Tortallans didn't understand baseball. Kawalsky supposed it wasn't a huge surprise, but he'd hoped his enthusiasm would have rubbed off on them all. Instead, the residents of the fledgling community of Pirate's Swoop participated in the organized game as requested and then went about their day. Charlie was disappointed, but not entirely discouraged. This sort of thing took time and patience and he was sure that some of the kids at least would be more interested in hockey when Winter came.
That didn't stop Charlie from using his custom-made baseball bat to hit things off the balcony of the high tower out over the ocean one late afternoon.
Dal Costard, his right-hand man, leaned casually against the stone wall and watched. "You'll not change everything as soon as you'd like."
He tossed the makeshift ball up into the air, swung at it and knocked it out into the open air. "I have time," Charlie called back. "Nothing but time." He thought briefly of how Tortall and his life here definitely wasn't what he thought it would be.
Dal checked the bottom of his boot and dusted it off. "You have your heart set on progress," he remarked.
Taking a break from batting practice, Kawalsky turned around. "It's what we do where I come from."
"You're not at home any longer."
"You saying I should stop trying to change things?"
Dal gave a small shrug. "I'm saying let the people live their lives. In a few years, when they know they can trust the new noble from the land no one's heard of, they'll be more open to change. They've taken a chance with their very livelihood by coming here. They have high hopes, but they've not always been treated with respect. All they want to concern themselves with is keeping food on the table, a roof over their heads and a trade to make themselves worthwhile. When that comes, they'll listen."
Somewhere along the way, Dal had gone from project manager for the renovations on the Swoop to a trusted adviser. He was still the mysterious type. He came with recommendations from the Prime Minister, but was reluctant and evasive when it came to talking about himself. Kawalsky could understand that. There was plenty he couldn't talk about either. He considered Dal's comments. "All this over baseball?" he asked.
"You know it's more than the game," Dal replied. He wasn't wagging his finger at Charlie but he might as well have been. "The way you've built this place up, the offers to those who've come from afar and the way you treat commoners and expect commoners to treat each other. You're not from here. That much is obvious."
"Neither are you," Charlie pointed out.
The corner of Dal's mouth lifted. "Don't know what you mean, m'lord, I'm as Tortallan as they come."
Charlie laughed. "Yeah, okay." His skepticism was blatant. "Are you sticking around for Winter?"
"We'll see what the harvest time brings."
With a shrug and a nod, Charlie turned back and picked up another ball. "Good enough for me." He tossed the ball into the air and knocked it out over the water.