The conflict between Ibera and Handrin had been rising for years. For a family living close to the Iberan border this
conflict is about to become a terrifying reality.
This is a short prequel/side story to Masquerade
For years we had been hearing about the conflict between Ibera and Handrin. It was an unavoidable fact of life, and one that was often talked about, whether you were the richest of nobles or poorest of peasants. Having a modest little farm, we fell somewhere in between those extremes, and so talk about the conflict we did. If I had to admit it, I suppose we talked about the possibility of war more than some.
My husband's farm lay along the very river that marked the border between our land in Ibera, and the land of Handrin on the other side. It is strange to think about how that great channel of water is all that separates us from another country, and one that might wish us harm. We were so close to the border that it was no wonder talk of the conflict seemed to fill the majority of our speech. We spoke about it in the morning, and at night, and we spoke about it with our neighbors when we happened to venture into the little village nearby.
And yet, we tried not to let this talk rub off on our children. Dominic and little Lucy knew little about the threat that seemed to hang over our heads, they led an innocent life, playing in the fields and running wild in the manner that is natural for children. Lucy, so young, was constantly trying to chase after her older brother, to follow where he lead, not believing that an active 7 year old did not want a 3 year old following his every step. We let them play, not wanting the innocence they enjoyed to end.
While the children were ignorant about the danger that lay just across the water that bordered our farm, it was a fact that I and my husband could not ignore. My mother was constantly sending messages, begging me to come stay with her, if only until the threat that seemed to hang in the very air itself, blew over. To uproot my family from all they knew and live with her in her tiny cottage on the outskirts of town. And yet my husband, dear Lukas, would not leave his farm, would not leave the land he had been brought up on, the land that had been his ever since his father had passed. And I would not leave him and nor would I send my children away to live a life without their father or mother, raised by grandparents they barely knew. And so we stayed. Many of those who lived in the neighboring farms also stayed, but there was always word of someone who lived just down the river who had let it get to them and packed up.
The farm was our life, it was the only life my children and my husband knew, and it was the life that I had known for many years now. It would be too hard to leave that life. And while it was only the threat of war that hung in the air, and not war itself, not yet at least, we would stay and meek out the honest living the land provided us. While there was no war, who was to say that we would be any safer in the city than we would in our little farm, even if the edge of it ran along the very border itself.