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27 November 2018 @ 08:31 am
Before the first trip to Embassy  


“Ebsa! Oh Thank the One! Someone I can scream at!” Ryol flew down the stairs and grabbed Ebsa’s arm.

“Ryol!” Mom sounded upset.

“Sorry Mom Hi Ebsa how’s Paer and the twins and hey can I talk to you about something? Good. C’mon up, Arno needs a dose of your common sense, and I need to vent. All my plans for the rest of the holiday are shot down in flames, and that’s smallest part of this whole disaster . . .” She dragged her step brother up two flights of stairs.

“Umm, Ryol . . .”

“What? I’m not going to invite you into my bedroom. I need to find Arno and get his permission to talk about this mess!”

Arno’s door opened. “What are yelling about, this time? Ebsa! Oh, sanity!”

Ryol gulped. “Yeah. Can we tell him?”

“Yeah, get in there.” Her brother heaved out a breath of relief.

Her stepbrother looked from one to the other. “Okay. You two aren’t acting like anyone died, but even your mom looks upset. So . . . ?”

Ryol took a deep breath and tried to figure out where to start.

Arno just nodded. “We just found out that Aunt Rael is our biomother and Xen Wolfson is our biofather. And they’re going to take us, and our 25 half siblings to Embassy for special training.”

Ebsa stared, then sat down. “Holy crap! That’s . . . a load to dump on you. Are you guys all right?”

Ryol flapped her arms. “Mostly . . . but . . . they’ll call us monsters, when the news leaks! And it will! Nobody can keep secrets!”

“It’s just a stupid label. You’re the same people you’ve always been.” His eyes narrowed. “Training on Embassy? Do they think you can make gates?”

Ryol nodded. “Aunt . . . Rael . . . I don’t even know what to call her anymore! She went to HIM! And brought back these weird cube things, and since we could see them, it means we have the dimensional talent and might be able to make corridors and gates some time.”

Ebsa whistled. “Look. I understand that you’re kind of shaken up right now. Especially about Rael. But she’s always loved you. Just, now you know she’s more than an aunt.”

Arno shifted. “Except . . . she didn’t know either. She was in a coma for two months after the assassination attempt. They did an embryo transplant, instead of an abortion . . .”

“Because the metabolic load was reducing her chances of survival.” Ryol sniffed. I can’t believe I’m crying. I’m not a baby. “She cried when she found out. Last week.”

“Nobody’d ever told her.” Arno added.

“Oh. That’s . . . a big tangle of lies, isn’t it?” He sat back and thought about it. “Okay, as Ra’d says. The first thing is to not make things worse. To . . . keep the peace within the family. Reduce the emotional levels. Ryol? No more screaming and shrieking about life not being fair.”

“But . . .”

“No. Reduce the emoting. Calm everything down. I suspect everyone is operating on high emotions right now. It is very important that you guys do all you can to calm everybody else down. You make sure your Mom and Dad know you love them, and you make sure Rael knows that you love her.”

Arno nodded.

Ryol heaved out a deep breath. “Yeah. That makes sense. Because . . .”

“It could get messy.” Arno said. “Legally. Better to peacefully share us.”

Ryol choked on a scream. Legally? For custody? But . . . everyone knows birth mothers have the superior rights . . . except in a few cases where the embryo was deliberately stolen. Which isn’t the case here . . . really . . . it’s that gray area stuff.

Aunt Rael would not accuse Mom of kidnapping. I’m certain of that.

“Yeah, they need to calm down and make something like a shared custody agreement. Let Aunt Rael take you for half the summer or some such.” Ebsa squinted a bit. “They’re sending you to Embassy? Good. Everyone can calm down and start thinking.”

Arno bit his lip. “That is good, isn’t it?

Ebsa nodded. “I think so. Holy crap. You two have my number, and I’m living in Gate City. I can be on Embassy inside of an hour. Call me if you need me.”

Ryol nodded. “Thanks, Ebsa. That really helps. I guess I needed a safety net.”

“Just remember. You are who you are. That hasn’t changed.”

(Anonymous) on November 27th, 2018 06:38 pm (UTC)
Another nice, cleanly hitting all the high points without looking like it's trying, piece!

Thank you.
(Anonymous) on November 28th, 2018 12:53 am (UTC)
It doesn't feel quite right. It feels a little rushed, not a typical Ebsa scene.
matapampamuphoff on November 28th, 2018 04:46 am (UTC)
That's because it's floating. There's no reason for him to be there.

I may add something about either Raod or Ox asking him to come talk to them, about dealing with an unknown biofather. Which Ebsa might say was a bad idea because he didn't cope at all. But Madam Raod had sounded so distressed, that he decided to come anyway.

Or something like that. This, at the earliest, will be published in January, so there's plenty of time for settling scenes in place better.
(Anonymous) on November 28th, 2018 01:11 am (UTC)
I've always thought the huge issues with this scenario are the lies, family collusion and taking away Rael's capacity to make a choice and to offer her sister something. The in theory discussion Ox has with Rael doesn't count; theory and reality are very different. I have also wondered about Rael and her parents when this came to light. Their lies can be filtered through a lens of making use of their adopted daughter for their blood daughter. Lying for years is a great trust-breaker. Even with everyone accepting the situation and having good will, the trust is now changed. Glad the kids have Ebsa for wise counsel
matapampamuphoff on November 28th, 2018 04:50 am (UTC)
Yes, this revelation has stressed the hell out of the family trust.

