Allegro 48: Sullen

Tribal members who have not embraced the teachings of the Divine Couple for at least seven full generations at a single church cannot: 1) have title to registered lands, 2) exercise direct control over any business, coop, or legal entity, 3) earn a title of nobility or be awarded governmental honors, 4) utilize financial networks or instruments beyond direct currency, 5) adopt children for any reason, 6) claim…

Unified Codex of Gepaul Laws

Linsan fought back the tears as she carried a cup of tea back to the Glasscoaster. The large mug had an obscene amount of sugar in it and the heavy cream swirled with every step. She even asked for a bit of whipped cream on the top though she didn't have faith it would do anything.

They were two days out from Sicmla Rihemlan in a small town on their way of Stone Over Moon Waters. The hot morning beat down on her back, cutting through her clothes and causing her skin to stick to the fabric.

Miska rolled out from underneath the buggy. She wiped the sweat off her brow as the air around her wavered and shifted from her magic. “I fused the leak on the tank. We must have scraped against a rut and busted some seams. I had to use the last of our plates to fix it.”

“Will it hold?” Linsan asked quietly as she looked through the window to Brook.

Her friend sat in the driver's seat, not moving. She had abandoned her usual finery and wore her simplistic gown without makeup, hat, or even her gloves. Instead, she looked plain and broken.

“She can't take much more.”

Linsan sighed. Then she glanced at Miska quizzically. “The Coaster or Brook?”

The blonde tugged her pony tail for a moment. The sweat glistened over her tattoos through the opening of her plain shirt. “Both, I think.”

Miska looked sad and shook her head. “She's getting caught in the winter cold and I don't know how to warm her seeds.”

The phrase didn't entirely make sense to Linsan, but it felt right. “I know, I don't either. I guess the only thing we can do is love her, take care of her, and let her know that we aren't going to give up.”

Linsan shook her head. “She's lost right now.”

“Then we drive.”

Linsan bumped her shoulder against Miska. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Even with the reason you came, it was a choice you made and I'm thankful you did. Without you, we would have been lost.”

Miska grinned. “Well, I also wanted to. I've lived my entire life between four villages. People come and go but I never left. I always assumed I would end up rooted to the ground like Old Gab. But even she left the village once.”

“She told me.”

“I know, you were probably the brightest star in her twilight. The only one who understood music. She couldn't stop talking about you.”

Linsan blushed.

“I wanted to hear what she heard. Just a song that filled my heart and kept me growing…” Miska sighed. “… just growing for decades.”

She smiled to Linsan. “Old Gab's oldest daughter died on the trip to Jamorel. She got broke her leg. The wound got poisonous and the healers there wouldn't help….” She gestured to her tattoos.

Linsan didn't know how to respond to the sudden uncomfortableness. She clamped her mouth shut and ducked her head.

“But she was listening to this play through the window of the hospital and it kept her…” Miska sniffed. “It kept her going. She made it home and never left again but she never forgot that song.”

“It was my mother singing.”

Miska wiped the tears from her eyes. “Old Gab let us know that too. We live in a small forest and the fruits never fall far. Our lives were intertwined and we grow for many reasons. I'm honoring Old Gab's memory by following you through the end just as I am here to ruin those men's lives.”

Linsan smiled sadly.

Miska took a deep breath. “Might get a few new adventure for my skin during the process. But right now, we have someone who needs us badly and she needs to drive into that sun.”

“After this? Maybe Brook will get her money back and use it to buy those lands?”

A flash of sadness cross Miska's face. “You know tribal folk can't own land, right?”


“That's the law. We can't own lands, have bank accounts, or run a business. I have to rent the smith from Har and give him the money for taxes. He's a good guy, but he still shaves a little off the top for himself.”

There were no plays or trivia that Linsan could say.

“It sucks being born this way, you know? But the weed that grows in the cracks of the stone honors the winds more than any pretty garden.” Miska crawled into the back seat and settled into place. She turned until her back was to Linsan tucked her head against her arm.

Linsan got into her seat and held out the cup to Brook. “I got you a fresh drink.”

Brook didn't look away from staring through the windshield. “Are you ready to go,” she said in a low, monotone.

“Come, have something to drink. I put lots of sweet in it.”

“Are you ready?” Brook's voice remained a monotone.

Linsan fought back the tears. She swapped the drink for the still full one in the cup holder and poured out the old drink. Shaking it clear, she carefully set it in the back and shut her door.

Brook mechanically turned on the engine. As soon as the pressure built, she eased it forward and accelerated as fast as the Glasscoaster could handle.