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Outtake: Going Home

16

January 31, 2014 by Lyn

Luna’s father came to get her in August.  She’d sent him that in a letter: The baby’s too young to travel. Come get me in August.  She’d been pretty sure she could handle a month with him, but that had been June, and that had been before Olifur left for Princeton.

“This is Sunil.” 

She hadn’t meant to lead that way, but she found herself weilding her son in his carrier in front of her like a weapon. 

“Hello, Sunil.”  Her father looked at the baby, not touching him yet but peering at the chubby cheeks and blue eyes. 

“You’re not surprised.”  The words were tumbling out of Luna’s mouth, from that place where she’d hidden everything while Evie was keeping her.  “You’re not surprised that your teenaged daughter walked out of the school with a baby.”

“Now, come on, Luna, I just got here.”

“I’m not coming on anywhere anymore, Dad.  Been there, done that.” She set Sunil’s carrier down behind her and glared at her father, startled to find his normal expression, the one he used for placating and calming, had been replaced with something angry. 

The urge was strong to flinch back, and, before she’d thought it through, she did – stepping back, ducking her shoulders, and lowering her head.

“God damn it and fuck the departed gods…” He was growling.  She’d never heard her father growl.  She took another step backwards, bumping her heels into Sunil’s carrier. 

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it.”  Please don’t be mad.  She wasn’t sure she could handle that, not today.

“Eluned, Eluned my woodland idol darling.”  She could hear the effort her father took to calm himself.    “Please say that again.”

“Say… say what? I didn’t mean it?”

“No.  Been there, done…”  He glowered at her.  “Luna, I’m angry.  Someone has been hurting you, been hurting my little girl – haven’t they?”

She couldn’t step back any further, so she braced her shoulders and looked at him. “Yes.”

“Someone Kept my little girl.”

She straightened her back.  “You know about Keeping.”

“You’re not my first daughter to go through Addergoole.  But someone hurt you.”  He snarled.  “Stay… no, you’re right. I don’t get to give you orders.  Please stay here.  Regine!”  His voice rose up into a shout as he turned away.  “By the thirteen departed gods, Regine Avonmorea, get the fuck out here and explain yourself.”

“Mr. Thrane.”  Luke was there so quickly, Eluned wondered if he’d been waiting for this.  Surely her father couldn’t be the first one to stand yelling in the Village.  She picked up Sunil, though whether to comfort herself or him she couldn’t quite tell, and muttered an eavesdropping Working so her father would feel as if she was far enough distant.

And, indeed, he was walking as he talked, leading Luke away from her.  “Luca Hunting-Hawk.”  He’d stopped shouting, at least.  “What the fuck is Regine doing to our children? What the fuck are you allowing the Lady of the Lake to do to our kids?”

Eluned might have been imagining it, but she thought she heard regret in Luke’s voice.  “You knew they’d be required to have two children when you signed the contract, Mordechai Thrane.”

“And you didn’t hear me bitching about Alisha’s three, did you?”

Wait, her father had another daughter?

“Alisha was collared too, Mordecai.”

Wait, her father’s name was Mordecai?  He’d always gone by Moe.

“Alisha had – has – that boy wrapped around her little finger.  Tell me who the bastard is.  Tell me who hurt my little girl.”

Luke’s voice got solemn.  “We watch all of the students who end up in a collar, Mordecai.  We step in if there’s abuse, and Evie was not abusing your daughter.”

Eluned cringed.  That was not how she wanted to come out to her dad: Your daughter’s girlfriend wasn’t abusing her.

“You stand there and watch the way she cringes, and you tell me someone wasn’t fucking with her head.”

Luke’s wings flapped out angrily, and then folded against his back as his shoulders slumped.  “That… is harder to guard against, yes.  Eluned…” He raised his voice to call to her.  “Come here.”

“Sir?” She tilted her head at him and walked over.

“Was Evie bad to you?”

“Evie?”  It appeared her father was finally getting the idea.  “You didn’t get a baby from a girl… did you?”

“No, Dad.  Well, I did, but I only surrogated that one.  Sunil…” She took a breath and chose her words carefully. “Olifur and I chose to have Sunil together, and Evie allowed it because she got something out of it.”  She turned to look directly at Luke.  “Evie was a mess.  She still is a mess.  She didn’t mean to be bad to me, but she was a wreck and being Kept by a wreck is hard.  You never know what’s going to happen next and…”  She took a moment to collect herself.  “And you never know if you did something wrong or if they’re just mad because of something someone else did.  And there’s all the bad habits…”  She shook her head.  “No.  No, Evie wasn’t abusive.  She was just abused.”

“I’m not sure that’s much better.”  Her father did not look mollified.

Eluned decided it was time to change the subject.  “You have another daughter and you never told me?”

“I sent you here, Eluned.  I sent you here, Luna Moth, and then that woman…  That woman hurt you.”

“You have another daughter.”

“I have two other daughters and a son.”  She could see his Adam’s apple bouncing.  “In this generation.  The others… are more than old enough to be your parents.”

“You have… how many kids?  You have all these other kids, and you’ve never told me?”  Her voice was rising louder.  “You have all these kids.  You’re fae, you’re fae and you never told me, you’re how old and you never told me and you sent me here?>“  her voice had gone beyond loud to shouting.  “All of this you’ve been lying to me all this time?”

He didn’t shout.  When she’d been living at home, when she’d shouted at him, he’d shouted back.  Instead, he dropped his voice to almost a whisper. 

“I never lied to you, Eluned, although I did withhold truths, and for that, I owe you.  But they…”  He didn’t get any louder.  It might have been less frightening if he had.  “They lied too.  They told us you would be safe.”

