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11 January 2018 @ 11:37 am
_Cooking Hot_ part 16  
"See? My mother always said you'd throw me over and break my heart."

She shook her fist at him.

Ebsa grabbed it and kissed her knuckles . . . retreated hastily. "And I'd better start dinner or I won't be able to support a wife and everyone will nod knowingly and make snide remarks about gigolos."

 They followed the graveled path to the paved paths between the buildings and out to the main courtyard. Some odd clinks . . . Paer straightened and trotted ahead and around the corner.

Ebsa followed and found Paer surrounded by black horses . . . or rather Black Horse Guards.

". . . trot them all through until they take it in stride. I hadn't realized it was worse than a corridor." Yfda, the head of the Drill Team was dressed casually today.
All the riders looked around as a horse leaped through the gate, snorting and prancing.

Paer giggled. "Poor babies, ruining their spook-proof reputations. Mind you, I agree with them."

Ebsa snickered. "Oh, it's not that much worse. But a good thing they're getting practice . . . Oops, Baron just put on the brakes,"

Paer glanced at him, then pulled him aside. "Ebsa . . . people keep saying things . . . When I look through the gate it's foggy. I wasn't sure which horse that was. What do you see?"

 Ebsa eyed her. "It clear and sharp. No fog at all . . . C'mere."

"What? Where are we going?
"To find Xen Wolfson. Or Dr. Quicksilver. She's the expert, after all."

"Ebsa . . . ?"

"Paer, you know Nighthawk always had to have one of us look through the gates to see what was on the other side."


Ebsa grinned at her horrified expression. "All right. You watch the horses and I'll grab what I need from the kitchenette and start dinner. Then tonight we'll hunt down Wolfson."

"Arg!" Paer swept her fingers through her hair. "No, right now. Otherwise I'll find a perfectly good reason to not ever ask him about it." She straightened her shoulders and headed for Disco.

I hope I don't regret this!

Wolfson was in. And waved them up to his office. "Thank you for bringing the law student around. Andrei wants to hire him. He's not only typed everything in, he's organizing it. And spotting holes and asking until he gets answers."

He pulled out chairs in invitation and sat behind the desk. "So what has you two so on edge?"

Paer spread her hands. "I'd noticed some discrepencies in what people said about gates, and what I see, but it wasn't until a few minutes ago that I realized that everyone else was just ignoring the fog I see . . ."

She broke off and Wolfson slapped his hands down on his desk.

"Paer! Do you mean to tell me thatafter testing hundred of Oners for dimensional ability, one of the Oners I know best is the One I ought to have started with?"

He sat back and snatched something out of thin air and twisted and manipulated it and set it—still looking like nothing—on the desk. "What do you see?
Ebsa shook his head, but Paer was peering at the desk.

"There's . . . sort of a blue glow. Pretty dim, almost imaginary." Paer looked worried. "What is it?"

"A test and a training tool. You have a bit of dimensional ability—the first Oner I've found with any at all. That it's so dim means that it's probably not strong enough that you can ever do anything with it. I wonder what the genetic basis is for it. I'd thought none of the Prophets had dimensional talent."

Paer frowned. "I'm, both my parents, are Ottoman Clan. We're supposed to be descended from Alexander the Traitor. Ra'd said that the Prophet Fatma was pregnant at the arrival, and Alexander was her son."

Wolfson nodded. "And maybe his father was a Telie from one of the other groups. Someone with dimensional ability. How interesting."

Ebsa followed that though down a hole. "We underwent two periods where we, the Oners, practiced a lot of outcrossing. And while we later concentrated the insertion genes . . . we ignored, or were unaware of, the rest of them."

"Oh." Paer raised her brows. "So I've got, what? The basic dimensional genes, but not the, well, helper genes?"

Wolfson nodded. "Something like that. Tell your father, or Urfa, that I'll test anyone. And since you are going to be here for three months, I'll work with you and see if just knowing it possible will help you focus on the ability and develop it."

Ebsa followed his glance toward the door.

Good hovering. "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. Just something about land ownership . . . "

"Oh. I suppose that's another big hole."

"Yeah. You sell the land for the embassies, but what about the businesses? The houses? There's nothing, no laws about it. No regulations or procedures."

"Oh. Well . . . right. Check with both your people and Earth's for the sort of laws we need about it, massively streamline it and give copies to me, Lon and Inso. We'll hash out something, no doubt arguing with your father all the way."

"Right, assuming dad comes in to work tomorrow. He caught something, but his secretary says it can't be too bad, he sounded a bit tired, but happy, when she called to check on him this morning."
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on January 11th, 2018 06:18 pm (UTC)
Testing the President is easy enough, but whoever is sent to test Paer's mother will need to have high qualifications in diplomacy.
matapampamuphoff on January 11th, 2018 07:39 pm (UTC)
I have Ebsa penciled in as meeting Paer's mom in the Wedding Story. And of course, Paer meeting Ebsa's mom, which will be much more fun to write.

