The Faraway War, Chapter 1

Transcriber’s note: this is really a fragment of a chapter, but it does indicate that the finished story could have been very interesting.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This text is © the estate of the late David Godfrey Stephenson and is reproduced here with permission. Do not reproduce this text in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright holder.

The Faraway War

Chapter I

So you want the story of the war here on Faraway to go back to Earth? You have come to the right place; it began when it ended, here at Bridgetown on the North River, between the Waste Land and the Wilderness.

The killing began far away in the South? Yes, that’s right. But I was there, and it began because of something I did. And the story of why I did it begins here in Bridgetown, more than sixty years ago, in the summer when I was sixteen years old; Faraway years, that is, equivalent to seventeen Terran years.

It was one Thursday morning in haymaking. I had to go to the inn, so early, while my father and elder brother were discussing the day’s work, I whistled up Bruce, my dog, and went off. What for? To collect our mail. I usually went on Wednesday night, when the coach arrived, but that Wednesday there had been a thunderstorm threatening, so we carried on loading hay, right into the dusk, until we had cleared the North Meadow.

I remember it was a bright, cool morning; the thunderstorm had come in the night. As I went down the village street, the Hallowlawana were buzzing with gossip: a Triad of Ng-hai had arrived on the coach and were staying in the inn. What did the Terrans say? In haymaking! I wouldn’t expect to meet any!

As I came round the corner to the inn, there was the coach waiting, with horses put to, and driver and guard ready on the box, but a crowd at the horses’ heads. I rushed up to see what the matter was, with Bruce barking beside me.”

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