Monday, March 4, 2013

Day Four-Hundred-Six: Where does she get those wonderful toys

I'm still not in Libby's bed this week. Feel bad though I might about missing my own birthday party over something as stupid as trying to build a church with no help, I can't be around that kid anymore. In any capacity. He's… he's… he's gonna drive me mad.

I wish I could explain it to Libby. She doesn't understand how much of a freak he is, how utterly dangerous he can be… because I don't think he'll ever be dangerous to her. If there's one person he actually loves, it's Libby. He adores Libby to the ends of the earth. There's no malice towards her, only twisted, unapologetic affection. It sickens me.

… and makes me think of how long I've held out for Eve. But that, that's very different. Eve started out bad and eventually revealed she was good. Grayson… complete opposite.

Wonder what will happen when they meet. When I finally work up the manpower, or… bravery… or whatever… to go after her. I wonder what will happen.

Maybe she'll…

No. Forget that. He's… still my son.

I use these horrible musings as an introduction to the big topic of conversation this week, unveiled during an impromptu breakfast: Libby and June's big project has finally been revealed to the public. And boy howdy, it is ambitious.

Libby somehow conned my dad into letting everyone have breakfast as soon as they got up, which is an unusual treat. We usually have to wait until lunch for the tyrant reeve to unhook our leashes. Today, Bora had steaming bowls of soup ready (the best she could manage at short notice) and people sat at tables, or in the few beds left on the pub's main floor, sipping happily as they woke up.

(I've moved in with Edmund, in case you were wondering. He shares a house with a couple of nobles. Libby didn't object - we aren't talking right now.)

We were sitting around, drinking and chatting idly, when the floor began to rumble. Everyone grabbed at their soup bowls to prevent splashing, and most were on their feet, yelling 'Earthquake!' or 'Tornado!' or 'Tsunami!' or other such apocalyptic nonsense. I ran to the window to see what was the matter -

- and there arose such a clatter -

- because a massive fucking machine had parked itself outside the pub.

We ran out the door to have a look. The machine was maybe fifteen feet tall and double that long, a whirring combination of gears, pulleys, cogs and a hell of a lot of wood, propelled by six oversized wagon wheels. At its front was a huge corkscrew, crudely shaped from a massive slab of high-quality metal, aimed menacingly at the front of the Beefiary. 

Atop this lumbering lumber monstrosity, looking bedraggled but satisfied, was Libby. June and Grayson were on either side of her. June looked happier than I've ever seen her; Grayson was livid. I took great consolation in that facial expression.

"This," Libby announced, patting her creation, "is the Hypermole. It's gonna turn Pubton into a fuckin' paradise, ladies 'n gents."

The crowd pulled away from the pub, suddenly elated. They bounced the name back and forth like a volleyball.

"Hypermole? Did she say Hypermole?"

"I think so. Wow, lookit it! Hypermole."

"No, no, she said Hyperbole. She must have a cold."

"Why the hell would she call it Hyperbole? That makes no sense."

"Well, it certainly LOOKS overstated."

"Huzzah for the Hypermole!"

Libby explained her plan. She'd realized, long ago, that Pubton needs stone structures. She also knew (though she said this part without reference to a specific person) that I'd always thought of making a wall 'round the town. And, thanks to some investigative digging from June, evidence of valuable ore deposits located in - and under - the local mountain range has been unearthed. Such ore could make us rich and bring incredible industry to Pubton.

Enter the Hypermole. Using this machine we can dig our way into the earth and plunder every valuable resource therein. Hell, forget building a town, Libby said - we can build a bloody kingdom with a good enough mine.

The people buzzed. The nobles in particular were excited, no doubt gleeful at the thought of restoring themselves to high society. A kingdom, a kingdom, hurrah for a kingdom, hurrah for Libby the Great -


The yell broke the din, commanding silence. Everyone looked around to see who'd screamed their discontent. I didn't need to look. I'd heard that voice before. If Robert had still been around, he no doubt would have cringed in exactly the same way.

