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24 September 2017 @ 02:49 pm
_Girl Trip_ 2  
 

***

Rael sighed. "Raod threatened to kill me if I infected you with my fashion sense. I suppose I'd better dress a bit . . . "

Ryol peeked into Rael closet. "Ooooo! Let me see! Oooo! I've never seen you wear this dark green silky blouse! It's the same color as my dress. And surely you've got a skirt that doesn't actually clash somewhere in here!"

"Oh One! I've spawned a Fashionista."

Ryol giggled in a terrifyingly familiar fashion and started digging way back, into her old "I'm just a ditzy secretary" days.

"We do look spectacular, don't we?" Rael eyed their reflection in the big mirrors as they headed in from the front entrance.

Ryol cast a nervous glance over her shoulder. "There were people with cams out there."

"Newsies."

"Am I going to get my picture in the Paris Sentinel?"

"I wouldn't be surprised. Think of how that will look in your report."

Ryol bounced, grinning. "Nope. That's for rubbing in Arno's face. The report is going to be so businesslike and totally cool."

The gathering room outside the Dining hall was sparsely populated, nothing resembling a formal receiving line, but the President was fairly close to the entry and spotted them immediately.

"Ryol. What a pleasure to meet you."

Ryol was actually speechless as she shook his hand. Dipped her head like she was shy.

Rael giggled. "I'm afraid my 'niece and nephew' have been mentioned rather frequently. And now with all the fuss last year, they all know you're my daughter." She put some pride in that, and was amused to see Ryol blush.

Orde looked amused. "Almost twelve, so you're in junior high?"

Ryol gulped. "Yes sir, starting in a couple of months. It's, umm, going to be interesting, being in with a bunch of new people."

Rael winced a bit as the girl's tone wobbled a bit. Yeah, no more cozy little elementary. Now it'll be close to half the enclave all in one place. And they'll all know who and what you are.

"We had orientation last week, and they gave us homework! We supposed to spend the summer researching things for Social Studies and history." Indignant tones.

The president suppressed a smile. "You sound like Paer. At your age she though anything that didn't involve horses was a waste of time." He led the way into the dinning room and sat her beside him. "Have you figured out what you're going to research yet?"

Ryol was back in her usual chatty self. "Oh yes. Actually I'm helping Aunt Rael with a project of hers. She's researching the Warriors, and has a list of battle grounds where the Bags of the Prophets might have been lost. Since I can see the bubbles, we're going to go see if we can find any of them."

That caught everyone's attention.

Ajki, sitting across from Rael brightened. "What a fantastic idea!"

His new Subdirector of Criminal investigations nodded. "If you find one call me, I'll send a crime site team to, hmm, probably need some digging. At any rate, we can keep the object uncontaminated for . . . huh. I'll talk to some professorial types and see what they be looking for. Drat. It'll probably turn into an archeological dig and I won't get to play."

"Indeed." Orde stabbed lettuce and paused to talk. "Isakson probably knows if there were any others at Rangpur. But if you're going to check it, best do it first. The monsoon season is getting close."

Rael grinned. "We'll look over Seine park tomorrow. Then Rangpur. Heck, you'll need to look at it anyway, researching the Rangpur survivors." Her gaze drifted down the table to Qamar.

Qamar chewed a fingernail, shrugged. "I was too young to know who had one. Since they were pretty much a reminder that their father was dead, the warriors tended to be quiet about it." She caught Rael eye. "Is Daiki's Bag among the missing? One of the Deadly Dees might have had it."

Now everyone was staring at Qamar.

Rael hid a grin. Just outted yourself, girl.

Ajki turned to study her. He'd only been the Interior Director for . . . well over a year now, but with Qamar at University in New York, he obviously hadn't realized she was one of the Rangpur Survivors.

"The Deadly Dees?" Rael asked.

"Oh, they were brothers. Dave and Davos. Daiki's sons and their mother was a daughter of . . . William? I think. At any rate, Lucky Dave was her oldest son, and Davos her youngest with fourteen years and three daughters in between. At least that how my mother tells the story."

"Were they both Warriors?" a question from someone down the table.

"No, Dave didn't get the Oner gene, but he had the priest gene, of course. So his magic use was limited and subtle. He was in the Army. He traveled a lot with my father." Qamar pause, took a deep breath and kept going. "As commander of his bodyguard. Davos was a warrior. His wife and their two year old son were also at Rangpur and survived with us."

A middle-aged woman halfway down the table looked outraged. "Are you saying that the Prophet Daiki One was married to a Halfer for fourteen years!"

