Haigenes had a lot to think about. That was unusual because he wasn’t encouraged to think. Usually he was told what to do and did it. It was certainly easier than being shouted at and called slow and stupid because he hadn’t done what he’d been told straight away. Almost everyone he knew told him what to do: his Dad; his Mum; his brothers and sisters; the village priest; and, well, everyone else in the village.
Despite what everyone said about him he could think while working. The way everyone else was acting he might be the only one of them who could. The older men, like the priest and his father, were gathered in one group, talking furiously and quietly to each other while the young men his age were in another group, talking furiously and loudly to each other. The angel was watching all of them. Haigenes was the only one who was putting out the fires.
“Burn the blasphemers out!” The priest had said that a lot but Haigenes didn’t see how you could be a blasphemer if you’d only found the place that had the murals and statues that the priest objected to. According to the angel, Haigenes thought that tic of his right dusky red wing was probably a sign of impatience, the god Hasnor was very fond of this place and didn’t want it destroyed, despite what the priest said. When you got down to it, Haigenes was sure that an angel trumped a priest, even though this wasn’t a game of cards. So he kept taking the bucket back to the creek, filling it with water then bringing it back up the hill to throw on the fire they’d set to the fences and hedges surrounding the small farmstead.
“Have you considered,” Haigenes was startled to find the angel walking beside him as he came back up the slope from the creek again, “not working on a farm for the rest of your life? There’s nothing wrong with farming but my divine master is always on the lookout for good mortal servants…” He left the sentence hanging.
“I’m not smart enough to be a priest,” Haigenes almost laughed. “Ask anyone around here.”
“You can walk, talk and carry a bucket of water all at the same time,” commented the angel. “That seems to be more than any of your neighbours can manage. I wasn’t actually thinking of the priesthood, though you’d be a better candidate than your village’s man. There are other paths of service, you know. How do you feel about, say…books and weapons?”