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Random Intermission story

Posted by Anke 
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 05:49PM
These words drew Sylvie's mind back, and back, right to the experiment she had witnessed that had thrown her out of her world. She gasped, and firmly wrenched her thoughts away from wondering if she would do the same, if she could go back. "I think I'll have to see what my teachers say after I report back to decide if that was entirely happy. It's certainly interesting."
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 05:51PM
This in turn immediately threw Sebastian back to his usual alert observation. "I was referring to finding someone to trust and care for, but... is something wrong?"
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 05:59PM
"Mhm, sorry. It just reminded me that I'd probably been back home for years if I had not been what they <em>might</em> deem irresponsibly too curious. I hope my, ah, field notes are interesting enough to make up for that."
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 06:02PM
A few steps of silence later on his part, Sebastian frowned. His pulse quickened, then lowered. "You're walking into possible danger, then?" he asked, glancing at her, eyes bright under the hood.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 06:19PM
"It's complicated. Messing-around-with-other-worlds is under a taboo, but if we aren't looking at a major disaster" - which still was possible; she could not know what happened after she left - "I don't think..." She shook her head and started again, "Danger is relative. Mostly I'm looking at possible trouble of the kind of not being allowed to work for or with the Academy." Which would pull the ground from under her plans for her life. But then, that seemed less scary than the first time it had happened.

With a grimace she added, "I do wish I had a better idea what happened back home - if working worldgates showed up, for example - but, well, I have no way of finding out without getting there." Actually expecting to get back was a marked improvement over, say, two months ago.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 06:23PM
Sebastian glanced up at the sky through the foliage, frowning. They'd been promised a way to Eodea, yes, but nothing in other terms. He mulled over it for a moment, then gave Sylvie's hand a squeeze. "Danger's always relative." The half-elf looked at her again. "I'll be with. Hell or high water."
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 06:45PM
"Thank you." That was warm and heartfelt. After a sigh, and sounding rather sheepish, she said, "I guess I should mention, then... The worst thing that could happen - say, if that experiment blew a country to smithereens or something like that - would involve me getting tied to a weight and thrown into a particularly deep rift in the ocean." It was not completely impossible that something like that had happened, but Sylvie could not really believe it.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 08:42PM
"Really?" Sebastian said, contemplating that with a blank face for a moment, eyes on the road, then on her face again. "Guess I'll have to learn to breathe underwater," he said with a smile.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 08:49PM
"It's too unlikely to worry seriously about" - though she had spent quite some time doing just that, years ago - "I just thought I'd mention for the sake of completeness." She appreciated the sentiment, anyway.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 08:52PM
"I'm glad you did," he assured her. "Whatever trouble there might be, well... ah... you do understand that..." Sebastian fell silent. He was trying to figure out how to best communicate his thoughts, but in the end, just sighed. "If anyone ever tried to take you away..."

He left it at that.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 09:31PM
"Thank you." She chuckled a little. This line of conversation felt unreal, but the sentiment, and the fact he was better equipped to back it up than most people she had known, made her feel oddly peaceful.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 09:48PM
He gave a slight smile, adjusted his satchel, cloak and felt the breeze blowing in their face. Content with her amusement and a suspicion that she knew he'd meant what he had said, Sebastian walked on. "How about another song?"

Some songs and a some miles later, they arrived at a crossroads that looked, to Sebastian, peculiarly like Garya Cross, though he hardly made a remark about the resemblance. It stood to reason: in a region, things could be highly different or sometimes highly similar. Scratching his scalp through his hood, he glanced at Sylvie, but then went on toward the inn, patting her hand with his free one before letting go of it.

His caution was up and running again.

Needlessly so, it turned out. The mood inside was mellow, and by the smell of it -- the lye, the sawdust, the beer and the manure -- and the sound of more or less merry conversation, nobody was the least bothered to find two strangers entering. Some curious looks, of course, but by the time Sebastian laid his satchel on the floor (minutely past what looked to be fresh vomit on saw dust, covered with lye) and pulled a barstool for Sylvie to sit on, most went on with their own business.