Qamar blinked. "Yes. She was his seventh wife. They all started off marrying into the Multitude, after the first battles. The first generation of their children were all halfers, and they usually kept to the three wives custom of the Arabs. Mind you, the Emirs of the time tended toward scores and sometimes hundreds of wives, but the Prophets traveled a lot and they weren't rich. Nor from a polygamous culture.

"Excuse me young lady, who are you?"

"I am Qamar ibn Nicholas ibn Victor ibn Carl. I was twelve years old at the fall of Rangpur."

An excited squeak escaped from Ryol. "Can I meet her, Rael?" she whispered.



Chapter Three

Dave gave himself three days to recuperate.

Not easy in a makeshift room maybe two meters by three meters, two meters tall.

Davos woke several times. Ate and renewed the healing spells that were suppressing the infections. Peritonitis. Gut shot. If he weren't the son of Daiki and the grandson of William he'd have died of his wounds, or my incompetent one handed stitchery, or the infections from the gut contents spread all over his abdominal cavity.

At least he's not getting worse. His guts are working. He can piss and poop, even if he's too shaky to stand.

Dave had briefly propped the handles open and lit a tiny fire. Boiled finely-minced not-really-dried-enough goat and a few greens in a tin can. The second day Nick had roused enough to drink it.

I've heard of the healing trance. I hope that is what is happening, and not head trauma, getting worse.

He'd long since managed to make a crutch. And a cane. Stolen native clothing when he'd encountered a fallen clothes lines as he crept along.

"I'll move to the road tonight. And then, maybe on the hard surface I can actually stand and get somewhere."

He closed his eyes and saw again the smoky battlefield they were losing. Had lost. Finding his little brother whimpering on the ground, holding his guts, trying to not scream. Davos had inherited the power gene, trained with the Warriors. Their father had given Davos the Bag. Lucky Dave was just a soldier. And elite guard, but only able to use magic in the smallest way.

Trained in field medicine . . . his brother's wounds were well beyond his skills, but the doctor was dead . . . dave had stitched up three rips in the small intestine, washed them and stuffed them back inside. Rough stitched the wound closed, because as soon as they found a doctor . . . escaped . . . He'd gotten his brother into the bag, and headed out.

Time to try to evade the Chinese troops, get to help in Calcutta . . . He'd tripped over Uncle Nick, limp on the ground. Stopped long enough to check . . . he was breathing. Put him in the bag.

A fuselage of shots, falling, right shoulder, a hit to the bone, right arm useless. Right shin . . . open fracture. Open the bag and crawl in, before the pain hit . . .

He shook his head. Forget it. Concentrate on what you must do.

Five weeks we were trapped in rubble, before they bulldozed the area and we were merely buried in dirt. And a damn good thing. We were nearly out of food. Thank God there was plenty of water, Davos and I both running fevers. Used up all the antibiotics. I had to be so careful starting feeding him. And Nick barely conscious enough to eat a few spoonfuls.

He popped the handles open. Rosie and dim. Dusk or Dawn? Only time would tell.

If I didn't have to stop to find food . . . and rest for days so often . . . Those three days? Something like eighty years passed on the outside. By now? Over a thousand years have passed. Everyone I've ever known or loved is dead.

Or dying here beside me.

He crawled out of the bubble and closed it. Pocketed it. Got out his compass and checked. That way. In the open, he could only hitch along, siting on his left hip, Reaching out with his left arm, curling his left leg under. Lift and push with his left leg and pull with his left arm and ease down to not jar the right leg and shoulder.

Over and over, until he got into the trees. Where he could reach up and grab a branch, sometimes even daring to stand and hop along for a few steps.

It got darker and he slowed further, until the gibbous moon rose and lit a winding footpath. He dragged himself along bit by bit and found the road.

Tarmac. Smooth. Much wider than the last time his creeping progress had encountered it.

He sat down on it and considered what was needed now. What order to do things in.

Shave first.

He'd kept his hair and beard short in the army, but if his eighty-years-ago glimpse was still relevant . . . He open the handles and pulled out the hygiene kit. There wasn't much soap left, but it would have to do.

 
 
 
matapampamuphoff on September 25th, 2017 08:48 pm (UTC)
Ra'd will quickly realize that the other One World may also have a Lucky Dave laboring to save his brother and his commander. But is he going to go find him openly, or sneak in with Nighthawk and take them all to Young Nick and those Survivors? I'm tending toward the later. :)