This story is safe of all slavery and/or Ellehemaei Law, although it does include some small magic and a guy living through all of US history.
For Friendly Anon’s prompt.
This takes place from the late 1600’s through 2011
He’d built one of the first houses on the river, and tried to pretend it was his home, which he’d left so far behind.
At that time, there hadn’t been all that many people around, so he’d cut corners here and there – lots of here, and a little here, as his mother would have said – pulling up the beams, bending them from small trees into large ones with Workings, preserving those giant straight maple beams so that they would last forever.
He was no good with earth, so he’d moved the rocks for the foundation the hard way until another exile had come by, and then he’d traded favors – his skill with wood for Constance’s skill with stone. Their houses had looked like everyone else’s, but they were sturdy, solid, watertight, and built to last the ages.
After all, they were exiles in a strange land, and they didn’t know how long they’d be there.
He moved on, as the territories opened up, leaving the house to his son and Constance’s youngest daughter, with a promise of “you’re-always-welcome-Father” so he’d have a place to stay. He moved West slowly, looking for a place that felt like home, staying in a city for maybe thirty years, then heading back to visit his family and meet the newest generation, then heading out again, further west every time.
Gannon was fond of feminine companionship, and so he found himself making friends with women – usually human women – in each new territory, so that, after a century or so, making his way back to Albany took him quite a while, visiting every solid-beam house he’d built over the years, visiting each new generation of children. Telling them all sanitized stories of The Good Old Days, stories of the secrets he’d hidden in the houses, stories of their grandmothers, their grandfathers, of the way their city had been.
It took him from 2000 to 2011 to make it from Washington to Albany, and, at that, he rushed the last three family visits.
The house was still there, sitting on the Husdon next to Constance’s place, two stone-and-maple houses in tall, sturdy groves of maples and oaks. The city had grown around it, flowed around them like the river around rocks, the road bigger then he remembered it, the place a bit shabbier. There was a cemetery across the street; he remembered when there had been a church there. Down the road, there was a Kwik-E-Mart and a strip mall, but the stonework on the strip mall looked familiar. Constance? Or one of his descendants? The carving on the beams, too – Gannon recognized his own style, but not his own work.
And, he had to smile, the clerk in the gas station had eyes he remembered from what had to be her ancestress, and, he was willing to bet, probably the same tail, too. “I’m Gannon,” he told her, glad to be home.
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