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20 November 2018 @ 10:04 pm
Random Scenes from NaNoWriMo 10  

Chapter


Dinner turned out to be a buffet in the school, with some new Fallen relatives.

Ryol nearly hyperventilated. “Ambassador Never is my great grandmother! And, and . . .”

Gior nodded. “One of Those Left Behind. A Comet Fall Old God.”

“Wolfgang Oldham. The God of War is our Grandfather!” Lala squeaked.

Ryol eased closer to the tall woman with the bright blue eyes. And the deep well of power just showing through her shields.

Lady Rustle Neverdaut smiled. “You must be Rael’s girl. Ryol is a much more . . . pronounceable name than most.”

Ryol blinked. “Have you met A . . . Rael?”

“Oh yes. She came to check on Xen, oh, almost a year ago now.” An exasperated sigh. “The last time he was seriously injured.”

Yeah, it was in the news . . . but he was back just a couple of weeks later, so the damage was obviously superficial.

“I hadn’t realized she’d ever been on Comet Fall. I mean after . . . umm, well. I can see where everyone might be leery of letting him get near Master Xen.”

Her newly discovered grandmother snorted. “I certainly was. She caught me by surprise just riding into Ash one evening.” Her eyes softened, and she looked across the room. “Then we saw them together. See how much space he keeps between himself and that person who’s vamping him? But Rael? No hesitation, and pulling her into a hug. Trusting her.”

Ryol bit her lip. “I think they’re trying to behave like acquaintances around us kids. Set a good example or something. But sometimes they just sort of lean on each other. It’s . . .” She broke off in confusion. And embarrassment. She blushed and made herself say it. “It’s like they’ve been in love for so long, they don’t have to say it out loud anymore.”

Rustle nodded. “It is a pity that they’re on opposite sides of something so close to war.”

“I think, after the Helios Cannibals, we really don’t want to go to war with you. At least I hope not. Master Xen is . . . a very interesting teacher. I’ve learned so much in three days it’s kind of a shock.”

“Umm, yes. Given the low level of magical training common on the One World, Xen may not be doing you kids any favors. From what my mother says, day-to-day magic use involves privacy shields and Speed in sport fencing. You’re all going to have to be careful about what you do in public, where people will notice it.”

“Oh . . . yeah. Especially just showing off.” Ryol squirmed. “Umm, did Master Xen tell you that Aunt Rael didn’t know . . .” She broke off at her Grandmother’s nod.

“That was a bit if a dirty trick . . . and probably quite understandable, as poor as our relations with the Empire have been.” She shrugged. “We’ve never made the slightest attempt to locate relatives of the half Oners we’ve raised. Never contacted the men who weren’t rapists, just casual lovers.”

“Were there any? I mean, even we don’t feel safe around the old kind of Action Teamers.”

“Not many. But your Philosopher Ajha was an Info Teamer on Comet Fall over fifty years ago. I believe his daughter met him once, briefly, his granddaughters never.”

“Oh. Wow.” Ajha the Philosopher! The Subdirector of Exploration! With half-Fallen kids like me!

Rustle shrugged. “So we’re kind of out of high ground to look down from and complain. I know of seven other half Oner children, without even searching my memory. Actually eight. Xen said you’d met the Smuggling sisters? Crimson was support staff for our infiltration and, well, Ocelot’s father is a Oner. Hopefully we can . . . regularize a friendly relationship and possibly connect to distant relatives . . . sometime.”

Ryol swallowed. “Yeah.” It came out a nervous squeak. Master Xen meeting my parents and grandparents. Other grandparents. Eep! Some of the things Grandad has to say about his daughter and . . . my biofather. And I don’t think Dad will appreciate Master Xen either, and Mom . . . what will Master Xen think about the woman who took Rael’s children? His children.

“That could be . . . interesting.” Ryol looked around the room. “Hopefully not as large a shock as twenty-seven teenaged grandchildren to meet, all at once.”

Rustle chuckled. “So introduce me to some more of them.”

Which was easy enough. Lady Rustle looked so non-threatening, compared to the God of War. Or even the Ambassador and Duke Dydit. At least those two got enough mention on the news to be . . . known. And frequently at odds with our government. And thus, scary, in person.

Wolf had half the kids looking for a place to hide, even with him showing just a tiny bit of “polite society” glow.

There’s glow, and then there’s deep. And he’s DEEP!

Lady Rustle nodded. “The Ash kids grow up around him, and think nothing of it. Even the Rip kids see him often enough to not feel threatened.”

Ryol concentrated on stiffening up her mental mirror.

The grand- and great grand-parents talked to everyone, and didn’t stay too long.

Ryol wasn’t the only kid to collapse in relief. “It’s not that they’re not perfectly nice, and well mannered. They’re just so very . . . very.”

Chapter Horses

/// Day 5

Instead of watching eight guys walk around looking at the ground as they built new water mains, Arno slipped away and tried to chat up some of the Fallen kids. His other new found half siblings. They all had jobs, mostly in the barn. Arno'd never had anything to do with horses, but a big dark brown animal had walked up and talked him through the basics of brushing a horse.

Levi'd laughed. "That's Dad's horse. Pyrite is one of the originals, the God Horses, some people call them."

"Originals? Did you, the Fallen magicians, I mean, make them?"

