[LMB] Knife Children: Searching

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 31 09:25:33 BST 2019

Barr's dithering outside the farm when Lily's uncle comes out - and is pleased
to see him (shows how worried he is), he's hoping a Lakewalker patrol might
have noted a girl on a grey gelding. Reeve's sent off to check their own farm
again, and isn't he a sweetie - no sign of worry about his sister, whining about
checking the farm AGAIN, sullen about it all. The uncle, by comparison, is
practically frantic (to be fair even to Reeve, an adult would be aware of more
dangers to a girl alone on the roads, but still...)

The adults are taking it seriously, or at least the fathers are: Jay says that Fid
is frantic but can't do much because he's injured.

Barr, the other, unacknowledged, father is sharing their feelings.

Barr offers to help, using his weird Lakewalker magical skills. They'll take anything
at the moment. But he didn't want to be invited to the house. Bell and Iris
will both recognise him. And not happily. But he has to do it, for Lily.

Bell's not the bright girl she was, but then she's spent fourteen years having
babies, and she's had a lot of worry lately. She and Iris aren't pleased to see
Barr. He does a fast introduction to cover it, and they catch on.

Fid calls Barr 'lad'. Barr does look younger, but they're the same age. Lakewalkers
have more time to grow, and learn, and develop. Barr's learning fast now.  But
that longer lifespan does make a difference to them; look at all the living Dag
fitted in. He was just starting his new life and career at a time that most farmers
would be worn out.

So... why did she run? Because that might give a clue to where. Bell, the loving
mother, calls her a liar. Reeve must take after his mother, such loving natures.
Fid tries to play it down, 'Rode off in a huff...'  Bell says guilty and ashamed.
The farmers can't know the truth. A Lakewalker could. Barr is more glad than
ever to be a Lakewalker. (Although we see later that Lakewalkers can have the
wrong idea about someone, too. They're not perfect.)

Did she want to go anywhere? Have any dreams or plans? Nobody seems to
know.  Barr wants to talk to the women. Jay goes to get grain for his horse,
Fid stays to mind the children - both men are kind, loving, worried and trying
so hard to help.

Barr touches his bonded knife hilt for reassurance. It's a stark, bitter kind of
comfort, but he knows that his death, one day, will mean something.

Bell's still angry that Lily accused dead, sainted Edjer of starting the fire. She
describes Lily as obedient, most of the time - hardly a glowing tribute from a
loving parent. She also says Lily wouldn't confide in her if there were any
Lakewalkerish stirrings - but blames that on Lily's age. There's no idea about
friends, ambitions, anything; farm life maybe makes them too busy to notice,
or maybe it's more than that. Bell certainly could show a bit more worry about
a missing daughter, instead of just clinging to the anger at her about Edjer's death.

Fid brings one of Lily's blouses, as if Barr is a scent hound. He's doing what
he can, desperate to find some way to help. Being so injured, with so much
going wrong, must be torment, but he's still trying to help where and how
he can, even if it's just minding the toddlers. And he's managed to write a
letter, not easy with his injuries. He's so desperate that he lets Barr do some
healing on him. And Barr asks first; he's learned that much.

I'll admit, I like Fid, and Jay. We see a lot of good fathers here; the smith
so proud of his daughter, Fid and Jay so protective and caring. Barr has to
learn how to be that kind of good father, too. And he is; he's also doing
what he can and trying not to do damage.

Mothers... Iris is fair and seems ok. Bell doesn't show too well - I know she's
had so much to deal with, but the first thing she says about Lily is 'liar'. And
it doesn't get much warmer after that. The only positive comment is that
she's mostly obedient. No, I'm not taking to Bluebell.

Barr is busy flipping a coin at the crossroads, hoping for inspiration, when
the smith's girl comes by. She's friendly with Lily, but has no idea where she's
gone. She's sure Lily won't look for work on a farm; Lily's life is fetch and carry,
chores, and child minding. She wants to get away from that.

What Lily likes is horses, the woods and being outdoors. (...patroller....?)

I love her comment about the river; the river is where boys run off to if they're
in trouble at home, and girls if they're ruined. Lily's not ruined, just angry.
Meggie knows a bit about life. She also notes that being ruined would probably
make you angry, too.

Ruined. Bed boats on the river. Barr had never thought about them from the
POV of a father looking for his daughter. Children do change how you see the world.

....and back come thoughts of Bell. She was ruined, and she's still angry.
(Trouble is, she's taking it out on Lily, it seems. Old sins cast long shadows.)

Rather tellingly, Meggie asks what he'll do if he finds Lily and she doesn't
want to come home. Even more tellingly, Barr jokes that they'll burn that
bridge when they get to it.

Barr wonders if bringing Lily home will earn him forgiveness from Bell?
Or would it make it worse? Or if he should even wish for forgiveness.
Or if he's doing this for Lily, or Bell. Or if he should just stop thinking and
get on with it.

So, that's where Lily came from.

Is she running away, or towards something?

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