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15 November 2016 @ 04:44 am
_Smuggler's Ring_ Part 2  
 Eldon wandered in for dinner, and was promptly placed in charge of all boys. The women trooped off through another corridor to a high mountain location with a small hotspring bubbling up between granite boulders and pine trees.

"I found this place, and bought it, as the ceremonial center for the pyramid."

Twenty-two women and girls crowded the open space and the little pool of blood warm water. Crimson led the older witches through a review, and dragged Fean in too. "We know from Rior that Princesses learn stuff very similar, so don't be shy."

Fean, Indy and Eden wound up in a triad. "Dunces corner. I wasn't trained as a child and am constantly behind." Eden smiled wryly.

"You're ahead of me!" Indy watched Crimson's easy flow enviously.

Fean sourced differently, but the manipulations of the energy were similar. She had trouble learning to work with two other women, but when it slipped into place it was breathtakingly powerful. Threes. I'll have to practice with Xiat and Wizzy, back home.Or some other princesses in Paris.

Crimson roped the older girls into triads as well, and gave them a lower level of exercises. The twelve year olds hadn't blossomed yet, but they got things to memorize and meditation exercises. Even the little kids got basic lessons in relaxation and visualization.

All-in-all, a good time was had by all.

It was well past midnight before they trooped home, to find the boys all camped out in the back, cooking things over a campfire. Eldon probably ran them through some magic exercises as well. Her guilt feelings about leaving Eft out of the training faded a bit. I trust he only taught Magic, not . . . social behavior.

Over a late breakfast, Eft was full of how fun a Mage Compass was, and how he'd ridden a horse all by himself, and that he and Rej were best friends.

Eldon trapped her against a wall for a very physical greeting.

"Oh no you don't, buster. Last thing I need is another baby—or two. Go make up to Crimson, I think she wants another kid."

"Tsk! When breaking off a relationship—which hasn't been on for about five years, and I’m not sure it qualified in the first place—you're not supposed to inflict the horrible man on some other woman. Unless you really hate her."

Fean panted and blushed and tried to block out both his aura and his deliberate titillations. "You are reverting to the God of Perverts. Concentrate on being a hero, eh? Save Poor Crimson from a lifetime of wondering if she could have learned about gates by studying them while in labor."

He laughed at that. "Heroes have hormones too, trust me."

And then she had to suppress jealousy when she spotted them out in the fields, opening gates like it was easy. She poked around all his potions, tempted, but not enough to actually do something foolish. She lingered over a sample that claimed to add the witches power gene.

Add, or replace my One gene? Could I learn to catch bubbles myself, not have to ask Eldon for another one?

The next day the party moved to a beach, and at the end of the afternoon, Fean dragged her complaining children home. And packed up and moved to Paris.

Urfa’s ingroup was interesting. Three properly trained Princesses, two Clostuones and two Withiones, all male. Officially Palace Guards, they apparently split their time between guarding the family and gathering information on political foes.
One of the Withiones was on his way out. Idlo.

"Working espionage?" Fean sighed. "Lucky dog. I always worked exploration or info teams. Spying can be a rush. Have fun."

Idlo raised a supercilious eyebrow. "You’re going to find your reputation has proceded you. Don’t think you can run over anyone here."

Then he was gone and she eyed the remaining three men. One looked like a commoner, curly black hair and brown eyes in a olive complexion. So average he was practically invisable. In the short time she’d had to observe him, his mannerisms had been solidly Multitude. An Upcommer – not born to power. Bet he’s undercover a lot. Akbe Clostuone. The other Clostuone was smaller, skinnier, with bright sharp eyes. Ydro. Egni Withione was leaking more glow through his shields than was stricktly polite. He looked a typical High Oner, light hair and eyes, even his skin a bit lighter than most, although not as light as, say Izzo.

She turned her attention to the three Princesses. Qayg was old enough for it to show, with a reputation longer than Xiat’s. Mail was a spectacular brunette, brilliant blue eyes in a perfect face that gave nothing away. Rael still looked like a teenager, with her red hair spiked and clothing no sensible person would be caught dead in. She winked at Fean. The other two had their shields full on.

Urfa cleared his throat. "You can finish the sizing up later. Fean comes to us with seventeen years of experience in Exterior, mostly with Info Teams but she was also neck deep in the Helios war and subsequent recovery work. She worked with the Third Alternate Prophet during his brief tenure, has met Rior’s gang and trained in combined combat with Disco personnel."

The redheaded princess’s shields hardened even further.

I thought she was back together with Xen? Does Urfa ration her visits, to keep him missing her? Nasty. I may like working here.

The scrawney Clostuone sat up attentitively. "Do you know who or how the Comet Fall potions are being smuggled into Vista? Spies or Rior’s gang?"

Fean raised her eyebrows. "It’s probably an independent operation out of Comet Fall, with family ties to Rior’s gang. I haven’t seen any indication that anyone official is tagging along. Actually, I’ve only just met them accidentally when I last checked Rior’s gang. They were visiting relatives while waiting for one of what they called trading partners to get past a smuggling crackdown. If that was Vista, it may explain a few odd looks and evasions I got."

Urfa frowned. "They probably figured you were hunting them. In fact, if it is just smugglers, we don’t want to shut them down. We want to use their dimensional abilities to spy on Comet Fall. Or possibly Earth." He sat back and looked thoughtful. "I think I’ll need to send you out to meet them again pretty soon. Find out if they can get to Earth."

"They go to several Earth Books, but none of them said anything about The Earth."

"Well, no rush. I’ll let your new collegues here give you the tour and fit you into the shedule." He got up and left and the others focused on her.

"Trained with Disco?" Qayg cocked her head. "How well do you know Xen Wolfson?"

