Orlen stood back and looked at their work. “Do you think it’ll work?” he asked his brother, Neven.

“Now you want my opinion?” Neven snapped as he knocked on a length of the solid wooden fence.

“Cloth wouldn’t work, Orlen.”

“How do you know? Rosella said they tried it and it worked on their section of the Vine.”

“Yes and Derek, and John, and Pearl tried it on their Vines and those damn beasts barrelled through it like it was nothing. We can’t risk them getting through, the Vine is too fragile right now.”

“I don’t know what those damn hunters are doing.”

“Oh come on now, Neven. They’re doing the best they can. We need to plant more diversion crops to draw them away.”

“Who’s got time for that?”

If you didn’t spend half your free time drinking, perhaps you would have time for that! Orlen bit his tongue though.

“Perhaps if we put up a sign up sheet for it?”

“Sure, why not.” Neven shrugged. He leapt over one of the short fences that separated the property from the main road.

“Where are you going?”

“The fence is up, the Vine is safe. Where do you think I’m going?” Neven called over his shoulder.

“That damn pub.”

“Not the pub’s fault,” Leanna’s croaked slightly with disuse.

“Gran! You’re supposed to be resting.”

“You’d have me resting into the grave.” She settled her frail weight into the bench that overlooked their property.

Orlen sighed in defeat and joined her.

“It’s too bad.” She patted his leg softly.

“What’s too bad?”

“You have such a brilliant mind.”

“That’s a bad thing?” He laughed.

“You didn’t let me finish.” The old woman’s eyes crinkled and she clicked her tongue disapprovingly. “You have such a brilliant mind, but it’s trapped in such a passive tongue.”

Orlen frowned and watched the land darken as the light from the glow stones dimmed, signaling the end of yet another cycle. “There are worse things, than to be passive,” he finally answered.

“Yes dear boy, there most certainly is.”

The sound of the warning bell pealed across the darkness. Orlen lunged for his bow and slung his quiver over his shoulder as ran toward the shouts. Others joined him with various weapons as they ran.

“Damn it. Pearl’s property again!” Irene called when they rounded the corner.

Blood and carcasses were already scattered across the field, but still more rabbits came. One small brown rabbit darted for a tender glowstone bud and Orlen pulled an arrow and sighted down his bow. He blew out his breath to steady himself and loosed the arrow on the darting creature.  With a scream it fell to its side, but not before it had torn the glowstone free. Another bunny darted up and grabbed the desired fruit, carrying it a little further before being struck down.

Finally the fluffy white wave of rabbits subsided. People plucked the carcasses from the ground and carried them home where many would have a feast this cycle. He bent down to claim the body of the thick brown bunny he had first shot.

If only we gave them something easier to eat. Orlen shook his head and walked over to Pearl.

“Are you okay?”

Tears streamed down her face. “If I can’t provide for myself…” she sobbed.

“You can move in with us.”

“You are having rabbit problems too.”

“We’ll manage. I’m sure gran would love to have another woman in the house.”

I’d die before I let you move back in with that abusive sack of shit. He glared at the neighbouring house.

“You’re too kind, Orlen.” She dried her tears and smiled at him. “Perhaps I can ask you for your help building some fences for now.”

“You’re fiancé won’t mind?” Orlen smiled.

“He might decide to destroy a twelve harvest friendship over a fence, but I’m willing to risk it!” Her laugh turned into a sigh as she surveyed the land. “Do you ever wonder if those old stories of magic were real?”

“Sometimes. But I’m certainly not going to be hanged to salve my curiosity.” He looked up at the Great Vine, lost in the moment.

“You better get home before your gran wonders where you’ve gotten to.”

“That’s a frightful thought. I’ll be back at first lightening to start your fence.” He waved over his shoulder though his thoughts still circled back to the magic trapped within the glowstones.

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