We'll just have to see if Ebsa has nerve enough to ask her what she sees looking through corridors and gates.

:: snicker :: I may not be able to resist.

"Corridors? I hate those things. 'don't enter until the car ahead clears the striped zone' indeed. How can you tell? You can't see through the damned things at all."

"Oh, uh, what do you do?"

"Well, I wait a bit. People honk at me but what do they expect? I much prefer planes, but they've cancelled half the routes."
ekuah on January 11th, 2018 08:07 pm (UTC)
Does Paer's Mom...
...really need full dimensional ability?
That would make her suddenly a hot marriage prospect.

Imagine Paer with a bunch of half siblings.

I know, I know the infertility of high Oner women.
But if they need to, the One would choose one of it's high ranking priests, fill him up to the brim with joy juice, and let mother nature takes it's course.

Basically the same what had obviously happened to Good's father.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on January 11th, 2018 10:51 pm (UTC)
So are you implying that when Paer drove corridors in an official car in the 'rescue Nighthawk' subsection of Directorate School? she just bashed ahead through the mist?

Edited at 2018-01-11 10:51 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on January 11th, 2018 11:21 pm (UTC)
No, for Paer it's just a little foggy. Enough that she wasn't sure which black horse was balking on the far side of a gate.

For her Mom, even a corridor is a total whiteout. Sign of a strong dimensional ability.
(Anonymous) on January 11th, 2018 11:46 pm (UTC)
Years of field work as an External Relations Directorate agent, including 18 months or so as part of Ajha's team rescuing people from the Helios, and this is the first time it comes up? I find that a little surprising - it doesn't quite break suspension of disbelief, but it is definitely startling to me as a reader.

matapampamuphoff on January 12th, 2018 02:33 am (UTC)
I've mentioned a couple of times Paer thinking it was foggy on the other side. In Surveillance, for instance, she decided it must be an effect of Xen's illusions. And as I say, for her it's just a thin fog.

Edited at 2018-01-12 02:34 am (UTC)
muirecanmuirecan on January 12th, 2018 05:03 am (UTC)
yep and for some reason I got confused by perfectly plain clues about who it was foggy for. I kept thinking you had said Ebsa but I knew you had already said Ebsa doesn't have dimensional abilities.
(Anonymous) on January 12th, 2018 05:54 am (UTC)
I've probably read that story three times, and I never noticed that. Oh, well.
ekuah on January 11th, 2018 08:15 pm (UTC)
A completely separate thing:
Do you still need problems which could happen during the fair?

Does have to be nice harmless pranks?
Or can it be also dangerous sabotage?
(But circumvented by ingenious counter sabotage)
matapampamuphoff on January 11th, 2018 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: A completely separate thing:
Oh sure. I haven't written it yet, so the possibilities are wide open.
ekuah on January 11th, 2018 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: A completely separate thing:
Do you want it as a post here, for open discussion?
Or would you more like it as a PM, to not spoil it for the others?
matapampamuphoff on January 11th, 2018 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: A completely separate thing:
Go ahead and put it here. I like sparking discussions.
cnmckenney on January 12th, 2018 12:40 am (UTC)
Re: A completely separate thing:
1. Original Earth decides to take the One world down a peg and sabotages the food of the embassy chef but miss Ebsa entirely. Arbola catches the saboteurs and strings them on a clothesline on their embassy grounds. Diplomacy is committed.

2. One world decides to monkey with the witches food and gets caught. Witches serve some sort of goat entree. When tasked with the whereabouts utter innocence is generated. "where are the goats?" "We served goat goulash all day today. Ran out. everyone loved it." Much laughter. Perps show up 3 days later, tied to the central fountain with no memory of the last 5 days.

3. Aunt Susto gets a booth selling 'Castoff Treasures' out the front and potions out the back. To anyone who shows up, Oners, Earthers, ... .

4. Someone slips 'THE WINE' into the horse water for the Black Guards' horses.

5. ???
ekuah on January 12th, 2018 08:57 am (UTC)
Re: A completely separate thing:
About 2.
I think the Agents of Warmonger Earth and Empire of the One know far to well about 'do not mess with witches'. You need some less 'experienced' party to foul up.

How about some snobs from the British Empire don't believing the stories and learn the truth the hard way.

Edited at 2018-01-12 10:48 am (UTC)
ekuah on January 12th, 2018 10:15 am (UTC)
Re: A completely separate thing:
My idea was that someone from the One world is poisoning the horses of the Blackhorse guards one or two days before the show.
(I don't know, are the Blackhorse guard ministry or directorate? Anyway, the culprits comes from the other group.)