"About as well as anyone knows a combat instructor. I haven’t sociallized with him, I was concentrating on getting to know Q. How many of you were here when he was spying on us?"

"Everyone but me and Mail." Engi tried turning up the heat, and Qayg snorted in amusement.

"Behave, Engi. I believe Investigator Fean has too much experience for you to impress her that way." Qayg smiled. "Dear, do put him in his place, as needed, but preferrably privately."

Fean nodded. "Rather to my surprise, I’ve outgrown a lot of that status nonsense. If you want me to pass along Xen and Q’s fighting techniques, I’d be delighted."

Mail looked surprised. "She fights? Surely she’s too valuable to risk!"

Fean started giggling. "Would you also like a lecture on the main bloodlines of High Magic in Comet Fall? Their Father is the God of War, one of their Old Gods, the equivalent of our prophets. You know how Xen is shielded but somehow still looks deep instead of shallow? How he draws you in? Triple that for the Old Gods."

"How many have you met? Tell us about them." Ydro leaned forward eyes bright.

"Ha! Information junky. Got you pegged. I’ve met four of the Old Gods. The God of Travelers is Harry. He runs the Tavern at the Crossroads. Sub-saharan phenotype, old, grey, balding. The God of War is the Auld Wulf, with an odd accent even for them, and also Wolfgang Oldham which I believe is his actual name from before the Exile. He’s a vintner, when he’s not doing god things. The Goddess of Health and Fertility, Lady Gisele, is really spooky, she morphs from old to middle-aged to young.

"According to gossip, she and the Auld Wulf got drunk and sort of challenged each other, and wound up throwing a ton of spells into a linked von neumann’s assembler and then into a barrel of wine. Drunk enough that they have no clear recollection of what and how much they did. That’s the origin of that healing wine that everyone freaks over."

"Drunken gods? You mean they don’t even know what’s in there?" Engi looked horrified. Actually they all did.

"Yep. And they use it for everything from what ought to be fatal injuries to minor scrapes. And, of course, for spiking punch at parties." Fean grinned. "They aren’t normal people."

"And they’ve got three power genes?" Rael had her arms crossed, rejecting, or may be protecting. What sort of relationship does she have with Xen? I wouldn’t think he’d hurt someone . . . but then, he was working.

"Right. Three different alleles of the One Gene. Right. What they call the Mage gene is located on the Y chromosome. The Mages have separate communities, and apparently don’t interact much with the others. The Witch gene is located on the X chromosome, collects power from gravity and is almost always linked with a gene that causes an immune attack on Y bearing sperm. The wizard gene is located there too, it sources from UV thought IR frequencies like the Priest gene, and like the priest gene, male hormones interfere with it’s fullest development in late teen years. They magically postpone puberty until twenty-two or so, so the wizards and baby gods that have it are full strength."

"The One is experimenting with that, aren’t they?" The guys all had their hands in their laps, probably unaware of the protective gestures.

"Yes. It will be interesting." Quag stood up, and they all followed suit. "Fean, how about a tour?"
ekuah on November 15th, 2016 01:13 pm (UTC)
Between the last sentences:

"The One is experimenting with that, aren’t they?" The guys all had their hands in their laps, probably unaware of the protective gestures.

(addition)"Hey it's still better than their former method of castration first and regrowing the testicles later"(/addition)

"Yes. It will be interesting." Quag stood up, and they all followed suit. "Fean, how about a tour?"

This addition would make the guys even more uncomfortable.
And it is completely canon.
matapampamuphoff on November 15th, 2016 02:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
"Not that the One ever approved of regrowing anything. Really, some ought to dose all of Makkah with the Joy Juice."

Not, mind you, that I'd add that. Because I haven't yet decided who is going to get pissed off enough to actually do it . . .
muirecanmuirecan on November 15th, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
That would certainly change the one just a tiny bit.

I really like the good solid outside view of the high magic bloodlines of Comet Fall.
ekuah on November 15th, 2016 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
Probably a relative of an unwillingly priest novice.
Or someone one a Oner colony.

But on the other hand, it's high time that the Warmonger Earth gets messed up from inside. (Like Endi did with the warparty) Just blowing up their gate complex again and again is not satisfying enough.
matapampamuphoff on November 15th, 2016 08:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
Maybe the Cyborgs should find them. But then, which side do we cheer for?
ekuah on November 15th, 2016 08:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
I meant a funny messing up. Something you can laugh over. I highly doubt that a war between Earth and Cyborgs is anywhere amusing.
matapampamuphoff on November 16th, 2016 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
Well, note please that in _Saturday Night_ the Cyborgs are full blast out to get Eldon, hunting him down personally through the Multiverse. Now what he did to cause that much _personal_ enmity will be extremely fun.

Earth . . . that place is my worst nightmare of a "One World Order." I'm not sure that anything short of beating it over the head will make it behave. Individuals have very weak connections to the collective subconscious.

You know . . . movies . . . Eldon . . . imported (or smuggled!) vids from other advanced worlds. Fads in clothing . . . Don't think it'll change anything very fast, but a gradual drift toward "Other worlds are our equals and friendly, with lots of interesting goodies to trade for" would be a good direction for Earth to go.
ekuah on November 16th, 2016 06:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestion
My ideas were in the direction of fooling and disgracing the hawks in the government. And doing it in a very public way, so these warmonger become the laughingstock of the common people.
Maybe creating accidentally a new fad for the youth, like Cometfall potion popping. (Something as incomprehensible for the establishment as Hippies were in the 60')
"Forget retro-grunge, forget neo-steam-punk, gene-tampering is next big thing. Nothing says F-eeep- you, like a nice mop of red hair combined with green skin"