Hood still firmly covering his ears, he glanced at Sylvie. "Fancy getting a little tipsy?" Sebastian said innocently.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 10:40PM
"Do you?" There was more than a bit of disbelief in her startled question - she had been distracted by being grateful she was not in the company of a two-headed flying lizard any more.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 10:54PM
"Not really," he said, looking at the slowly setting sun before finding the innkeeper staring at him, then moving over from a chat with a local farmer.

Taller and much skinnier than Sebastian, the keeper also had a smile on his face. "What can I get you two?"

"Well. I know we're late, but..."

The innkeep looked at him expectantly.

Sebastian looked around. "Why's everyone so glad over here?"

And that, as it turned out, was enough to make the innkeep -- Reuel was his name -- laugh and put down two cups of what turned out to be stiff, distilled alcohol without even being asked to. "It's the Sabas. The fuckers finally got the short end of the stick."

Sebastian took that as a cue to look at the cup. "...can we get some food first, and then... ah, we've... been outdoors for a while, so --"


And Reuel vanished.

Sebastian looked at Sylvie, bewildered. A table elsewhere was starting to sing rowdily.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 11:17PM
"Sounds like we are, indeed, getting word. And it sounds promising." Smiling wrily, she set down her backpack on the ground and herself on the barstool, and sniffed the air above the cup. So, what should she do with that now it was in front of her?
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 11:21PM
Sebastian handled his situation with the cup by calmly looking around and sloshing the drink on the floor, then pretending to drink from it. Some of it did, of course, meet his lips. He twitched.
Random Intermission story
June 28, 2012 11:57PM
Sylvie just shifted her cup a little and tried to filter something understandable out of the conversations she could hear. Between the singing and people talking over each other, she could not make out much. She picked up on someone, a square-built young man with a very deep voice, telling his seat neighbour about his plans what he could do with money he apparently hadn't expected to have.
Random Intermission story
June 29, 2012 12:06AM
Sebastian listened too, whislt dearly wishing for some water. Whatever Reuel had put in the cup was definitely contraband. His lips burned. But he still made out much of the conversation.

"...I'm tellin' you, I'll get some score goats this time, bastards don't care much at all about anything," the young man said. "An' easier than cattle when it comes to pens!"

The older man next to him snorted. "Them things? Jump all over the place. Keep with cattle. Milk, beef... sure, they eat more, but goats are stubborn critters."

Sebastian's ear twitched under the hood. Yes, he knew about that, too.

"Well... but... I'd rather keep some savings, you know? The Sabas fucked us over, and now their money's going to be coming down to us. What's to stop another rich bloke from doing it again?"

"But whoever that government man was, he sure made life a bit easier," sighed the older man. "Would've been a shitload worse for them folk nearer to Canyet, too. Reckon he could stop people from doing this crap again."

"Another one for 'im?"

"Why not? Suze! Another shiner for me and Mell!"

It was at this point that Sebastian placed his hands on the counter and was visibly trying not to laugh. Montmore had taken all the immediate credit, and he suspected... "...I think Auker forced him to say it was all his research," he said between silent chuckles.
Random Intermission story
June 29, 2012 09:48AM
"Montmore?" A brief frown turned into a smile from contagion from Sebastian's mood, and the realisation that being more bothered by misapplied credit than everything she and Sebastian had done was seriously off. "I wonder if that means people will start bothering him about making rain."
Random Intermission story
June 29, 2012 10:05AM
Her words increased Sebastian's mirthful mood. "I hope so. It would be right for him." He looked around again, watching stolid farmers and peasants who had turned into a group of... stolid revellers. Sometimes the rural mindset just boggled him, at other times he felt at home around people. Judging by how things were going here, nobody was going to turn into an angry drunk, but drunk and friendly? Quite possibly, he thought.

