I started to write this; got called off to hang the washing up; pans were overheating then getting stuff out of the freezer, which ended up reorganising it and people think that writing is a challenge.
The problems of losing half a book still plague me.
Martan was killed by Stefen before Griselda was pregnant and Griselda gave birth to children from Stefen; rewrite; Griselda is pregnant because she was put in custody prior to the Stasis chamber insertion on Dwarvia to check her out and that meant no birth control pills.
If I’m going to rewrite this, then it will be rewritten.
Admirals were forced into political marriages however they usually sought mistresses and they often didn’t care whose. The families normally found out and forced them out as the families considered political goals of more importance than mere enjoyment … possibly one reason why some many Admirals spent their lives invading other planets. Eventually the Admirals realised that whilst you couldn’t take your wife into space with you, you could certainly take a mistress and go flash bang in the Armada Class ship whilst you practised your assaults. Their mistresses then tended to live on the ships and the ship brains in the Armada Class ships usually preferred the Admirals to handle their mistresses as opposed to the Admiral’s sticky hands on their controls and so the mistresses were hidden and survived.
Stefen still watch them leave and stayed looking until he was sure no-one had turned back. With the waters receding most of the causeway should to all intents and purposes have ceased to exist – it was now just land.
There was still a five mile long gap of about half a mile wide leading from Toshon to Matira but on the south side of what had been the causeway rock you had the impression it was watching you. Nervous, twitching but the feeling of it watching you was something that almost made the rocks sentient.
They stretched some ten miles to the south and it was a few days hard walking to get to the five mile gap and Stefen intended for them to walk it … it would keep them out of trouble although he packed enough women to make their own choices and there weren’t very many!
Stefen had been neither helpful with transport or food despite Griselda producing her marriage knife and threatening him …. mind you, she had also threaten the few animals he had released for her trip but his Guards saw her on her way with the clubs they carried.
Stefen with forethought had his own personal Guards carrying weapons to protect him and they were needed when Griselda again tried to attack him with her marriage knife and had it clubbed from her hand but the long chain around her neck still held it to her as did the Guard who pulled back around her neck and shortened it … Stefen later regretted telling the Guard to release it as she struggled and appeared in a better colour to his mind as she choked.
The Guards before realising they could only use clubs had first tried to use their old weapons and Stefen had also tried to use the power from the Stasis chambers to charge them but the first a Guard who tried it found he and the Stasis inhabitants exploded – in future he would let the dwarfs out first. It had seemed as easy thing to just connect a cable and then connect that to a weapon, mind you, still Stefen with his usual honesty had someone else do this while he stood a good distance away.
When your weapons cease to exist the alternatives are wood or stone clubs but some of the Prisoners were already starting to look for metal and roughly melt it down into shapes but they weren’t giving them to the Admirals.
There are times to choose to greet a wife but Martan would never, ever, of his own free will choose to meet Griselda as a wife nor of anything else that had any value to him including his private areas … he’d never been interested in her leaving her Stasis chamber alive … had he’d been given the chance, he’d have smashed the lid, letting her sink to the depths she had yet to explore as was her due and stood on her Stasis Chamber until it sunk.
Sheba Roc stopped him – something she might regret as the magic, might not be part of Griselda Matira’s make-up but it was certainly latent in her; curling her eyelashes to match the sneer of her mouth and now a broomstick had turned up through a vortex that swirled in colours and so did the broomstick – some emotions can stretch beyond a small area and somehow Griselda’s had.
Stefen for himself preferred not see her at all and especially her semi-sentient broomstick which he thought would eventually erupt as it tried to force its way into everything but already Griselda or the broomstick had found Rafus who’d dipped his beard into magic and now understood the smell of burning whilst they poured water onto him, which was more than they could do for his brain.
Still there was little they could do to reduce her violence which was never latent and Stefen had no intention of doing anything but passing her on as far away as he could.
For a husband of Griselda Matira, Martan usually managed a brief greeting as her escaped.
Her idea of a bloody honeymoon metabolised and only failed to come to fruition with her then ruling your kingdom if you, on your honeymoon watch her marriage knife which was supposedly meant to be a symbol and not a weapon. It was also not meant to be a full knife!
Stefen in Toshon had spoken via Liand Roc to Sheba Roc who allowed him to see Martan’s visions of Griselda on a wedding night and Stefen although he wasn’t eating that often didn’t eat afterwards for some time. For Stefen, even when Griselda was viewed from a distance she still maintained the pressure for her departure to somewhere else at maximum speed to be a priority.
For Martan, the times when Martan wished to meet Griselda were usually when he carried a spade or shovel and faced a deep hole with a bomb in it … still to put his mind into perspective he was going to have to face her if she didn’t die on the way and he’d paid enough for there to be trouble.
A pity he’d never thought that Sheba Roc would talk to Liand Roc who talked to the Guards and Stefen. It was like a trouble-making neighbour finding out that all the trouble they were going to cause was known before they started their campaign … but it never changed any of his feelings towards Griselda … they were survival and his other plans had only led to Martan being told off by Sheba Roc; still there was only one bathroom planned for him.
For his guests there would be four bedrooms and a bathroom that never connected to anywhere and so he planned for Griselda to enjoy her privacy … or as much as he could supply. It should be enough to keep Griselda happy, if anything could and as far away from Martan as he could manage.
