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Finding Serenity

Finding Serenity is an original-character roleplay set in Joss Whedon's Firefly 'Verse. Events take place after the events of the Serenity movie.

The year is 2519.

Earth-That-Was is long gone. Humans found a new group of solar systems with dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. The "Core" planets are civilised, high-tech and under Alliance control. The "Border" worlds are diverse and distinct. The "Rim" is the wild west of the 'verse and the "Black" is where our ships travel, hoping to avoid the perils of space: Alliance, pirates, and the monsters known as Reavers.

So here we are, on the "raggedy edge". This is where our characters live. There are those who stick by the Alliance Government, those who want to rise up against it, and those that just don't care either way as long as they can make a living. With every turn, every choice put forward and every decision made we are FINDING SERENITY

Author Topic: Summers in St. Albans  (Read 45 times)

Summers in St. Albans
« on: October 04, 2018, 07:25:31 PM »
St. Albans. 2495

It was summer. Holger Heyerdahl, with a shock of unkempt fiery red hair nearly down to his shoulders, was watching his father, though he pretended he wasn’t. Hans, the elder, didn’t like his children prying into his business. And Holger didn’t feel like he was prying, exactly, but he was watching. From this distance, around the house where the goats and chickens were kept, Holger couldn’t hear exactly what his father way saying to the other men, but he could tell Hans was angry. Some of the louder words drifted over to the boy doing his chores. Another half-hearted scoop of hay went from the bale to the trough.

Soon, Holger’s older brother, Hafthor, joined them, their father’s old rifle in his grip. The men, apparently unarmed or not looking for a fight, raised their hands in surrender and backed away. Once they were a safe distance, they turned and walked back down the path to where their land rider was parked at the end of the lane. Before getting inside, one of them turned and called to his father. “Tomorrow, Hans!”

Hans considered their words, and, though he seemed to consider not, nodded after a moment. “Tomorrow!” Hans said. The men left and Hans and Hafthor returned to the house. Hans stopped halfway between the house and the pen in which Holger found himself and frowned, seeing his son shirking his chores. “Get back to work, son. Dinner will be ready soon.” With that, Hans disappeared inside of the house.

“Hafthor!” Holger said to his brother, calling him over. “Who were those men?”

Hafthor stopped and looked at his brother, then walked over. It seemed to take him ages and, to Holger’s eyes, his brother seemed older by the time he arrived at the gate. “You and I will go to the mine tomorrow to work.”

Holger’s face lit up. “Really? A real job?” He said in only the way a naive young child can about the prospect of forced hard labor.

Hafthor scoffed. “You are a child. One day you will see.” He said, shaking his head. Hafthor hefted the rifle up on his shoulder and exited into the house, leaving his younger brother to wonder.

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 01:33:45 AM »
St. Albans. 2495

– A small town Christian church

It was Viktor’s first summer as a teenager. By all rights he should be playing in the mud, getting into trouble. Maybe starting some fights. His three younger sisters had passed the time having adventures. Exploring the rock quarries and bringing home all manner of flora and fauna.

Instead of doing these things and spending an abundance of time with his peers, Viktor was teaching himself to read. He wanted to read the Bible, but he’d settle for whatever he could get his hands on. He’d officially started teaching himself to read a few years ago, but now that he was past the younger material, it was really a challenge for him.

He sat in the local church, a feeling of serenity encompassing him. He was staring hard at Genesis 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. He was wondering about the implications of this. He knew that the two most common languages in the verse were English and Chinese. Even now, people on St. Albans didn’t all speak one language. What would it be like if they did? What was the common language in Genesis? Chinese, he guessed.

Eventually he heard the front door open and close. It would be Pastor Daniels in for their lesson.
“Young Viktor,” he said in a warm friendly tone, “shouldn’t you be out with kids your own age?” He chuckled at his joke. He said the same thing before every lesson – three to four times per week. “How goes the studies?” 

