Dunsa set down her sword. The monster was dead, the celebration ended, and Coll gone home to her husband and brothers. She stood at the edge of her fathers’ valley; their cottage and paddock directly below her. Neither was outside nor was the dog, but Dunsa lowered her profile to a cross-legged sitting position to avoid being seen. She hadn’t decided if this place was where she wanted to be just yet.
After the quest ended, Witta returned to his shop to sell the trinkets he’d collected and to make arrangements for obtaining and selling more from the Baltenes he’d befriended along the way, someone else did something else longish to describe but different from the first one on the list, and even Heb just went back to being a soldier. Dunsa hadn’t given it any thought. She stuffed her few clothes and her [quest prize thing] into a pannier and humped off into the mountains toward home expecting her enthusiasm to rise with each mile. And it did rise for the first bit. Occasionally she skipped when the trail flattened or declined. She’d even sprigged a forget-me-not and tucked it above her left ear—which made her cry and think of Coll.
Coll would be home for a week or more by now. The jumping, crying, and bellowing of her return already dulled to just a heartfelt squeeze in the kitchen or extended kiss before the day’s work dipping tapers.
240 words on day 887
Charming stood on the Leaf’s southern flit deck overlooking Song. She hadn’t expected the surviving Bennies’ reconstruction efforts to be so far along. She hadn’t expected the reconstruction to be so thorough. Her Song had been laid out like a casual meeting of like-minded friends with no purpose other than togetherness. It was built in the vernacular of what was good at the time. This new Song was something else. It was something organized. It was something purposeful.
Obviously, Mondron had worked with the architecture firm and the Lander backers to keep the river style, but from the well-plotted thoroughfares to the river-level concrete flit deck and landing pad this Song sought a mercenary goal. That goal was well enough for them because they stayed, but it didn’t serve Charming because she wouldn’t.
She pulled some cash and coins from her pants pocket. Fanning the bills, she only found pale Lander money. She cupped the coins and folded the money before tucking it away in a different pocket. Charming thought she might find a touri shell or at least a scale, but none of the coins were Song tokens. She pocketed them all.
“For what it’s worth!” She flung an imaginary coin out over the new Song and pretended it glinted in the sunlight as it sailed out over the piers and scaffolding and green redi-mades already bunched inward.
The putting idle of the flit reminded her she still hadn’t left and that she needed to go, so she mounted it and revved the thrusters to clear out the dust. She jumped it into the air overlooking Song—again—just high enough that the engine noise didn’t echo off the deck. Below, laborers called to each other across the water and the gangs. Charming checked her line, planning on dropping from the Leaf and skimming out over Song. She noticed a scale wedged into the trim of the foot-board, smiled, and picked it free.
Good luck after all, but she kept it as a souvenir instead.
Laborers’ POV of Charming out of nowhere and skimming too low and outward over Song.
361 words on day 599
Jackern resisted the urge to scrawl his signature in florid loops across the agreement. He guessed he’d always recognize and deny each moment his old self surfaced.
Condorre cleared his throat.
Jackern constrained his name to the space allotted him among the other—credentialed— generals. When Kate strode up he placed the pen in her hand. He made a point to brush the skin of her palm with his fingers but not look to her eyes. Maybe he could extend something from what had happened between them at Lan Caloon. Not today though, not yet anyway.
Sunlight streamed through the oculus like honey poured from a jar. Condorre embraced him and patted his back once he descended the few steps and joined him in the circled group. It was a good day inside and out.
“Your father would have been proud, Jack.”
“My father would have set fire to my house and raped my wives had I any.”
170 words on day 598