To find her quarters she would have to go north then west up the stairs then west again and half an hour in a damp and cold castle should cement her armour and keep her well away from him. Martan had re-enforced his bedroom Guard and his mistress would be his first support … he’d even brought in folk singers to keep Griselda back and Michelle du Storme and Basil Droga would be away from him as well.
Of the four spare bedrooms Griselda would have one, then Michelle, then Basil and then Rafus. Gereft would sleep in the barracks with the other Guards although Griselda would probably go through them as well.
Masketh Tron and Sallesh Tron watched the entourage finally move from Toshon and followed at a distance. Their thoughts were read by Sheba Roc and Liand Roc on the progress but one piece of information they didn’t pass on to Stefen or Martan Matira was Griselda’s frequent stops or Michelle du Storme riding closer to her and talking to her.
It would become evident before very long.
Griselda had initially attributed this to the Stasis chamber but the stops were becoming frequent and people were moving away from Griselda as she vomited. One of the problems in waiting for the Stasis chambers was the lack of pills that Griselda would normally take to avoid unfortunate problems with her love life. Now it seemed her sex life was producing yet another unfortunate problem.
The presence of Michelle du Storme was proving a handicap to Basil Droga and to Gereft the Guard Leader but it now appeared that there was another handicap and one that would not vanish overnight.
Masketh and Sallesh requested the Wolfen to help with the meat supplies and Barlang and Furlong drove some cattle to the evening camp and then quickly ripped the throats out of the animals. Needless to say, anyone with an appetite remaining after that, soon lost it as the Wolfen then butchered the meat. The Trons realised they’d have to find an alternative after that but come the morning after an empty stomach night, fires were blazing and meat was on spits although Griselda was having trouble eating anything and there was still a hundred mile to travel to Matira – eventually they were making broth for Griselda and alongside the spits were some cracked Stasis chamber lids they had been using to drag loads on. The Stasis lids were an egg-shape to allow for a variety of customers and now served as boilers as the horses and travellers carried more.
I haven’t gone through this bit again so still raw.
Outside of the castle, areas were starting to build up, but not in the way Martan ever intended. To the west were a nest of houses cum hovels cum anything that you could think of. Beyond that to the north was an area now called ‘Mech Town’ and opposite that was an area they called ‘Shady Town’, which he would have demolished in due course but it catered to those needs that he preferred to ignore.
His main problem he felt before they’d found Griselda was Priests moving in and he still didn’t know where they came from. Stefen felt that belief should be in him, not some imaginary Gods but Stefen’s belief in him would have to be enough as no-one else seemed to believe in him.
Gods were appearing or so the new Priests claimed although they claimed anything; especially after several fiery occurrences that scorched opposing Priests – it was fought in the same as they fought for believers in them and most likely not the Gods they represented who’d he’d never heard off but to Stefen’s mind it spoke of magic and nothing and no-one should have magic in any area he controlled. The Priests would find out what fire was before too long. Priests could really live from inspired belief in Gods but a bacon and sausage sandwich in the early hours when you’re really praying for a bite to eat was when you really found belief and to Stefen that represented belief – when he was really hungry he would kill for a bacon and sausage sandwich.
What Gods the priests inspired by doing this might seem a subject for discussion as they bit deeply into the supplicant’s offerings but the Gods the Priests offered their thoughts to were the guys with the trays who ran the late night service to the temples.
Druncheon appeared as the dwarf God although looking like a puppet god and Gods don’t usually wear slippers but he was present in some form or other or so the Priests claimed.
Most Prisoners seemed to have the own Gods – often viewed from the gutter late at night.
Humanoids looked to – Astoron – who seemed to be available, often in a mask surrounded by priests holding him up but belief was usually after a bad day’s trading … especially when you were caught for short measure and short-changing.
Hanging by your thumbs while you balance on your toes to Stefen seemed an enlightened punishment and often encouraged prayer; usually to avoid to hanging the next time by your neck but his Guards did seem to be having an effect these days on the town and its inhabitants.
An Elven God had appeared according to rumour although no-one saw any Elves and the Elven temple never saw anyone but Priests – still it kept them off the streets and money was coming from somewhere.
The were no Gods for the Old Folk who spent too much of their time ducking attackers to consider a God as a defence as they, not Gods, were usually the target … well what use is a God to hide behind when he is transparent and theirs seemed to be but people who were ill tended to find them – the Old Folk, not the Gods but in truth no-one really who where the old folk came from
Some said they were bodies taken over by Humoids. Others said No. Their Wolfen, whilst others claimed they were bodies taken over by Elves. All Stefen knew was that the Prisoners seemed to spend a lot of time hunting them or seeking help. They were rumoured to be telepathic and always had blue eyes but some seemed to be dwarfs whilst others were considered to be humanoid but whether they existed or not everyone claimed to have some story concerning them.
The Old Folk’s culture, if they really existed seemed to be to help Prisoners and a lot of Prisoners were considered to have sort help, often in the shape of little jars but as rumours spread so the descriptions of them changed until they were now considered blue eyed, small, more sinew than muscle and usually lived by the sea.
To Stefen they seemed a myth but his hatred of magic led him and his Guards to seek them out but again and again they found empty houses which they then destroyed who Stefen never knew how they managed to stay one jump ahead of his Guards.