“Fine, sir. I’m still trying to read Genesis. It’s pretty difficult. Would you like me to read to you?”

“No, thank you, son. Tell me about what you are reading.”

“I read about how in the beginning of time there was only one language. I was thinking it might have been Chinese. I also think maybe this could be why things were so peaceful then, like you always say. If everyone spoke the same language maybe there would be fewer misunderstandings and less to be mad about.”

“Perhaps you are right, Viktor. Why don’t we discuss that for today’s lesson?”

. . .

Later that day –  Viktor’s family home

Viktor sat in his living room waiting for his father Eiler to return home from the mine. His parents didn’t really understand his attraction to the church, but at least they didn’t discourage it. Julia, his mother, was cooking and singing. When his father came through the door, he and his sisters all cheered and jumped up to say hello, not caring that he was covered in dust, sweat and grime. They enjoyed a hearty supper together - rich warm stew and grainy seed bread.

With his sisters asleep, Viktor was enjoying some quiet time in the small room they shared. He had been trying to read some more when he overheard his father’s deep voice.

“I don’t mind him doing book learnin’ and church learnin’, you know that Julia. I just wish he’d spend time with boys his own age. I don’ know that it’s right he spends all his time with that preacher. He should be boy. Run around. Get scraped up. Play some games. He needs some friends besides that old man.”

He didn’t hear his mom’s response, but he imagined her nodding.

“Imma take him down to the mines tomorrow –” He stopped as if interrupted, then continued, “No, not to work. He’s a might too young for that yet. In a couple-a years though. But maybe he can meet some of the other miner’s kids. More’n the boys he sees in town, anyhow.”

Viktor grinned in excitement. He liked meeting new people, he just spent so much time at the church and learning to read that he’d forgotten about making friends and “boys his own age.” Maybe he could even talk to some of them about God.

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 03:40:44 PM »
The foreman looked down at Holger, who had not yet hit his adolescent growth spurt. He scratched at the stubble on his chin, spit on the ground, and looked back behind him, unsure. The man who had been at their house the night before him reassured him with a nod. The foreman sighed and looked back at Holger. “How old are you, boy?”

Holger, standing as straight up as he could, looked at his brother before answering. “Fifteen.” Holger said, his brother nudging him with an elbow. “Sir.” He added.

The foreman sighed again. “And you?” He said to Hafthor.

“Nearly eighteen, sir.”

The foreman nodded. “You’re big enough for the mine.” In a large barrel nearby, shovel handles reached out from the darkness, waiting to be used. The foreman grabbed one and handed it off to the elder Heyerdahl. Hafthor accepted it and waited a touch too long for the foreman. “What’re you waiting for? Get to work!” Without delay, Hafthor took off down the track and into the darkness of the mine. A worker handed him a helmet on his way in, and they disappeared from view. The foreman looked at scrawny little Holger, again shaking his head. “Wait here.” He said to Holger. The foreman went over to the man from the night before and talked in hushed tones.

Holger just knew he was in trouble. He had to do something, fast, to make sure he got the job. He racked his young brain, trying to think of something. And then, like a lightning bolt to the brain pan, he thought of something. He flashed back to five years earlier, when he was ten. Sitting on his father’s lap as Hans showed him the buttons on the tractor he would later sell for a fraction of its worth. His father telling him this would be the thing that would change their fortune. Holger remembered the buttons. He remembered playing in the seat when his father and older brother weren’t looking, twisting the wheel, playing at operating. “I can drive!”

The two men turned to look at Holger, surprised. The man from the night before laughed and shrugged. The foreman came back over and looked Holger in the eye. “Who taught you to drive?”

“My father.”

“What’d he teach you to drive?”

“A tractor.”

“What kind of tractor?”

“I don’t know that.”

