wait until after the festivities.

    "Is there other kids?"


    A tug on her skirt tuned her back in - ah, he'd picked up on her auto response

    "Momma! Is there gonna be other kids?"

    "Yes, hon, a few."

    "Are they nice?"

    "Probably, you'll have to meet them and see. Bring me a bowl from over there."

    they continued, chattering, fetching, dicing and mixing until the sun was beginning to dip low on the mountains around the village, tinting everything an orange shade. She finished sorting the boxes between the three rooms of their small house, and Patrick was polishing off his spoon-licking duties. "All right, get your coat, let's go."

    "It's too hot"

    "It won't be later, come on." she could hear the murmur of voices gathering in the nearby village square already. There had been a few other people on the wagon with them, but she hadn't really gotten to know any of them, and she hadn't had a chance to meet anyone in town - besides Roxann - at all.
  2. A shadow loomed on the horizon, carrying what appeared to be a crate the size of a small mountain on his shoulder. This person seemed to be more like a giant than a man, however. His height would let him tower over the average man, and his width made him seem as if he could swallow them. Were it not for the fact that none of his footsteps caused the ground beneath him to tremble, observers would not be blamed for thinking that judgement day had occurred, and that a mighty being from another realm had come to exact their punishment.

    His pace was slow, but he did not lumber. The loads - which looked as though no mere mortal could carry them - did not seem to affect his gait at all. In fact, it seemed as though he enjoyed taking his time. Though his face looked to be expressionless, his blue, heavy-set eyes held a certain calmness. Whether he was simply at peace or if he enjoyed what he was doing was hard to tell, but he seemed friendly either way. As friendly as a behemoth lugging around a massive load could seem at first glance, anyway.

    Once he had carried it into what seemed to be his house, John Stone set the last crate of his possessions down, and wiped his hands on his trousers. He used a cloth to wipe any sweat from his bald head, and rested for a moment. Constant work and the force of the sun's rays were enough to get to most people, even if carrying heavy items was something they were used to. But then there was the matter of what to do next. He hadn't spoken to anybody so far, and he wasn't expecting anybody to be too eager to ask him about anything other than heavy lifting. In that light, he decided to go to the village square, having heard that an event would be taking place there.

    As he approached, John made no attempt to blend in with the crowd. For reasons that would be obvious to anyone able to perceive height, attempting to do so would be rather pointless. As quiet and stoic as ever, he looked about the place, hoping to see something that he could do to pass the time.
  3. Patrick was still pouting as Tanitha shoo-ed him ahead of her out of the house, locking it behind her. She'd given up trying to tie all of her hair into a bun, but most of it was in there, and the remaining strands were pinned behind her ears. Time would tell how long they'd stay. In her hands was a wide plate of oat-and-raisin cookies, balanced carefully. They were still warm, and their aroma floated on the breeze ahead of them as they rounded the corner of the street and found themselves stepping into the square.

    There was a small crowd milling about, but Roxann had been right, not huge. She scanned for the redheaded woman, and saw her chatting with a few others on the far side of the square.

    Patrick's eyes were as wide as saucers, he was hanging back as Tanitha started toward the folding table where she could see some other foodstuffs laid out. There was a coal grill going close to that table, and a couple of men she didn't recognize were cooking meat on it. Rebalancing the cookies onto one hand and wrist, she reached down with the other and found his hand. Gripping it, she led them into the square. She was halfway to the table with her aromatic munchies when Patrick found his voice again.

    "Momma a Giant!" he exclaimed a little too loudly, stopping dead and almost costing her the cookies tugging on her arm.

    "Patrick what-" she looked up, reigning her son back in with a firm pull and struggling to rebalance the precarious pastries. She found herself overshadowed by a giant of a man standing a meter or so away, to whose face her son's pointing finger was directed

    "A giant!" he shouted with urgency, trying desperately to tug her backward with little success except to further endanger her delicious chances at a good impression.

    "Patrick that is not nice - I'm so sorry sir" she stammered, mortification painting her usually fair face a dark pink as she wished she had a third hand with which to lower her son's.
  4. John milled about for a little while, hoping that he would find something to do. Despite it becoming apparent that there was precious little else to do besides socialising, he decided that it would be better to stick around and at least make his presence known, as opposed to holing himself up inside his house and busying himself with unpacking. Nobody seemed willing to talk with him, but he didn't seem to be bothered by this. In fact, given that he looked as placid as he had when he had arrived, it was fair to assume that he was used to this sort of treatment.

