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27 July 2015 @ 12:03 am
_God of Thieves_ part 4  

Chapter Steal Potions

Kevi decided to start by seeing what he could find out at the beauty salon. Speed and the Hell Hounds were pretending to be tied up a block away. Speed could hear him mentally, so his escape was assured.

He finished his coffee and sauntered off. Once out of sight he warped light and slipped back. A woman walked in and he managed to get in without bumping her. Then he crouched behind one of the weird plants they had around the place and started listening. The gossip was stupid, all about clothing and who was dating whom, or cheating or whatever.

A middle aged blonde woman finally told the staff she'd take the checks to Tressa and walked out with a small case. He followed, his head aching after holding the warp for so long. On the busy sidewalks people kept bumping him, so he snuck out of sight and released the warp. He hustled and found the woman again, and followed from a distance. There was a todo behind him, about the loose horse, and he stopped long enough to let Speed catch up. He had to mount to see far enough ahead to spot the lady again, and then dismounted so he wasn't so visible. He spotted the house she entered and left Speed and the hounds around the corner as he walked past it, looking it over carefully. He turned at the next corner and checked for an alley. No luck. He'd have to get in the from the front. If poor Tressa was being held there . . . well, he'd been practicing spells. Not to mention sword fighting. Hand to hand even. He could do this.

In fact, there was a man walking up the front sidewalk. Kevi warped light and bolted up the street, trying to be quiet. He slowed as the man knocked, and slipped in the door after him.

"Close the door Mari." He'd noticed at the beauty shop that the middle aged woman ordered people around as if they were stupid. Very irritating. "Bring us a pot of tea, Mari."

Kevi followed the maid, and then broke off to search the house. One bedroom was all fluffy pink stuff, even the curtains. Scary. One was being used as a whelping pen. Wow. Magic in play, big time. The Momma dog was a big mottled colored thing, like a Hell Hound, but the squirming pile of puppies was purple and white. Gah. That was just sick.

He checked the last bedroom and found shelves full of pretty little bottles. They were all full of stuff, mostly whitish. He could feel the spells, when he touched the bottles, and shivered. These are dangerous. I should take these and get them away from that . . . No. She'll just make more. Kevi bit his lip and slipped out to check on the woman. She and the man were kissing each other as they stumbled down the hallway, probably headed for the pink bedroom. Yech. But he didn't feel any magical potential. He even reached into a clench to touch her hand. No magic.

So if he took the bottles, maybe she couldn't get any more. He dodged past their overly frantic foreplay and started looking for something to put the bottles in. He didn't dare the kitchen, headed back to the pink bedroom. Clothes had flown with abandon, and pink blankets and pillows as well. He slipped in, eyes averted from the naked old people, and pulled a pillow case off a pillow that had fallen to the floor. Scuttled away and started loading it up. He had to go back for a second pillow case, really, really not wanting to see those people without clothes, and still couldn't fit them all in. He labored to get his loot to the door, and dropped one bag with a crash.

The naked people came out of the bedroom, the man with his fists clenched, the woman with a hairbrush raised to strike. Having been hit with plenty of hairbrushes in his youth, Kevi hustled, dropping bottles, and loosing his grip on his light warp. He got the front door open and hauled the two almost full pillowcases out, ducking a fist.

Speed was right there at the door step, so he lifted one bag over her back, followed with his leg and she was off at a run. Kevi did not look back to see if the naked people were in pursuit. Speed whipped around three corners, and finally stopped so Kevi could fill his saddle bags with the bottles. The saddle bags were bubbles, he realized, as they all fit in.

"All right! Now, let's get out of town. Away Speed!"

Five blocks later they were down to a slow walk, with all the wagons coming and going through the Corridors.

Speed pranced uneasily in the crowded street. ::How can we escape in this mess?::

Not that there was anyone chasing them, but still . . . "There's no one going through _that_ arch."

Speed trotted between wagons and turned quickly into the Grantown arch.

They crossed an open area for wagons and pranced into a good sized town. Well built, stone buildings and roadway, a plaza ahead.

Wherever Grantown was, it was prosperous. "Big enough to have a shady side, I'll bet." Kevi eyed the prostitutes on the corner. "They'd probably know if I could sell this stuff here."

The 'girls' were definitely past their prime, fortyish, although it was hard to tell, under all the make up. They were eyeing Speed and pasting on friendly smiles. Might as well give it a try.

"Excuse me, Miss? Is there a, err, pawn shop around here?"

"Well, not as such." The taller woman thrust her bosom out at him. The shorter one, who looked pregnant, waved to someone.

"This fellow bothering you ladies?" The man had the same mousy hair as the two women, probably a relative acting as their pimp.

"He was asking about a pawn shop. We figured, Aunt Susto?"

