The B A T m o b i l e s
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- Posted: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 11:58:11 +0000
“A body to hide?” Posey said, but her voice was so quiet that she might as well have been mouthing the words rather than saying them aloud. Rastus didn’t notice. Posey decided that it would be best if she kept it to herself… for now. Now was not the time to ask about murders that Rastus may-or-may-not have committed, once upon a time. That, and in the end it didn’t matter. Mages did what they had to when their secrets were in danger of getting out. Posey knew that as well as anyone else, though… maybe not as well as Rastus, if he was a murderer. ‘Don’t associate that word with him, stupid. Rastus could never be a murderer.’ she thought, and with those words let out a breath she hadn’t even meant to hold.
“Okay, that’s a lie- I am a little bit ashamed of them. They always make me think those stupid ‘if only’ thoughts that only lead to troubled sleep. If only I’d been stronger, faster, smarter, better- maybe he wouldn’t have died and I wouldn’t have been injured.” She didn’t trust her mouth to say anything helpful because she was almost positive that saying something along the lines of well now you have me for when you can’t sleep would be taken badly. She didn’t even feel like she was reading too much into it. She did, however, choose this moment to lean her head against his shoulder. And while this gesture could be taken badly, too, Posey reasoned that he had been the one to wrap his arm around her shoulders in the first place so he wouldn’t be too quick to jump on to the whole ‘she had a thing for me’ boat.
He concluded his talk with, “Do you want to yell some more?” to which Posey laughed, though softly, and there was something bitter behind the sound. “I… didn’t want to yell in the first place. It reminds me of my mother, and I- I don’t exactly want to be anything like her.”
- Posey was eleven. She was walking down the hall, having just cme home from a walk in the woods behind the house. She humming to herself, fumbling with the buttons on her jacket on her way to the bathing room, when she heard voices. Loud, familiar ones coming through the closed door of the kitchen. The kitchen door was never closed, not for as long as she could remember. But it was closed now, and she slowed her pace, wondering why.
“You’re not to see that boy, Fernanda. Never again, am I clear?”
‘That’s mother’, Posey thought. ‘Is she yelling at a servant, again?’
“Do you hear yourself, mother? Honestly?” Posey pressed her ear against the door, pursing her lips to keep herself from breathing too loudly. Not that her breath could be heard over the raised voices. “I’m a grown woman, you can’t tell me who I can and can’t see.”
‘Fern?’ Posey wondered, ‘When did she get home? I thought she was still in Thisbe, visiting Grandfather… Or was she visiting Uncle-’
“I am your mother.” Posey’s thoughts cut off abruptly at her mother’s tone. She felt the familiar pull in chest of guilt-and-helplessness that she felt whenever her mother used that tone, even though Posey wasn’t the one being yelled at, currently.
“Giving birth to me doesn’t mean that you have absolute power. Even pawns of the Crown rebel, you hear about it all the time in-” Fern tried to argue, but their mother cut her off.
“Not in this house! There will be no talk of rebellion under this room, not while I’m here! And while you are living under this roof, you will obey my word.”
“Will I?” Fern laughed, a sound that resonated more with anger than with humor or joy. “Mother dearest, I think you are sorely mistaken when you think I will allow you to play God when it comes to those I love.”
“Love? What do you know of love? Why, you’re but a chil-”
“I’ll reach my nineteenth summer in just a month, mother. The same age that you married father. You always wanted me to be married by the time I was twenty, or has that changed? Would you rather I burdened you into my forties?”
Posey blinked, pulling away from the door just a tad to process what she had heard. ‘Fern wants to get married? Since when? To who? He must be really awful if mother’s so angry about it...’
“I want you to marry up, Fernanda, and I won’t see you married off to some poor, carpentry boy. Why, it would be a scandal! Besides, we don’t need any more dirty blood in this family-” Fern cut her off.
“Dirty blood? If that wasn’t a slip of the tongue, mother, I swear to the Gods I’ll-”
“Is it not the case? I’ve birthed a mage, myself, and I’m not proud of it. Your father is the only normal man out of a family of ten brothers! Ten!” Posey felt cold, and she wanted to walk away. Not proud of it? Posey knew she got on her mother’s nerves sometimes, but wishing she wasn’t born was… something else. ‘Mother doesn’t hate me, though.’ Posey thought quickly, ‘She just… she just wishes I didn’t have the magic, that’s all.’ The chill remained under her skin, however, a knot formed in her throat. She couldn’t shake that awful feeling…
“If Posey is ‘dirty blood’, then let the Void swallow us all.” Fern’s voice was so low, so fierce, that she could have been growling, “And I’ve decided I don’t need your blessing. I’ll marry whomever I choose, and I’ve chosen Rupert. Have a good life without me, Tilia, this will be the last you hear of me.”