    As stoic and unsociable as he was, even John couldn't resist the urge to play around with a child that he had the attention of.
    As if totally and utterly perplexed by the boy pointing out what he though was a giant, John looked about, an extremely transparent look of mock confusion plastered across his face. He continued this façade for a few moments, before turning to face Patrick. He pointed his finger to himself, and with false shock, mouthed "Me?" at him. He then conjured up a surprised expression, and crouched down to get as close to the child's level as possible.
    He made an effort to hide the sly smile he flashed at Tanitha.

    "Oh, I'm not a giant." He said. "I'm only a half-giant. Real giants live far away from humans, in places where there are giant animals and giant plants, which they use for their giant meals. If you grow up big and strong enough, maybe you can visit them."
    If thunder had a voice, it would be John's. However, as deep and vaguely foreboding as it was, it held a certain gentleness to it. He was not certain how the child - or his mother - would interpret it, but he hoped that he could at least entertain the boy.
    #4 Laggy Lagiacrus, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2015
  5. Patrick ducked with a squeak behind his mother's legs as soon as the 'giant' stooped down to his level, but Tanitha couldn't help feeling relieved that he wasn't angry at her child's impertinence - not to mention that the stranger's dialogue had distracted him from trying to topple his mother and her plate of baked goods over. Patrick had always been shy around strangers to say the least, when he did do something in the realm of the outgoing or exploratory, it was usually one she had to stop or apologize for. She made no effort to remove herself as a shield, though. He'd step out when he felt safe.

    "Do you eat kids?" the little boy stammered, peeking around with a flushed face

    Directing her gaze toward the stranger's face, Tanitha was aware of the smile tugging at her lips as she waited for the answer that seemed obvious to her, but not to the fearful but endlessly curious person behind her.
  6. John laughed gently at Patrick's question - taking great care not to make his laugh sound frightening. With him, there was a fine line between a reassuring expression of amusement, and the bellowing of a mad titan.
    "Of course not, little one. Giants may look scary, but they don't like to hurt people or make people afraid of them. Sometimes giants get very lonely, because they only have other giants to talk to, so they like it when people talk to them and play with them."
    John let his gaze move to Tanitha's face, if only for a moment. He didn't want to keep staring at Patrick, for fear of making him feel like he was under pressure to respond.

    And, though it was unlikely that any would see it, John's smile was becoming more genuine by the minute. There was something about the innocence and playfulness of a child that gave him a special kind of joy. He couldn't quite describe it, but there was no denying it was there.
  7. "Oh." His voice was as small as his stature as Patrick looked cautiously between the huge - but apparently friendly - man in front of him and his mother, who didn't seem to be panicked at all by the situation.

    "Do you like cookies?"

    Tanitha followed Patrick's expectant gaze to the stranger's face. he was smiling, too. "Of course! Even Giants like cookies" he replied, and wasn't even through his statement when Patrick started reaching up to the tray in his mother's hand.

    She lowered it for his ease of access, and he grabbed a treat to extend - at arm's length, caution never hurt anyone - it to his new colossal friend.

    "I don't think we got your name" Tanitha said with a smile, using the lull in conversation
  8. John took the treat, reaching slowly forward so as not to scare the child offering it to him. He took the treat, respectuflly bowing his head to Patrick as he did so, and took a small bite. And, while it took a moment for it to occur, a look of genuine contentment slowly appeared on him. Granted, Patrick's actions had already made his day, but the cookie seemed to spark something inside of him. Before he could fully process the feeling it brought on, however, Tanitha spoke.

    "John," he replied, "John Stone. I'm the carpenter here."
    John's tone - while addressing Tanitha - was notably more formal. He still kept it gentle enough to (hopefully) keep Patrick at ease, though. "May I ask yours?"
  9. "It's Tanitha, and this is Patrick" she said, resting her free hand on the soft, sandy-haired head of her boy, and feeling suddenly very conscious of the plain blouse and rather worn skirt she was wearing, as well as the fact that her hair was probably once again full of flyaways. He wasn't dressed especially fancy, himself, but his tone and bearing were those of a gentleman.

    "We've just today moved in; I'll be taking up the job as a miller-slash-baker" she added. "so what kind of carpentry do you do? Furniture, building work?"