“Hrmphf…” The foreman looked back at the man from the night before, who nodded. That’s what it would be. “Well I’m not putting you behind the wheel of a rig by your onesie, am I? You’ll load loose gravel into the trucks and when they’re loaded, you’ll sit in the cab with the driver and he’ll show you what’s what.” The foreman looked back at the man from the night before to see if that would suffice. The man nodded.

Holger was given a shovel and guided to his area of work. The boy was beaming with pride at his new job. As he walked, he looked over and saw another boy, about his age. Viktor, he thought his name was. The other boy, as blond as Holger was ginger, was standing next to his father, a man who Holger recognized but didn’t know. Holger gave Viktor a wave. The moment was fleeting, as they all are, and Holger went to his first day at work.

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 05:47:40 PM »
Viktor, who was tall but lanky for his age, stood a bit shyly behind and to the right of his father at the mine entrance. There was a bit of trouble. Viktor wasn’t technically meant to be there as he was not working, but Eiler clearly had some clout in the mines. He wasn’t the boss, by any means, but he was well-known and well-respected. Eventually, they were let in and Viktor was told to stay out of the way until lunch time.

“Look and learn, kiddo, but don’ touch nothin’ and don’ get in people’s way.”

He was surprised to see many young men there – only three or four years older than himself. Of course he knew he was expected to be working here himself in a few years’ time, but he could never quite picture it.

He walked a little away from his father, saying hello to men (as well as a few women) he knew from town or church. Many expressed surprise as seeing him there and a few even offered him a swing of an axe or a pass with a shovel. He knew his orders but the axe looked fun, so he had a go. The man who offered it laughed, good-naturedly, when the boys scrawny arms couldn’t make it pierce the compacted hard earth.

“Give it a few years, kid. You’ll get the muscle.”

He returned to Eiler to see another slight boy coming in. Viktor wasn’t sure if he knew the boy, but he looked familiar and around Viktor’s own age. He looked as though he might have the same problem with the axe that Viktor had. The boy waved and Viktor returned the gesture. He began to go over to say hello but the boy kept walking with a determined air. There was a look on his face that Viktor had seen on many a miner’s. A grit of “I’ve got a job to do. It might not be the most important of work but it needs doing and I’m here to get it done.”

After what felt like an eternity, the lunch whistle shrieked through the cavern. Eiler handed Viktor his lunch and told him to go find someone to talk to. He knew where he was headed. He walked straight over to the boy with the long flaming red hair, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi. I’m Viktor. May I join you for lunch?”
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 06:07:33 PM by Viktor Söderberg »

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 07:47:38 PM »
Holger had never been so tired. His childhood had been filed with chores and work, but nothing like this. And to say it was all because of the physical activity would be a lie. Holger was stimulated and learning and felt useful. It was overwhelming. So when it was time for a lunch break, he could hardly sit still. But the man who was teaching him and impressed upon young Holger how important it was to eat, and so Holger tucked into his meager rations with abandon.

And so, his mouth was full when Viktor approached him and asked to accompany him. Holger could only nod and smile awkwardly to the other boy. After a moment he managed to swallow. “Hello, Viktor. I am Holger Heyerdahl. Are you working here, too? They put me in charge of the trucks.” It was an untruthful boast, perhaps, but young boys on the verge of manhood often exaggerate to their peers. “Your father works here. My father doesn’t. He takes care of my brothers and sisters.”

And for the first time, that struck Holger as odd. His father was by no means a layabout. He worked. In fact, he had put in many years in the quarries and mines on St. Albans. But since Holger’s mother had died Hans had stayed home. The family rarely went without food or necessities. How exactly had Hans been making ends meet? And now it made sense why Holger and Hafthor were going to work. To help provide for the family.

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2018, 05:00:40 AM »
"Hello, Viktor. I am Holger Heyerdahl. Are you working here, too? They put me in charge of the trucks.”
Before Viktor could proclaim his amazement at Holger being in charge of the trucks (and he certainly was amazed) Holger went on to talk of his family.