“Fern- Fernanda? Where are you going? Come back here! We’re not yet finished speaking-” The back door slammed. “Fernanda!”
Posey chewed on her bottom lip, the memory passing quickly. “I guess I’m just a daddy’s girl? Dad never yelled. The only time his voice was ever louder than usual was because he was laughing, which I suppose he did often. He thought everything was funny, the whole world was a joke. I’ve always thought that was because he had so many brothers. Somehow he had to cope with the fighting and wrestling and such. And he was so scrawny compared to my uncles! I’m surprised he lived long enough to marry my mother.” Posey glanced at Rastus (causing a few strands of hair to fall into her eyes, which she brushed away with an irritated-bordering-frustrated sigh) but didn’t really want to move away just yet. She liked sitting there with him, her head on his shoulder, his arm around her… It felt better than walking down the road anyhow. “Can you imagine having nine brothers? I wonder if my grandparents kept trying for a girl or something… Not that women are much better. You have all sisters, too, don’t you?” she giggled, “I can imagine them trying to paint your face, or forcing you to have a tea party with them. Did they make you wear a bonnet?” Posey laughed the last question
A sudden breeze rushed past them, kicking the water up the shore toward the tips of Posey’s shoes, which were worn but not yet falling to pieces (which, as far as she was concerned, meant these were the best shoes she’d ever owned period – any other pair would have her toes sticking out of the front or the sole would be pulling apart from the body). “You said your leg was acting up?” Posey asked, once the breeze had passed and the two of them had been left in a brief silence. “Er- If you don’t mind, I mean.”
She smiled sheepishly, pulling away from his arm with an obvious reluctance. With his permission, she pressed a delicate hand to his bruised ribs (probably a little harder than she should of, but not enough to actually harm him), her eyes fluttering shut.
It felt so good to use magic that Posey almost lost track of what she was doing. She’d been suppressing her healing since they arrived at the rebel mage camp, and she’d gotten so used to keeping the magic at bay—forcing herself to coat her nicks and scratches with herbs instead of moving them along faster with magic—that it was becoming second nature. It was almost frightening to think that she’d nearly forgotten what it felt like to heal, really heal.
Posey’s thoughts brought her back to the task at hand. Rastus was more important, after all.
She felt the wire-like energies that twisted themselves through Rastus’ body, differing in their widths and lengths and the paths they took through each limb. Her Uncle had once tried to explain what it meant for each thread to be thicker or shorter or whatever they were, but Posey had never tried to understand it. It had been a poor decision on her part, and she desperately wanted to understand, now that it was too late to learn. She could feel the knots in his legs, though they weren’t the focus. Instead, she looked to his ribs where some of the threads were snapped or stretched extremely thin. She focused, there, and did what she could to mend the damage. It was very nearly back to normal (not perfect, but damn close if she did say so herself) and she might have smiled to herself, if she weren’t so withdrawn from her body. Maybe she did, anyway, just without realizing it…
The world felt incredibly far away, years and oceans and miles and miles and miles away. But when she let go of the magic, she was sitting in front of Rastus, again, on the shore of the lake. She wasn’t sure how long had passed. ‘Probably not very long.’ She opened her eyes, then scrunched them shut against the sunlight. “Oh, ouch. I might have overdone that a bit.” she said quietly, a hand coming up to cradle her forehead, which ached only slightly. “Or maybe It’s just been too long.” she added, thoughtfully. She dared to try and open her eyes again, and with better results. “Did that… help? I think you should feel relatively normal, actually. It didn’t hurt did it? I’m so sorry if it hurt. I swear I didn’t mean it too! It just sort of- it’s different per person, I think? But it didn’t hurt you last time and I… Did it hurt?”
- T I M E__S K I P
It was nearly dusk, but the sky still held its blue hue over the reds and pinks of sunset. It felt a lot earlier than it actually was thanks to that, actually.
Bluebell wasn’t a very large city, and it wasn’t a port city, but it was still one of the major cities in Thalia. The upper-class liked to have summer homes, there. All of the King’s bastards lived here with their mothers. It was probably the country that did it, or at least Posey always thought so. There were hills and hills of lime-colored grasses and flowers looking like they fell out of a rainbow. She’d visited once or twice as a child, but it wasn’t until she went on the run that she really saw Bluebell and appreciated it. Before that, she had always been more in love with the stores and the people in their overly expensive clothing.