    Patrick slipped a cookie off of the plate for himself, and glanced furtively upward as he munched on it. Tanitha noticed this, but didn't say anything; he was allowed a snack, and she wasn't going to interrupt a conversation every time he forgot to say 'please'.
  10. "Tanitha and Patrick."
    John spoke, and closed his eyes while his fingers closed around his chin. While it was anyone's guess what he was thinking, he was most likely doing his best to commit their names to memory. "A pleasure to meet you. I do mostly building work - though, I do have a little experience with furniture."
    He caught Patrick taking a cookie out of the corner of his eye, but like Tanitha, he did nothing - mostly for the same reasons as his new acquaintance.
    "So tell me, Tanitha, what brings you here?"
    Subconsciously, John began to try and make himself seem smaller, whether by slouching slightly or by discretely moving his limbs closer to his body. John did not seem to notice that he was doing this.
    #10 Laggy Lagiacrus, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2015
  11. "Oh, ah-" Tanitha had been about to say they were invited, but caution overwhelmed her tongue as she thought better of it, what if he had not been personally invited? He might feel unwelcome. "Word of mouth, you know. Thought it might be a good way to meet the community." Though her words were true, and even if they weren't, they would have been a white lie, Tanitha's cheeks flushed slightly at the ruse. She'd never been a good liar; she could even feel her pulse quicken a pace or two. She tried to still it through sheer force of will. Asterville Nova was a chance at a fresh start; she didn't want to be the subject of any more kid gloves or whispers that died down as she approached. This time, this time she was determined to fit in.

    "Um, you know what?" Patrick piped up again, cookie crumbs sticking to the side of his mouth, and half the morsel still in his hand. He stared up at the grownups in anticipation of interest. Tanitha's shoulders slacked in an silent sigh as she decided not to bother with a lesson in interrupting; he was just hyped on the crowd and talking to a stranger, although he was still more subdued than some of the kids she could hear shrieking across the plaza. Maybe moving to the country would help him break out of his shell. Kind of ironic.
  12. "Ah, like me, then? I felt that it would be good for me to get to know a few people. Asterville can only have me do so much to this place before I have to find work myself."
    The signs on Tanitha's face did not go unnoticed - however, John thought nothing of the whole spectacle. He hadn't a clue as to why looked the way she did upon saying she was invited, but he felt that it was none of his concern. He felt that it was likely just a habit of hers, or that maybe she was just the type of person that blushed easily. It was hardly as if he was unfamiliar with them - he tended to make people nervous, and that tended to make a few people resemble tomatoes whenever he spoke to them.

    John was actually slightly relieved at Patrick deciding to pipe up in the middle of the conversation. He did not know if Tanitha expected him to speak or if she intended to, but the child wanting to be heard meant he did not need to take the gamble.
    The man crouched down to get s close to Patrick's level as possible, and looked at him quizzically.
    "I don't know what, Patrick. Can you tell me what?"
  13. The little boy shrank back on reflex, shyly avoiding John's eyes as he stumbled through his answer. "Um, today, we got a brand-new house!" he piped, excited. "An', um, an' I get my own room!"

    "We had to share before" Tanitha interjected in explanation. "One-bedroom city apartment; not a lot of space". Her mind wandered back to the days in that suite, and she decided not to mention the creaky floorboards, nine locks on the door, and occasional clouds of mysterious stuff puffing up from the vents. Yes, the country was definitely much more welcoming; she could put her mind much more at ease here. Maybe Patrick would actually make some friends now that she didn't have to be afraid to let him outside.
  14. John looked from Tanitha to Patrick, carefully weighing his response. He stayed crouched, choosing to speak to Patrick. He hoped that Tanitha did not think it rude that he spoke to him instead of her, but Patrick seemed so proud of having somewhere he could call his own, that he couldn't help but let the boy have his fun. He made a mental note to make more of an effort to get to know Tanitha better, but Patrick seemed eager to speak, and John hadn't the heart to interrupt him.
    "Wow," he said, "Your very own room? You must be very excited about it. What's it like?"
    John did his best to back away as subtly as possible. Not to back out of the conversation - he would be a lot more direct, if that was the case. It was more because he felt Patrick would be more at ease, if the giant before him wasn't as near.
  15. "Big!" Patrick exclaimed, beaming as he flung his hands out to the sides, keeping one fist clenched tight on Tanitha's skirt. "It's got a big window and I put all my stuff in it and later we're gonna put my bed in"

    Tanitha's felt a little bad as Patrick continued to chatter about his new room; she was still a little worn down from the trip, but in true fashion, what tired her out only seemed to wind him up. She had been thinking they would just set up her bed after this soirée, and Pat could bunk with his mother just one more time. It being a new place, he'd probably end up there anyway. But the boy seemed so excited to have his own space, she wondered if she couldn't just get some coffee and push through it for his sake.