He was slightly concerned by the thought someone might, after all, pick up a fight or strike up conversation. Perhaps not so strangely, he wasn't the least worried what might happen if one of these men chose to make advances toward Sylvie. He smirked at the thought.
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 08:34PM
After a short fight of caution against curiosity, Sylvie tamped down her smile to something polite and half-turned to the room.

When a man at the closest table to her right knocked back the rest of his drink and looked around, she picked up her own cup and held it out in his direction. "Would you like another drink?"

At his surprised look, she said, "Trade you the story of what happened with the Sabas? I'm curious." She looked at him directly and kept her smile understated, trying not to be mistaken for being flirtatious.
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 08:40PM
The man, slight but with a bristly beard and boots covered in mud, grinned, eagerly taking the cup. He looked about twenty, slightly on his way to tipsiness, raised the vessel and nodded. "Why not, miss," he said. After an initial sip and grimace, he extended a callused hand. "I'm Bren."

Sebastian, in the meantime, stared at the food being carried out for himself and Sylvie. It was rabbit stew. He was feeling ever better.

Bren had another sip. "Well, 'fore I tell you, you know 'bout the Sabas?"
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 08:49PM
Oh, well, manners. Couldn't be helped. She gave his hand a short squeeze and said, "I'm Eda.

I heard they're an important family in Hilyet. Is that right?"
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 08:56PM
Bren nodded and smiled at the handshake, then took a moment to drain the cup. Sebastian was impressed how quickly Bren drank the moonshine, but said nothing. He instead stared at the stew, too polite to start before Sylvie dug in first.

"Oh, yeah. 's an old family. Were not much some years back, an' then some hunnered years past they bet on some... some bit. But they got real arrogant."

Sebastian stared at the stew hungrily.

"An', well, can't tell. All I know is, they're rich folk. Not any more, not any more. Used to be merchants on much an' everything. Big lot, that family."
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 09:36PM
"What happened? Did they try another bet and lose?"

The stew smelled delicious, but it would have been rude to start eating while she was talking to someone, and since she had turned to the other side, she didn't notice Sebastian was waiting for her.
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 09:50PM
Bren looked astounded. "No, just tried to hedge bets. See, ruined the harvest magically. Shit, critters drowned and harvest went mostly bad up over near Canyet, and farther away... it's been drought, 's far as we can tell." He finished his drink.

Sebastian listened in the background, looking woeful when the barkeep plonked another cup of the moonshine in front of him. Oh well. This time he chose to drink some of it, unfortunately.

At the same time Bren said, "Yeah, so, they got caught by some spook. Spook got the dead to rights, an' now it looks like they're whole property's going to be used to pay the people so's they can afford food. Somethin' about taxes too, but that I don't know shit about."
Random Intermission story
June 30, 2012 10:55PM
Sylvie raised her eyebrows and widened her eyes at the mention of magic. She gave Reuel a quick look, but immediately concentrated on Bren since he started talking again, so she was likewise stuck with another serving of the local poison of choice.

"Disturbing that people can cause something like that. Any idea what will happen to the Sabas now?"
Random Intermission story
July 01, 2012 12:00PM
Bren shrugged but grinned. "Property gonna be confiscated an' spread out." He stared into his cup and snorted. "Course, they'll have some hid and the goverment is gonna take it's share of the pie, an' most is going to Canyet. Fair that, though."

Sebastian listened with vacant eyes staring past Reuel, unaware the man had placed another cup in front him. The half-elf finally seemed relaxed, but in actuality he was listening to the conversation and gaugeing the general mood of the place, smiling at the sound of Sylvie's voice.
Random Intermission story
July 01, 2012 12:03PM
Bren added: "Probably gonna be some jail time. Hangings, too. Too many dead." He shook his head.
Random Intermission story
July 01, 2012 01:16PM
After a solemn pause, Sylvie answered, "If they at least caught the people responsible..." She sighed. "Thank you. I should see to the food before it gets cold."
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