The man relaxed. "Yeah. Aunt Susto's your best bet. Take that road out of the square for ten miles. It ends at four farms. Ask at the first farmhouse on the left."


:: Nice bunch, not all stuck up and defensive like in the New Lands.::

Speed moved out immediately, and as soon as the paving turned to dirt, leaped into a run. The ten miles barely warmed her up, but she turned obediently in at the first farmhouse on the left. It was weedy, unpainted, and had boards across a broken window.

A fat woman in her sixties was rocking on the porch.

"Are you Aunt Susto?" Kevi asked. "Some young women in town said you might be able to buy some used goods from me."

"Well, yes, we do a bit of buying and selling." She got to her feet. "What do you have?"

"My late Grandmother claimed to be a witch." Kevi really hoped Mostly never heard he'd said that. Especially the part about claiming. She probably wouldn't care about being called dead. "Anyway, after the funeral I had to clean out her rooms, and she had all these elixirs in fancy bottles. I figure the pretty bottles ought to be worth something, you know?"

Aunt Susto just loved the pretty bottles. She didn't seem to notice that he was taking an awful lot of them out of his saddle bags. "But it's a lot of work, cleaning them. Well, how about half a crown a piece?"

Anything that got them off his hands and the Bad Witch's strange potions dumped out was fine with him.

It was getting late, and Aunt Susto walked him over to one of her brother's homes. "Can this young man sleep here? And you could put his horse out with the cows and Mortimer's draft horse, couldn't you?"

Kevi was directed around to the back.

The big gelding that slouched over to the gate was huge. Good looking, too.

"That's Beastly." Kevi looked around and spotted a teenage boy up a tree. "He's a maniac killer horse. That's what my cousins say. He tries to kill people. Except Mortimer. And us kids. I ride him all the time, and plow and hitch him to the cart."

:: I like Bad Boys.:: Speed perked her ears.

::Uh oh. No telling what evil tricks he may teach my sweet innocent horsie!:: Kevi received a flick of tail hairs across his arm as he closed the gate behind her.

"I'm Lizard. Do you know anything about cows? Ours ain't having calves."

Kevi eyed the cows. "They're kinda old, aren't they?"

"That's what Uncle Morty says. That we should just buy some young ones and eat these."

    Kevi checked that the horses were fenced off from the cattle before he gave them a dose of wine in their water, and then left the bottle with Lizard, with instructions to dose any of them that coliced. "Or whatever cows do."

The kid looked at the half bottle thoughtfully.

"It's medicine. Don't drink it." He repeated that to Speed. :: Stay in the horse pasture. Don't drink the cow's water that I dosed. Especially don't let Beastly drink it.::

"Huh. C'mon in, Aunt Elma is a great cook." The kid led the way through the back door.

Over an excellent dinner, Kevi learned that the four farms belonged to three brothers and their sister Susto. Among them they had sixteen children and nineteen grandchildren.

Jek and Elma, his hosts, had only a single child and grandchild. "Mortimer doesn't come home very often, he's very busy, being a member of the King's Own and all."

So they were happy to put him up in the absent son's room. Speed pronounced Beastly good company, the cows silly, but the barn fine and hay plentiful.

So was breakfast, and he chatted about farming in general and their problems in particular, with a wide variety of relatives as they showed up for breakfast. They parted on good terms, with an invitation to return at any time.

He thought about it. The people weren't connected to him in any way, and with a son in the King's Own, some private pulling Palace guard duty, no doubt, the locals wouldn't search their place for a notorious thief.

It was, like, a perfect hideout.

Chapter Ericka

Early Winter 1401

Ericka of Westerly Farm stared into the mirror and a hard lived thirty-eight years stared back. It bore a strong resemblance to fifty years. Possibly more.

"I need a drink."

Neille and Nabelle nodded agreement, but Nabelle added a sneer. "Doubt your Mom left any."

Ericka checked all her mother's hiding places and found nothing. Out in the front room her mother had a box half full of 'magic potions' that she hadn't washed out yet. She also had a big jug she dumped the contents of the pretty bottles into when she emptied and cleaned them to sell.

Ericka pulled the plug on the jug and sniffed. "Not too bad." For a mix of a couple of dozen 'magic potions'.

Nabelle grabbed a gold painted goblet and held it out. "After the fair, I'll drink anything. I think I fucked more guards to get them to leave me alone than I had customers." She took a sip, and licked her lips. "Not bad. Not bad at all. Fill 'er up."

Neille was a bit more cautious. She pulled out a couple of the little bottles. "La dy Hes per. Do you suppose the witch that made the potions was trying to help or hurt the ladies whose names are on these? Lord Gero."

