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31 July 2015 @ 05:26 am
_God of Thieves_ the end  


Early Fall 1401

All these Corridors were changing how people traveled and lived.

Land in Grantown was suddenly selling for a premium, one easy Corridor away from Karista.

All her potions had sold like hotcakes once word got around. She'd divvied up all the remaining potions and split them up into 'surprise changes' and sold them to people who came from Karista and Havwee and all the little towns up and down the road, now connected by Corridors. She'd kept just a few. You never knew when you'd need a good hex. Or a potion that increased the size of a man's parts.

And as land prices rose, she'd sold fifty lots up on the dry ridge looking toward the river for a thousand royals each. She was rich beyond her wildest dreams. She was never going to work again. Unfortunately there was one type of labor she couldn't get out of.

She paced and cursed and snarled at anything male that dared stick his head in her mother's house. She'd talked to these three little _girls_ from Oldham Engineering. They'd made a hard road connecting her ridge to town, and built most of the houses up there. _And_ a Corridor down to the Corridors. She had three house plans of her own she was pondering. She'd torched the shed. It was too ugly, what with the size of the houses going in up on the ridge. She was going to have a nice elegant house down by the road. Her family could walk by it twice a day, and see how well she was doing.

Erald stuck his head in the front door. Ducked back. "Mom says would you please hurry up, Neille's going to need the birthing stool pretty soon."

"I'll tell the baby to hurry," Ericka snarled, and bent over with a long hard contraction.

"Now, honey, don't you worry, it's going real fast, your third one." Her mother was the last one in the family to get a potion. Lady Q had turned her into a nympo, throwing herself at everyone. And Ericka would swear she was even fatter and stupider than usual. She figured it was about time to try a different potion.

"Hey, Mom, all the cows had their calves last night! Every one of them twins." Lizard was sensibly yelling from out of sight. "Are you going to have twins?"

"No! I _refuse!_" Ericka staggered over to the stool and pushed. Three contractions later she was holding her third son, a wrinkled little creature, yelling his head off.

"Going to call him Deco, like you were thinking?" Her mother tied the cord and cut it.

"Yeah. That'll do." She moaned through some more contractions, then the after birth passed and she was done. "And I'm going to pay more attention to taking that herb tea, from now on out. Whew."

She diapered and fed the boy, and slept like a log until he got hungry again.

Her mom came back with updates on Neille, and said Rache had gone into labor as well. And Melodi was due real soon too.

It was ridiculous, all of them at once after all these years. Maybe it was the potions. Just as well she was almost out of them. Haro was a mess. Once he'd realized he was turning into a girl, he'd taken the hex potion to turn back into a guy, but he'd wound up a funny mess, with both. And then he'd taken the Big Dick one and _everything_ had gotten big. He was working full time at _that_ place on Kersh Street. Nabelle, to her mother's distress, had refused to turn back into a girl. Said she liked being a guy.

/// more///


Late Fall 1401

"I can't believe you did that!" Kevi shook his head at the enormous black mare.

:: That's what happens when you're running with a Bad Boy. And you put the wine in the water trough. ::

Havi glared down at Kevi. "I'm almost afraid to ask what gelding she was out to pasture with. A four-generations-of-smart-horse who can talk."

Kevi squirmed. "Umm, I put the wine in the _cows'_ trough. Beastly shouldn't have been able to jump the fence. He's a pretty good looking horse, draft horse."

"Some bloody damn work horse." Havi shook his head in disbelief. "Call me if there's a problem."

:: I feel like I'm waddling like a lizard.:: Speed sent a picture of one of the big water lizards walking on land, body flexing left and right.

"It's not that bad – and it's about done."

The big black mare nodded.

She was such a big mare, she didn't show much, but she was definitely fat. She'd spent the last two months grazing the grassy meadows above Rip World's tropical sea, and Kevi had spent the same time practicing with the mages.