Luke’s wings were all the way out.  He was braced for a fight.  “Mordechai, sa’Leopard’s Bite.”

“Luca, sa’Hunting Hawk.  We will take care of this later.  Not when my kin are here, not when my kin are going to your school.”

“Children were promised until the ninth generation.”  Luke, Eluned thought, didn’t really look happy at all with this.  With any of this.

“I know.”  Her father was smiling.  There was nothing she had seen as terrifying as the way her father was smiling right now.  “You can tell Regine, as soon as that ninth generation graduates, I’m coming for her.”  He turned his back on Luke and the school and offered Eluned his hand.  “Come on, Moth.”  It was as if he had not just been threatening someone at all.  “You and Sunil have family to meet.”


 

This was written to Kuro_Neko’s donation and request for more students-and-parents after school; it’s part one of at least three different stories.

For every $5US donated, I will write 300 words on the character or situation of your choice. Want more?


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16 comments »

  1. Kuro_Neko says:

    Excellent! I really liked this. This sort of thing is exactly what I’ve been after for awhile. Great to see a parent who cares and is willing to do something about it. It’s also very nice to see that Regine will at least hopefully be paying for her crimes, even if it’s not going to be for another 150ish years. And that’s only if none of the previous eight generations have any more kids after leaving the school, since if I’m understanding the multi-generational promise correctly, it covers all kids produced, not just the two that are in the grad requirements, otherwise the Staff wouldn’t be trying to con more pregnancies out of the students. So if Eluned has another kid a hundred years from now, that still counts as generation number two and will still have to produce their own seven more generations. Or am I misunderstanding how the promise works?

    Again, excellent work. I’m eagerly awaiting the next one. Cheers.

    • Lyn says:

      More coming! The “Speed” one is a short, and then I’m working on the Ceinwen one.

      In re. the graduation requirements: we have been running with the concept that the children born to the Addergoole project are the ones who must come to the school – not those born conceived outside of the school.

      • Kuro_Neko says:

        Ah, I see. Thank you for the clarification. I’m happy to hear that any of the Students’ future children won’t have to suffer that place.

  2. Rix Scaedu says:

    How much family do they get to meet?

  3. Kim says:

    Yeah, ya know?
    That was no threat.
    That was a promise.

    Promises sound different.

  4. Wysteria says:

    Regine is mighty screwed. ^_^

    But that’s what paladin-ing will do.

  5. Wysteria says:

    Assuming the average age of the kids is 17 when they have their babies, you have about 150 years from the founding of the school until the geas ends.

    Things are going to go boom then, if not sooner.

    • Kuro_Neko says:

      Probably more like 165 from the founding. Keep in mind that Regine seems to have staggered the births of the first generation of kids so she has a new crop coming of age every year, and probably has arranged for that to continue until year 14 or 15 when the first crop of second gen kids will be of age to attend.

      It really would have been prudent to leave a four year gap between the generations to stop any vicious cycles from perpetuating, but they were too… something (arrogant? stupid? short-sighted?), to believe their plans could develop any problems.

      • Lyn says:

        Rushed. They knew the end was coming and didn’t know when, and previous projects had failed at earlier stages than this, so they were just in a hurry against an unknown deadline.

        And Year 17 is, I believe, when the first First Cohort kids come to school (I use Cohort + 1 + (15-18) for rough calculations, so not sure how I got nobody in the 16th Cohort but it didn’t happen). There weren’t all THAT many babies born Year One.

  6. guesty says:

    Wow, Luna’s father is badass! I’m not yet sure I like him, though.

  7. Kuro_Neko says:

    I was just re-reading bits and pieces and a couple of additional comments came to mind when reading this:

    First, Luke says here that children were promised until the ninth generation, whereas Cenwein’s father says seventh generation just a couple of chapters from now. I’m not sure which is correct but one or the other needs changing.

    Second, if Mordechai is as upset and angry over Eluned’s treatment and how Regine lied as it seems, why is he waiting nearly 200 years to do anything about it? At that point all the damage that could be done will have been done. The reason he’s upset seems to be genuine concern over Eluned’s well-being. If that’s the case, then waiting until the program has run its course will risk either 126 or 390 (depending on whether it’s seven or nine generations) more kin of his to Regine’s screw-ups, not to mention three more years risk to Eluned herself. Is it simply because he Promised? Is a Promise really worth the possible suffering of hundreds of your descendents? Obviously the Promises he made in the beginning don’t preclude violence, because Luke reacts in this chapter like he’s half expecting an immediate attack. And for the ‘sending children to Addergoole’ part of the Promise, there must be a way to wiggle out of that. If nothing else, I highly doubt Regine would write a contract she couldn’t absolve if she had to, so there’s just forcing her to release at least his kin. Otherwise, putting the school under new management and keeping it running to the required nth generation would probably work. Unlike most of the other parents we’ve seen so far, who either apparently don’t care or aren’t powerful enough to do anything about it, Mordechai seems to be both, otherwise Luke wouldn’t be so cautious. So why doesn’t he do something immediately?

    Third, would you be open to a commission covering Mordechai’s eventual confrontation with Regine? I know this is probably a long shot since you previously declined to cover Regine’s fall, and I’m ok with that, but there’s no harm in asking.

    Cheers.

    • Lyn says:

      The seventh/ninth is a setting inconsistency; I need to pick one, put it on the wiki, and then fix whichever’s wrong. That’s for catching it.

      And I don’t think I’d be comfortable writing that commission. For one thing, I have absolutely nothing specced out past about Year 54, so 200ish years in the future is a bit far for me. However, I should be finishing up your queued commission in the next week, so if there’s something else you want to see – within those 50 years – we could discuss it.

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