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05 November 2018 @ 09:20 am
Random Scenes from NaNoWriMo 2  

Xen nodded. Just so we all know where we stand.

“And keeping an eye on the kids.” Izmo added.

I was planning on teaching the kids, not the chaperones. This could be interesting.

Chapter

Kid talk

“ . . . use vehicles of various sorts, we’re more likely to ride horses. These horses, specifically, are the descendants of the horses in the genetic engineering labs. They have a high number of human genes and . . .”

Arno lost track of the lecture as he stared at the horses.

The horses could talk!

Arno looked from horse to horse as words and mental impressions of ear twitches, head tosses, tail swishes, and words flowed past.

:: A whole herd of Xen’s foals! ::

:: Well of course, he’s very good breeding material. ::

:: I’m surprised there haven’t been a lot more. ::

:: He’s not stallion stupid. Human mares try to manipulate men. HE won’t allow that. ::

:: Snort. Just like you, Pyrite? ::

An amused wicker, aloud this time. :: No. HE has a favorite lead mare. Two of the foals are hers. I’m surprised they haven’t had more. But little humans are so slow growing that, for them, it is sensible to spread them out. ::

More snorts. :: Well, this is a nice little herd of them. Maybe we can keep some of them. ::

Arno stumbled over his big feet as he tried to stay with the group, while looking back and trying to figure out which horse was saying what.

And organize his thoughts.

Morning exercises, starting with a long run.

Long for me. Aunt Rael could do it easy, I’ll bet.

Then breakfast, and off he goes to keep peace in the Multiverse, with help from talking horses.

Well, Dad goes to the gym after work, not before, but he does keep the peace.

Arno snickered at the thought of his dad’s underlings in the role of talking horses . . .

But it’s not that different a lifestyle, just sort of “Cop’s Life” with a weird twist to it.

And he didn’t try to get any of us to call him dad or anything, so that’s a relief. I guess this week won’t be too bad.

He looked back at the horses. Did one of them say they wanted keep us? Does . . . Master Xen want to keep us? Any of us? I may be Aunt Rael’s biokid, but I’m hardly stand out in this crowd. Heck, with no power I’m probably one of the culls.

But back in the school, or training center or whatever, Master Xen just disbursed piles of coins and turned them loose.

“Unpack, look around, whatever. Just pop into the restaurant whenever you’re hungry, they’ll put everything on my tab.

“And since there’s a seven hour time difference between here and Paris, I won’t get you up too early in the morning.” A flash of teeth in a quick grin. “The day-after-tomorrow, on the other hand, I’ll roust you out for some exercise at dawn.”

Universal groans, then the man went away and left them looking around at each other.

Ryol trotted off down the right corridor. “I’m going to unpack, and change clothes.” A bunch of girls followed her.

Arno rolled his eyes. “Girls!”

Yrno laughed. “Sisters! Yeah, I’ve got some back home. I’m going to go see if I can meet any women who aren’t related to me! Or some form of entertainment.”

Most of the guys drifted back out the doors after him.

Arno looked east, but the horses had all moved off. I’ll try to talk to them later.

He followed the other guys as they head for the plaza . . . or knowing Yrno, for those girls sitting on the patio of the pastry shop.

***

Ryol swapped to a prettier blouse, and decided to take a jacket along. It is winter here, and the air’s dry, so the temps may drop if we stay out past sunset.

Some of the girls—her sisters—were sitting at the tables, heads together, giggling. No welcome signs out, so Ryol walked past them and out the door. She spotted Arno in the group around the pastry shop, and walked that way.

It’s weird, not being around people who know me. She squirmed a bit. People who know I’m one of the cool kids, one of the in-group. And I’d better get used to it. Dad’s new job is just temporary . . . for now. He’s got a small apartment in Gate City, and comes home every Friday and leaves again Monday morning. But what if that changes in the next few months? If the External Relation Directorate hires him full time, we’ll move. We’ll go to high school there, with complete strangers.

Not that we wouldn’t be among mostly strangers at La Playa, but all the kids, all our friends, would be there too. But Gate City would be like this.

So, get used to introducing yourself and finding new friends, Girl!

Starting here. There’re some strangers in the bunch.

She straightened her shoulders and sashayed up to thump her twin on the shoulder. “Hey Arno.”