One thing I need to do, as I paste this back into _Children of s Foreign God_ is show Rael's stress and distress in the old writing. The new writing has a lot more of it.
(Anonymous) on November 28th, 2018 05:28 am (UTC)
One of my bugbears in romance novels when the heroine has a messed up family background, is the rush to forgiveness. The 'rush' often manages to elide the suffering and pain in the urge to make everything nice again. It can also again attack the agency of the wronged person by making their experience less important against the families view of itself. There is a lot of grief for Rael in this; for her motherhood and for the family she thought she had. She needs to be able to grieve and move through it all at her pace, Raod and her parents just have to wait it out in hope. Life is messy and Rael has a great deal of kindness in her being but they need to acknowledge Rael's pain. Rael feels deeply and quietly
(Anonymous) on November 29th, 2018 02:34 am (UTC)
If there's the technology to transfer embryos, there's the tech to freeze them and wait for Rael to wake up. So Ryol's musings are about more than a grey area. The family could be said to have abused their power for medical decision making for gain. I know Rael wasn't a Warrior of the One at this point in her story but I also imagine there would be old laws about the bodily integrity of the Warriors that would/could be applied too
matapampamuphoff on November 29th, 2018 02:48 am (UTC)
I'm sure that Rael had all the paperwork in order, and that in this very obvious case where she was incapable of making decisions for herself, her parents were entirely, legally, able to make this medical decision, and give the two embryos to Rael's sister.

It is only in keeping it a secret from Rael that they betrayed her lifelong trust in them.
matapampamuphoff on November 29th, 2018 03:04 am (UTC)
Another thing to consider is that Rael, even after she woke from her two month coma (healing sleep? I wonder how her EEGs would compare to,say Nicholas' after _Lucky Dave_)

Sorry, sidetracked. Even when she woke, Rael was mostly paralyzed. Would it be cruel to tell her she had children she wasn't able to raise? To even hold?

Then a sudden improvement, after she summoned the God of Spies. But still, more than a year after she was shot until she was released from the hospital to go home. She had trouble climbing stairs, only held the babies when she was siting down . . .

Yeah, they should have told her. But they may have thought she was happier not knowing.
(Anonymous) on November 29th, 2018 06:43 am (UTC)
I go back to the freezing embryos as an unused option. At the point of waking and recovery Rael could have chosen to make a gift to her sister. Thinking about medical ethics and conflicts and limits of decision-making is really interesting. Also just because you have disabilities doesn't mean you are not able to be a good parent, just that you parent differently
(Anonymous) on November 28th, 2018 11:26 am (UTC)
Visiting Ebsa
It might work better if the twins visit Ebsa where he is staying. He's in Montevideo with Paer visiting his mother. Lead in is that Ebsa has been stationed on Embassy and knows Xen. Naturally the kids will be curious. Paer might even be there, considering how well she knows Xen. Nice to introduce Ebsa's twins too - they'll be part of the next generation. This makes Ebsa showing up on Embassy less weird.
(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2018 04:33 am (UTC)
Something I've been meaning to ask for a few days now, why haven't any of the magical communities developed spells that they would habitually use to channel the energy they draw from the environment into replacing the glycogen they burn channeling those energies?

They obviously use less personal energy than the external energy they're manipulating with it when they do that, so siphoning some back into their own reserves seems logical?
matapampamuphoff on December 5th, 2018 05:00 am (UTC)
Remanufacturing Glycogen from metabolic break down products is fairly energy intensive, when eating or drinking something is so simple. While theoretically possible, it's really not doable on a usable scale in the middle of a fight, where it takes concentration away from shields and attack.

The most expert magicians get very . . .light handed in directing the outside energy, so as to minimize the ratio of glycogen drawdown to actual energy applied. So in something like constructing a storm drain system, a lot of work can get done _after a heavy meal_ and then with a few breaks for meals.

Think of it like burning gasoline to refine gasoline. Instead of burning, say natural gas, to refine gasoline. They both produce gasoline, but one produces more because it doesn't use up any of the actual desired product in manufacturing more.

But yeah, if you're out of natural gas, you can switch to gasoline. And accept lowered magic applied elsewhere.

Or could in theory. I've had Xen feed a trickle of energy into someone badly drained, but it was minimal, careful, and insufficient to get her back on her feet. Whether the mechanism was manufacture of glycogen I didn't consider. If you wish to assume it was, feel free.
(Anonymous) on December 6th, 2018 10:33 pm (UTC)
You have also had Never feed Dydit massive amounts in order to do a multiple thousand mile teleport.
matapampamuphoff on December 6th, 2018 10:51 pm (UTC)
Power she pulled from the environment and channeled to him. This being entirely fictional, I don't over analyze it.