They weren’t headed for the nice side of Bluebell, of course. They were headed for Cheap Side. Beggars and dirty bricks and dust in the air – a drastic change when compared to the vibrancy of the rest of the city.
Posey and Rastus were on the road, at the top of a steep-ish hill overlooking the city. Posey could make out the grassy fields on the other side of the city, though not in any detail thanks to the distance. “Well, that didn’t take long.” Posey said, then paused, “Well, I guess it did take long since we ran into a few weeks worth of distraction. But I mean, if we pretend like that didn’t happen then it didn’t take long at all, huh?” she smiled cheerily, reaching for Rastus’ hand. “Come on, then. I bet you a silver—a silver that I don’t have, come to think of it—that I’ll trip somewhere down this hill once or twice.” She tripped four times, and it was very nearly made five at the very bottom of the hill. Only once did she Rastus down with her, which she was almost proud of. ‘I’d have a bit more pride if I hadn’t taken him down at all.’
“Um. When we get into the city, we should probably lay low? Avoid guards? In case we do have a bounty. I mean- I mean, I didn’t think you were about to run into the city stark naked or something, but… Wow, interesting mental image. Um. And I said that out loud and everything, didn’t I? Alright, then, let’s just ignore Mary—Posey. Dammit. Now I’m mixing up my own name?” She took a deep breath, let it out, retaking Rastus’ hand (she’d let go of it somewhere down the hill… probably between falls). “Alright, come on. It’ll be weird enough that we’re walking into a brothel, together.” She thought this over before retracting the statement, “Actually I don’t think that would be odd at all.”
Posey led Rastus into the city, and they weaved through the crowd. There were shops open all down the road, some in stands and some working from the buildings themselves. It reminded Posey of the day Rastus had saved her from Laran’s lecherous gaze, somehow, though Bluebell was very different aesthetically. She wondered if Rastus was thinking of the same day or if his mind was wandering elsewhere.
Something that didn’t escape her was the sheer number of guards in Bluebell. There were nearly double the amount she remembered seeing on the streets, all traveling in groups of four. ‘Something must have happened.’ she thought. Posey tried to eavesdrop a little on the passing conversations, hoping to pick up something useful, but instead all she figured out was that the baker’s son, Jusco, was sleeping with Ysolde, a made in Lord Barnaby’s household. Ysolde was also sleeping with Lord Barnaby some people said. One man tried to say Ysolde was his wife, not a maid at all, but everyone else in his group of gossips contradicted him. ‘Apparently Ysolde’s love life is more important that whatever brought on the extra guard… unless it happened quite a while ago and people have lost interest already…’
“I think it was down this way, and then left on the avenue that has a yellow church on the corner. And then we can follow that all the way down to Cheap Side and I can find anything you like from Cheap Side. Not because I’m cheap or something, but… Well, I’m not so much cheap as I’m broke. Always. Perpetually. Even when I worked for you I was basically broke. Not that you paid badly, come to think of it. Actually, how did you manage to stay afloat with how much you paid- Oh, nevermind. You watered down the ale. I guess my real question should be something along the lines of how did you manage to stay afloat when your ale didn't take?” Her smile was a cheeky one.
Her smile faltered when a guard started walking toward them. It wasn’t that he looked like he was coming at them, per se, but he was still coming nearer, and as far as Posey was concerned she didn’t want anyone to recognize their faces. Especially not a guard.
There weren’t as many people in this part of the market, so there was a good chance the guard would notice them, how out of place they were. The worn look of their clothes, the muted colors from sun exposure, the hair that looked like it pretty badly needed a cut (just thinking about it made her brush it back behind her ear, again). There could possibly even be eye contact between the guard and them, which occasionally lead to a smile or a greeting – all of which would make Rastus and Posey more and more memorable, which is exactly what they needed to avoid being at the moment.
She glanced at Rastus, a small smile on her lips, right before she yanked him into the first right turn they happened across. Which, as it happened, was an alley. ‘Yes, because too people standing awkwardly in an alley isn’t sus- Oh, no. Not that. Gods, please, anything but that.’ Seeing that returning to the street would be just as suspicious as two people in an alley, however, Posey clenched her jaw, really hating herself for being such an idiot at the moment.
“Er, could you do me a favor and pretend to kiss me? Or actually kiss me, if you suck at faking, I’m not all that picky.” ‘If he kisses me… Oh, dear, I need to stop thinking about him kissing me.’ “Just for a moment, while that pesky guard passes by and hurry because he was sort of close when I pulled you in here and I don’t want him remembering our faces…”