Ericka pulled out a pretty twisted spiral of glass. She didn't even try to decipher the name. "It's too pretty for a curse. I'll bet it's an Elixir of Youth." She pulled the cork and took a sip.

It was more like drinking syrupy milk than ale, and not enough alcohol for a kick. Ericka plugged the bottle and tossed it back in the box. Neille looked at several more bottles. "Here. Lady Jani. She sounds nice." She drained it.

Her brother Dare snickered as he walked downstairs. "But what if the witch doesn't like nice women?" The only good thing about Dare was that he looked worse than she did. Aging fag.

Ericka took the other bottle from Neille. "Here, try Lord Gero, maybe he wanted to be a girl."

Dare shrugged and took a mouthful.

"Or maybe a toad." He sprayed it across the room and glared at her. "Tastes worse than what Ma usually drinks." He handed her the bottle and wandered out to the back garden. "Lizard needs to weed it again. Except I'm tired of vegetables."

"I was thinking about getting a goat." Neille abandoned her potion too. "But then I'd have to get up early and milk it."

"I ought to have a cow." Ericka said. "Mortimer promised me a cow if I'd get up and do the morning milking for his Mother. But I work late, so I just couldn't get out of bed early enough. Every time I got there, Aunt Elma had already done it all."

Her cousins nodded their understanding.

Ericka yawned. "Well, I'm going back to bed right now. The Fair was hard work, and I didn't get hardly any sleep."

"At least you didn't get beat up." Dare started poking around at the shelves of junk.

"Ah, let me see! I'll kiss it and make it better." She giggled. He really had been cute when he was younger.

Nabelle staggered a bit. "You know, I think that stuff may have had a bit of a kick after all. I feel pretty soused."

They all started laughing and migrated up stairs to Dare's room.

They undressed him and checked him over for bruises and scrapes, kissing them to make them better, getting undressed themselves somewhere in the process, and getting really friendly with each other, and Dare got a hard on and got it into Neille which had them all laughing all over again, as he humped like a bunny.

"Hey, if Dare can act like a man, so can I." Nabelle rolled Ericka over and shoved in between her legs.

"Hey, you remind of a lot of my customers. They can't get it up either." They howled with laughter, and pretty much carried on, playing and sleeping and playing again for the rest of the day, and off and on all night.

Around dawn Ericka crawled out of bed and down to the privy.

She felt pretty good for having so little sleep last night. And old gods! what had gotten into Nabelle and Dare? May be there was something to those potions after all.

Nabelle, she'd drunk the from the jug-of-everything. And Dare had drunk part of . . . she pulled the box out and tried to read the labels. "Lord Guh, guh, Gee ro? Yeah. This is it."

She took it away and hid it in her room. She could make a hell of a lot of money with this. Later. Right now she felt grubby, and waffled between the creek and heating water for a proper bath. It was summer. The creek won. She grabbed a clean shift, and looked around the room. Yuck. She bundled up all the dirty clothes and took them along too. She and the clothes got a brisk scrub, and she draped the clothes all over the bushes to dry, and pulled on the shift before walking back to the farmhouse.

She smelled fresh bread coming from Aunt Elma's and decided to go mooch as soon as she'd brushed her hair. She got a glimpse of herself in the mirror, wet tendrils of hair all over the place. Her complexion looked good though.

Several someones were snoring in Dare's room. She snickered. It was nice with Tyrone and Marylu married. Lanz and the little boys, well they were both grown, now, shared the attic. Her mother kept the downstairs bedroom, and these two were Dare's and hers. She brushed her hair and tied a sash around her waist. No point in shoes.

Even with all the predawn industry, she was still in time to help milk the cows. and then eat the sweet rolls fresh from the oven. They were delicious, and Elma even told her she looked good. Thank the old gods for one nice aunt out of the whole family. She even sent Ericka off with rolls for home.

Her 'kids,' Heso was twenty and Lizard was seventeen, were the first up. They inhaled rolls and then hunted around the yard for where the hens had hidden their eggs. She scrambled all they found as the rest of the family, including Nabelle and Neille woke up and showed up to be fed.

Then she dressed for town, taking Lord Gero's potion with her.

She didn't have any problem finding Hilleri. "I've got something for you, but it'll cost you ten royals."

Hilleri frowned. "I doubt you have anything of the least bit of interest to me."

"You sure have got stuck up since you married Airy the fairy. How much did his dad pay you to try and pretend he was a real man?"

Hilleri's eyes flashed. Then teared.

Ericka pulled out the bottle. "I gave this to Dare yesterday and he fucked Neille all night long."

"His own cousin? How . . . typical."

"Try it. If it works, you owe me ten royals."

"If it works, I'll pay you double that."

