January 31st, 2013


The First Stage

I wrote this to lilfluff' prompt "The beginning of a journey."  It follows on from Then They Started Making A Plan.

They were going after Spatelli’s Dirividdi stronghold on foot.  Riding and pack animals were expensive and the mountains held too many bears who liked to eat them.  Too, assuming they could find this old stronghold, if they had animals with them then provision would have to be made for them while the ruins were being explored.  Having no animals uncomplicated things.

Of course, the first part of the trip was getting to where they could leave the settled lands of the kingdom for the climb up into the high ranges.  An upland village called Gaglioli, all alpine meadows surrounded by pines and maples, was to be their jumping off point and they needed to walk for a week to get there.  Liana expected Giuffre, the unwell-looking Luniferan priest, to be exhausted by the first half day of walking but he ended the day as steadfast as he started it, apparently happy to have spent his time walking in the fresh, spring air.

They spent that night in a village inn and while Capalini, their drui, was trying to chat up the barmaid, Giuffre was serenading the taproom with a fine, tuned and practiced baritone voice.  He was popular enough to get the party their supper for free from a pleased landlord and in the morning, when they left, he’d gotten them a ride on a wagon that meant that they only had to walk half the way to their planned stop for the next night.  When Liana asked the pale priest about it as they sat on the wagon’s cargo, he shrugged and said, “My Lord Lunifer is a wanderer and a bard, still weakened by his travails,” he glanced up at the white, visible crescent of moon hanging in the blue sky, “but still a model worth emulating.”

When Capalini spent another evening chatting up a barmaid, Liana lost her temper with him.  Quietly and in a back corridor.  “Giuffre is singing for our supper and maybe another ride tomorrow, Spatelli’s working the locals for news on the road ahead, I’m watching everyone’s back and you, you’re chasing skirts!  What do you think you’re doing, Capalini?”

“Picking brains of one person who gets to hear part of every conversation on the floor?  How do you think Spatelli knows who to talk to?”  He was hissing back at her.  “Besides, what do you care about who, if anyone, I sleep with tonight?”


Looking for Solutions

I wrote this to aldersprig's prompt "Rensa, and something to give her some peace."

“In some ways,” the therapist said calmly, “it would be easier if you were still being abused.  Instead, the only ongoing abuse is that you can’t leave.”  She looked at Rensa with a considering gaze.

“But I don’t want to leave Yannic,” protested Rensa, “I…like him, a lot, and I want to have this baby and more after this one.”

“But you’re afraid someone will take the babies away from you?”

“Apparently,” she sighed.  “In my dreams, anyway.”

“Pregnant women do, occasionally, develop some odd ideas,” allowed the therapist, “so in this case we need to be able to determine whether it’s that or something more akin to a disease state.  Have you ever talked to anyone about your experiences on the day the Palace was sacked or on your pilgrimage?”

“A little, only to skim over it really.  The only people for me to talk to are Yannic’s cousin Mirren or people who were there.”  Rensa paused, “The ones who were there know and I don’t want to upset Mirren by telling her what her friends did that day.”

“So, there’s no-one you can talk to about these things?”  The therapist made some notes on her clipboard, “Have you considered developing other friendships?”

“I don’t meet other people on a regular basis, not to talk to freely.”  Rensa shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

“I think we may need to change that,” said the therapist briskly.  “Now, what were your interests before the regime changed?”

“My accounting, financial and economic studies, oh and reading.”  Rensa added, “I would have liked to have tried more handiwork, but materials were usually in short supply.”

“And what would you like to do now, if there were no constraints on your behaviour?  If you didn’t have to be Empress?”  The therapist smiled encouragingly.

Rensa thought for a moment and asked, “Could I still be married to Yannic?”