Snakes and Ladders-38
“Wondertales from home, I’ve come up with a way to show you how to see them and I can share things from home I hope.”
We I make cheeseburgers with ground meat and as close to the condiments as I could find and the cheese and the buns were easy and frying pan cooked chips now that I know that potatoes are such a thing here and I have chocolate and cookies that are really the closest thing to graham wafers and I bought marshmallows there too and I make smores.
And using some of the sound power ideas from my air horn blast and focusing a light spell as a more of a tube based TV and stuff to show things I create a sphere that lets me show them things.
A little power in my memories to do a recall spell and I show them. “The Secret of Nimh.”
It works and while it’s strange for me to experience it this way basically replaying things from locked up memory wisps it’s so much fun to watch these two be just girls and themselves and just get lost in things.
And snuggling with a truly happy Shaya is pretty awesome too.
I wake up to the touch of Shaya down below and her cool tongue doing things inside of me. I shudder at the feelings because it’s incredible…the way she loves this, and me and the way we make love and she touches me and how much we can take each other over the edge.
Sylvan’s have a cooler core body temperature than humans do apparently so really when Shaya touches me it’s this sexy cooler touch that stands out more to my nerves and it just highlights everything.
It’s the reverse for me I’m hotter than she is so it’s this warmth that she feels as I’m doing things to her and we’re moving in the sheets all kisses and suckles and licking and touches and some gropes and fingers and more.
More…more oh…oh more.
God I really, really love being the real me.
I love my vagina.
I love having sex.
I love my breasts.
Honestly I’d been happy with anything; I’d been over the moon to just be me to the point of like SRS back home and everything.
But this, this being the healed me is really that healed, healed to the point of all those feelings that I have struggled with and the ones that were all these sweet and bitter daydreams of a me that would never be are me.
And even so many more things that I really could like never imagine.
God there is just literally so much more.
Right down to even breathing right.
But Erendae of Earth and consort to Shaya the Dragon rider kind of sort of puts Barbarella to shame.
Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch were serious go to people that I so wished that I had been born as instead of me.
This is better because I have Shaya.
I could have never have ever dreamed up my Shaya.
We were loud too and after some cuddle time we get cleaned up and make our way out of our little area and to where Kyte and Ilisa are at and Kyte looks at us and voosh her face is red enough to match her hair and she’s having a hard time looking at us.
Ilisa just smiles at us as she’s reading things that look like reports and then there’s other things too and she motions towards a crate that’s made into a table that has what looks like coffee and biscuits and jam and ham too.
“Break your fast?”
I grin. “I’m actually hungry.”
“There’s plenty.” She says and I look at Shaya as she pulls a long thin dagger and starts to slice ham off of the joint. I’m still not used to that even if they used to do that home in the pioneer days and they still do that in some places.
Again it’s one of those many differences that I’m still adjusting to.
I get a drink and Sylvan coffee’s very different than what I’m used to drinking which is good because I honestly after all those years of trucking really started to hate coffee because it all kind of sort of blurred together at a certain point really and it sort of all tasted the same.
And those flavored coffees did not agree with my stomach.
And I never really went for those high end places.
This stuff’s different completely in that way that it comes from a culture that is so old and so long lived that there’s details paid attention to that us humans actually wouldn’t be really able to sustain like time wise.
This I actually like, and my curvy patootie is definitely getting spoiled.
Shaya giggles at me. “Patootie, that’s a cute word.”
Kyte looks lost and it’s funny watching her trying to learn how to say patootie and seeing her mouth it over and over again.
We share out some food and I’m looking outside at things and I can see the troops doing things and still fixing things with the airship or they’re trying to.
“So what now?” I ask around a mouthful of the ham. It reminds me a lot of proscuttio like from the deli’s back home and stuff.
Shaya eats some more and she gets a scone/biscuit thing and piles on a lot of jelly/jam stuff on it.
It’s very much that whole faeries like sugar type of thing really. Well more like you burn off energy fighting and well if you’re wearing armor then it’s that too and you actually burn off energy from your body when you do magic too.
It’s all interconnected so when you do magic part of you magical essence is connected to your like life force which is like sort of maybe like your bio-electric field or something? All I know is that you burn actual energy like you would if you were trying to keep warm in like a cold climate when you cast spells.
But it’s not all of that power, the rest of it literally is magic and unless you’re doing it or have it wakened in you it’s sort of like this sort of reserve that you have that’s really something else…it’s in you just like your bio-electric stuff or body heat it’s like just there.
Shaya looks at me and she eats some more. “We’re really waiting on reinforcements to come and people to take this place apart and over so we’re really on sort of a garrison duty until then. So… after we eat we’re doing rounds and then we’re going to figure out the perimeter to a better and more defensible standard and whatever else pops up before 1rst-3rd.”
