Childish Lessons

Clemnilshala grew into a fine child. Learning to read at the city’s schools. Becoming close with the teachings of the Weilvog. Twenty years had passed and she had taken to helping her mother as much as she helped her father. Caring for the exiles that passed through the house in the tallgrass. It just so happened that the Vaniaal appointed a house to be built for the parents of Valthran, saying that he wished for such friends to grow together rather than in incremental visits to the city. The house was an hour’s walk away from Clemnilshala, and had an outdoor stable where shepherd hands worked.
Valthran was from an old family filled with golden eyed warriors as far back as there are records and documents. He, expectedly, would one day follow in his family’s footsteps. His father, his mother, then him. As a young fawn he and Clemnilshala would play around the shepherds stable. They learned to play instruments together, to harmonize with their music, and to ride mounting beasts together. All the while they would wrestle and play. Clacking their heads together. On rainy days they went to look for crocus flowers and snack on their stems. Taking sandwiches and sweets with them and returning soaked and covered in mud and grass.
Nightly Clemnilshala would climb out of the upper window of her house, to escape the odor of the exiles that slept in the upstairs stable, and count the stars. Night time winds that ran through her long hair and patted her ears against her cheeks, she welcomed them while she smoothed the thatching of the roof. Eynnil children slept at odd times, rarely at night, though it was at night that bad things rarely happened.
Hashala still laid awake while her fawn rustled about on the roof. Until the night Clemnilshala put her hoof through the thatching she thought herself to be too worried. Lo the morning came, Selmnilor picked his wife up to push Clemnilshala’s hoof back up while she slept on the thatched roof. That day would be no schooling and instead a trip to the Uluur market for food and supply for the Exiles that remained in the dark of the upstairs stable. They could bathe themselves and enjoy peace. They hadn’t time to leave before Selmnilor had come home as there were more searches at night for the Exiles that went by way of this house.
Hashala, filled with joy and silly songs, followed the budding lead of her child as she lead the family on the best way to the market. It took doubly long but saw more stones to flip and grass to play in. Along the way they came across a farm wherein a stablehand was preparing to slaughter a pig for its meat. Clemnilshala stood at the fence, making eye contact with the pig while her mother and father bid her repeatedly to look the other way. She did not. She watched the ordeal happen and held onto the memory of the pig throughout the rest of the day.
Her parents bought her sweets, sugary bread with herbs on it, and waited for her to speak first, to ask the inevitable. And she did. Her voice was small. A confused song.
“Why the pig? I thought we were not supposed to kill things that do not deserve it.”
“The pig deserves it. We raise it so that it will feed us later. We protect it and it nourishes us.” Her father said while he brushed his fingers in her hair. Hashala nodded. “We do not kill things that will only hurt us when it can help us with their death. The pig is grown, and becomes the food. But if it lives it eats our food but does not pull our cart. It takes our protection but does not provide us with wool. It’s a vital companion but does not hunt. In this way we raise the pig only so that we may eat it later. The pig knows this.”
“Does the pig know this?” Clemnilshala pulled at her sweet bread.
“We make sure to tell the pig. The pig is not like us, it knows but it does not care; for it knows its purpose.” Hashala interjected.
“I think I would like to eat pork tonight” Clemnilshala uttered, much to a surprised chortle from her father.
“Of course” said he “We can have all of the fat pork you like.”
The very next day she told Valthran about what happens to pigs. At which point, at the sight of an exile running from the west. He called them a pig too.

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