Chapter 19 – The Return of the Storm
Having spent the night in Tal village, the morning came.
Once they woke up, Eiji and everyone went to pack their trading goods in the carriage.
The goods which they acquired through trading were as follow:
- 300 kilos of salt
- 20 earthenware jars of different sizes
- 10 kilos of each type of plant oil
- 10 kilos of raw cotton
- Spices, such as: saffron, thyme, celery, basil, and dill.
– That’s an incredible amount.
– We have to pack as much as possible on every single occasion, otherwise it won’t do. It’s not like we can come here every day.
– Isn’t it because of me tagging along that the amount of goods is lesser?
– No, that is…! Being able to go out from the village is essential as well. Especially since you don’t know of anything, this will become a good example.
– Fernando-san… so you thought about me that way, didn’t you?
– You’re loud. To think that you would tease a senior. If you make me angry, you better remember.
Apparently, in addition to sausages and ham, a great number of spices are needed.
Besides them, small items, like dyes, shells, fruits, and weeds, were as well gathered.
Among the traded goods, it seemed that not all of them were supposed to be put for use at Siena village. Some of them were intended for further exchange with other villages.
After finishing their breakfast, it was necessary to depart early, however, Eiji wished to see and study the earthenware workshop a little bit.
– So you make them here, don’t you?
– It’s a tight place, and there’s little to be seen, but…
– No, that’s enough.
It was a small and tight room, which was merely 2 tatami mat sized.
It had a straw-thatched roof and a minimum number of pillars and beams diagonally arranged. All of them were lined.
Inside, a potter’s wheel furnished the room. Sitting in front of it was a girl, who was about to make a jar.
This was a sight which didn’t vary much from what Eiji knew in his modern world.
Whatever era it might be, it seemed that the traditional handcraft wouldn’t change its true nature.
The potter’s wheel kept revolving and the lump of earth kept changing its shape.
If one were to watch it, it would look rather simple; however, in practice it was hard to draw a perfect circle while applying one’s hands to it.
Were it not for daily repetition of the same work and improving the dexterity by gaining experience, it wouldn’t be possible to make a good item.
Once the form is made, it’s dried in the sunshine, and then tempered the following day.
The stove too, looked big and splendid.
It was probably used numerous times, as you could see where numerous cracks had been mended everywhere on it.
– From here you make jars and plates, right?
– That’s right. We make different types of them, such as bisque porcelain and earthenware covered with ceramic glaze.
Apart from Girolamo, Tanya was accompanying as well.
For Eiji, it wasn’t just observing and studying due to one’s deep curiosity, but also moving around implements and tools which, he heard, were desired by villagers.
– Thank you very much. It was a short time, but seems like it will become a valuable memory.
– Having you pleased is of utmost importance.
It was indeed a short amount of time; nevertheless, being able to catch a glimpse of village life was considered a precious time by Eiji.
Since Siena had a higher population in comparison with Tal village, its people didn’t have to slave away at their labor.
Eiji could notice different things which he normally wouldn’t due to his smithing works, such as high taxes and harsh compulsory service.
After that, there was one more question which arose – the reason why the war had occurred. Asking about that to Fernando or Tanya should be fine.
As they finished checking the load on the carriage again, they boarded it.
Fernando was in charge of driving the carriage during the return journey as well.
– Thank you for taking care of us.
– Please visit us once again, someday. However, this time, I’d hope to see the plow.
– I will. In addition, I will prepare as many hoes and scythes as possible.
– Yes please. We are deeply grateful for the iron pots and kitchen knives you brought us.
– Well then, see you Girolamo.
– Please take care, Fer.
The sight of their parting looked like that of buddies.
They struck their fists together, and with that, they left no regrets behind.
As the carriage began to move, the small sound of creaking could be heard.
Looking behind, Girolamo was seeing them off, like he was forever doing it.
During their back trip, no one was sleeping.
– But, I wonder what the reason for taxes being that high is.
– What do you mean?
– You said that even the biggest city, where the noble resided, has about a little more than 400 in population, didn’t you?
– Yea, that’s right.
– However, it doesn’t seem like they have the power to gather that much in regards to food supply and materials…
– Ah, that’s because…
– It’s because the city of Nazioni prospers in smithing.
As Tanya answered to his question while interfering, Fernando made a bitter face.
Tanya nodded back at Eiji who parroted her words.
– The Nazioni, which was mentioned in the talk, has more than 2 blacksmiths. Not just life necessities but also making weapons is the reason for their overwhelming power.
– I see.
– Speaking of which, until recently the tax wasn’t that high. It happened after the end of the war.
Even in this aspect, the war is mentioned – thought Eiji.
