A Small House In The Capital of Jhardhandi, Fi of 1879
"Where is your father?" A tall, thin woman with delicate features and skin the color of cumin came bursting through the door from the street into the main room of the family housing allotment, carrying a market basket.
Her oldest daughter, Navi, who was standing over the small stove, stirring a pot of broth, looked up. She had her mother's tall, thin build, evident even at the delicate age of a dozen years, but her darker skin and heavier features were all from her father, as was her tone when she said, "Hello mama. It's good to see you too. How was your trip to the market?"
The woman, Annja, shoved the basket at her daughter, then took a deep breath. "Hello Navi. I brought the meat for the stew. Do you know where your father is?"
Annja's younger daughter, Vari, who was sitting at the table shelling peas with their youngest brother, Avarn, perched on her lap, took pity on her mother and said, "Sir Porit came to get him, said he was needed at the training ground. He asked me to keep an eye on Avarn and headed out."
"Sir Porit said it was important," her younger sister, Tavi, piped up, from where she was playing hulls with her even younger sister Nari, or at least trying to. At only three years, Nari didn't get the rules very well.
"Mama," Avarn interrupted, holding his arms out. "Mama"
Annja scooped Avarn up into her arms and tucked him against her hip. "I swear..."
Navi unwrapped the butcher paper package from the basket her mother had given her and added the meat into the boiling broth. "I'm sure he'll be here soon, and you can clear up whatever misunderstanding there is between you."
As if on cue, her husband Davin, a tall, thickset man with dark skin came through the door to the small house. "Oh, good, you're back. I just..."
"Why didn't you tell, me?" Annja snapped, cutting him off.
Davin frowned. "I was just about to, but you didn't..."
"Just now?" Annja cut him off again. "We're your family! you should have told us as soon as you found out!"
"I only just found out a minute ago," Davin protested.
The screen that separated the main room from the bathing room was pushed aside and Annja's two older sons, Varos and Vorin, who had been been washing up after weapons practice. Varos, who was two years younger than Vari and had just started his training looked around at the way the family had unconsciously circled up and asked, "What's going on?"
"Baba just got back from being summoned by Sir Porit," Vari explained, "and he's about to tell us something important, but Mama thinks he should have told us sooner."
Vorin, who was not quite a year younger than Navi, said, "Well, spit it out for the rest of us. What were you going to say?"
Davin cleared his throat. "What I was about to tell you that our unit has been chosen as part of a protection detail to be sent out to the tobacco farms in Kwazulite."
"Wait, we're moving to Arraz?" Vari asked looking wide-eyed between her mother and her father.
"Am I still going to have weapons training?" Vorin asked, biting his lip. "Cause I was just getting started on..."
"Enough!" Davin snapped and everyone fell silent. He took a deep breath. "Look, I don't know the details yet. Sir Porrit only told me ten minutes ago." He turned to his wife. "I suppose you met Sir Porrit's wife at the market."
Annja seemed to deflate. "I did. I just wanted to find out from you."
Devin smiled. "Well, what do you think? Will you come to the New World with me?"
In answer, Annja handed Avarn to Navi. "Of course." She leaned orward and kissed her husband. The children all crinkled their noses in disgust.