    It was humiliating that someone else had had to point out to him that not only was Speed obviously pregnant, she was showing signs of delivering within days. One of Flare's little brothers, so Nighthawk would hear about what an idiot he was.

As the sun set, he walked off with Speed. She was restless and paced a remote part of the meadow, away from the other horses.

Kevi gulped. "It's going to be tonight, isn't it?"

:: Maybe. I think so.::

"Next time, tell me, so I can plan on when to get you back here."

:: Never again! :: Speed groaned. :: This is it, the only foal I'll ever have. I can't believe I fell for that Bad Horse.::

"Ha! You jumped the fence and drank the wine. And then talked Beastly into drinking the wine!"

::It was a sudden impulse. Fun at the time, but I know better, now.::

They walked on in silence for a couple of hours.

Kevi was exhausted, just walking. "I shouldn't have used that wine anywhere near you."

:: So this is all your fault.:: She laid down, and stretched out on her side, straining.

"I see a hoof." Kevi gulped, and wondered at what point to panic and call for Havi or Vala, the other big horse breeder on the World.

:: Never, ever again. I'm going to kick Beastly's liver out the next time I see him."

"Two hooves. Everything is going fine."

She rolled up onto her chest and turned to look at her side. :: Why did I want a foal, anyway?:: she groaned and rolled back flat.

"Because they are so cute?" Kevi suggested. "There's the nose. Okay, the whole head just came through, I'm going to clear the baby's nostrils."

Speed groaned and pushed.

"No face markings, I can't tell if she's black or dark bay."

:: It's dark out. What do you expect?:: Speed tensed up and the shoulders emerged, and then a few minutes later the hips. The foal snorted and breathed, and thrashed his way clear of the after birth.

"It's a boy." Kevi dumped iodine all over the umbilical as it separated, and stepped back to let Speed greet her son.

:: Oh. Isn't he _wonderful_.:: She nickered to him, and stood up to lick him dry as he waved his legs around and tried to follow his inborn instincts to get up.

By the time the Sun was up, the angular black colt was up and following his mother everywhere. "I think all the black color names have been taken already. What should we call him?"

:: Mommy?:: the colt nuzzled Kevi and he grinned.

"Ha! Take that, Havi! Your daddy Beastly must have some Smart Horse in him."

::My little black beast.:: Speed nuzzled him.

"The Black Beast. Oh, yeah."


Early winter 1402

Leanna beamed to see that the so-called ladies from Gold Rush had taken her advice. The Royal ball had been exciting, Lester could get her into so many of the places she'd missed since the divorce. And ripe grounds for business, these days.

The skin restoration facial was in demand. That hot dry climate was no friend to a fresh complexion. And the older Ladies had no idea what was available in the way of rejuvenation. And hair treatments. They spent money like she'd never seen, and walked out glowing. They even bought jewelry and clothes from those little shops, and thought the coffee house was sophisticated.

Ah well. It was her work that was going to make their husbands sit up and take notice.

Those three friends, Barbara, Penelope, and Avis especially. Goodness, walking advertisements. They were giggling now with one of the male customers, who came in regularly for a hair cut and to have his magnificent mustachios trimmed and shaped. He offered the women his arms and invited then to have coffee with him. Old rake. Pity there weren't more around, he made the women clients so happy.

Leanna looked around proudly, business was booming. Life was such fun!


Summer Solstice 1402

"Hey, Aunt Susto!" Kevi jumped down from Speed's high back. "I got some junk from my uncle. Want to take a look?" It was somewhere in between drizzle and rain, and chilly here. Corridor travel was odd that way.

He pulled the saddle and bridle off Speed, and suggested that she get out of the rain in the barn. She snorted at him and started cropping the over grown grass of Aunt Susto's front 'lawn'. He left the tack on the porch and pulled the bag of goodies out of his saddle bags and walked in.

He'd figured out quickly that he'd probably be walking away with nothing but a couple of good meals whenever he dealt with this particular fence. But as a way to get rid of the pretty much valueless leftovers of a marvelously clever theft, she couldn't be beat.