1rst-3rd is about a 3rd of the way through the sylvan day so it’s sort of lunch.
We finish eating and then we get our things and it’s still a trip getting into the armor and settling things and my new blade too and settling everything into place. Sylvan armor’s way more like a form fitting plated jumpsuit that old fashioned armor from earth and it weighs less I’m sure but it’s still this very much feel I guess of getting into fatigues and body armor and strapping on the web belts.
Shaya is a lot fasted at this and she almost slides into her weapons harness since she carries her swords on her black and her daggers and blasters on her hips but it’s like she has done this so long that it’s like breathing for her.
Kite’s already ready and then we’re off leaving Ilisa to do her cataloging work and the organizational things that she’s been doing with the captured goods.
I think she’s doing some of the things tha I suggested with the whole forensic accounting stuff.
Where these guys are getting supplies either legally bought or not it’s Intel that’s important.
Then it’s a lot of walking and Shaya is one of those military walkers and so is Kite and they have that walk or march thing that’s just so fast. I’m really glad for my long legs and my stride that helps me keep pace with the two of them.
We go outside first and that’s first down to the gates where I came in at and we’re checking the defenses there and the rangers are well…they’re fast and these guys must work really hard since it’s their thing and there’s two towers that are up a good thirty feet in the valley and then there’s an open pit trench with a wooden bridge on it and there’s magic symbols laid on it to blow it if need be.
Okay I’m not sure that’s what it is but it’s what I would do and once past that there’s a series of wooden gates in a large earthen berm or wall that they made and there’s posts with lines coming off the berm to the ground?
I can see Sylvan’s up on it with bows watching.
We are behind the lines after all.
“What’s the lines for?”
“Escaping once our men are in danger of being overrun.” Shaya says and she looks at me and I can feel her inside our link and she tilts her head. “You call them zippo lines.”
“Zip lines, zippo is a brand of lighter.”
“Uhm…Naphtha for lighter fluid and a wick and a built in flint and striker.”
Kyte nods. “That would be useful.”
I concentrate on my spell from last night and sort of do a hologram of a zippo lighter. It’s really like an obvious one but still I’m getting better at the thing and that might help me with stuff in a whole cross cultural sort of way.
Kyte’s nodding. “Could you draw one? I’d like to have one made since I don’t have magic and I could use something like that.”
I nod. “I used to own a few they were collectable and some were really nice even if I didn’t smoke.”
They nod, one wouldn’t have thought or I never would have thought but sylvan’s smoke. I’ve seen it but they seem to have very sort of places for it and flavored and scented things. Shaya partakes of something called sunleaf now and then.
I feel through the link.
Oh…oh well my girl smokes pot.
Shaya looks at me and her eyes are wide. “Why would I smoke a pot?”
I laugh. “It’s not honey it’s a street name for sunleaf. I think because it was grown in pots for home use so much.”
“Humans are odd, no offense Wren.”
I kiss her lightly and smile. “None taken beloved.”
God I love saying beloved. I mean home it would have been like really odd and strange and corny but here it’s just different, it’s not culturally taboo to say words like that.
We head outside actually past the gates and there’s rangers there working and they’re clearing the brush and cutting limbs and there’s some carrying bundles inside to the fortress for firewood and they’re clearing the lines of fire here and at the same time they’re stocking up?
“Did we just take this place for keeps?”
Shaya nods. “We’ll garrison it and try to run missions from here as best we can to see if we can hold it.”
“It’s The Darklands it’s a huge land full of bad neighbors.” Kyte says.
Shaya says. “There’s been some reports already that we’ve been seeing Warg riders a few miles out.”
“Is that bad?”
Shaya’s looking around but I feel her doing something with her magic while she’s doing it.
“We’re invaders, they took this territory ages on ages ago, even when the C’thull made this region their realm they brought things like Goblins with them. They want to drive us out as much as they want to invade outside of The Darklands and wage war on us…we’ll get an attack soon.”
“That’s not good.”
Shaya actually shrugged. “I’m not actually worried too much about the first attack or three. They’ll be the hot blooded and crazy ones and then then next few will be probes and such and them it’ll get bad as the old canny ones, the kings and the chieftains start to stir and make actual plans.”
I’m looking at her. “You say that like it’s not a bad thing?”
Shaya looks at me. “It’s actually a good thing, Goblins at the very least breed fast, way fasted than we do and any attacks here are not attacks on anything at the border fortresses and this way we can winnow them down.”
I don’t like it but I nod. “And if Lyam’s bunch gets involved?”
She looks back out to the Darklands forests. “That’s what we’re all dreading, not just here but everywhere. A serious breach and we could see hordes push out of here and spilling out to other places and killing innocents.”
I look back at the fortress. “You think that this was the only place for those bats?”
