Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Eighteen: A Jaunty Picnic

Grr. It's tough to nap on this trip, what with the queen's wheel's always turnin'. And try shaving in this thing! Libby's sliced my face up more thoroughly than a Jeffmas ham. Bet I look like Barrel's belly by now.

(That, diary, is called alliteration. Thanks Robert!)

SO. We've discussed the departure; we talked a bit about the caravan; we jumped into failed attempts at Evangelina reconnaissance; hell, we even visited Princess Celine, the mysterious second child of Queen Daena. That just leaves us with one topic as we travel: Eve and Libby, and the lack of relationship betwixt them.

I talked a bit about Libby on this trip. When she's not chattin' away with Daena by the tree, Libby's busy getting the Matriarch tuned up. Or yelling at me for one reason or another. Or somebody else. Rule of thumb, if Libby ain't talking to Daena, she's pissy. Fact of nature, diary, fact of nature.

(Yeah, I exaggerate. You'll live.)

So that's Libby. WHAT ABOUT EVE?

Eve looks the exact same here as she does back at Castle Bonvoyage: impassive. Cold. Possibly brain dead, but in a fierce kinda way. When she talks, it's doom-and-gloom time. When she moves in any drastic way, it's 'cause she's defending the caravan from some massive beast that's lurched up out of the plains to eat us all. Eve alone has made the trip so smooth that I won't even BOTHER talking about these encounters.

(I'm not even kidding. She fought off a chimera the other day. All three heads - bulldog, rabbit, salesman - are mounted on top of some unlucky merchant's wagon, courtesy of Eve's bloodied gauntlets. I think the merchant's afraid to take 'em often, lest Eve get mad and trash his ride.)

We return to that all-important word that I've been using a lot lately: bonding. Bonding bonding bonding. How goes the bonding process between the three of us? It DOESN'T GO AT ALL. Libby and Eve haven't said anything to each other. Libby's done her best to ignore that Eve exists. And Eve, well, she kinda does that all the time anyway.

Queen Daena had a solid idea when I went to ask her about the problem:

"Try a picnic, Dragomir. Families are always picnicking. Why, technically, I'm on a picnic as we speak. Isn't that right, Celine?"

An apple dropped out of the tree above Daena and landed in her hands.

She took a bite and smiled. "See? That's my little girl. I'll stop the caravan for a little while, Dragomir, and you can break out some snacks for Libby and the Lord Knight. Maybe appealing to Eve's stomach will get her to open up."

I bit my lip. "I tried that last week."

"Oh? And how'd it go?"

Visions of vomit and falling octopi wandered into my brain. "Don't ask, your majesty, just… don't ask."

So we stopped. The merchants and commoners attended to their horses and ostriches and giant frogs, guards and soldiers set up a perimeter around the caravan (though they were really just playing cards out in the fields where nobody could see 'em), and I set up a picnic blanket.

I invited Libby to sit down. She did. Brought her a nice big stack of meat pies. She tucked in immediately, commenting that she could probably make BETTER pies. I would've objected, but I wanted a pleasant experience, so I just excused myself.

I found Eve crouched on top of one of the wagons. She was watching a merchant who'd been preparing salted mutton. He looked EXTREMELY EAGER for Eve to vamoose, though he wouldn't meet her eye. There's probably a folk tale out there that says she'll eat your face if you meet her eye.

I still had one of the meat pies, so I pulled out a bit of filling and waved it at Eve. "Heya, cutie! Want some pie? Fresh made, like… three days ago! It's still good!"

Eve appraised the pie. Then she looked at the mutton. Then back at the pie. Back and forth, back and forth. The merchant eagerly pointed at the pie, mumbling words of frightened encouragement.

"C'mon!" I waved the whole pie at her. "Delicious stuff, and I've got a whooooole lot more back at the blanket!"

Ultimately, Eve hopped off the wagon. Stole the mutton. Ate it in front of its former owner. Spat the gristle on his shoes. Said "Your flesh tastes sweeter still." And followed me back to the Matriarch.

(I apologized profusely. The merchant had no words.)

Libby's reaction to our approaching child could have been predicted by the crappiest oracle in the land:

"Fuck!" She jumped off the blanket. "Get that thing away from here, you bastard! Agh, you tricked me!"

"Hey!" I motioned for Libby to sit. "She's not a THING, she's our daughter. C'mon, can't you at least TRY to have a meal? Can't WE? Please, Libby, try it for me. Please?"

Libby's answer was immediate and emphatic. "No! Fuck th'both of you! Go murder a village or something!"

We bickered. Eve didn't react in any way I noticed, besides looking at the pies stacked on the blanket. She didn't eat 'em out from under our noses, though, which I took as a good sign.