Laughlier Mining had given him a sizable reward for his part in returning the gold.

Sandy had taken all the amethysts. Then Jani had taken everything that was either artistic, or had stones she could use in her own creations. Aunt Susto got the twelve carat gold ugly things with common stones like the hideous cat's eye necklace he pulled out first.

A couple of pretty goblets that were just gold plate over brass, candle sticks, same. Some neat glass thingies that Jani had said were interesting, but she'd as soon make herself. Aunt Susto quoted him prices and he nodded, and then while she tended to her customers, he grabbed his tack and headed over to the last house of the four. They were known hereabouts as the quarter farms collectively, and westerly, easterly, northerly and southerly individually.

Elma of easterly farm was delighted to see him, and told him to put his saddle on the back porch and come have some pie. "The rain's getting worse."

"You just can't beat a hideout like this," he muttered to himself, hunting in the saddle bag for the cork to his wine bottle. Most of it was gone, it had probably soaked his clean clothes. Ah well, it wasn't like he dressed up like a noble.

He helped Jek with the pruning, and spent a couple of nights teaching the boys—the four great nephews that helped Jek—their letters. "Too bad there isn't a school out here. You gotta be able to read a little just to get around."

Lizard nodded. "I got lost in Karista. Luckily I found Mortimer. He can read, and knows his way around." He sighed wistfully. "Captain Easterly of the King's Own. He is so cool."

Kevi froze. He'd been thinking the cousin must be a private, coming from these backwoods farms. But . . . Captain Easterly? _Xen's_ Boss? "Yeah. I think I've seen him. Great big guy, mousey hair and blue eyes like all of you. Looks dumb, but is really smart?"

Lizard looked gratified. "Is he _famous_?"

"Umm, not _quite_, but he is well known." Kevi gulped. Maybe this isn't the safest hideout in the World, after all.

The fourth day, he rode Speed back down the track, an unseasonably cold wind in their faces. "You know what? We should spend the winter somewhere warm. Let's check out Baytown."

She nodded, and radiated smugness. Smug? Oh, crap. Did Beastly get into . . . "You got into the wine, didn't you? Well, fat chance a foal will slow you down much."

The Little Beast bounced up. :: I want a little brother to play with!::

Kevi rolled his eyes. "Next year . . . right now though, we ought to . . . go . . . umm, that way. I think there's something that needs to be stolen."

matapampamuphoff on July 31st, 2015 10:29 am (UTC)
This is a good example of my main writing challenge. It's all well and good, and I hope amusing. But what is the story _problem_?
Bretbretw on July 31st, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC)
So reading this, yeah, it didn't really seem like a story (ie. there's no story problem).

But it's been entertaining to read.
matapampamuphoff on July 31st, 2015 09:30 pm (UTC)
It was all bit and pieces taken out of the original _Archetypes_.

What I need is something extremely dangerous and in the wrong hands for Kevi to have to steal, and then figure out how to dispose of so that it becomes harmless. And weave that into the Grantown saga.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on July 31st, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)
Kevi grows up ?

The baby god who learned better?

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
matapampamuphoff on July 31st, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC)
Well . . . but then he'd have to learn better, wouldn't he? And where's the fun in that?
hollybambolo on August 1st, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC)
Something extremely dangerous . . . Teri/Tressa is the witch who made the magic gene adding potions for Rior, right? What about a potion that removed magic genes?
What are Earth and One up to? Any nasty weapons like the one in Earth Gate available? Or, depending on where this falls with Lodge in the Mountains and Helios stuff, is there another one of those fabric of the multiverse ripping weapons around? We know that gods can be summoned across gates, like Wolf in Dark Lady and Xen in Empire, so Kevi's not necessarily limited to Comet Fall.
Speaking of Wolf, is there something in one of Wolf's bubbles, maybe the rest of those missiles, that could fall into the wrong hands? Or one of the other Old Gods? Maybe Pax or Art left something dangerous just lying around.