She bites her lower lip. “If it was me, no…if it was me still out there with Lyam I’d have other places, other places to breed them just to be safe, just to be sure.”
I look at her. “So this could get a lot worse then?”
“It does, it means they might have fliers now…and not incidental creature but squadrons.”
I look at her. “So why aren’t the Stellar Navy forces you all have down here?”
“The temples, they won’t allow large scale machines here because of the C’thull. They waged war with us using technology and they hold a lot of power and weight as well as magics too.”
I nod, Ilisa is from The Holy city or she at least works there being who and what she is and all. And this whole situation actually would have been hugely harder without her powers and knowledge and support. That on a large scale…yeah it’s bad but good too.
And who knows what else is down here too…I’ve seen Gryphons and I know a Dragon.
They might not see technology even magic based technology the same way as I would.
I look at her. “Okay.”
“We can do this.”
She smiles at me and she steps over to sneak a kiss with me. “Yes we can.”
We head back inside through the gates and then turn to start walking towards the rocky face of the valley part here and I see a very long rope ladder has been made there to take us up the slope.
Very long…I mean really?
We climb and while Shaya and Kyte seem to be really fast this was nothing like as bad as I feared.
I still have old body memory in ways. It’s all my life experience of aches and pains and just seeing things that I knew would hurt me doing them it’s still there.
And there is this kind of like right on Wren feeling after I rope ladder climbed up a cliff face at least close to two hundred feet high.
And heck yeah it was scary being up that high without Bhlaze.
But it’s been awhile since I’ve had that I did it feeling.
And then we’re walking again, in that military way.
Y’know if sylvan soldiers were all in this shape we’d be in trouble, they aren’t even winded really.
It’s sobering too because if Lyam ever did win, ever did invade…hell we couldn’t handle him in space at all home and if this was how sylvan soldiers were on the ground?
He’d stomp us out like rats.
It’s a lot of the same things here with them building defenses and traps in that making pits way and there’s zip lines here too from positions where there’s places to fire from and it’s the first time that I got to see the outside of this part where the blast doors for the hangar were at and it’s a huge solid mass of a door except the place where Shaya and Bhlaze got through and the mountain part just looks like a mountain part except there’s a line of darkness there that’s a sort of window space that’s in this upper level of the hangar and used for likely recon and guard duty and as a place that they could fire from.
It’s actually a big place really at least the size and scope of a large NFL stadium and all of its components really under this rock and stone.
Then we go back inside and we head inside and down and we’re checking on places that are getting repaired with supports from the fight and the water cisterns and talking to one of the rangers that has a half dozen ferrets that are bonded to him mystically.
Okay they were adorable but they’re also here with some others to hunt and kill pests and to check the airways of this place.
I’d have never have thought of either. Honestly we’d trap and do other stuff but he can get sensory information from them too.
Which is really cool and it reminds me of this old show Beastmaster that was like off of like really old B movies.
And they’re cute too especially when they’re not just tame but sort of like socialized so when you have a ferret come up and grab your hand and head-bob like a bow it’s more than precious.
It’s also really nice to see that Shaya and Kyte aren’t immune either.
Then we’re checking on stores and the cleaning and there’s a lot of cleaning and scrubbing being done. Shaya stops and her and I and Kyte all take rooms and we help the troops doing this and it’s sweep with heavy bristled brooms made by hand and it’s using other brushes and things that we had or that the turncoats here had and it’s scrubbing down the walls of soot and odor and of Goblin and Orc or Uruk?
It’s actually very important because I guess they carry all sorts of nastiness and diseases and it’s another claim on the place too in a way.
The power washer I have in the trailer of my truck would have been great down here.
And we get out of out armor and we take spelled cloths for our faces and we put on bandanna’s and we give the others a break as we each take rooms and Shaya’s not satisfied until we’ve cleared seven rooms and the whole hall we were at and we were at it for hours.
Okay it felt like it and it might have been two but still it was a lot of work and I’ve never seen someone clean as hard and as fast as Shaya who did most of the scrubbing actually on her hands and knees while we swept things clear and hauled rinse water.
But y’know all the soldiers seen her; dragon rider or not princess or not scrubbing hard and working just as hard as the rest of them.
And yes she did that on purpose, that whole commander leading by example but also there’s this whole knowing that you have to earn respect.
We were lucky as there was ample water to rinse ourselves off with and there were cloths to dry with too. Then it was back into our things and back through pretty much everywhere and then out of the depths and out to where we were camped sort of inside the hangar’s warehousing room and there was 1rst-3rd’s meal being made by the soldiers.
There were more soldiers?
I look around and I see Kyte taking a breath. “My cousin Rafe’s here along with some of my troops.”