A few heads turned her way, and a couple of the guys’ eyes widened.

Arno grinned at her. He’d always kidded her about her looks. “The boggling guys are Epic and Irwun. Epic and Arwen are in college—in fact they were trying to write joint research paper, when all of us showed up—Irwun and Zodiac are cross-dimensional traders, and everyone else is in high school here.”

“Cross-dimensional Traders?” Irwun was a drop dead gorgeous blond. She tried to not drool. Zodiac and Epic aren’t bad, either. I wonder where they’re from?

And . . . is it just the light, or do those two younger boys, and those two girls have purple hair?”

“Just what it sounds like.” Irwun flashed beautiful straight teeth. “We trade with several worlds that connect to the Maze. It’s great fun, and we make a ton of money.”

“The Maze?” Must not drool!

“A bunch of worlds, some that Xen and Q discovered, and used to set up a way to keep you Oners from following them home when they spied on you—that was before they figured out how to take down the permanent gates.” Beautiful smile, fantastic glow. Down girl! He must be a Fallen wizard, or mage. And damn being fourteen! All the lectures form everyone about waiting . . .

“Ooolala.” A whisper from behind her. Gior, with Foyh.

Ryol ignored them. “Do you need a permit to use the Maze?”

Irwun and Zodiac both laughed.

Zodiac shook his shiny black hair out of his eyes. “Nope. It’s wide-open. Lot’s of people camp back there.”

Irwun grinned, showing a lot of big teeth. “Want to see it?” He hopped off the porch and headed up the diagonal road, away from the plaza.

The boys all chorused a yes! Ryol nodded. After all, I’m with my twelve brothers. What could possibly go wrong?

 
 
 
cnmckenney on November 5th, 2018 05:38 pm (UTC)
Flinch
What could possibly go wrong?

I have the distinct urge to scrunch my eyes closed, pull my shoulders up above my ears and cover my head with both arms while crouching as low as I can get, hiding behind the nearest stone wall. My imagination is cringing.

What could go wrong?!?!?!?!
1. Invasion by another dimensional civilization thru the Maze.
2. Pick up and bring back a new virus that targets unmodified Earthers.
3. Run across the world that the escaping Earth mercenaries settled on.
4. Open a new gate into an un-contacted Elf world with ... issues...
5. Open a new gate and end up on top of the mountain confronting Never.

Shall I go on?
matapampamuphoff on November 5th, 2018 06:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Flinch
Fortunately they don't have any dimensional training.

Now if only they'd paid more attention as they were led through eight gates and corridors . . . it's not called the Maze for nothing.

Edited at 2018-11-05 06:20 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on November 5th, 2018 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Flinch
With their genetics and their parents never taught them to not even think What could go wrong?". They should have been taught to think "What WILL go wrong and can Pam make a story of it?".
matapampamuphoff on November 5th, 2018 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Flinch
Poor Characters! At the mercy of an author who occasionally remembers that Try-Fail cycles, or at least emotional ups and down need to happen in stories.
(Anonymous) on November 6th, 2018 03:34 am (UTC)
Re: Flinch
Pretty sure Ryol & Arno are the only one's who might've gotten Situational Awareness training from their parents, the rest are the children of women whose primary skill was marrying for political advantage (I'm not saying that they're stupid, or that it's not a skill, but these aren't cops or Action Teamers).
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 12:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Re: Flinch
They're all city kids. And slightly over protected 14 year olds. Half the boys have had fencing lessons, the girls ballet. Arno and Ryol have had sporadic martial arts and pre-blossom meditation from their Aunt.

You know . . . Ox has probably taught them to shoot. Hmm . . . Lala may not be the only armed kid.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on November 5th, 2018 09:40 pm (UTC)
Questions for Pam in December.

Can someone who hasn't touched magic receive telepathy?

Some work to do on timelines and continuity since in the Bank Vault rescue Xen thinks Arno is already using magic and this is before Ox joins XR
(Anonymous) on November 5th, 2018 10:07 pm (UTC)
I think the bank vault rescue may be part of this story. If goddess Pam thinks that's the right way to go.
matapampamuphoff on November 5th, 2018 10:55 pm (UTC)
While several scenes from the original _Children of a Foreign God_ will eventually get slotted in here, I'm writing all new stuff, and a whole different problem, for NaNoWriMo.