Then Ericka got to work. The new Corridor meant that lots of customers with serious money were coming through now. The Corridor came out at the edge of the road and the campground for the wagon trains, with woods behind it. There was a little shack back there, out of sight, where she took customers. No one seemed to be coming through, today, though.

Sometimes you just had to go get them.

But the only eye she caught today was that of a dirty old fellow. He followed her through, so she felt him up while kissing him and found plenty of coin. She maneuvered him into the shack and they had a great time. The old guy was quite clever about getting his coins back at the same time he kept a girl busy. Pretty fun too. He knew what a girl liked, and Ericka lost coins with every orgasm she had, and got them back during his. She figured he got four customer's worth before she decided she'd better quit while she was ahead in the count. Halfway back to the Corridor he pushed her up against a tree and took her again. Backed off laughing and handed her a ten royal note. Damn. He must have lots of money.

"Hey, marry me! Take me away from all this!"

"Hehehehe . . . " his laugh faded off as he stepped through the Corridor.

She went back to the shack and pulled the mattress away to find all the coins under it and then she pried all the coins out of the cracks she'd pressed them into, and levered out the two loose boards to pick up the ones she'd pushed all the way through. What a haul! She slipped the bill and half the coins into hidden pockets in her fancy embroidered sash and the rest in her skirt pockets. As soon as she walked into town, Tyrone took the pocket contents while she cursed him. Stupid idiot.

A week later, a beaming Hilleri handed her twenty royals.

Of course Tyrone swiped the five he found, but she got away with most of it.

"How come you're not working. Lazy slut." He jerked his chin at Vonne, Marylu and Filli on the corner. "Even they're trying harder."

"I'm resting. It's doing wonders for my complexion." Personally she thought it was tacky that he made his wife work, but Filli didn't seem to mind.

She walked back to the farms and hid her money, then pulled weeds in the garden and picked the runner beans and tomatoes. That elixir was doing her good. Even the skin of her hands looked better, not so dry and wrinkled. And she'd been getting cooking lessons from Aunt Elma every morning.

She slipped into the front room and considered the box of little bottles. How was she to tell what each potion did, so she could sell it?

Hmm, Neille had had Lady Jani's potion. There was a bit of that left.

And Nabele had drunk from the jug. Lots of that left.

She slipped around the corner and looked in the mirror again. Her complexion was still improving. She grabbed the spiral bottle and hid it upstairs.

Over at Uncle Willi's Nabelle and Neille were just getting up.

Ericka studied them both. "I think there was an elixir of youth in those bottles. Have you looked at your skin?"

Neille stretched. Her shift was flagrantly short, but then, how else do you attract men? "We don't have a mirror." She ran her hands over her face. "Let's go over to Aunt Elma's."

Gazing into the good mirror, they had to admit that they were all three looking a lot younger. Rache and Melodi had come over from Uncle Frank's and they frowned jealously.

"Well, you could try a potion." Ericka said. "Maybe just a tiny bit, in case it's something bad."

Rache got a sip of Lady Devi and Melodi chose Lady May.

Ericka pondered the possibilities of trying potions on Vonne, Kathy and Marylu. "We shouldn't tell anyone else about this." She looked at her cousins. "I mean – our families. There's money in this, and we want it to be ours. Not Tyrone's or Erald's or Lew's, right?"

They swapped looks and nodded.

Nabelle scratched her scalp, and frowned at a few loose strands of hair in her hand. "I'm all itchy. My hair'd better not fall out."

That brought on another round of inspection at the mirror, then Rache and Melodi headed for town.

matapampamuphoff on July 27th, 2015 01:11 pm (UTC)
Just in case you guys were wondering how Aunt Susto got a hold of all those magic potions she sold to Mushy and Whipper . . . or were afraid I'd gone all prim and proper.
muirecanmuirecan on July 27th, 2015 04:40 pm (UTC)
I had wondered where she got those potions.
matapampamuphoff on July 27th, 2015 08:15 pm (UTC)
Yep. She starts out dumping the bottles in a convenient jug . . . but that's just too much trouble. So there a jug of random, competeing spells, and a bunch of bottles of unknown effect. Designed by Teri/Tressa for individuals. I'd advise against trying the ones labeled "Xen" or "Quicksilver."
Bretbretw on July 30th, 2015 10:20 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Quicksilver, whatever happened to Teri anyway?
matapampamuphoff on July 30th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
Teri is the Tressa who is missing from the beauty shop. Basically, after Assassins, she shifted out to the New Lands, had Richardo's baby to advance, and started experimenting with all the stuff she'd overheard and remembered. Then, all fixed up blonde and beautiful, she moved to Karista and opened the Beauty shop. Then she meets up with Jade and company, and then Rior . . .

All of which will eventually get written. I'm basically pitching the bits of the wars between the witches and writing it from scratch, since so much has changed, and so much has been removed from the original story.