I there’s some other troops too with royal colors and uniforms and armor as well as rangers and others there too and I can see two airships outside anchored just past the blast doors and there’s things being unloaded as well as new folks over at the captured airship.
I look to Shaya. “Were we getting new troops in?”
She nods. “We aren’t meant to garrison here and some are here from the royal navy shipyards that do the work of the old magic and work for airships. We’re going to get that captured one back into fighting trim.”
“And then what?”
“It’ll be used here, we have a fighting ship here and that can defend or it can be dispatched out to places in need.”
“So good news?”
She’s looking over to Kyte. “Mmm…not too sure on that given it’s one of her relatives here with house troops to volunteer.”
“So that’s a bad thing that they’re here?”
She shook her head no. “Not necessarily, Kyte’s been with us and she won honor for her house in a military victory and her house will throw in support here just to have people know that House Starling was involved. But as much as that’s a good thing it’s still the fact that from everything that she told me her family is…problematic maybe.’
I purse my lips. “You mean they’re assholes.”
Shaya coughs. “Yes well let’s try to not let that be a thing we go to right away Wren, you don’t need to be dueling with another knight from House Starling.”
I blink. “That’s still on?”
She grins at me. “Yes, oh yes honey it’s still on and there’s people that are likely waiting to see you in action as well as her. It’s court, the rumor mill will be going still with the time you and Kyte butted heads.”
“But we’re good right?”
“It’s still not been withdrawn, Kyte likes you but she’ll still fight you because of her honor and the expectations of her house.”
“Okay…well this just adds to what I’ve been feeling.”
Shaya looks at me and she does that elfin eyebrow Spock thing.
I look at her. “I need to get better especially after that guy that we fought inside that airship.”
“You sound like you know him?”
“We fought together back in my other days, he’s a knight as well as a combat mage and he’s also trained in several fighting arts. He’s a deadly man.”
“Yeah…got that part down really well. Why’s he working with Lyam?”
“His family, parts of it were involved on the other side of things during the summoning war and sometimes those that were left after that when the war was over the old and the young and those that never fought they have a very big grudge against the crown.”
Shaya nods. “Mine, our allies, the fact that as a people we have the power that we do and we don’t use it to make us more powerful or to build an empire instead of The Republic that we are.”
“But your father is High King?”
She nods. “And there was royalty for ages and that’s still part of our government but it was my ancestors when they fought off the C’thull who introduced the voting in courts and democracy and pulled the moons together a whole lot more and made a central sort of government and military.” She looks at me. “Father and mother are more like a sort of caretaker and commander. The courts make the laws and petitions for laws these are debated in the courts and then father will say yay or nay to them and they get sent back to be redone. He can also propose laws too but they have to be debated in the courts just like anyone else and then it’s the majority of votes in the start of that in the courts that say yay or nay to his ideas. Then if yay it’s debated and then there’s another vote and so on.”
“Can he pull rank?”
“Only in times of War, he is still The High King.”
“So who declares being at war?”
“Father but that must be ratified by the temples.”
“Oh….so another reason that the temples laws are so powerful.”
“No war without the backing of the gods.”
“So what prevents something like a holy war?”
“The fact that the temples are very different and the fact that the druids are involved and that involves The Great tree. The Tree brings in the voices of other beings that are connected or allied to it that are affected if Sylvania is mobilized to war.”
I shake my head. “That’s a lot like home and nothing like home. Can everyone vote?”
She nods. “Yes, even with succession there’s a vote or a vote can be called on if say a noble isn’t what the people want ruling and the family has to choose someone else.”
“Does that happen a lot?”
“No…the nobles are either good enough that it’s never really an issues and it requires at least three quarters of the voting peoples there. And there has to be an alternative for that to be allowed and then there’s the fact that some folks won’t swerve from the old ways and will embrace any heir no matter how bad they are and then there’s the fact that some places rule and control the votes through fear and money.”
“So Lyam really wants to destroy the Holy city and to take power from the temples and then completely rule in the old, old ways.”
Shaya nods. “The Old blood ruled with whatever they could and might very often was what was right and it’s partly why when The C’thull came we fell because we were so divided.”
She stops at the food line and we both get trays. “He wants Highwood power and technology and magic to go along with the way things used to be and then rule only his rule will be unspeakably evil.”
We sort of stop and we’re doing this sort of linked up kind of processing about all of the stuff we’ve been talking about and she steps up to the food tables.
“After we eat you and I we’ll take Bhlaze out and we’ll practice.”
“Flying patrol, and isn’t it dangerous out there?”
“Flying patrol and it is dangerous and we have Bhlaze with us so we have a dragon to watch over us.”
“And while we’re gone?”
“We help Kyte out with her family and leave her in charge.”
I smile. “That’s actually a good idea, her cousin Rafe might have a WTF over that and if not at least it’ll be a good thing for her and her men.”
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