    She thought about interjecting to ask what John thought of Novacorp's accommodations, but decided Patrick, once started, was unlikely to slow down, and she didn't want to put their new neighbour in the awkward position of carrying on two conversations at once.
  16. John listened intently to Patrick, nodding his head every now and again. However, one thing bothered him. Not much, mind - he tried his best not to assume anything. But going by what Patrick had said, Tanitha would be moving a bed into the boy's room, and from his experience, beds were generally rather difficult to move around. And, going by her looks alone, Tanitha herself didn't seem to be in the best of states. He decided to raise a question - and, quite possibly, make a proposal. He only hoped that he didn't come across as rude or presumptuous by doing so.

    John waited for a lull in Patrick's chatter, and spoke before he had a chance to continue.
    "Well, Patrick, it sounds like your room and your house are both wonderful places. You must be very eager to sleep in your new room. But moving furniture is very difficult, even for a big boy like you... Do you think your mother would want me to help?"
    If everything went according to plan, Tanitha would at least be able to decide whether she would enlist John's help or not. It certainly seemed as though he was capable - in fact, it seemed entirely possible that he could lift the bed and everything else Patrick would need by himself, and still have strength to spare.
  17. "Oh I couldn't possibly impose" Tanitha blurted as both their gazes turned on her, a faint flush falling over her sharp cheekbones. But, on the other hand, she could think of a thousand things she'd rather do than move their beds into the rooms and assemble them. She could probably have managed it if she'd gone right at it earlier, but the sky was already tinged orange by the beginnings of sunset; it would almost definitely be dark by the time they got in.
    "- I was thinking you could camp out with mommy tonight" she continued, directing her somewhat nervous statement toward Patrick, whose brow furrowed in confusion. "But I got a new room" he repeated.

    Tanitha bit the inside of her lip, an uncomfortable twisting starting in her stomach that she wasn't entirely ready to blame on hunger.
  18. John shook his head slowly.
    "It's fine, really. I have nobo-" The man faltered, cleared his throat, and then resumed as if nothing had happened. "Excuse me, no other obligations at the moment. The buildings are new, there won't be much work for me unless something in the structures is off."
    John only hoped that Tanitha would think of him faltering as nothing of interest. He wasn't quite ready to delve into heavy, personal matters with somebody he'd only just met, as nice as they seemed.
    "Besides, it'll be good for me to get some experience with assembling furniture. I can make parts for furniture, but learning how they fit together would help immensely."
  19. Tanitha worked the inside of her lip between her teeth, contemplating. She really, really didn't want to be relying on people here; she was through being a dependant and the subject of whispers and pitying glances mixed with apprehension. But, when he put it that way . . . well, she didn't want to come off as standoffish, either.

    "I wanna sleep in my room" Patrick interjected, a tremor and whining note Tanitha knew all too well creeping into his tone - when you woke up every four hours to the same wailing notes for almost a year, those notes get memorized pretty quickly.

    "Well, if you insist then" she conceded, managing a smile. "Thank you very much, it would be appreciated."

    No sooner had she finished her statment when a soft breeze from the south of the square blew the smell of barbecuing chicken and roasting veggies toward them. Tanitha was reminded both of the platter of treats still balanced on her hand and the hunger in her stomach - those apples had been a flimsy placeholder at best, that and a sandwich were all she'd eaten since the night before.
  20. Though he appeared to be as calm as ever, John was silently panicking. Tanitha appeared to be uncomfortable making a decision - and this worried him. He worried about whether he had come on too strong, or if she was only considering it because he intimidated her. It wouldn't have been the first time. Without even noticing it, John slouched a little and brought his arms in closer, in a (rather vain) attempt to make himself seem smaller. His gaze was directed to the floor, with him unable to look Tanitha in the eye.

    He looked up again when she agreed to let him do his thing. He had regained his composure by this point, and looked no different to before.
    "Wonderful. I shall get to work whenever you're ready for me."
    John too caught a whiff of the various foodstuffs at the other end of the square. While he himself was calm and collected, his stomach decided to rebel against him and rumble quite loudly.
    "Um..." he said sheepishly, "You wouldn't mind if I went over to have something to eat, would you? I'm a bit hungry, you see..."
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