I am Rothus

I was born in the year 6227, New Era. I have a ma and pa just like everyone else. Well, Aeryn doesn't, and Lily only has a mother.... Anyway, I have both.

Father talks often about the importance of work, and building character. He rambles on about how Grandfather worked every day of his life on this farm and because of it, he is the greatest man that Father has ever known. He says that Grandfather died with his hands on the plow, and that is just how he himself expects to meet Erastil. He says that I should take pride in the farm and that someday I might have a farm of my own, though Ziel will probably inherit this one after the older sisters all marry away. He says that if I am to be successful, I have to put in a great deal of effort. I can't just run away from my duties like Uncle Erik did. He went to Newport in search of adventure. I have to be responsible and honest and all that. I have no doubt that Father means well, but I think that he is wrong. I think that people should stop worrying about work and have more fun. If Grandfather and Grandmother hadn't worked so danged hard, they might still be alive. Father doesn't want to hear that, so instead he watches over me every day to see that I finish my chores. Sometimes I can escape to town for the day and play around. Father does not like that one bit.

Mother is always surprised how messy I am. Of course there is dirt on a farm, all of us are dirty, but she says I have a magical way of finding dirt even the instant after a bath, or ripping my clothes right after they are repaired. She spends a lot of time caring for Traubon and Lorayne. They are still too small to be wandering off on their own. Mother runs the house, leaving the farm to Father. She spends a lot of time teaching all of us about the world. She wants all of us to be able to read and to keep our own records. She says some of the farmers around Tarenvale don't know how to read or write and that they get tricked because they can't remember what agreements were made two years ago or they have to rely on others to read notes for them. Mother has a few treasured books that were given to her by her father when she was a young girl. She makes me read them, so now I have memorized The Adventures of Orloros Peskelton. Mother insists that Orloros was a real adventurer and wrote the book as an honest record of his travels. Father insists it is all too unbelievable to be real and that I should not get crazy ideas. I hope Mother is right.

I also have siblings.

Odette and Miriam, 18, are identical twins who act just like Mother. The three of them buzz around the house and share the chores. I get scolded by them all the time, yet I don't see Mother and Father scolding them at any time. Mother complains that they spend too much time at home, and not enough time visiting town or other farms. I don't see why they should be out talking to people, but I am supposed to stay home and work.

Cynthia, 15, spends a lot of time at the Braumson's farm, down the road. When she is home, Ryss Braumson always visits. Mother loves it when Ryss is over for a meal and makes extra special desserts for him. Why does Cynthia get to leave, but I don't?

Zeil, 13, is too much like Father. When we were younger, Ziel would play all kinds of games with me, but now he says all the same things about responsibility and character that Father says. He says he will be the heir to the farm and wants to be as good a farmer as Grandfather and Father.

Josette, 9, Cade, 8, Milo, 6, Lorayne, 4, Traubon, 3, all are too young to think for themselves. They just listen to Mother and Father.

Cynthia says there was another kid, but wont talk to me about it.

There are also animals on the farm. There are cats, dogs, goats, chickens, cows, pigs, horses and mice. There are also lots of plants that we eat and trade. My favorite are the strawberries.

I have friends.

Evander is the son of Mr. Smith and spends all his time in the forge. His pa does not like it when I try and be helpful. He doesn't want me doing any work around the forge. He's great! And Mrs. Smith feeds me a lot when I skip a meal at home.

Lily is strange. Father says I should not talk to her, but then Father is never around when she is. Lily lives even farther from Tarenvale than I do. She says it takes three hours for her to walk one way. She must get up really early in the morning. I feel bad for her.

Aeryn is the healer's apprentice. She lost her parents and lives with her aunt and uncle.

That's my life!