Tanya’s previous husband died as well in the same circumstances.
Tal village sustained the most damage. On top of that, it was exacted with high taxes.
Just what an earth—-
– What sort of a war was it?
Without thinking ahead, Eiji leant forward.
He realized that he made a mistake when Tanya’s face turned gloomy.
– I’m not sure what the reason behind the war was, however, one day, under the pretext of being the villages of this land, the island was divided into two forces of west and east sides. Siena and Tal were the closest to the west side among all the villages; therefore it was natural for us to be plot on the west side. Our village didn’t have anything which could be considered weapon-wise, so we began fighting using bows, forks, nata and hatchets.
For the sake of protecting their village, there were probably people, who had the courage to face even a bear, willing to stand up to the same human being and killing each other.
– The entire number of people who gathered was 300. I think the majority of the men mobilized. They shot using bows, swung with their tools, and died on the spot. There was a mountain of dead people. I was lucky to avoid any injury. Once we noticed the ringleader of the east side, who was at the same time the perpetrator of that war, died in the battle, the war ended. This isn’t the kind of memory that I’d like to experience a second time.
– Lots of people who returned died as a result of falling into illness.
As they had no special protectors, even a little injury could be life threatening.
Due to the low level of medicine, as well as bad sanitation, those who would fell into diseases, such as tetanus, would be lost.
There’s no doubt that the island’s population would drastically reduce.
– Since then, the man in charge of command gained more power of speech, making the management become severe. He justified this under the pretext of promoting the revival of each village, as well as preventing any rebellion.
– So the reason why Girolamo-san was so angry was because of that, isn’t it?
– Yeah, out of the 10 people Tal village sent, none returned alive. As for our village, starting from Tanya’s ex-husband, three people died, whereas, 4 people became unable to use either their hands or legs. If they really intended to revive the villages, I wish they had started with reducing the tax.
– I understand well. Thank you very much.
It seemed like Fernando was quite unsatisfied.
His nasal breathing became irregular, but as his gaze seemed to be running far away, Fernando’s expression changed.
– There are clouds gathering above the Lion Mountain. If we don’t return quickly, it will start raining once it’s evening.
– You can understand it?
– Yes, the clouds gathering above the mountain which I’m pointing at, they always begin to rain once it’s evening. We have load and there’s no way we can let them get soaked.
They placed the fur on the carriage.
Fastening the hemp rope, they adjusted the position, so that the salt, oil, and spices wouldn’t get damp.
Finally, just as Fernando predicted, the sky turned dim and black clouds started to appear.
– It’s about to rain!
– Tanya-san, please sit here, so as not to get soaked.
– What about Eiji-san?
– I’ll be perfectly fine.
– Hey, give it to me too!
The deer fur expanded thinly and nicely.
As they placed it on their head, just like kantoui, the rain started to fall.
Once they noticed the rain drops descending, it became your usual rainfall.
The autumn rain was cold.
Were it not for the fur’s water repelling properties, they would have probably been soaked to the bone.
The cattle were pulling the cart eagerly through the path which began to turn muddy.
– It’s becoming stronger and stronger. As long as there’s no thunder, it should be fine, but…
Their view worsened because of large droplets.
There was no time to pay attention whether or not it was their familiar surroundings.
– We have reached the village! First, we will unload the cargo at the tribal chief’s house.
– Once it’s done, I want to take a bath.
– Before that, let’s prepare some hot water for drinking.
No matter how they would wear the fur, it couldn’t completely deflect the rain water.
Their bodies were wet, which took away their temperature.
As they arrived in front of tribal chief’s house, they opened the barn and immediately entered inside.
Eiji took out the fur from the carriage, and while he was repelling the muddy water, he proceeded to move the goods.
The jars filled with salt and oil were unusually heavy. Not being affected by it, Eiji exhaled breath with white vapor mixed in.
Tanya went ahead to inform her grandmother about their arrival, as well as to prepare hot water.
gigi – the creaking sound of the opening gate door was heard.
However, the silhouette which came in sight was contrary to their expectations.
It was a tall man.
His slim face was remarkably prominent. As his sharp eyes fixed their position on Tanya, they quickly switched toward Eiji’s direction.
The man’s challenging voice echoed sharply, making everyone forget the sound of the rain.
– You’re the man called Eiji, aren’t you?
Translator and reference notes:
: I’m not sure whether or not this sort of info was told before by that peddler. Nevertheless, the peddler’s name didn’t appear and it sounded weird if it was Eiji to actually say it, so the only remaining one was Fernando. I assume he told him by some chance before the peddler did.
: a simple type of clothing consisting of a large piece of cloth with a hole in the middle for the head (quoted from jisho.org)