The matter was EVENTUALLY settled when Queen Daena, watching from the Matriarch, yelled at Libby to "Man up and have a lovely lunch with your husband and darling daughter". Libby told Daena to ram her pigtails up her arse. (I didn't know you could SAY that to royalty!) Libby did sit down, so I guess insults are the way to a woman's heart…? Meh, I don't get girls…

Eve refused to sit down next to us, and I didn't want her going ballistic and torching the grasslands like she did the rat city, so I made the most of the moment. I used a knife to caaaaarefully cut three slices of pie, blanking my mind so the knife WOULDN'T turn into a weapon and slip away, and handed plates to the most important girls in my life.

Libby moodily stuffed her face with pie. Eve tipped the plate into her mouth and swallowed the whole piece without chewing. I see a family resemblance THERE, at least.

I continued passing out pieces of pie, trying fruitlessly to spark a conversation. I asked Eve what she thought of the Matriarch, her mommy's handiwork; Eve responded by mentioning something about 'mole ivy' and 'limy ovum', which, I'll admit, is a CHANGE (confusing change) from the doom and gloom.

Then she told Libby she'd be committed to the blackest night while sheathed in a prison of bone, so, uh... baby steps.

Libby didn't take kindly to that. I tried to change the subject by asking Libby what she thought of our daughter's appetite, and how she was already so BIG. I asked, "Hey, aren't you proud of her? Not even one, and she's Lord Knight! That's dang impressive, innit?"

"Oh, yeah, very impressive," Libby admitted. "I bet ya would get promoted quick, what with all th'people you've killed. No competition left to take the spot from you. Demonic little bitch."

Eve blinked. "Levy… oleo."

Libby cocked her eyebrow. "What?"

Eve looked at me. "Levy… doodad."

I got down in front of Eve, on my knees, and lightly laid my hands on her shoulders. "What is it, lovely? C'mon, you can tell dad. Are you trying to say something?"

Eve's expression didn't change. Never does. "Levy."

Libby snorted. "I think you broke 'er."

"I will rend your eyelids and deliver you unto the darkened seas of Valhalla." Eve picked up the rest of the pies and jumped away, clearing a wagon and disappearing into the caravan.

That was it. Our first chance to bond, and Eve… Eve had been saying SOMETHING, I knew it… and Libby had fucked it up. Totally. We argued for a straight ten minutes, me calling her a heartless mother, her calling me a blind twit. We broke it off when Queen Daena announced that the caravan would be on its way.

Libby and I aren't talkin' to each other tonight. I'm too busy puzzling over what Eve was saying. Is it some kinda code? Or is she just full of gibberish, and because she's running out of dire predictions the nonsense is starting to come out?

Sigh. I dunno. I'll think about it.


Dragomir the Guard


  1. Oh PLEASE let it be some weird super hard attempt to say "Lovely" and "Love you Dad" that would TOTALLY make me soooo happy....

  2. Also, I believe that Eve is really possessed by some sort of...hack...which is intelligent and is amping up her growth and turning her into a demonic killing superhuman, but her totally less-than-one-year-old mind is still learning from her dad going through normal baby stuff and she is literally learning how to talk. I gather that we will soon (with a second-hand account no less, maybe even third-hand, fuck if I know) bare witness to the battle between Eve's "hack" and "original code" to see which overrides the other, or perhaps generates an new code of balance between super deathmachine and a cute little girl. Oh the anticipation!

  3. P.S.

    Did you set the captchas to a harder difficulty? I mean, they seem to get harder to read and decipher. The "D"s are starting to look ridiculous and the number 13 JUST dropped, and I've never seen a number in the captcha. Does that mean I gained a level or that I just entered a new zone and I'm not quite leveled up enough to encounter the enemies there or something?

    1. I have no control over CAPTCHA. As far as I know. If I did, I would set it to use entire paragraphs of Edgar Allan Poe stories. Just once, to see if anyone would bother.

    2. I would love that...

    3. I probably would...though I bet one could just copy paste that...

    4. Not unless he intentionally made typos in the Edgar Allen Poe stories

  4. Through my advanced knowledge of the english language, and my well versed skill of linguistics, I believe I know what Eve was trying to communicate. She was trying to say "More! Pie Me!" (mole ivy), or (limy ovum) "Gimme Some!" and my favorite "Lemme do that" (Levy… doodad).

    P.S. The ninja joke I made yesterday prolly didn't fool anyone XD

    1. First of all, if she were it'd be out of context and wouldn't make any damn sense, at least when it comes to "Levy...doodad". Stop trying to destroy my dreams!!!

      P.S. I really did check that entry JUST to be sure.

  5. Clearly she's just reached a new level of cryptic speech patterns. Soon she will be chanting ominous faux-Latin nonsense. Certainly nothing to do with possible character development. That would be silly.