The Father left for the Halls a month ago. The Yeormen didn’t say anything. All day, every day, people asked, “Where is the Father?” The Yeormen didn’t reply. A new Father would usually be here already. The Yeormen would have collected one. Mother said that I needed to be patient. She said that the Yeormen would not disappoint.
I walked through the farm the other day. I wanted to ask the Farmer what was going on. But he was out. When I went the next day, he was still nowhere to be found. The next day I went to ask the Baker. But he was gone like the Farmer. I asked Mother where they went. She said that they hadn’t gone anywhere. They were there doing their jobs like normal. When I went to ask the Librarian, he was gone as well.
The Yeormen walked through the square for the first time in days. People approached them, their eyes filled with curiosity. They asked once again, “Where is the Father?” The Yeormen, once again, gave no reply.
I prayed that night. I wanted Yeor to help his men. Why would he not bring a new Father? Surely there was no reason not to. After Yeor came the Greater Ones. I prayed to all of them. All night. Perhaps Yeor was too fatigued. Perhaps the Greater Ones could help him. When I looked out the window of the attic, I saw that it was already dawn. Not wanting to go to sleep, I wandered outside.
There, walking around with a basket of firewood in his arms, was the Baker. I rushed over. “Baker! I was looking for you! Where were you that took so long?” The Baker replied, his usual smile filling the air with glee, “What do you mean? I was working in my shop, like I always do.” At this, I looked at him inquisitively. I was about to ask once more, but stopped once I noticed it. A scar. One that was the width of my thumb, embedded into his forehead. It was not there when I last saw him.
I wandered back into the house, where mother gave me bread and water. Her smile was beautiful. She started to speak, her every word coated in glee, “ I’ve heard that the Yeormen have found one. A Father.” I expected my eyes to light up. I expected to be filled with glee just like Mother. But instead, I looked down. Fear and confusion suddenly appeared from within me. Mother continued her speech, “I heard that the Father will appear tonight, at the square.” I pressed my hands to my stomach, my pupils shrinking. I did not know why.
That night, the square swelled with fanfare. The children ran around, whooping and yelling. Stalls that were filled with roasted vegetables sat at every corner. Warm, comforting lanterns filled the sky with light. I looked at the vendors. They all had the same scar as the Baker. Once again I became nauseous. But I had no time to consider it, for the crowds had began to hush. They all looked towards the church. A man who looked to be about the same age as the Farmer walked out. His eyes resembled those of the Librarian. His skin was pale like the Barber’s. And his smile was quaint like the Baker’s. He wore a pale cloak. And as he spoke, I trembled. “I am the Father. I am the Guide. Whatever I am, I am Yeor’s chosen.” All at once, everyone in the crowd but me cheered.
That night, I didn’t pray. And when I woke up, there was a scar on my foot.