Another day gathering wood. Alan’s back ached under the weight of the bundle he carried along the dusty forest track. This was just the first of several loads he would carry back today. It was tiring work, and so hot that he had removed his shirt and was now trudging along in only his braies, hose, and shoes.
The midday sun sprinkled down from above, casting shadows of many leaves upon the ground. Motes hung in air where the light made its way through the canopy. Birds sang all around, and the smell of plants and dirt filled Alan’s nostrils. Sweat covered his body, running down in little rills, and his body strained beneath the load.
It was an idyllic setting, but he had no time to appreciate it. The more fuel he hauled, the more excess he could sell. He needed new clothing, and he wanted to pay someone to help patch up his old roof. Every week he had one day to take a break from farming in order to gather fuel.
The stillness was broken by the sound men’s voices. It wouldn’t go well for him if he was found gathering firewood where he didn’t have a license. Alan picked up his pace; he didn’t fancy being whipped just for trying to earn a couple extra coins.