The poison is very potent and horses can be only saved by using joy juice. Paer, Xen and several others are quite pissed, that 'innocents' were harmed by the political foulplay.

Although no horse is lost, they are in no shape for the show. Because an equine mass hanky-panky IS NOT the display they wanted to show.
So they are short on horses.
And since the show programs are already printed and they don't want to loose face, they scramble to get hands on halfway trained black horses.
This is where Xen is smuggling some smart horses in.
(He can't use Jet or Phantom because they may disappear when their god is called)
So he has to use pyrite and some smart 'youngster horses' in disguise (black hair spell).

Those undercover horses could then play havok on further sabotage attempts and prevent harm from the legitimate 'black horses'.

Additional thought 1:
Maybe he has also to blackmail 'the old dun' in.
"I can understand why you are not found of that 'stupid prancing around in formation' but I also know that the 'old decrepit gelding' is just an act of yours to get near the mares.
"How would you like it, when the horse handlers in Fort Crossroads learn about who sired all those foals in their stables?"
::You wouldn't dare::

Additional thought 2:
Xen has to switch legitimate Oner horses with undercover smart horses to get them an identity and pedigree.
So he has to emulate the stallion/gelding/mare ratio of those Oner horses.
In the end, he is one mare short.
So he asks Pyrite if he is 'okay' to have male to female spell on him.
::Don't forget, I'm magic too. Try it and the next day your girlfriend have to learn that you suddenly have larger teats than her::
(or are they called udders on horses?)

Sorry for my bad English and the higgledy-piggledy sounding ideas. But English is only my second language.
(Anonymous) on January 11th, 2018 08:24 pm (UTC)
What are the chances that Ebsa has the helper genes?
ekuah on January 11th, 2018 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Genetics
Ebsa has Emre in his more recent family tree. (or am I wrong?)
But even he hasn't those helper genes, it shouldn't be problem to add them.
(Anonymous) on January 11th, 2018 09:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Genetics
I think that that is Rael rather than Ebsa. We know very little about Ebsa's ancestors more than one generation back.
matapampamuphoff on January 11th, 2018 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Genetics
No telling what Ebsa's got, but Alexander the Traitor's reputation was bad enough that his descendants didn't start marrying out until fairly late in the One's history. So the dimensional genes are not widespread.
(Anonymous) on January 12th, 2018 12:28 am (UTC)
RE: Re: Genetics
What happened to him? Maybe he's been in hiding and Ebsa's grandma caught him? Oh, the possibilities.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on January 11th, 2018 11:00 pm (UTC)
Comet Fall - Kingdom of the West has a Land Register as I assume has every Empire of the One colony so a basic set of rules are known to all?
matapampamuphoff on January 11th, 2018 11:26 pm (UTC)
They sort of operated on a "Xen and Disco have the right to sell land, so mark the corners, pay the money and it's yours."

There's _nothing_ written down. No regulations, laws, procedures . . . about land ownership. No registry.

I need to publish Recall sometime, and get Aunt Andrei in there to straighten that out.
(Anonymous) on January 12th, 2018 04:02 am (UTC)
Does the Kingdom have a Registry, or does each individual Land Grant Holder have one? If the second, I suspect that Wolfgang's is just a loose-leaf notebook that he scribbles things down in. After all there are/were very few people in his grant. Thus Xen might not have though "must have a Registry" as a basic requirement.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on January 12th, 2018 05:30 pm (UTC)
Kingdom of the West has an annual land tax, so some work is required. Xen's brain skipped from "no tax" to "no need"?

In Ash the mayor probably does the work - see the various items where a plot is bought and the witches build. Cascades shows the process of buying and subdividing for housing and refers to Courthouse/ Land Office.
matapampamuphoff on January 12th, 2018 05:44 pm (UTC)
Taxes get levied on all sorts of things. I suspect the Council tells each Duke/Governor/Marshall how much his province or territory owns the kingdom, and the locals raise the money however works best for them.

In the New lands, there's probably a tax on gold.
In a city, a sales tax, or income tax. In the country a property tax.

Fortunately, as the author, I can skate past the details until I need them for something.
matapampamuphoff on January 12th, 2018 06:12 pm (UTC)
Xen and Garit, being the defacto rulers of Embassy start right off getting the operating funds for the government by selling land for embassies. Get the Rip Mages in to do the water system and wind up with an office building and restaurant . . .

Eight years later, it's about time they started getting things down on paper.
cnmckenney on January 13th, 2018 02:38 am (UTC)
Plate size
Harking back to part 3 - May I suggest a 15-16cm plate vs 12cm?