My mom stormed up to the Hypermole, glaring at it without a shred of apprehension or fear. "These plans you're drawin' up! They wouldn't require takin' people away from the farming, now would it?"

Libby hesitated a moment, though June nodded and patted her shoulder, restoring her confidence. "Uh… yeah! Of course it would."

"Well that's bloody ridiculous!" Martha the Farmer swept her hands this way and that, motioning to the freshly-tilled-yet-largely-untouched fields. "This is planting season! We need to get crops in the ground! We won't have a better time t'do it! We're gonna need all the hands we can get! This contraption of yours can wait!"

Libby sneered down at her mother-in-law. "No, no it can't! We need defences, we need money, we need industry! What, did you forget all that shit with the… shadow… things? You think food's gonna help us against them?!"

"No, but it MIGHT help us not STARVE TO DEATH IN THE SUMMER!" Mom kicked the Hypermole and winced, biting back the pain in her toe. "Your 'Hyperwhatever' sounds like a damned pipe dream! We need to stick to the methods we know will work 'n make THIS crap a SECONDARY PRIORITY!"

"No!" Libby gaped and looked to the crowd. Many of them, particularly the farmers, were quietly changing sides. "This is important! You want a wall? You want soldiers? You want an ACTUAL COMMUNITY? WE NEED A MINE!"

"We can buy those things with money from GROWING CROPS!"

"Yeah, in about a hundred years when we EARN ENOUGH! Oh, wait, now, maybe we'll be DEAD BY THEN!"

"You're right, 'cause we'll have STARVED THANKS TO SOME HALF-BAKED SCHEME!"







Soon the crowd was whispering along with them, saying the word of the person they most supported. Libby dismounted the Hypermole and faced mom down, but mom, having been married to a bear like my dad for so long, was utterly undeterred. They screamed in each other's faces until, finally, my mom came up with the worst solution ever:


Silence. Fuming, aggravated silence. The whole crowd turned to look at me, backed up against the pub. I'd not at all expected to be dragged into the debate.

One word jumped to mind, and I said it without hesitation.

"De… democracy…?"

Everyone looked at each other. Then one of the nobles caught on. 

"A vote," she said. "He means we have to vote."

"Vote." The word made the rounds, whispered by a dozen people, then a hundred, then damn near everyone, which isn't much more than a hundred. It grew to a normal tone, then a shout, then a cry held by men and women and children and animals alike, because somehow some of the sheep had gotten out and they were unusually human-sounding in their cries: "VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!"

So we vote. Friday. (When else?) Just like last year, democracy goes into play. Only this time, it's personal.

My wife or my mother. Cripes. Who the hell am I supposed to pick?


Dragomir the Mayor


  1. The only way this could work out without some sort of divide between the two sides, would be to reveal Grayson's abilities and make him help plant crops. Or a system of alternating shifts could make a slightly slow, yet progressive amount of power towards planting crops AND mining.

    Although if Libby could train someone-else to operate the machine, she could then focus her time and effort into building a Crop-planting machine next. But in the end it all kinda leads into a standstill, which means priority over one or the other.

    Security brought by the wall would allow prosperity and safety to the town through mining. However it then raises the problem of starving to death in the event of a siege or if no food trade can be done immediately. But on the other-hand, if they focus on farming then they'll have food and no safety from anything or anyone who'd attack.

    So I say the BEST option is to get REALLY drunk at the pub, and we'll see how it goes from there.

  2. Real quick:

    " at her stepmother...." um, mother-in-law? I don't want to think of the connotation about that and how utterly complicated that makes Dragomir's marriage...


    "...until lunch for the the tyrant reeve..."

    Other than that...Gods be with you Dragomir...Gods be with you....

    1. Good catches. Thanks. I've been sick. Editing head not working no good.

  3. There is no right answer, Dragomir. We will all pray for you.