"I don't work here. My dad Eiler wanted me to come to see how hard and how well the miners work." A small lie. A sin all the same but he would atone later. He felt awkward telling Holger he was here because he'd "forgotten" to make friends.

Viktor noticed Holger was eating the standard miners' rations. It didn't look like there was enough and he was practically inhaling what little there was. The Soderberg's were not rich by any stretch of the imagination but they always had plenty of food. The lunch Viktor had brought was leftovers of the meaty stew and dense seed bread from the night before. He had more than he would eat. He thought about how he should "do good and share with others" because it pleases God. He also thought about how terrible it was when he was late to supper and his stomach growled in aching pangs.

"Here," he said, offering some of his food. "I packed too much this morning. I don't work yet. I'm only thirteen. But I volunteer at the church and I am learning to read. I only have sisters. My mom looks after them." He wanted to ask what Holger's mother did, since the boy didn't mention her but he thought it might not be a nice idea."It's real good of your dad to look after your brothers and sisters. I bet he's a great guy."

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 12:06:00 AM »
Without a moment’s hesitation Holger tucked into Viktor’s offering. ”My Father is a good man. Very strong. But it has been difficult since mamma died. My brother and I are helping now.” He said through a mouthful of food. In truth, this was the fullest meal young Holger had had in a long time. He was truly greatful, but neglected to express that to his benefactor in his haste to eat.

A loud, sharp whistle signaled the end of the lunch break.

Holger’s eyes popped up from his food, unsure of what to do.

”Boy! Back to work!” The man with whom holger was apprenticing hollared.

Without delay, Holger popped up and rushed from the table. Halfway to the truck, he remembered something. Doubling back, Holger stopped back at the table and gave Viktor a look. ”I forgot my helmet.” And indeed he had. The boy picked up the helmet and, just before dashing off, he stopped again. ”Thank you, Viktor.” He said, and then returned to his work.

Re: Summers in St. Albans

Re: Summers in St. Albans
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 01:53:59 PM »
St. Albans. 2497

Summer had rolled around again to find Viktor, now 15, truly excited about the times ahead of him. He wouldn’t be expected to start mine work for another two years and, in the meantime, he was studying Christianity and theology more than ever. His reading skills as well as his height (6’1”) had surpassed any semblance of average. He had been told he could take a job in the church. It made him proud to think he could start bringing home a little money here and there. However, something had to be done first. Viktor must be baptized.
He’d never been baptized as a child. His parents had no feelings toward religion one way or another, so they didn’t bother. Preacher Daniels had tried to baptize him when he started his studies, but Viktor refused. He’d been told that Christianity was a life-long commitment. Being as he didn’t really understand much of Christianity at that point, he didn’t feel right doing it then. But the time had come. He’d read his Bible cover to cover time and again. He knew in his heart of hearts that this was his God and that this was the right path to take. This event was important to him, so he made his family promise to be there in the church – just this once – to see him dedicate himself to God. There was someone else he wanted to attend, though.

Holger was no longer the small, underfed, scrawny boy Viktor had shared his meal with in the mines. He was tall, like Viktor, but where Viktor was still lanky-limbed and lean, Holger was practically a boulder. He wasn’t sure if they were friends or not. Most of Viktor’s free time was passed in the church, while Holger’s days were spent underground. But, they were friendly enough and Viktor felt a connection with Holger. He was the only peer Viktor spent much time with. Outside of that, most of his time was spent with people either far older or far younger than himself. So, he wanted to include the other boy in this rite of passage.

He finally ran into Holger in town on Saturday, his baptism was the next morning and he hoped the invitation wouldn’t be too last minute. He spotted the red-headed giant just before he ducked into a shop.

Viktor waved and called out from across the street, “Holger! Hey! Wait up a second! I wanted to ask you something.” He jogged over and stood, nearly eye to eye with Holger, removed from door so they could talk for a moment without being in anyone’s way. 


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