The early morning sun rose high in the sky, melting any remaining traces of snow left over from the miserable Winter that had gone past. Qrow Branwen, an employee at the Joja Corporation sat in his windowless cubicle twiddling his thumbs waiting for phone calls from customers that would likely never come. The pay was good, the hours were fine and the city was the same as always; cramped, grey and filled with people going about the same mundane tasks day in day out with no creative drive to sustain them any longer.
Qrow had never fit in where he worked and the only family he had been able to rely on for moral support had been his mother and grandfather, both of which had tirelessly shown love and compassion even when he didn't deserve it. It had been several months since the passing of his grandfather but the hurt still remained, alive and tiring within his mind. He had turned to drinking as a coping mechanism and often found himself waking up in a puddle of his own vomit, sometimes mixed with blood from the smashing of a glass the night before.
Suddenly his knee shifted and banged loudly on the desk, breaking him momentarily out of his thoughts to focus on the pain shooting up his leg instead. Misfortune had a tendency to follow him around all his life but this moment would prove to be a catalyst for change Qrow had desperately needed for a long while. Once he rubbed his sore knee, his gaze went to the drawer he had accidentally kicked open slightly and what he saw made his heart sink and soar all at once.
The note his grandfather had left to him, for a time where nothing seemed to be going right, a chance at a fresh start. Qrow's hand shook as he hovered over the paper until finally he took a deep breath and opened it, taking his time to read each word carefully.
“If you're reading this, you must be in dire need of a change. The same thing happened to me, long ago. I'd lost sight of what mattered most in life... real connections with other people and nature. So I dropped everything and moved to the place I truly belong.”
Inside was information about a farm in a distant place known as Stardew Valley, a secluded location where very few travelled except for special occasions at certain times of the year. Qrow found a picture alongside the letter which showed a much younger version of his grandfather, standing proudly and observing his work in front of him and all at once Qrow had made up his mind. The stale monotony of the Joja Corporation would not hold him any longer. It was time to move on, to become something different and have a new outlook on life in this quiet place known as Stardew Valley.
One Week Later
The bus ride was uneventful aside from two sightings of tar-black ravens that reminded him of his own sister. After much discussion with his mother and a few close friends, he was confident in managing to find something worth living for in this new venture, away from the city and into the quiet solace of the foothills, forests and mountains.
As the bus passed through a tunnel he found the trip coming to an end and the main entryway into the valley was presented to him with someone standing there proudly, hands on hips with her head held high. Getting on the bus had proven to be a struggle with all the bags he decided to bring along but nothing could compare to the echoing thud of Qrow and all his luggage landing on the concrete ground of the bus stop.
Looking to his side he noticed a patch of grass that would have easily been more preferable to land on had he aimed a little to the left but of course that's not how his first day could go here could it? Coughing, he began to get up but hesitated once he saw the woman who had been waiting reach a hand down to lift him up. "You must be Qrow. It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Robin."
Qrow eyed the hand for a moment before looking into her eyes, where he saw nothing but sincerity and a kindness built up over years of strife and hardship. Biting his lip he took her hand and got to his feet, brushing himself down and grimacing at the water stain of a nearby puddle that had soaked the bottoms of his jeans. "Damnit! This is my favourite pair!"
Robyn cocked her head, an amused smile tugging at the sides of her lips. "Oh trust me, if you're planning on being a farmer you'll lose your 'favourite' clothes very quickly. Save them for casual days and nights and you'll be fine."
As she made the quotation signs with her fingers he couldn't help but chuckle, nodding in agreement. "Well, it's good to meet you. Sorry about the uh, falling and stuff."
Robyn patted his shoulder reassuringly and laughed heartily. "No need for apologies. My husband is ten times as bad. Remind me to tell you the time he fell in one of the rivers in town because he was documenting the multitude of plantlife along the banks." She raised a finger and arched her eyebrow. "But make sure I tell it to you when he's within earshot. It makes him blush like nothing else."
Qrow smiled wide and picked up the bags, following her as she led him down a pathway which had a faded sign seeming to depict an old name of sorts along with the emblem of a horseshoe. "Just my luck." he thought to himself with a shake of his head. Upon reaching the end of the path they came to a rickety gate that appeared to be about ready to fall off its hinges but Robyn continued onward and opened it up, pushing past the weeds built up around the posts.
Stepping through, Qrow gasped and felt his eyes wander all across the plot of land. Here and there, giant boulders and rocks were scattered, hindering access to certain areas whilst stomach-high grass and weeds grew proudly, most likely due to the abundance of rivers running through the location. The farmhouse itself was quaint and small but cosy and charming at the same time with a rustic sense of beauty, like a place frozen in time that had been left there untouched until now.
Robyn shifted awkwardly, not seeming to know the right thing to say so she made light of the situation. "I know it's a bit unkempt but this part of the farm hasn't been touched in a very very long while and I have a feeling you'll do just fine."
Qrow frowned in confusion, turning to look at Robyn who began absent-mindedly twirling her hat strap around her neck. "What do you mean, this part of the farm? There's more?"
Robyn motioned for him to follow which he did and soon the two were standing on the patio, staring out across the area. She pointed to the West and showed him where another plot of land could be seen with well-tilled fields and a startlingly impressive level of symmetry. "That right there is the Ebi half of the farmstead. See, your grandfather was quite close with their family and now the prodigal son owns that section of this entire area. He is bound by law not to touch your grandfather's- well technically now your half of the land. Hence why it looks the way it does."
Qrow nodded, mouth suddenly feeling dry. "Is there somewhere I could get a drink nearby?"
Robyn smiled, not entirely understanding what the man was hinting at. "There is a well close to Mr Ebi's side of the property. He's told me that the water is always fresh and cool."
Qrow felt disappointed but regardless decided to go get a drink anyway. "I'll just go and uh, do that then. Be back in a bit."
Robyn smiled and waved from the patio. "No problem. The mayor of the town is personally coming to greet you in about 15 minutes or so just so you know."
Qrow's eyebrows shot up, surprised at that revelation but he pressed on, navigating through the weeds and rocks that were definitely hiding poisonous spiders or snakes or something scientists had yet to discover that would most certainly kill him in seconds and no one would find him because of the amount of weeds and crap littered throughout the area. "Thanks brain. I hate you." he thought to himself, annoyed.
Upon finally reaching the well he took a seat on the cold stones and put his head in his hands. This was a stupid idea. Why did he think he could make something like this work? "Idiot!" he chastised himself. Suddenly there was a sound nearby and he lost his grip on the side of the well before feeling the dreaded sensation of falling. At the last second he managed to catch the side of the well and held on for dear life. "Robyn! Robyn please help!"
"This is it. This is how I die. Drowning in a well or banging my head against the stones on the way down. Great life Qrow, well done." The self-deprecating thoughts lingered, compelling him to let go and plunge down into the darkness below but as he closed his eyes he felt a pair of strong hands lifting him up and over onto solid ground once again.
The sun had dropped to a point where he needed to shield his eyes but a figure moved down to check if he was alright. Qrow's heart was racing and he could feel the adrenaline pumping through his body, setting his nerves on fire. "Robyn, is that you?"
The figure chuckled, a very different more masculine sound than the one he heard from Robyn only minutes earlier and finally his vision cleared up and he observed a very tall, very shirtless and sweaty man with brown hair and teal eyes standing over him with a concerned expression. "Name's Clover and I'm pretty sure I just saved your life. Are you okay?"