Since this is the story that's in the #2 slot, right after _Scrambled_ you guys can count on getting the complete combined version fairly soon.
matapampamuphoff on November 5th, 2018 11:12 pm (UTC)
No. No telepathy until they've grasped power, and then over quite limited distances (for Oners) increasing as they mature.

They've got mental shields sufficient for ordinary privacy, very weak and wobbly for the few who haven't consciously grasped power yet.

Think of this as a complete rewrite, but lots of scenes will get pulled in and updated, after NaNo.

Edited at 2018-11-05 11:12 pm (UTC)
mbarkermbarker on November 6th, 2018 12:38 am (UTC)
No projectives who can send a thought to even those without magic?
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 12:59 am (UTC)
The sending isn't the problem, the receiving, on the other hand . . . It is a matter of the brain maturing to the ability to do magic, which usually happens about the same time they can grasp power, and thus have the energy to do cool stuff.

In some cases they might be enough out of sync that a child could receive messages and even do some magic before they were able to tap outside forces.

In _The Boy_ I had 10 year old Axbe able to read minds, but, having had no training, he had only subconscious power collection, and thus no control over it. Ebsa's lessons allowed him to deliberately start fires, but he was probably close to spontaneously burning things down.
(Anonymous) on November 6th, 2018 01:10 am (UTC)
Arno thinks that he has not grasped power and in fact that he may not have any, but he hears the horses?
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 04:27 am (UTC)
Oner's generally "blossom" at about 18. This whole group of kids is precocious. Arno is no more worried about "what if it never happens!" than any other Oner child. He's only barely learned he was half Fallen before he had a Priest commenting on how mentally loud he is.

He's too busy boggling over talking horses to think that maybe he could mentally communicate back at them, or other people. Don't worry, Xen's going to notice he's using gravity.
(Anonymous) on November 5th, 2018 11:36 pm (UTC)
Yum. Did Irwun and Alin do two year rotation? Are they in line for the throne?
(Anonymous) on November 5th, 2018 11:37 pm (UTC)
Princess Ryol of Kingdom of the West?
(Anonymous) on November 6th, 2018 03:39 am (UTC)

That's a good point, has anyone suggested to the Oner government that under Kingdom of the West law Xen's kids may technically be in line (somewhere) to inherit from the Crown & Spear, the various high nobles of the province containing Ash, & the nobles & leaders of Ash itself (IIRC Nil adopted Dydit?)...
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 04:28 am (UTC)
Re:
Nope these kids are definitely illegitimate.
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 04:34 am (UTC)
Re:
Nighthawk, as a witch's daughter, is legitimate, ditto Panther, Roe, and Saiga.

However, being female, if the Council decided to include female offspring, they'd be so far down the line as to be out of sight. Staven and Rebo have two sisters, Garit's got five sisters, just for starters.

Inheriting from Rufi, you've got Never and her sisters and all their daughters ahead of Xen's daughters.

Edited at 2018-11-06 04:36 am (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 01:01 am (UTC)
Not yet. One thing that I may put in here is Xen twisting their arms and getting them in.
(Anonymous) on November 6th, 2018 04:35 am (UTC)
Toward the end of "Meet the Family" Rufi was telling Easterly and Janic that he knew they needed more magicians. Would they be good candidates - assuming their two year tour goes well?

--TheOtherSean
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 04:46 am (UTC)
I really don't think Rufi would hire Oners for his Intel or Royal bodyguards.

They do actively try to recruit witches, and all of Xen's Western daughters (and sons) could enlist, and no doubt Rufi could get the boys into the Two Year Rotation. Not sure the Army is ready for noble daughters to jump straight into the Officers' Training route. A few, Like Deena, have come up through the ranks and earned respect through proven toughness and fighting ability.
matapampamuphoff on November 6th, 2018 04:52 am (UTC)
Sorry, brain has quit for the day.

If Irwun and Alin do well in their rotation, they will be offered a regular commision in the army, while their demonstrated abilities change the tenor of the occasional attempt to finalize the official succession.

Whether they will accept, or go back to smuggling, or go get advanced magical training--they have the Witch and the royal version of the Mage genes--or something else . . . is completely up in the air.