The raft worked very well, and they found the two cut logs grounded on their side of the lake.
"Excellent!" Anatoly pointed. "Lord Klim's house there on that rise, and maybe Benedikt and I could split that one."
Loenti galloped up to the crest of "Lord Klim's" rise. "There's kind of a swale there, probably a flood risk. That could be the town square, and we could all build around it. I mean, there's only fifteen families that might come to this side. The Big Seven were all talking about the north side of the lake, right?"
Anatoly nodded. "Yeah. I wish Rodian and Svya would move over here."
"Well, it's not like they're enemies."
Down in the Valley
Klim sent the trucks down first. Loaded. Stuffed. And, of course, he'd sent lots of logs down the river.
Be honest. Leonti, Forty-nine, and Khar did all the work. And he had an uneasy feeling that Masha might have been helping. He refused to consider the possibility that some of the servants had been out there. Using the magic I can no longer touch.
He shoved the thought aside as the new truck drove back into the camp. Diesel, for God's sake! How did I miss having a diesel truck with three quarters of a rather large tank full of fuel? If we can refine vegetable oil, it can probably keep running.
The servant made quick work of loading the rest into the truck, and very carefully handed up the almost finished spinning wheel Khar and Martya were building. And added the rest of their gear. And Klim made damn sure they rode with the True men. And True Women.
All the servants are getting smarter. And Olga. I always thought she must have had a very good grow in. But now? She's brilliant. Even Twenty-two is better, and he had a horrible grow in.
I wonder if that isn't an . . . interesting effect of the Plague? Take the power from the Mentalists, take the wires from the brains of the chipped. And I wonder which effect was intended, and which was a side effect?
But then, if "The Destroyer" was spreading an engineered virus, it could well be both. God knows it's going to completely disrupt our society. I wonder what sort of hell Neu Frankfort and Novaya Moskva have become?
Leonti had his horse saddled and ready to go.
"I hope there's some sort of native horse out there."
Klim turned to Khar. "So we can try our hand at domestication?"
"Exactly." Khar frowned and stepped to get a good look at the horse. "Huh. I would have sworn Leonti said he was a gelding. If we can find native horses, we can try for some crossbreds."
Klim frowned and took a look. Leonti looked from them to the horse. "What's wrong?"
Klim laughed. "Nothing. But you appear to be the owner of a stallion, not a gelding."
Leonti blinked and took a look. "Wow. I . . . Huh." Then he grinned at them. "Did I hear something about catching wild horses?"
"If there are any." Klim shrugged. "We'll see . . . Forty-nine! What the hell are you doing now?"
"Taking the well with us. There some odd spell on the pipe. That's why the water flowed, and we could figure out how the pump was powered."
The cyborg marched past with a faucet on the end of twenty feet of pipe.
Klim sighed. "Speaking of people who've suddenly gained a bad case of independence . . . Let's get out of here."
They beat the rush, with the cars, but the Servants who volunteered to walk rather than leave anything behind, and Leonti on his horse, lagged behind and helped push other people's cars onto the first long down slope.
Klim went early and parked all around the broad rise he was claiming for his own.
Then he, Benedikt, and Anatoly directed traffic and and kept a head count.
At the end of a very long two days, they had five hundred and thirty-one people from thirteen Families spread out along twenty miles of lake and river front. Not evenly spaced, and not harmonious.
The "town square" idea had died a quick death as everyone wanted to have access to the lake for water.
That well spoiled us. Klim walked over and watched Forty-nine pull cylinders of dirt out of the ground, lining them up along side the faucet-and-pipe he'd pulled up from the mountain camp he kept going even after he was pulling up soaking wet loose sand.
Klim studied the fine screen on one end, then walked up to the faucet and turned it on. It promptly blew air through it. He walked back to the Cyborg. "So there's a spell on it to pump water, or air. And you're trying to get a hole the same depth."
"Exactly. "I don't want to try to shorten the pipe, since that might break the spell."
Klim looked back at the pipe. "I wish I could analyze it."
Forty-nine eyed him. "I suspect you can. From my observations, you've been doing minor things out of habit. I think you just can't collect power to do the large things, anymore."
Klim boggled . . . then took off the charm necklace and walked over to feel the pipe.
It was a beautiful, complex set of spells, a swirling pattern of magic all down the length of the pipe, the warmth of the sun feeding the weak push spell the entire length of the pipe.
He opened his eyes to find Benedikt, Anatoly, Khar and Leonti all sitting around and "listening in." Even Forty-nine had paused his well digging and stepped closer.
Khar whistled. "That is amazing. Now I just need to figure out how to make pipes."
Klim thought about his old lessons, decades ago. "When I was disobedient, my teacher would make me mold stone." He closed his eyes and remembered what it had felt like, the mental twist that made the crystalline structure of the rock deform.
"Damn. I hope you're planning on giving Mentalist lessons." Benedikt's comment warmed his heart.
"How about wood?" Leonti's excited tones.
"Oh yes," and he remembered that technique, too. "Works best in bright sunshine. I was never very good at metals." But he brought that frustrating memory out as well. "Maybe some of you can make it work."
There were a lot of trips up into the forest to send logs down the river. Leonti leaped to make that his job, which save their batteries for dragging to logs up into place.
Benedikt and Anatoly figured out to make wells--and make them flow. They copied Forty-two's stone trough for washing clothes. And with much swearing and splashing figured out working valves.
He sent them out to make more. "Be generous. Don't rub in what a big favor you are doing them. Meet them all, make friends and allies. At worst, identify the ones that may become enemies. Set an example for the younger men to follow, and you automatically become the leaders, as us old one retire or die." he winced. "There can't be above forty of us with regen, and I'm the only one on this side of the lake."
He sent Forty-nine, and two of the men to do the rock hauling and anything else that was needed. Anatoly took One-oh-three, a man and a woman to cook for them.
Those boys have so much potential. I'm so proud of them.