The horse shook his head.

A building. A laboratory. Men in white coats, needles.

Arno blinked as the vision faded.

:: Earth. Then there was The Black. Then Xen freed me. ::

Levi nodded. "It was the God of Art that grabbed them. Have you seen the inside-out bubbles? From the outside, they like, coat whatever's inside like a coat of bronze paint. Inside they've got a ten thousand to one time dilation, so whatever is inside ages very slowly. A week, outside, feels like a minute inside. A double bubble, and you can't even measure any movement. Art triple bubbled a bunch of horses and displayed them in his museum. That's where most of the God Horses came from."

Like what Master Xen did to Aunt . . . my biomom . . . when she was ordered to kill him.

"And Art's dead." Xavi crossed behind them, leading another horse. "He bubbled people, too. Seriously nasty person."

Arno boggled. "He didn't, like, display people like statues, did he?"

Levi nodded.

"Wow. Like . . . Rael.” Aunt Rael said Master Xen had a reason—to keep her safe until those War Party idiots got kicked back out of power—and she didn’t mind. I’m not sure she was being entirely truthful, I think it bothered her.

“Yeah . . . that was a weird couple of months.

He staggered as he was bumped from behind.

:: I haven't been brushed yet. :: An elegant black creature.

Was she the one who given his a ride out of the Maze? He got to work with the brush.

Arno spent all of his free time, and some that ought not have been, out with the horses, and a couple of the other half-Oner kids joined him. Rain was already horse crazy, and an expert rider. Utly was a city boy, and had had lessons.

Arno learned how to ride, both with and without tack. Fell in love with the big black filly.


Then a tour of Karista, with the Chaperones horrified at exposing the children to the unknown pathogens of a medieval level civ.

Aunt Rael had snickered. “Do you mean, these vicious people might try to keep them? Or worse, the kids might not want to return?”

Six glares.

***

The rest of the long week was solid magic.

Exercise in the mornings, then lectures, history, magic, some magical practices that involved chanting odd little poems and songs as "charms" that could be woven together into "spells." Followed by work on the beach. Brute force introduction, then more delicate applications and control.

Some of them were handy. Illusions, unnoticeable.

"Please don't do it in traffic. Really." Master Xen finally got his laugh out of them.

Telepathy. At amazing distances, that had the Princesses and Priest gawping. Again.

Shields. Mental, and then physical. To her astonishment, the telekinesis techniques could be thinned and hardened into a shield that could stop telekinetic effects, as well as ordinary pressure, blows . . . Master Xen shot Yrno with Lala's gun. The sheer momentum of the bullet knocked the idiot flat. And otherwise unharmed. So they practiced anchoring their shields to the ground, angling them to deflect projectiles rather than have to absorb all the force.

It was . . . astonishing.

And over.

 
 
 
mbarkermbarker on November 21st, 2018 07:12 am (UTC)
Ouch... took them up on a high place and showed them all the riches that could be their's, and then... back to ordinary life.
(Anonymous) on November 21st, 2018 08:49 am (UTC)
A thought...

If the Elves still haven't made second contact, maybe it's because "Warlord Ebsa" managing to teach Zhodan how to do what was apparently a fairly impressive "Force blade. From that far away.", in the few weeks/months they had custody of the kids, was roughly equivalent to Xen on the "a very interesting teacher" front.

I mean, on the one hand, rescuing Zhodan & Ngorei, then looking after & teaching them is a definite plus, on the other hand if Zhodan is now better at what Ebsa taught him than the average "Warlord"...
ekuah on November 21st, 2018 08:55 am (UTC)
Two suggestions:
Mentioning Rustle's god thingy, a.k.a The Dark Lady.
To show the kids that great power comes with a big price tag.

Mentioning what Answer did the Art.
To show them to never piss off a senior sister.
(Anonymous) on November 21st, 2018 10:14 am (UTC)
Re: Two suggestions:
Someone still needs to point out to Answer that "Witches don't marry" isn't preventing men having power over them, it's just granting us a different power over them.

If she really wants to assert the independence & power of Witches she needs to embrace "Witches can make any decision they want to", & accept that for some that means declaring they own the father of their children...

(What? Is there anything in definition that says Marriage can only mean the male partner owns the female(s) but not the reverse?)
(Anonymous) on November 21st, 2018 01:12 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Two suggestions:
It's an old Comet Fall tradition that witches don't marry. Michaela's mother was married. Tne Ash witches didn't approve when her father showed up in Ash but they reluctantly accepted it. Their main issue was that she should never be subservient to him.
(Anonymous) on November 21st, 2018 05:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Two suggestions:
Witches don't marry predates Answer by more than a thousand years. It was a tradition that sprung up almost immediately after the Exile.
matapampamuphoff on November 21st, 2018 09:05 pm (UTC)
Witches and Weddings
Witches and Mages were what I came up with in a "War of the sexes in the future with magic added" mental exercise. Then my backbrain decided it liked the idea and added it to my peaceful little village of Ash.

It was already well established in print by the second story in "Exiles and Gods."
(Anonymous) on December 7th, 2018 03:35 am (UTC)
Bullets do not knock people down
Unless you are hit with a .50 rifle round, a bullet will not knock you down. Or to put it another way, if the bullet will knock you down, firing it will knock the shooter down.